Making eLearning Work for the Busy Sales Professional

By Rachel Cavallo

So you need to train your sales force, but you want to minimize their time out of the field. eLearning is the perfect answer, right? In today’s world of cost and performance pressure, eLearning can easily become the silver bullet to “check the box” on sales training. After all, IBM saved $200 million, a 2/3 savings, by adopting a virtual training program for its employees (Source: IRRODL). But beware… you can easily make a significant investment that won’t move the needle as much as you think.

The other day I was sitting near a friend who had to complete “mandatory eLearning” on a new trend his company was trying to position with clients. As someone who is generally on the other end of these courses (the designing and building of them), I was fascinated by his running commentary. I listened to a few of the videos and heard some of his frustrations along the way, and it crystallized my perspective that there are some right and wrong ways to do eLearning.

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Impressions from a Quick Visit to Dreamforce

By Warren Shiver

In a word: Wow! I hadn’t attended Dreamforce (DF) since 2010, and I think it has tripled in attendance. Seems like DF must suck up all of the A/V production capacity in the Bay Area. How great it is to have 170k people pay to be sold to by Salesforce.com (SF) and the partner ecosystem and brand themselves with DF swag. Great business model – I’m certainly envious.

I had the pleasure of speaking during the conference at the Quotable Sales Summit in support of our book, The Multigenerational Sales Team.

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"Stop Helping Me Sell More"

By Michael Perla

One of the perspectives I’m fond of is around the dose-response relationship[i]. In other words, what is the minimum dose I need to take (or do) to deliver the response I’m looking to achieve. In exercise, you often see this with high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is where you intersperse short-duration, high-intensity intervals (e.g., 20-40 seconds of hard running) with active rest periods (e.g., jogging in between). With a minimum dose – say a 20-minute session – you can achieve high-levels of fitness and health.

As an analogue in sales, an up-front dose of more researching and planning at the start of a sales cycle  – before conducting sales calls or targeting accounts – can help to accelerate a sales professional’s results later in the sales process. The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) – now part of Gartner – has found that top-performing sellers often spend more time planning and qualifying than average performers.

With this relationship in mind, it helps to create a frame around a dose that could potentially be harmful as well. As with most things, more is not necessarily better. More exercise can equal injuries and repetitive stress disorders, not unlike too many sales methodologies or technologies can create frustration, fatigue, and eventual turnover.

We are finding that a lot of our clients are much more conscious and intentional of what they ‘throw’ at their sales professionals in terms of change. Too many change initiatives can equal lower productivity and dissatisfaction, usually the opposite of what the sales organization is trying to achieve.

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The Sales Technology Challenge - How Much is Too Much?

By Michael Perla

According to CB Insights, in 2016, deals and dollars invested into sales tech startups reached all-time highs of over $5B invested across 425 deals. Moreover, sales organizations spent an average of $4,797 per quota-carrying rep on enablement technology annually, according to a Gartner (formerly CEB) analysis. Net net, more and more money is being spent on SalesTech and sales enablement and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.

You can’t read much today that doesn’t mention or involve technology. I just read an article on digitizing the customer journey and processes. There are now SalesTech (think FinTech, AdTech) awards that recognize products and companies who exhibit excellence, innovation and leadership in the sales technology space.

Suffice it to say, the technology wave has not bypassed the sales function. Most B2B sales professionals would be lost without some basic sales tools - a smart phone, an audio or web conference line, and a way to keep track of contacts, opportunities, and their pipeline.  Per a recent Techcrunch article I read, the authors ask a good question in their title: 

How Much Sales Technology Is Too Much?

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Top Performer DNA: Interview with Ed Calnan of Seismic Software

By Laura Sardilli

As part of our Top Performers in Sales series, we recently had the privilege of interviewing Ed Calnan, Founder and President of sales enablement solution provider Seismic.  Ed offers perspectives on high performance sales from two angles -- as a leader of a high growth SaaS company, and as an enabler of sales productivity and collaboration for Seismic customers.

When asked what differentiates the best people in sales, Ed cites three key traits: 1) The ability to understand and navigate organizations, 2) Proficiency in addressing business problems, and 3) Discipline to learn from wins and losses. Ed and his Seismic team are uniquely skilled at these pursuits as innovators in customer engagement, sales process, and Account Based Marketing.

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The Case for Sales Onboarding and How to Do It Right

By Beth McGraw

The business case for good employee onboarding is nowhere more glaring than in the sales organization. Companies spend more to hire talent in sales than in any other part of the organization and also experience some of the highest turnover rates (25% to 30% annually1). When a seller leaves, the departure can cost a company between $75K to $300K each year, before considering lost revenue.1 After hiring a replacement, it takes an additional three to six months for a sales rep to become productive.

Benefits of Good Onboarding

Experts agree that a well-executed onboarding program can reduce risk, accelerate the path to productivity, and reduce attrition. CEB research on sales onboarding tells us that engaged employees are 9 times less likely to leave, and effective onboarding programs have the potential to increase employee performance by 15%. Boston Consulting Group’s study, Realizing the Value of People Management, identified onboarding as the second most important capability (after recruiting) amongst 22 HR capabilities that impact revenue growth and profit margins.2

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Favorite Reads for Sales Teams: Avoid the "Book of the Month Club” Approach

By Tom Martin

It’s that time of the year again -- Holiday Starbucks cups, panic over Q4 deals to close on 12/31, and finally, lists of books your sales team should read over the holidays (“Top 10  Must Read Books on Sales!”)  This won’t be one of those blog posts.  In fact, I encourage you NOT to push new sales books on your reps over the holidays.

What are the types of reads your sales team would be willing to peruse in their down time that have actual relevance to your business?

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The Sales Transformation Dilemma – To Tweak or To Transform?

By Michael Perla

"Sometimes a tweak (delivered through training or a new tool) is all a sales force needs; other times, a full-bore transformation is in order."

The quote above was part of a book I co-authored with Warren Shiver entitled the 7 Steps to Sales Force Transformation. In the book, one topic we discuss is the difference between a sales force transformation and a tweak. Since the book release in January, we have received a lot of questions around tweaks versus transformations. What exactly do we mean by sales force transformation? As a sales leader, what are some qualifying questions I can ask that help me assess if a transformation -- or a tweak in the right areas -- is the right approach?

In response to these great questions, we have created additional tools and resources for sales leaders to understand the difference between these two options and which would have the best impact on their sales organizations.

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View of a Former Buyer: Episode 3 - Trainers

By Doug Ferreira

This is the 3rd and final episode in the series in which I have shared my thoughts and ideas regarding some of the critical roles in the sales effectiveness world… all roles that I have had the distinct pleasure to play. We have addressed those who sell sales effectiveness solutions and sales training, as well as those who buy these solutions. In this final segment, I would like to talk specifically to my current peers – my sales training and coaching colleagues.

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View of a Former Buyer: Episode 2 - Buyers

By Doug Ferreira

In the first blog post in this series, we embarked on a journey to discuss my view points on best practices for different players in the sales effectiveness solution “selling cycle,” including those who sell these solutions, those who buy these solutions, and those who deliver these solutions…all roles that I have played myself.

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