Using “Down Time” to Get Your CRM In Order

By Erica Abt

Sales professionals are occasionally faced with a lull in client meetings due to regular business seasonality, vacation schedules, or as we all know too well - a global health pandemic. While maximizing face time with clients should always be the #1 priority, it is important that sales teams take advantage of any extra time at their computers executing high value activities.

 

When the reason for the extra time calls for increased sensitivity around typical sales tactics (like aggressively cold calling for new meetings or asking for more business), we encourage sales teams to look inward and use the time to evaluate and improve their own business processes and tools so that they are ready to hit the ground running when a normal schedule resumes. One example of an internal tool that requires “TLC” in order to drive sales effectiveness is the CRM tool.

 

In this blog we explore four foundational CRM data elements that sales leaders should routinely evaluate to ensure the tool accurately reflects the status their client relationships in addition to their territory’s pipeline potential.

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Talking to Your Sales Team: Do it More Often, Starting Now

By Hope Eyre

If you manage sellers, frontline sales managers or indeed anyone, you understand they’re under stress, apprehensive, and craving any type of normalcy until actual normalcy returns.

Most sales leaders we talk to are currently in break/fix mode: Some are having to shrink their organizations or reduce pay. Most are trying to figure out how to help customers whose businesses or entire industries have been upended.

All are worried about the health and safety of their teams in addition to working hard to help sellers quickly become accomplished in a virtual environment. The key to managing much of this lies in how you’re communicating with your team while stress is running high.

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4 R’s of Building Trust and Customer Relationships in a Virtual Environment

By Rachel Cavallo

What if today’s unprecedented circumstances could actually help us to build stronger relationships with our customers? What if today, when faced with insurmountable barriers like quarantine and social distancing, we could actually get to know our customers better and be the type of sellers we always say that we want to be – the type of sellers who genuinely care about our customers’ success, who empathize with their challenges, and who bring vital information that is insightful and highly relevant to the situation our customers face today? But how?

The general presumption among sellers has long been that if you really want to develop relationships, you have to get face-to-face. While we find that many sellers interact with their customers over email, text, and phone, they really rely on those face-to-face moments in the office or over lunch to build strong relationships. But maybe today, when we take away the “easy” part, we’re actually left with what really matters… it’s not the lunch or the warm smile and firm handshake (Yikes! Where’s the sanitizer? Will we ever do that again?), it’s the trust and the value that really matter… that’s what builds and sustains a firm foundation.  We can build solid relationships remotely… in fact, we might even be able to do it better – we just have to adjust our approach.

The fundamentals don’t change. We believe there are 4 key components – We call them the 4 R’s: Be Relevant, Be Real, Be Relatable, and Be Reliable.

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Changing the Tires on a Sales Team in Motion: Sales Transformation vs. Sales Disruption

By Masami Middleton

How many times have you heard the term “sales transformation” and thought it’s just consultant speak?  Or an ideal that’s impossible amidst your team’s never-ending hustle to make the number? 

If you are a seasoned sales leader, you’ve probably lived through all kinds of disruptive forces.  Mergers and acquisitions, business model changes, new competitors, and leadership or rep turnover. These factors can render your sales strategy, process, selling skills, or organization structure obsolete (or dated at best).

While many sales leaders recognize that a transformational change is in order for one or more of these areas, actually executing it feels like changing the tires on a car that’s moving fast.  But what’s the tradeoff? Would you rather change the tires now for future performance gains or skip it and risk a high-speed blowout on your sales team?

NASCAR pit crews change tires and re-fuel multiple times over 200-400 laps to give their racer the necessities to win.  We recommend a similar, sequenced approach to prioritize and execute sales initiatives across a transformation journey.

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Prepare for Gen Z in Four Ways: Leadership, Learning, Technology, and Data

By Erica Abt

It is difficult to keep up with the latest generational trends, especially for sales leaders trying to drive performance while also balancing the needs of those they lead and serve. In fact, many sales leaders express how complicated it is to prioritize and implement any sort of business or culture change that they think will get the best return on their time, money, and effort.

My colleague, Kelsey, recently broke the bad news that Generation Z – yes, people born after 2001 – will soon be another key consideration for sales organizations. If you haven’t been paying attention to how generational differences are impacting your sales team, then you’re already late to the game. So, what’s our recommendation? Instead of just catching up on Millennials (which you can do here), this blog explores the critical places to focus in order to prepare for Generation Z that will also positively benefit Millennials along the way.

Topics: generation Z
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The Big (Data) Obstacle that Sales Organizations Must Overcome

By Kelsey Peusch

Buzzwords like “big data” and phrases like “strategic data-driven decision making” have been bouncing around board rooms for quite some time. Experts report that up to 97% of organizations are investing in big data and AI, with each striving to harness data to be smarter about the people they target, the products they offer, the pricing they set, and the distribution paths they select.

Organizations across industries are clamoring for tools and techniques capable of aggregating important data as they mine for meaningful insights. No doubt the topic is hot, and there are bright spots emerging within the world of sales, yet why do so many sales organizations still struggle to fully optimize the potential of the data at their disposal?  

Read on to learn more about the power behind data analytics, why sales organizations continue to struggle to unlock its true potential, and the bright spots emerging within our own client portfolio.

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Generation Z is Coming, with Skills that will Surprise You... and Your Buyers

By Kelsey Peusch

What sounds as ominous as a Game of Thrones catchphrase or foreboding as a Brad Pitt Zombie reboot might be a blessing for corporations that will soon be forced to navigate a new set of rules to prime the next generation for the sales roles of those on the road to retirement. 

By our research, the oldest members of Generation Z are 18 years old (born in 2001 or after). Their story is yet to be fully written, but societal norms have shifted so significantly in the past 5 to 10 years that their impact on this next generation will likely be significant. From Washington’s partisan politicking and Hollywood’s #MeToo Movement to the power of social influencers, Generation Z exquisitely balances the need to be unique with that of being highly empathetic. Vulnerability is becoming a badge of honor, and authenticity seems to trump all else. Let’s take a deeper look to better understand how these influences are molding the next generation of highly empathetic sellers and thought leaders.

Spoiler alert – there is a lot more good than bad!

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How Do Sales Leaders Stay Credible and Legitimate?

By Hope Eyre

There’s this TED talk I like by General Stanley McChrystal called “Listen, Learn… then Lead.” We assign it as homework in our Leadership Academy, a 6-module program we’ve run for years at individual clients to ready their next generation managers for leadership positions across a variety of functions.

General McChrystal (who knew he was funny?) has several poignant messages delivered compellingly against the backdrop of combat, but his key takeaway is this: Leaders are good when they’re willing to learn.

“How," he asks, "does a leader stay credible and legitimate when they haven’t done what the people (they’re) leading are doing?”

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The Top 4 CRM Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

By Erica Abt

CRM (Client Relationship Management) can be defined as “the strategy upon which companies plan, manage and analyze interactions across their customer’s lifecycle to acquire, grow and retain customers”.

That’s at least what CRM is supposed to be. Instead, what we usually hear from clients about their CRM are comments like:

“It’s a mess.”
“We use it badly.”
“We bought it for reporting but since nobody uses it, it adds no value.” 

For a tool that is so expensive, time-consuming to implement, and promises to help sales people do their jobs more easily, it’s surprising how many companies struggle to get the full return on their CRM investment. Why is it so difficult?

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Why Using Behavioral Assessments to Hire Sellers Requires Caution

By Hope Eyre

I drive too fast. This according to approximately 11 police officers and my boss, who recently banned me from renting cars and made taking Uber a condition of my continued employment. (In Dallas on business, I dutifully delivered him to DFW in a Dodge Challenger with a Hemi engine and evidently he had issues with his passenger experience.)

So what can we predict about my behavior the next time I’m behind the wheel? That depends on a number of factors, some of them random. I’ll get to how this relates to hiring sellers in a minute.

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