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Four Simple Ways to Improve your IT Industry Knowledge

by Gerry Gadoury on Sep 25, 2014 7:41:00 AM

Success in the IT Staffing Industry demands a commitment to ongoing education.  Being a sales person in this industry requires us to be able to “talk the talk” with hiring managers and consultants.  This means possessing IT industry knowledge. Whether that means understanding the differences between software development methodologies when speaking to a VP of software development, or understanding the unique needs of a business leader in the Retail space when they are looking for a Business Analyst, one thing remains the same: the better YOU understand what THEY are saying and what THEY need the more confident you will feel and the more confident that manager will be working with you and that your candidates will be on target.  And, perhaps most importantly, if that manager is confident that you are going to deliver for them, how likely are they to take calls from your competitors?

Now, it is important to remember that we do not need to become subject matter experts in our chosen niches (whether they be technical, job specific, or industry).  What is critical is that we have a strong “High-Level” IT industry knowledge including the  jargon, work flow, and specific needs of both our clients and our consultants.  This knowledge takes time to accumulate, but the steps toward that knowledge are easy to take.

  1. When you hear a manager (or consultant) mention a technology or a business process that is new to you write it down.  During the time you devote to research each day (and I KNOW you devote time to research each day!) Google or Wikipedia that phrase.  No more time than that, just a quick search to get a very basic understanding of what that is.  If you find that technology or process being mentioned more than a few times THEN do a more concerted search on the topic and take a little more time to gain more depth of knowledge in the area but, like everything else, jealously guard your research time and only dedicate time for a deeper dive to topics that you hear often enough to warrant your investment of that time.

    2-    Talk to your Hiring Managers and Consultants.  You will never have a better learning source than the folks who work in that space day in and day out.  Additionally, if you show genuine interest and a desire to learn about the things they are passionate about it creates an exceptional opportunity to build rapport.  Generally speaking, technical folks love to talk about technology with people who want to hear about it.  The same goes for business leaders who are given the opportunity to expound on business processes that people in their personal lives rarely have any interest in.  The key here is to be genuine and strategic in your questioning.  When talking to a manager (whether it be when you are taking an order, getting interview feedback, or just following up) ask the manager about what you are trying to learn when it comes up. 
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Topics: IT Knowledge

The Truth About Your Sales Data

by Dan Fisher on Aug 26, 2014 10:25:00 AM

How do you recognize the difference between your superstar sales reps and your average performers?  
When I ask this question of my customers they typically tell me, “that is easy, I just look at their performance. Either they’re making placements or they’re not.”  They go on to say that they look at the data, specifically the activity and performance numbers. Sounds easy enough, but what do you do when your data tells you that your superstars and your average reps are performing the same activities and producing the same level of activity?  To take it step further and I have certainly seen this one throughout my career, what do you do when you see that your C player is actually doing more activity than your superstar?  How can that be?

The Problem With Your Data

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How to Implement a Unified Sales Process (Part 3 of 3)

by Dan Fisher on Jul 26, 2014 6:42:00 PM

This is part three of a three part series.  On June 19, 2014 I presented at Bullhorn Live on how to implement a unified sales process.  Below is part three of the series.  You can read part one here.  You can read part two here.

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Topics: IT staffing, Sales Training, sales process, process mapping

How to Implement a Unified Sales Process (Part Two)

by Dan Fisher on Jul 15, 2014 2:49:00 PM

This is part two of a three part series.  On June 19, 2014 I presented at Bullhorn Live on how to implement a unified sales process.  Below is part two of the series.  You can read part one here.

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Topics: change management, user adoption, IT staffing, sales process

How to Implement a Unified Sales Process (from Bullhorn Live)

by Dan Fisher on Jun 23, 2014 9:08:00 AM

Last week I had the opportunity of presenting at Bullhorn Live.  This is Bullhorn's annual user conference to not only showcase their CRM/ATS software but to give users a chance to learn about industry best practices.  In my case, I spoke on how to implement a unified sales process and why having a sales process is critical to scaling your business.  This is part one of a three part series recapping of my presentation.

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Topics: IT staffing, sales process, bullhorn, bullhorn live, dan fisher

Implementing (or Rightsizing) Your Sales Process

by Dan Fisher on Jun 16, 2014 9:34:00 AM

Do you know who Edwards Deming is?  I didn’t think so.  I didn’t know either.  Edwards Deming was an American statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and consultant.  And he was credited for saying “a bad system will beat a great person every time.”  You know what, he’s right!  Take it from me, I learned the hard way.  And in my six years providing sales training and consulting services, I have seen hundreds of others learn the hard way as well.

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Topics: IT staffing, sales process, sales performance, sales management

How to Expand Account Wallet Share Part 2

by Dan Fisher on Jun 11, 2014 1:52:00 PM

This blog is part two of a two-part blog series on account development.  You can read part one, How to Expand Revenue in Existing Accounts.

First, if you want to grow account revenue and develop a partnership, you have to strengthen and deepen your existing relationships, AND establish new relationships in other business lines or departments AND at the enterprise (executive) level.  This requires sales people to break out of their comfort zone mentality of “my client” and view the relationship as a “company to company” relationship. Organizations that do the most effective job of expanding account revenue focus less on how much they’re liked by the customer and more on the business value of the relationship (of how the client perceives the value).  And that involves getting your entire organization involved in serving the client.

Unfortunately, despite their best intentions, many strategic (or target) account programs under perform.  The most common reasons are listed in the table below

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Topics: opportunity map, relationship map, account development, it staffing sales

How to Expand Wallet Share in Your Existing Accounts

by Dan Fisher on May 15, 2014 10:19:00 AM

One of the most common sales training requests (and sales goals of IT staffing firms) I hear from prospects and customers alike is growing revenue within existing accounts.  Let’s face it; everyone wants to grow revenue in their existing accounts.  So why is it so challenging? 

IT staffing firms should be selling more of their service offerings to their existing clients but they’re not. There are a number of reasons for this including but not limited to:
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Topics: sales, IT staffing, account development

Sales Performance Management Best Practices

by Dan Fisher on Apr 16, 2014 2:09:00 PM

A few years back I was attending a session at the Staffing Industry Analysts Executive Forum.  The speaker made the comment “in the staffing industry we’re too quick to hire and too slow to fire.”  That quickly struck a chord with me.  I thought to myself, “that is 100% spot on.”  I have been guilty of it and I know many if not most of my peers have been guilty of this as well.  Yet, isn’t it common sense that when you have a rep who is under performing, you put them on a PIP and either they make it or they’re managed out?

So why is it so challenging to manage sales professionals?  If you think about it, the role of the sales professional and the performance metrics they’re measured by are crystal clear.  It boils down to, “did you hit your number?”  Every sales person goes into the office each morning knowing exactly where they stand.  Or don’t they?  Let’s take a look at sales performance management best practices and how you can get the most out of your sales team.

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Topics: sales performance management, SPM, sales management, sales leadership

5 Things Best in Class Sales Organizations Do Differently

by Dan Fisher on Apr 1, 2014 4:51:00 PM

I’ve spent a lot of time traveling the country the past 6 years coaching sales reps and helping CEO’s and business leaders implement sales process and sales management systems.  Yeah, I have certainly seen a lot and learned a lot from that experience.  Let me share with you the 5 things that best in class sales organizations do differently from all of the rest.

Build Knowledge (not just skills).  Most IT staffing firms provide some form of sales training but tend to focus the training exclusively on skills development.  What this means is they provide training on how to execute a step in their sales process such as describing their service offerings, taking a job requirement or scheduling a face to face meeting.  This is a good first step, but it's nowhere near enough.  What average and laggard companies fail to do however is build knowledge amongst their sales team.  What is the difference between skills development and building knowledge?  I'm talking about teaching and developing knowledge in your sales force around these key elements:

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Topics: sales methodology, sales best practice, sales coach, sales process

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