Sales best practices for improving sales win rates, shortening the sales cycle and increasing overall quota attainment. Sales strategies to make revenue growth repeatable, and scalable
We all know that Covid-19 has wrecked havoc and created economic uncertainty for businesses all across the globe. For many sales leaders, this economic uncertainty has shaken their confidence and sewed doubt and fear. Fear is an emotion, and when leaders make decisions out of emotion they're always poor decisions. What is important for sales leaders to remember in these difficult times is that what worked for you during the good times (the booming IT market of the past decade), isn’t what is needed now. The stakes are much higher and your salespeople need you and your leadership more then ever.
The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered two massive challenges for IT staffing sales professionals: reduced IT budgets and selling virtually. For many staffing sales professionals, the idea of selling virtually was unheard of just a few months ago. To top it off, half of B2B companies have reduced their budgets by 40% and overall IT spend is predicted to drop 8% in 2020.
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According to Psychology Today, Emotional intelligence (also known as EQ (Emotional Quotient) or EI) refers to the awareness of and ability to manage one’s emotions. It also refers to one's ability to influence another's emotions. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to understand, use, and manage your emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, diffuse tension and conflict, communicate effectively, and empathize with others.
Remember the incident that Starbucks had to navigate back in 2018? Employees at a Philadelphia Starbucks location called police complaining that two African-American men were trespassing when they refused to leave after being asked to several times, and after being denied use of the bathroom because they hadn’t made a purchase. A customer took a video of the arrest and the two young men were taken away. Shortly thereafter however they were released and Starbucks decided not to press charges. That incident led to Starbucks closing 8,000 stores for racial bias training, resulting in approximately $12 million in lost sales. Chief executive officer Kevin Johnson said in response, “This is a management issue and I am accountable to ensure we address the policy, and the practice and the training that led to this outcome.”
My first couple of years in sales I applied the "broadcast pitch mode" approach. My thinking was I had to do whatever was required to get an audience with prospective customers and once there, my job was to pitch or present to them "who we are and what we do." What this meant was I would say as much as I possibly could about myself, my company, what we did, what we offered, our candidates, our recruiting process, etc., and HOPEFULLY something in my message would "stick" with the customer. In hindsight I didn't have great success with this approach. Selling was labor-intensive and converting prospects into buyers was like a pushing a boulder uphill! In fact, I remember thinking, "nobody wants to hire temporary help" or use a staffing service and "customers think of temporary staffing as a "necessary evil."
Lets face it, it’s getting really tough out there. No, we might not (yet) meet the official definition of a recession which is defined as two consecutive quarters of economic decline, as reflected by GDP in conjunction with monthly indicators such as a rise in unemployment. But when the unemployment rate soars past 20% and the U.S loses 26.5 million jobs, that’s cause for concern.
As I mentioned in part 1 of this two part blog series, many sellers are experiencing longer sales cycles and stalled deals. In fact, there are probably more stalled deals in your CRM/ATS then you realize or care to admit. So what happens when deals stall out? Salespeople get emotional. We tend to act out, often irrationally. Naturally, we want action. But pressuring the prospect to make a decision before they’re ready is never a wise decision. Not only does it rarely work, it makes the salesperson look desperate and needy. It's just poor form. So hammering prospects for a commitment is a great way to turn stalled deals into dead deals. Instead, staffing professionals need to continue to sell value beyond the conclusion of the final candidate interview. Don’t box your customer into a corner with a yes or no ultimatum. You’re not selling $25 watches on the street corner, you're selling B2B professional services.
Many sellers are experiencing stalled sales cycles in which customer's are delaying decisions by days, weeks and in some cases even months. I'm talking about deals that are sitting on the goal line. Deals in which the customer has reviewed the proposal or completed the candidate interview process and has even given the "verbal yes" to move forward but for whatever reason, they just can't seem to sign the contract and consummate the deal. These are deals sellers were counting on closing. These are deals that were forecasted to close last month. But now they're stalled with no indication of what is going to happen next and no timeline for a final decision. What is one to do?
Given the uncertain and turbulent times we're living in, I thought now would be the opportune time to remind recruiters of the correct definition and importance of candidate pipelining. If you're an IT recruiter, now might be the best time and the EASIEST time to be pipelining candidates.
Imagine what would happen if you could increase your prospect or candidate email open rate by 5X and your click-through rate by 8X? That’s a massive jump in the number of prospects or candidates reading and taking action on your emails. The kind of jump that has every rep and recruiter in your company asking you, what the hell are you doing to crush it?