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
2020 was the year of adjustment. The Covid-19 pandemic taught us that nothing is for certain and that we must be agile in order to survive and thrive. Perhaps that is why the 50+ C-level staffing industry executives I have spoken with this year have all shared with me that they have numerous growth initiatives planned for 2021.
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.
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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.
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.”
With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation rapidly evolving, I wanted to share a few tips for those who are now tasked with leading a remote team of sales reps or recruiters.
Studies show that sales leaders who operate with a consistent and repeatable sales cadence outperform those who don't. Daily huddles, and a weekly sales forecast have become commonplace for most sales teams. As part of their weekly cadence, top sales leaders are now incorporating peer deal reviews into their operational cadence, especially for strategic accounts, highly competitive opportunities and must-win deals.
Here is a startling statistic; according to a study by The Bridge Group, 50% of all sales people miss their quota. In years past I've actually witnessed a variety of behaviors and heard a plethora of phrases from staffing leaders that support and encourage the under performing behaviors that drive these very statistics. Phases like "Sarah is great for the office., not a great performer but everyone loves her so we have to keep her." Or, "I know my team is under performing, but I can't push them too hard, they could push back and even consider walking out, and what would I do then? "And the classic, "Ron has been with us for years, we just leave him alone let him do his thing (under-perform and bring team down morale)."
Top performing staffing leaders including sales and recruiting managers are blowing their peers out of the water by over 20% on a gross profit per head basis. How are they doing it? They're dropping the old school sales manager approach (see Alec Baldwin, Always Be Closing) and instead they're connecting with team members on a deeper and more personal level. A recent Gallup study supports this showing that engaged employees produce on average 20% more higher sales than those that are not.
In corporate America it's standard operating procedure to promote the top sales performer into management despite the fact that it's common knowledge that many of those top performers struggle with leading and managing a sales team. What might not be common knowledge is why so many top performers struggle with the transition into management. If you're a top performer actively interviewing for a sales management role or have already received a promotion, you should understand the most difficult aspects of the transition into management and leading a sales team. To give you a dose of sales management reality, I’ve outlined the most six most common reasons why new sales managers fail.