IT Staffing Sales Effectiveness
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
The end of the year is upon us. Whether your sales team has already met their goal and is taking some much needed time off, or is working while they wrap presents to meet their quota, I've always found year-end to be an ideal time for sales self-education and to focus on improvement for the year ahead. Reading a good sales book is one of the best and quickest ways to improve sales skills and knowledge. I've also found that a really good sales book can be a an excellent source of inspiration. Here are five classic sales books to read this holiday season, all of which will motivate and inspire ensuring you have a successful 2018.
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)."
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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.
Regardless of how your sales and recruiting team has performed this year, it is likely your goals for 2018 will be even higher. Many staffing companies plan an annual sales kickoff event to recap the current or previous selling period and prepare for the year ahead. This is the time for CEO's and staffing leaders including sales managers and recruiting managers to motivate and unite their teams to achieve the goals that they’ve set for the upcoming year.
Imagine going to your family doctor for your regularly scheduled check up and after taking your blood pressure and temperature your doctor instantly gives you a clean bill of health. Your doctor never asked any questions about how you feel, didn't listen to your heart or check your vitals. This would never happen right? Right, because doctors take their job and responsibility pretty seriously and because doctors take a holistic approach to diagnosing their patients.
Having worked with hundreds of IT staffing CEO's and business owners, I’ve heard more than my fair share of frustrations and complaints over salespeople spending too much time on the wrong activities. I'm talking about salespeople spending hours a day on non selling activities such as servicing existing customers and consultants, formatting resumes, prepping candidates, conducting sales research, preparing client facing content, writing emails and many others. They say "how can I get my salespeople to spend more time prospecting for new business and meeting with prospective customers? The answer to that question lies in the reasons for why salespeople are in fact spending so much time on these non selling sales activities. Here are five reasons why salespeople focus on the wrong sales activities and how you can diagnose why your salespeople are struggling with time allocation.
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.
Today’s sales leader is expected to be part sales superstar who still closes deals and models the desired sales behaviors, part trainer, part CRM/ATS expert, part “chief problem solver,” and responsible for a plethora of other responsibilities including territory management, compensation and commission plans, performance management, recruitment and selection, customer segmentation, sales strategy, sales forecasting and opportunity management to name a few. Given such a multitude of responsibilities, the sales leader’s most pressing challenge is knowing which tasks and activities to focus on that will deliver the greatest return. The million-dollar question is, how do sales leaders know which tasks and activities those are? The answer lies in their sales cadence.
I've been blessed with the opportunity of working with hundreds of sales and recruiting teams from IT staffing companies across the country. One of the most common questions I get is "Dan, how does our sales team stack up against the competition?" As you can imagine, there are many ways in which I can answer this question and even more ways in which to compare and contrast one sales team to another. So a few years ago I started answering this question with the following question, "how accurate was your most recent sales forecast?" I usually get a deer in the headlights kind of response.
Every IT staffing sales organization has a sales culture. Great ones are hard to come by because they take a long time to develop and tremendous effort to sustain. Sales teams can have a lousy sales culture but still have a great year and hit or even exceed their sales quota. Consistently meeting and exceeding sales quota (24 months without missing your sales quota) however requires a healthy sales culture. Sales teams don't consistently meet sales quota without having a strong sales culture. At the same time, your sales culture can prevent sales quota attainment from happening.