What’s the Best Sales Methodology for Sales Growth?

Two people work on a set of plans for a building or an office suite.

I know from speaking with sales reps and VP’s of Sales across the country that following someone else’s blueprint for success can be a dangerous time-waster. Sales formulas, processes, and strategies can seem like the flavor of the season.

Changing things up and moving on when something doesn’t work makes sense. But chasing your tail in circles with information is a real career-killer.

One day it’s all about the Challenger Sales Model and next year it’s MEDDIC.  Eat, sleep, breath the MEDDIC checklist. Until of course, we need more answers and then Scientific Selling comes along.

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8 Ways to Move Your Software Sales Team Forward After COVID-19 Layoffs

A man wearing a suit smiling.

If you’ve recently faced layoffs, you’ll notice the atmosphere of the organization has changed. According to a study by Charlie Trevor (University of Wisconsin) and Madison and Anthony Nyberg (University of South Carolina) for every 1% of your staff that’s laid off, there’s a 31% increase in voluntary turnover over the next twelve months.

Retained salespeople, commonly known as “survivors,” are both angry and scared because the illusion of “the work-family” has been shattered.

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The Best Way to Tell Candidates They Didn’t Make the Cut

A wet cat looks angry.

Telling candidates they won’t be moving forward in the interview process can be awkward, uncomfortable, or even something you tend to procrastinate. Some recruiters and hiring managers ignore providing feedback for candidates altogether. Others wait days, even weeks to reject candidates. Letting too much time elapse before delivering the “bad news” hurts everyone, including your company’s reputation.

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Three Must Haves for Strong Sales Leadership

A professionally dressed woman presents information to a group of four people in a conference room. She is partially facing them but look sat a white board as she gestures to a portion of the board.

Managing a sales team is a complex and challenging job. It’s also a very different job within companies of varying revenue sizes. In some cases, you’ll need to be a front-line seller, in others, you’ll need to be a sales strategy master. Yet in all sales leadership positions, you’ll have to have command of more than just sales skills, you’ll need to be able to lead others.

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The Number One Way to Build a Successful Sales Team

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Is Building a Winning Sales Team as Simple as Following a Proven Recipe?

If I want to bake a chocolate cake, I’ll pull out a recipe book. Then I’ll follow the directions and in about an hour and a half or so I’ll have a cake. If you just follow a recipe, you’ll get predictable results. Right?

Except every time I try to bake a chocolate cake, it never comes out quite the same. Sometimes they’re good , sometimes they’re burnt, other times they just taste like a cardboard sponge. (Not sure I’ve ever eaten a cardboard sponge, but you get the point.)

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Six Simple Ways to Make Onboarding Sales Professionals a Success

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Onboarding Counts

John called me in the middle of the day. He’d just started a new role with a software start-up in San Jose, California.  

He sounded a little irritated, certainly not his usual upbeat self. As a sales recruiter who spends hours each day on the phone, I’m highly sensitive to slight voice inflections.

I instantly knew something was wrong.

“I’m not sure this is the place for me,” he said.  After a long pause, John went on to explain, “Yesterday two of the guys in my sales training class went to lunch and didn’t come back.

The office manager Susan let on this wasn’t a first. Every time I step out of the office, my boss gets this tense look on his face.” 

But John’s experience is ordinary.

Doubt can grab hold of new hires quickly. In any start-up, introducing new sales people into the mix initially causes optimism to run wild.

Without solid systems in place, excitement levels quickly wane.

No matter how successful new hires have been in the past, or how well developed their sales skills are; they simply can’t be highly effective in a disorganized environment lacking infrastructure, procedures, and systems.

Your company’s ability to onboard new salespeople can make the difference between high performance and high turnover.

When you’ve worked hard to recruit top talent for your sales team, don’t leave new beginnings to chance.


Life is full of beginnings. They are presented every day and every hour to every person. Most beginnings are small, and appear trivial and insignificant, but in reality they are the most important things in life.

— James Allen

six simple tips for increasing the odds of putting your new sales hires on the road to success.

1. Get an Onboarding Plan in Place for Your Sales Reps

“Winging it” never works. Put infrastructure in place by building systems, processes, and structure right from the start. Include formal checklists, written sales goals, objectives, timelines, activity metrics, content, tasks, assignments of responsibility, and follow up schedules.
 

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2. Dump the Welcome Mat and Roll out the Red Carpet

Make onboarding part of everyone’s job. Foster a welcoming culture and help new hires immediately feel like part of the team.

Employees across disparate departments and levels should be encouraged to make new hires feel welcome.
 

3. Make the First Day Memorable

Show your new sales hire you’re ready for his arrival. Have his desk, computer, and other work tools set up.

Take pictures, put up a welcome sign, and have things ready to go.

Take him to lunch on the first day and introduce him to everyone in the office. It’s the little things that make a big difference.
 

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4. Enroll all New Sales Hires into a New Hire Orientation Program

It’s normal for new hires to be sent off to spend a few hours with human resources, company trainers, and other departments. This is when they learn about the company’s history, culture, and values.

Whether it’s a few hours or a few days, almost every company provides some sort of new hire orientation.  It’s normally a one-time event, and unfortunately, where the welcoming effort comes to a grinding halt.

Although new hire orientation is essential, new employees need more than a few meetings to feel integrated into a new company.

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5.  Schedule Time for Support and aim for Progress

Harvard professor Teresa Amabile presented a conclusive study in the Harvard Business Review’s January 2010 issue. She determined the number one driver of employee motivation is progress.

The employee’s ability to feel they’ve made progress trumped all other attributes including recognition, interpersonal support, clear goals, and incentives.

Consistently scheduling time to review questions, measure achievements, and provide support can help new employees overcome problems and take the crucial steps forward needed to fuel progress.
 

mentor programs

6. Develop and Commit to Mentor Programs

Peer mentors can be a big help to any new sales hire. Whether mentor programs are formal or informal, having teammates available to answer questions and serve as sounding boards, helps strengthen peer networks across the organization.

If a formal mentor program is established, it should be well thought out.

Offer discussion topic guidelines for mentors so they know when and how to run meetings. A mentorship program needs structure to perform at optimal levels; otherwise, the program is not likely to be successful.  

chance

Never Leave New Beginnings to Chance

Like any opening act, new beginnings matter.

The middle of a sales person’s tenure with your company never gets to survive a poor beginning. Commit to executing a thoughtful onboarding program: start with planning, implementing systems, and creating opportunities to connect with new hires.

You can use a well-implemented onboarding program as your “secret weapon” to help new hires feel optimistic about your organization, accelerate the ramp up process, and quickly build sales momentum.

Because few companies make the most of onboarding, executing a well-managed program will separate your company from the rest and put your new sales employees on the fast track to high performance.

Onboarding Success Check List

Three Reasons Why Sales Managers Should Care About Onboarding

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Onboarding Builds Better Teams

Ever spend four months recruiting and hiring a sales rep only to have them quit in four weeks? Sometimes they leave because they received a better offer. But many times it’s because onboarding created doubts about the decision to pick your organization. Learn three facts about why onboarding matters and what you can do to make it more successful so you can engage your team, and achieve your sales goals.

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More than 8,000 Interviews Boiled Down to 16 Observations about Sales Hunters

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From the Front Lines: Observations about Sales Hunters

I’ve interviewed more than 2,600 people in-person at all kinds of places: coffee shops, airport terminals, tiny interview rooms, bars, airport lounges, fancy offices, restaurants, city clubs, Starbucks, and more. I’ve video called and phone interviewed more than 5,500 sales candidates not including the 2,600 in-person interviews.

With rare exception, every candidate I’ve met in this population has had at least five years of experience post college. They are candidates from across the country, from New York to San Francisco. They’ve earned from 120K to 700K a year.  Read More

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Problem Solving Skills Dictate Your Success

A man sits at a desk with a blank note pad and a pen. He has thick glasses and a red bow tie. He is wearing a strange contraption on his his head that appears to be made out tinfoil and wires. There is a large wire extending out of the head devise that connects to a hand held control that the man appears to be operating. The man has a bewildered distant expression on his face.

Can You Solve This Puzzle?

Let’s take a look at a sequence of numbers and determine the rational reason for the sequence. These numbers are not my birthday, driver’s license number, address, or the key to my gym locker. There is a rational, logical reason for the order of these numbers. What is the rational reason for the order? Take a few minutes and see if you can figure it out.

 

8   5   4   9   1   7   6   3   2   0

 

Do you have an answer yet? If you haven’t figured it out, don’t be too miffed. One in twenty people come up with the correct reason according to Dr. Alan Weiss, a business consultant who has written about The Rational Sequence in a book called Process Visuals. 

If you didn’t solve the problem you most likely…

Categorized the problem as a math problem.

You gave it your best shot and instantly went to playing around with the numbers, quickly trying to unlock the right formula. Most likely you didn’t stop to think about it, you just aggressively attacked the problem.

Perhaps you tried finding the difference between the numbers, and checking for patterns. Maybe you attempted multiplying the numbers, subtracting the difference, adding 10, dividing by every third number, and so on.

Now here’s the big reveal—the numbers are in alphabetical order.

The point is, once you label anything, (a “number’s problem” in this case) you determine the limits of your ability to solve the problem.

The big question is……

How does this apply to you?

Our jobs are ultimately centered around driving more sales. How do we get more customers? Why don’t we have more clients?

How do we get new business now?

What are we going to do to meet our numbers this month?

This quarter? This year?

On and on and on….

We turn towards and look for solutions categorized on the assumptions we make about the problem.

Let’s imagine…..

The sales team hasn’t been hitting their numbers for several quarters. In our scenario, the reps are all motivated, hardworking, and eager to close business. What could be wrong?

You quickly label the problem as a “training problem,” and begin to focus on implementing the best training you can find. If your team’s performance remains flat, you look for more effective and relevant training.

If that doesn’t work, you hire more trainers, different trainers, high-profile trainers, sales fundamentals trainers, dog trainers, circus trainers, technical trainers…..and more!

Hey, you’re a persistent leader who always goes the extra mile, with a strong work ethic, and a core belief that you’re a problem solver, or you wouldn’t be in this role to begin with, right?

As our example demonstrates, once the problem is labeled, the solution will fit into the same category.

We labeled our lackluster sales performance a“training problem” and applied training solutions. When things weren’t working, and sales remained flat, we looked within the training problem solution set for more answers.

We persisted, but with the wrong solution set. We never stopped to questions our initial assumption that we had a “training problem.”

The point is this: cautiously categorize problems.

Quickly made assumptions can send you on a wild goose chase for solutions that will never produce effective results.

Why?

Because new ideas and remedies have to fit into the classification of the solution set, there’s no room for anything outside of the premise.

If you’re trying to solve a “numbers problem” with numbers, and it’s an alphabet solution, not even a mathematician will get you there.

The most productive thing you can do is take the time to thoughtfully identify and categorize problems; apply multiple remedies, and consistently evaluate your assumptions, paradigms, and suppositions.  

Because when you finally realize a “numbers problem” is solved with letters, you will get to the right solution.