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Highlights from the 2019 ATD SELL Conference in Las Vegas

The ATD Sales, Enablement, Learning & Leadership (SELL) Conference recently took place in Las Vegas. Our Director of Business Development, Joshua Jenkins, attended. and we decided to share some of our/his insights from this event.

 

ATD SELL Conference Highlights

The conference’s focus is on the changing landscape of sales leadership in the modern marketplace, providing attendees with useful, empowering advice, and information built upon the foundation of the ATD Sales Enablement Competency Model. ATD created the SELL Conference to fulfill a distinct need within the community of Sales Enablement– a place to meet with like-minded successful business leaders where they could share their insights and practical advice to create high-impact sales enablement processes.

The ATD SELL conference drew attendees from various roles within sales such as sales reps, sales enablement leaders, coaches, sales trainers, sales operations managers, and learning leaders from several disciplines. The goal of this conference was to help sales professionals across industries increase proficiency in several key areas, including:

  •  Learning how to leverage the power of analytical tools and encouraging alignment between sales management and sales enablement to accelerate sales growth and develop sales talent.
  • Cultivating stronger alignment between sales enablement professionals and sales leadership to reach talent development goals and boost shared revenue.
  • Developing innovative sales coaching and teaching programs that increase sales performance by truly changing sales behaviors.
  • Critically analyzing current sales data, products, sales enablement talent, and processes to maximize sales growth.

Attendees gained valuable information and insights from notable sales enablement leaders. The event kicked off with a welcome and opening keynote delivered by Andy Rose, Vice President of Sales Operations, Small Commercial Insurance at Chubb.

 

ATD SELL Welcoming Keynote

Andy Rose’s opening keynote speech titled “Attract, Develop, and Export: New Truths That Sideline Conventional Wisdom” covered various important topics to the modern sales enablement sphere. His speech encouraged attendees to adopt a selfless and goal-oriented mindset- this meant helping talented salespeople and sales enablement professionals hone their skills. The old way of thinking involved keeping the highest level of talent concentrated on high-production roles. While this created short-term benefit for many companies, it did nothing to account for long-term individual development. Andy Rose encouraged a new way of thinking that encourages multidisciplinary development, individual engagement, and better sales performance.

Andy Rose’s keynote speech drove home several salient points. One we appreciated was “there are no silver bullets except for your people,” meaning that individual talent is the key to meeting sales targets, but this requires loosening the grip on the security blanket of reserving top-performing salespeople to high-production roles. Instead, focusing on individual development allows business leaders to increase engagement, boost satisfaction and retention rates, and increase productivity.

Andy’s keynote speech also covered the importance of the hiring process and how important it is to increase your odds of overall success with close attention to every facet of the hiring process. Andy drove home the point that while it is essential to view potential candidates through the company’s lens to determine whether they would fit with the company culture and align with company goals, but to also try and see things from a candidate’s perspective and determine if a position is the right fit for them. Focusing on individual growth and development ultimately builds a company’s reputation as a great place for top talent, capturing the attention of potential candidates who will see the company as a place to cultivate their individual skills.

 

The Learning Track at ATD SELL

Following the Welcome Keynote and General Session hosted by Sharon Ruddock, attendees participated in a Learning Track featuring three speakers, each with valuable sales enablement insights to share:

  •  Stephanie Trotter, the Executive Coach at GSK delivered an impactful speech titled “Catalyzing Connections Through Conversations: How Sales Enablement Contributes to \Leadership Development.” This presentation focused on diversity, psychological safety within sales teams, and the importance of creating sales goals that team members will align with on a personal level.
  • Cindy Ames, the Corporate Director of Sales and Marketing Training at Senior Lifestyle delivered the next presentation of the Learning Track, “Building a Learning Partner Program to Accelerate Development.” This speech focused on shared practice and layered learning, which help sales professionals at all levels develop their personal skill sets and achieve their career goals with individualized training and learning opportunities.
  • Mike Kunkle, the VP Sales Enablement Services at SPASIGMA delivered the final presentation of the Learning Track, “An Innovative Sales Onboarding Approach to Radically Reduce Ramp-Up Time.” Mike’s presentation honed in on the importance of the onboarding process for sales teams and accelerating the rate at which sales professionals achieved high-performing status.

 

The Leadership Track at ATD SELL

The final round of presentations included the Leadership Track, presented by three influential speakers with a diverse range of background experience in sales and sales enablement:

  • Karl Kapp, Professor, Instructional Technology at Bloomsburg University delivered his presentation “Sales Enablement Through Games? You Bet and Bottom Line Results Prove It!” This unique take on sales training focused on the value of games and simulations as training tools.
  • Mark Donnolo, Managing Partner at SalesGlobe delivered the second presentation of the Leadership Track, “Quotas! Design Thinking to Solve Your Biggest Sales Challenge.” This presentation focused on Sales Design Thinking, a new methodology to address quota-setting problems.
  • Liz McCormick, Global Director of Sales Manager Enablement at PEGA delivered the final speech of the Leadership Track, “Establishing a True Partnership to Enable Sales Managers.” This presentation covered the importance of alignment between sales enablement professionals and front-line sales teams, including the importance of training for new managers and management-specific sales enablement development.

These presentations helped attendees understand the multifaceted environment of modern sales enablement and provided inspirational and useful advice for cultivating higher-performing sales teams with a focus on individual development.

 

Final Thoughts

The ATD SELL Conference concluded with a series of sales enablement presentations from thought leaders from companies such as Allego, Brainshark, Bridge, Caliper, Rehearsal, Richardson, and SalesFuel. ATD SELL was an invaluable opportunity to learn from some of the top-performing sales enablement professionals in the industry.

ATD strives to curate and deliver the best content from the world’s leading sales enablement professionals and thought leaders to help sales leaders develop their teams, cultivate individual talent, and to reach and exceed their sales goals with innovative thinking and leveraging the latest technologies. The ATD SELL Conference was an invaluable experience for attendees looking for new ways to help their sales teams grow and capitalize on their individual strengths with forward-thinking strategies

Be The Closer

Even the best salespeople run in to prospective clients who seem impossible to please. You know you have the best product or service, and you know you can help this client improve his/her bottom line, but how to convince them to give you the sale?

Sometimes, a salesperson approaches a prospect on a bad day. It happens to everyone. Maybe the potential client is dealing with a crisis at the company and simply is not focused on your presentation. These circumstances are frustrating, but they can be overcome with some clear-cut strategies.

 

Distracted Client

It’s important to keep the client’s focus on your sales pitch. Try to discern what is distracting the client, and work to bring him/her back to the table. You can also help refocus the energy in the room with an interactive presentation. By involving the client with active rather than passive content, you can help get your message across.

 

Find the Decision Maker

Oftentimes, a company’s decision maker will send an assistant or other representative to a sales meeting to collect preliminary information. Though you are never guaranteed a face-to-face with the actual decision maker, be sure to contact him/her directly prior to the meeting and introduce yourself. This way, when the associate returns with your sales information, the decision maker will already know your name.

 

Project a Genuine Concern

The more you can empathize with your client, the easier it will be to find common ground and close a sale. Your pre-meeting research should give you plenty of information about the client’s business, its challenges, its successes and what your products or services can do to improve productivity. Putting yourself in the client’s shoes can help you feel confident in your ability to address their needs.

 

Learn About the Competition

This refers to both your competition and that of your potential client. Knowing about the other companies in your industry will help you differentiate your products and convey to the client why you offer a superior solution. You also need to be familiar with the client’s competition. You need to tell the client why your products will give them the edge.

 

Set a Deadline

Part of the sales process needs to involve a deadline. Do not give the client too much time to make a decision. This is especially true for challenging clients. There is a fine line between being pushy and creating a sense of urgency. Make it clear to the client that you plan to follow up with them in a few days. Also be sure to let them know your offer has a shelf life. If the client knows you will not wait around forever, you will have a better chance of closing the sale.

 

Have the Answers

In any sales presentation, there is bound to be pushback. Address your client’s objections head-on. Be prepared to defend the cost of your products, and explain why your company provides value-added service. Work with your sales team to come up with a list of all possible concerns your client might bring up. This will help you avoid being caught off guard and pausing to come up with an appropriate answer. If you can anticipate potential objections before your meeting, you will be better prepared to make your case.

Focus on the results you can provide for your client. For example, be prepared to show the client how you can help cut their overhead costs, increase productivity, and improve their company’s bottom line.

When it comes to dealing with challenging clients, preparation is key. All of the sales leads in the world do not matter if you aren’t creating actual sales. Be persistent: Follow up your meeting with a phone call (or phone calls), because emails are much easier to ignore. Remind the client why you can provide the best solution for their needs. Being able to anticipate a client’s concerns and questions will make you a more successful closer.

The Ultimate Guide to Sales Management: 6 Ways to Manage Sales Leads Better

The major function of the sales management department is conducting sales operations; planning, and implementing sales techniques.

Without proper sales management, you will not meet your sales targets, but with better sales management, you will exceed your set targets. A thin line lies between good and bad management. A small oversight might cost you and sometimes—you’ll be shocked to find out how much.

The sales management department holds the destiny of a company in its hands. It’s critical to the growth and development of any business because the bottom line is everything. The bigger the returns, the further you will go.

 

Effective Sales Management

Astute business people will tell you: there’s nothing in the sales management department that is too small for your attention. From building a team with diverse talents and skills, to arming it with effective sales tools, keeping everyone’s eyes on the bigger goal, projecting future performance, helping every team member tap into their power to achieve set objectives through analyzing past performance, visualizing future goals, proper planning, and smart goal-setting…the sales management team can’t afford to drop any ball.

Even as more attention is on market research, pricing of new products, marketing, promotion, advertising, and distribution to maximize profits… the above functions cannot be neglected. They play a big role in realizing a company’s sales management goals.

 

The Leader

Any sales team is as good as the sales manager. As Alexander the Great said, “An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.”

A lion sales manager is keen on managing the processes, invested in both short-term and long-term sales goals, selling to customers’ needs, great at sales planning, and possesses these key skills: people management, motivation and coaching, building lasting relationships, and negotiation.

With a great team and a lion sales manager, these SIX surefire techniques will help you better manage sales leads:

1.Define ‘lead’ as a team – you need to agree on the point at which the sales team takes over the process, ensure it’s done at the right time, and that the client lands in the right hands first (which is only possible if their need is understood).

2. Understand your target – if you pay close attention, you’ll notice a trend with your leads. Maybe they share interests, they appeal to the same market or audience, they have the same fears or desires, etc. Understanding your lead will help you connect—and that right there is what people buy. They can get the same product or service elsewhere, but they would rather get it from someone who understands their needs better.

 3. Effective Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) systems – according to Tech Target, “[effective] CRM systems compile customer data across different channels, or points of contact between the customer and the company, which could include the company’s website, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials, and social media. CRM systems can also give customer-facing staff detailed information on customers’ personal information, purchase history, buying preferences and concerns.”

4. Track the source of your leads – understanding what is working for your company and what is not will help you focus on your best campaigns and, or lead generation platforms, and inform your decisions on improving the others that are not as effective in filling the pipeline.

5. Effective communication – sometimes the difference between closing a deal and being passed over is communication. A client could urgently need your service or product. Moving in fast ensures you seal the deal and move on swiftly. All players in the ever fast-paced business world frown upon sluggish sales processes. Keep tabs on your communication channels to keep business opportunities from slipping through your fingers! It’s a good idea to know everything you can about effective communication—in spoken words, writing, and the unspoken (body language).

6. Touch base with the team – nothing beats a team that works together. Meet every once in a while, to ask the pertinent questions relating to your sales management position: Where are we? Where do we want to be? What are we doing right? Where do we need to improve? Who needs help? How are our systems and processes? How’s the quality of our leads? How fast are we converting? As you reward individual efforts, remember a team is as strong as its weakest link.

 

Wrap up.

Effective sales lead management is pegged on a great sales manager, effective sales management systems, and a team that understands the procedures, processes, the dos, and the don’ts. You stand a good chance of breaking even or breaking barriers if you check these.

Negotiating Using the Challenger Sales Model

Is the Relationship Sale Still Relevant? 

There is a developing trend that indicates that the relationship sale is dying a slow death. The old path of using golf outings, dinner meetings, and ballgames to cultivate loyal customers seems to be falling to the wayside in a time of budget cuts and a move toward mass commoditization of once valued relationships, products, and services. Buyers are required to procure goods and services at the best possible balance of value, quality, and price regardless of who is selling it to them. SNI has always attracted the client who wanted to enhance the customer relationship by finding a mutually satisfactory process and outcome while maintaining the relationship for future deals. This is where we align perfectly with the Challenger Sales Model – by adding tools and skills to maximize outcomes when adopting this modern approach to selling. 

The Challenger Sale (Dixon and Adamson, 2011) is a seminal book on changing customers’ buying decisions and habits. Dixon and Adamson flipped relationship selling on its head and sent a generation of salespeople on the road to drive results rather than activities. 

Having access to over 6,000 Corporate Executive Board (known as CEB at the time, now Gartner) sales representatives who sold big-ticket services to medium/large businesses in a very down economy (2009), Dixon and Adamson studied the data and recognized the need to reinvent the sales model to reflect this new reality of complex, value-driven selling in order to survive and thrive in the B2B landscape. 

The Challenger Sales Model was a natural fit for SNI’s systematic approach of Negotiation (Prepare, Probe, Propose) and Influencing, and we were fortunate to be partnered with Corporate Executive Board for nearly a decade, including the gestational period in 2008 – 2011. 

SNI worked closely with the CEB on their customized Commercial Sales program for middle-market sales representatives. CEB selected SNI to develop skills in support of their sales model, which we did by molding our systematic approach to sales, negotiation and influencing the emerging Challenger model.

The Challenger Sale identifies 5 types of salespeople, and the research found that the “Challenger” profile far and away outperformed the other types. SNI was asked to help teach skills that ANY of the 5 types could use to improve results while the Challenger Model was being developed. 

Here is a quick rundown on how SNI and the Challenger Sale and Challenger Model work together, which drive better outcomes while establishing and maintaining relationships for future deals. 

 

Teaching & Changing Buying Habits 

To change buying behavior, the Challenger Sales Representative must prepare a plan of inquiry that helps the buyer to understand WHY it is important to consider a purchase now. 

SNI’s Preparation Planner was customized at CEB to incorporate the practice of researching and finding insights and leverage points around Precedents, Alternatives, Interests, and Deadlines as well as defining the differentiated value propositions that each of CEB’s myriad of services provides. Reps learned how to approach the sale more thoughtfully while strategically gathering information in an organized and meaningful way to help the buyer conclude, for themselves early in the sales cycle, that an offer is worth serious consideration. All preparation was focused on the monetization of value – helping the rep to tie the solution being pitched to its direct business impact on the potential client.

Instead of asking questions about the competition, pricing, budgets and buying processes, Challenger reps focus on asking prepared questions about interests, options, alternatives, and possibilities while making suggestions and seeking feedback. SNI’s preparation and probing model provided an effective framework for new and seasoned reps alike to rely on with a prospect or renewal opportunity in a complex B2B sale. 

 

Probing to Prioritize and Tailor Offers

SNI’s probing and scripting model was used as a “safe harbor” option for the mid-market reps who sold over the telephone. Even the best Challenger reps can be thrown off by an unexpected objection or challenge that was real or used to avoid making a buying decision. 

We believe time spent gathering information about interests and specific customer ‘pain’ has higher ROI than the traditional approach of connecting, proposing, persevere and try to make the final cut to close the deal. 

SNI has worked with a variety of clients who use the Challenger Methodology (e.g. Software, Technology, and Pharma Firms) and they have all found that SNI negotiation and influencing skills and tools enhance the Challenger Sale by teaching an efficient and effective preparation process, a model for probing for needs and interests beyond the traditional wants guidelines for making maximizing proposals, and scripting to fine-tune messaging. 

“Although our organization has implemented and maintains the Challenger sales methodology, which directs our sales professionals on “what” to do and “why”, we still need to ensure our sellers know “how” to do it and keep those basic skills refreshed. This is where SNI and The Power of Nice have been a great fit. As influencing and negotiation lives within the sales process and SNIs training have been a great complement to our ongoing Challenger sustainment.”

Aisha Wallace-Wyche

Diligent VP, Global Training and Enablement

Our process also helps reps navigate the Challenger process without the inherent risks of being too aggressive or making undesirable choices such as lowering price or sacrificing value. We help sales organizations protect the margin.

The SNI process prioritizes interests, allowing buyers and sellers to move past positions (e.g. “I need a better price” vs. “if this doesn’t go well it would be a disaster for me personally and our company”; “we need to start this project by the end of the week” vs. “we need this project to finish on time because…” ) to find creative solutions that define shared expectations for a variety of issues – price, conditions, service level agreements, timelines, deadlines and even basic communication commitments such as next steps and decision processes. Trust is enhanced, and influence is amplified. 

 

Taking Control and Maximizing Results at the Close

SNI and the Challenger Sale fit nicely together through the entire sales cycle. Buyers want less hassle, more certainty, reduced risk, and improved profits. SNI and the Challenger Sale meet at this intersection with simple yet highly effective habits (Prepare, Probe, and Propose) in a proven and relevant framework (Teach, Tailor, and Take Control). 

The final Challenger stage of Taking Control is guided by SNI’s guidelines for proposing. SNI and the Challenger Sale focus on always exchanging value while moving in your desired direction. It is a skill mastered by knowing when and how to make the proposal. 

 

Is the Relationship Sale Dead? 

All of this preparation, probing, and proposing in an effort to teach, tailor, and take control leads to a bit of an unexpected, but a desirable outcome. In a twist of ‘unconventional wisdom’, this authentic (yet planned, tailored, and scripted) approach tends to enhance the loyal customer relationship by building a foundation of mutual trust and respect as a partner. At SNI, we have discovered that it is not ‘the final deal’ that satisfies the buyer, but rather how the ‘final deal’ is reached that provides a higher level of mutual satisfaction with the result. We deliver a variety of techniques and tools to help sales professionals find the right words and steps to take and maintain control of the close. 

 

If your organization uses the Challenger Sales model and you are looking to maximize your investment, or, if you are considering negotiation training, please reach out for more information. 

 





The Role of Indifference in Sales: How to Appear Neutral and Not Desperate

Indifference can be one of the most effective impulse factors to use in sales and negotiations. Because indifference is defined as having a lack of sympathy, interest, or concern, you might think it sounds wrong or contradictory that this should be an effective sales tool. But before you dismiss the idea of indifference in sales, let’s investigate it a little further and find out how to use it to our advantage.

 

Indifference in Sales

First, it is important to note the difference between using the concept of indifference in sales and negotiations over indifference in general. What it does not mean is indifference toward your job, the sale, or the other negotiating partner. Apathy toward your job or the sale is the kind of indifference that won’t get you very far, and can definitely hurt your sales. You absolutely should care about these things – and show it.

So, what do we mean? The kind of indifference we are talking about is the ability to appear even or stable in a meeting, and never look desperate for a sale. Desperation and erratic behaviors come off as begging and give power over to the other side. At the same time, acting indifferent toward the sale brings that power back to you.

This can be a powerful negotiating tactic. If you go into a negotiation unwilling to say, “No, thank you,” you will likely put yourself at a disadvantage. Being willing to walk away gives you a certain power in the negotiation process, and the other person will sense that. Your willingness to walk away may result in the other party willing to reopen the negotiations with you on more favorable terms. In addition, feeling and showing indifference toward a sale or business relationship means that if it doesn’t go your way, you can walk away with less disappointment and move on more easily.

 

How Indifference Works in Negotiation

Most people do not like to feel pushed around, especially when it comes to sales and negotiating. An overly pushy salesperson can cause others to shut down and walk away. A degree of indifference, when used in the right way, will make the other side feel more comfortable with you and less like they are being pushed into a sale or compromise that they don’t truly want. When you put the other person at ease in this way, they feel like they have choices, but at the same time, you have the ability to influence them more easily toward a decision.

 

Put Indifference Into Action

Here are some actionable steps you can take to put the concept of indifference to work for you in your negotiations and sales meetings:

1. Practice acting as though you are ok with any outcome. As a salesperson, this may feel counterintuitive at first, but keep practicing, and eventually it will feel more natural. Even if you don’t land the sale, or get the agreement that you wanted, practice being at peace with the outcome. Remember that what you practice eventually becomes your reality.

2. Keep a busy sales schedule. If you constantly have customers or business deals scheduled, and at various stages of the sales deal, you won’t be as desperate to close each one, knowing you have many more prospects available.

3. Honestly project your indifference to your prospects. Again, this does not mean you should be apathetic toward them. Project a genuine attitude and let them know that there are multiple outcomes, as well as what those outcomes are. Take the pressure off and let them know there is no consequence if it just doesn’t work out this time. There will always be future opportunities.

4. Exude confidence. Indifference also does not mean that you lack confidence. Be calm and self-assured, but don’t try to over-sell or over-convince. Show that you feel at peace with any outcome of the deal. Projecting a sense of calm indifference will not only make you more confident but will help the other party have more confidence in you.

With these tactics at your disposal, you’ll be using indifference the right way, and it should lead to greater success for you.

 

The Psychology of Indifference

While we’ve already mentioned that people don’t want to be pushed around, it’s also well known that people want what they can’t have. An overly pushy sales pitch is a turn-off because it is all too easy to just agree to the sale. People want something that’s harder to get. When indifference is used properly, you’ll make them want what you’re selling, even without the sales pitch.

If you are struggling or desperate for a sale, it shows, and this is a turn-off in customer and business relationships. Desperation will only push your customers away. When you remove the desperation from your face, your customers can see it. You’ll come off as more approachable and fun to be around, and eventually, you’ll be closing more sales with what feels like less effort.

The biggest takeaway from all of this is that you should make the customer feel like it is up to them to decide. Make them feel like they are in the driver’s seat, and they’ll be more likely to buy. This is a sales tactic that works, and you’ll be a more successful – and likable – salesperson when you can implement indifference correctly and effectively.

 

How Shapiro Negotiations Can Help

We have the knowledge and expertise to make you a better negotiator. Shapiro Negotiations has experienced speakers, as well as training programs for you or your staff. We can show you the concept of indifference in negotiations at work, as well as countless other tactics to bring you more successful sales.

 

How to Choose the Right Sales Training Program

A sales training program is crucially important to the success of your sales team. Every individual needs the right introduction into the sales environment. No matter how naturally talented a person is, he or she requires the polishing that comes from good instruction.

When it comes time to choose a sales training program for your team, be very careful and thorough with the process. This program is going to mold your team as well as provide them with continuing refreshers over the course of their careers. A mistake at this stage could prove highly detrimental to the success of your enterprise.

It is best to take a systematic approach. With a plan in hand for how you are going to approach the process, you will be able to find and even tailor the sales training program that is right for your industry and for your team’s needs. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing your program.

 

Preplanning

Before you start looking at sales training programs, you need to understand your own sales team. Some programs maybe great programs but they aren’t for every team in every environment. Look at yourself and evaluate where you are and where you want to be so you can be in the best position to evaluate the training programs you will choose from.

 

  • What are your team’s needs? Not every product is the same. Some approaches need to be different. Not every clientele is the same. What are the needs of your team? This is the core concept in determining which sales training program will work for you.

 

  • What areas do you want to focus on? Is there a specific weakness in your team? Do you feel you could spend a little less time going over things they already have mastered? A sales training program can cover a wide variety of topics. You need to decide the best way to apportion this time.

 

  • How long should the training be? More training can always help, but there comes a saturation point when it loses its benefit and the trainees start to get bored with it. What is the appropriate amount of time to spend on training?

 

  • What about continuing education? As time goes by, we forget more and more of the specifics of what we learned. It is always a good idea to give refresher courses, even to experienced veterans. What sort of continuing education goals do you have for your team?

 

Finding the Right Program

Once you know what your goal is for your sales team and know what you want out of a training program, you are ready to see what’s available. Some of the metrics, such as course length and follow up, are easy to gauge. There are, however, other considerations to make during the selection process. There are several considerations when determining how effective a sales training program will be for your specific sales team.

 

  • Consider location. Sales training can consist of in-person training as well as e-learning. Most will make use of both. Do you prefer more of one than the other?

 

  • What is their selling philosophy? No amount of tinkering with the program will solve the problem of differing philosophies when it comes to sales training. If your core philosophy is at odds with that of the training program, it’s not going to be a good fit.

 

  • Look at the sales management section. Your sales management needs to reinforce the principles taught in the training program for salesmen and women. The training program should have a component for sales management as well.

 

  • Do you need an assessment? If you already have an assessment process you trust, this probably won’t be necessary. However, you may want to investigate whether the training program provides assessments as well.

 

  • Does the program have all the desired formats? Some people learn better by reading; others by watching a video. Make sure the training comes in a variety of formats to reach every representative on your team.

 

  • What is the ratio of showing to doing? Some training programs are mostly show with only a little do. Most people learn better by doing, so be sure to check the ratio in any potential training program.

 

  • Can they tailor course content? No sales training program is worth it if they can’t modify their content according to your needs.

 

Other Considerations

When you find a program that you believe will serve your needs, you will need to ask a few more questions. There are some other aspects you should ask about to be sure you are getting the best version of the program that you can. You can further verify effectiveness or the appropriateness of the fit, or even improve the offer on the table. Here are some suggestions for what you should look at.

 

  • Get a sample of the curriculum. This is the best way to evaluate the quality of the program you are considering. Many programs can be discarded with this step.

 

  • Ask about return on investment. How does the sales training program measure results? Is this in accordance with your philosophy and goals?

 

  • Look at the client list. Different sales industries require different approaches. Look at the client list of a prospective program to see if they have experience working with sales teams in your specific field.

 

  • Ask for a money-back guarantee. If a sales training team makes claims about the quality of their product, they should back it up with a guarantee of some sort. If they don’t offer it, see if you can bargain for one. You will be investing a lot of time and money into a program and you need to make sure you see results.

 

When you know how to approach the process, you can confidently find the best program for your company. Though many sales programs seem to be made from the same cast, there are some that stand out. With these tools, you will be able to separate the imitators from the truly high-quality programs and make sure your team has all they need to be the most successful sales representatives possible.

 

What Sales Metrics Should I Measure?

To make the correct decisions that will increase sales and maximize profits, a sales leader must prioritize measuring sales metrics. The results of sales metrics can decide what move to take next and whether it will benefit your company. Continue reading to learn more about sales metrics, key performance indicators, and which metrics you should keep an eye on to maintain company progress.

 

What Are Sales Metrics?

Sales metrics are data representing the performance of individuals, teams, or entire companies. Sales leaders use sales metrics to keep track of numerous information pieces about the company, some of which include:

  • Tracking progress towards goals
  • Adjusting sales compensation
  • Awarding bonuses and incentives
  • Spot areas of concern before they grow worse
  • Preparing for the future

This list barely covers all the purposes that sales metrics have for the company.

 

What Are KPIs?

KPIs (key performance indicators) are often associated with sales metrics. However, not all metrics qualify as KPIs. A KPI usually reflects a major priority or goal, such as the sales percentage of a major product a company is trying to push out. KPIs measure performance, and tie into the core strategy of a company.

In terms of sales, KPIs vary between companies and between departments. No single set of KPIs exists that a leader must supervise. Factors such as structures, targets, products, and obstacles vary between teams.

 

Sales KPIs

KPIs are the sales metrics that are important for measuring the performance of the entire company. Some of these metrics include:

  • Customer Lifetime Value. The customer lifetime value (CLV), also known as the average lifetime value (LTV), shows you how much value a specific customer brings to the company over their lifetime. LTV is usually measured at regular intervals to track changes over time. This metric the multiplication of the annual revenue provided by the customer and the years of relationship, divided by CAC.
  • Sales Growth. The most potent of the sales metrics, sales growth determines the ability of the sales team to increase revenue over a fixed amount of time. Due to its direct tie to time and revenue, it is very important, and the fate of the company depends on its growth. A large enough drop can result in the company becoming absorbed by another one.

There are several other types of KPIs, such as:

  • Total revenue
  • Market penetration
  • New business revenue
  • Existing customers’ revenue
  • Business lost to competition
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Territory revenue
  • Market revenue
  • Sales reps reaching 100% quota
  • Year-over-year growth

 

Sales Productivity Metrics

Sales productivity accounts for the rate at which a sales team hits revenue targets. The less time it takes to meet a quote, the higher the productivity is.

  • Time Spent Selling. This metric allows you to determine some of the largest time consumptions during your sale process. Lead generation is one of the biggest factors that results in lost rep time, since many reps struggle with finding leads that are interested in buying anything. Tracking the time spent will make it easier for you to determine the specific issues that are slowing down the process and resolve them.

Measuring productivity for sales reps also includes other factors (numbers), such as:

  • Calls made
  • Conversations
  • Emails sent
  • Scheduled meetings
  • Social media interactions
  • Demos and sales presentations
  • Sent proposals

 

Lead Generation Sales Metrics

These metrics measure how your sales team is prospecting.

  • Monthly New Leads. The number of leads each month measures the number of possible customers that are available in the pipeline. The leads depend on the chosen business model or the industry. Leads can either claim a free trial of your product, contact your sales team, or download a specific piece of content.
  • Average Lead Response Time. The longer it takes for your sales reps to respond to leads that show interest, the greater the chance of that sales opportunity slipping away. If a prospect is seeking a solution, and one of your reps takes 24 hours to respond, that prospect will reach out to another business. According to the Harvard Business Review, lead response time is important, as this study proves that a response time within one hour increases the rep’s chance to make a sale by seven, while it decreases by 60 if it takes 24 hours.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost. By tracking customer acquisition cost (CAC), you can understand the costs associated with business growth and expanding the customer base. This metric is particularly useful for startups attempting to demonstrate their values to their investors and to understand where to allocate your budget. To calculate CAC, you must add the money and time spent, then divide it by the customers acquired.

Other metrics (percentages) for lead generation include:

  • Dropped leads
  • Qualified leads
  • Followed-up leads
  • Followed-up leads in a time range

 

Sales Per Rep

Sometimes, to foster friendly competition, a leader will look at the sales per sales rep to see how each individual representative is performing. This metric also serves other purposes, such as making sure a rep did not chase unqualified leads to fill their pipelines, or how veteran reps may outperform newer team members.

 

Pipeline Sales Metrics

These metrics allow you to gauge the health of your sales pipeline. This information can help you understand what is working and what is not regarding the holistic sales process.

  • Sales Pipeline Coverage (SPC). This metric allows you to analyze the opportunities for your sales team on making a quota for a specific amount of time. The SPC ratio compares the capacity of the pipeline to the quota for an amount of time. Not every opportunity ends up as a sale, so it shows how many opportunities need to occur at any point.
  • Opportunity Win Rate. This metric measures the percentage of total sales opportunities that end up becoming customers. For example, 100 sale opportunities have 25 sales, which creates the rate of 25%. Calculating this metric allows you to set more attainable quotas for your team and create a more effective budget. This rate applies to both teams and individuals.

 

Other pipeline sales metrics include:
  • Average sales cycle
  • Average contract value (ACV)
  • Conversion rate by sales funnel stage (team and individual)
  • Total open opportunities by month and quarter (team and individual)
  • Total closed opportunities by month and quarter (team and individual)

 

Cannibalization Rate

Cannibalization rate refers to the impact the release of your new product has on the sales of the older products. While a company usually has a goal of releasing new, more advanced products into the market, competition between the company’s own offerings is not always beneficial. Cannibalization can make your older products obsolete and alienate part of your customer base.

 

Learn More About Sales

Learning how to measure sales metrics and how they affect your company is overwhelming for a novice, but with the right training, you can ease yourself into learning more about sales. SNI’s sales training program does not just teach “what to do” when it comes to sales, but also the “how-to.” The program takes a systematic approach to increase the effectiveness of salespeople. We even measure your progress through several metrics systems, such as key performance indicators. Sign up today.