DoubleDigit Sales is a top 20 sales training firm. We help salespeople, sales managers and executives perform significantly better to achieve double digit growth. Drawing on our extensive library of proven content and tools, we leverage our streamlined design process to deliver customized and exceptional learning experiences that change behaviors and drive improved sales results.
[Toronto/May 16, 2019] — Today, DoubleDigit Sales announced it has been included on Selling Power’s 2019 list of the Top 20 Sales Training Companies that excel in helping sales leaders improve the performance of their sales teams. The list appears in the May 2019 issue of Selling Power magazine, which will be available to view online starting May 8. http://bit.ly/2PLSCaV
According to Selling Power publisher and founder Gerhard Gschwandtner, sales training is a key area of competitive differentiation for B2B sales teams.
“It’s no secret that buyers control much of the buying process,” says Gschwandtner. “Any company that wants to stay competitive needs to offer their sales teams proper training on how to succeed and thrive in an increasingly complex, challenging selling environment. This is easier said than done. The companies on our Top 20 Sales Training Companies list represent the best of the best, and sales leaders should leverage this list to find the best partner for their unique training needs.”
All companies on the list submitted a comprehensive application that included a detailed listing of their offerings for both training and retention, innovative solutions and services they have developed, and their company’s unique contributions to the sales training marketplace.
The main criteria used when comparing applicants and selecting the companies to include on this year’s list were:
Depth and breadth of training offered
Innovative offerings (specific training courses, methodology, or delivery methods)
Contributions to the sales training market
Strength of client satisfaction
Selling Power magazine editors say the companies on the 2019 Top 20 Sales Training Companies list represent the best potential to help sales teams improve their performance and remain competitive in any selling environment. This is also the first year the list has included five honorable mentions. See the list at sellingpower.com.
About Selling Power
In addition to Selling Power, the leading digital magazine for sales managers and sales VPs since 1981, Personal Selling Power, Inc., produces the Sales Management Digest and Daily Boost of Positivity online newsletters (http://ow.ly/R05730oD22t), as well as a series of five-minute videos featuring interviews with top executives. Selling Power is a regular media sponsor of the Sales 3.0 Conference, which is attended by a total of more than 1,000 sales leaders each year. (http://ow.ly/JtSn30oD247).
About Gerhard Gschwandtner
Gerhard Gschwandtner is the founder and CEO of Selling Power, a multi-channel media company that produces the award-winning Selling Power magazine and Selling Power TV, a daily video interview series on sales success. He is the author of 17 books on the subjects of sales, management, and motivation and has been featured in more than 500 video interviews with sales and marketing leaders. Most recently, he has collaborated with world-renowned coaches and psychologists to create the Peak Performance Mindset workshop (http://ow.ly/2CGS30oD25m) to help salespeople become high achievers personally and professionally.
A wise leader and Harvard business professor, Linda A. Hill, once said “Great success seldom comes from doing twenty things right. More often, it’s the result of focusing on the right one, two, or three big things. What are those?”
With the new year upon us, its easy to get caught up in the busy day-to-day dealings of being a salesperson. Attending important client meetings, creating proposals, updating CRM and executing high quality reach outs…the list goes on.
What are 3 things you will focus on this year to skyrocket your sales results?
At DoubleDigit Sales, we’re focused on the following 3 tactics to accelerate our sales performance in Q1 and get a head-start on making plan:
1. Building New Relationships
Proactive selling is our primary focus to fill the top of our pipeline. The secret to being successful with prospecting in 2019 is by communicating a series of personalized messages, delivered in a methodical way to maximize the chance of engagement.
a. Focus on Targeted Prospects
When it comes to prospecting, no “one size fits all”. Get clear on who, what and why you are reaching out by creating prospecting groups. Create an intentional plan of what industry you want to focus on, what problem you are trying to solve or where you know you will win – a target group with a commonality that will allow you to be efficient and effective.
b. Execute High Quality Reach Outs
Team up with marketing to create compelling messages that are timely, insightful and relevant to your target group. Do some research so that you can personalize each message to the company, person or industry you are targeting. Make sure you open with a statement or question about your prospect — not yourself — and ensure your message includes a strong “What’s in it for Me” or W.I.I.F.M to encourage a response.
c. Create a Prospecting System
Best intentions don’t always translate to consistent execution – this is where a prospecting system comes into play. Determine how you want to reach out to your prospecting groups (frequency and method) and organize those touch points into a sequence. To illustrate, this is what a prospecting sequence could look like:
2. Reviving Dormant Accounts
Re-engaging dormant accounts may be one of the easiest and fastest way to jump-start your sales results in 2019. Creating a plan will help you get focused on who and how you will reconnect with each customer in a way that will engage them to start purchasing from you, again this year.
The first step is to reconnect with your contacts to let them know you are here to help. Ask what their priorities are for 2019 and find ways to add value (e.g., by sharing some ideas, insights or even a piece of content).
If you find a need within this account, find out why they are no longer purchasing from you. Handle their objections by investigating further to understand why or where the hesitation may be. Reassure them and position your product or service in a way that will help them.
Perhaps your contact doesn’t know the full breadth of products or services that can benefit them. Make sure what you are offering is aligned with their priorities and, if possible, with the previous purchase so that your solutions build on one another. Always think long term and what a comprehensive solution could look like for each customer and advise them on how they can prioritize them to meet their goals.
3. Action Existing Accounts
Your loyal customers are the gifts that keep on giving. By getting clear on your top 50 relationships (rather than looking at it from an account level), you’ll identify the special group of contacts who will significantly help you make your number this year.
Look beyond the immediate sale. Create a road map of how your products and services fit together to achieve their desired outcome. If possible, offer volume discounts or premium solutions based on what they have purchased in the past.
b. Add value
To benefit the most from your loyal customers, make sure you are regularly adding value to them. By staying in touch and offering insightful information regularly, you’ll position yourself as their trusted advisor – one they will keep returning to for help.
c. Ask for referrals
Who gets referrals? Those who ask! Referrals are an easy way to find new business. A warm introduction can go a long way. A great way to ask for a referral is by offering to do the same for your customer – a relationship is a two-way street so offering your support can elicit higher response rates.
As you dive into 2019, what tactics are you implementing to start the year strong?
Sales coaching is often viewed as sales managers playing an active role in helping their salespeople close business. But what does that actually mean?
This viewpoint implies that sales managers have the same role and responsibility as salespeople; to close business. However, sales coaches have a much broader responsibility in helping individuals on their team be successful.
Sales coaching can be distinguished from sales management and leadership in that the essence of sales coaching is to help sales professionals develop confidence, try different approaches, and build new capabilities, with the outcome of achieving consistent sales results.
Research from Zenger Folkman reveals that over 60% of salespeople are more likely to leave their job if their manager is a poor coach. While sales teams need to be actively managed and need clear leadership, coaching is critical to a sales professional’s level of engagement, their confidence and their success in driving consistent revenue.
In our work helping organizations transform their sales culture and improve their sales results, we have had the privilege of working directly with sales leaders to specifically develop their coaching skills. Here are 7 sales coaching tips for you to consider:
1. Provide coaching to everyone, not just a select few
A lot of sales leaders invest a large proportion of their time coaching those that are struggling to achieve sales results. While underperforming sales professionals understandably need your coaching, try to remember that your high performers need your help as well. Everyone can learn, grow and improve (even your high performers) although you may need to adapt your focus and your approach.
A high performer can benefit from you being a second set of eyes and ears during a customer meeting. A great coach to a high performer can be a thinking partner in, or after, the meeting. On the other hand, a lower performer may need more help getting ready for the meeting, spotting opportunities, or putting together proposals that will resonate.
Sales coaching is about personalizing your coaching conversations to your performers, regardless of their experience or tenure on the team. In our work, ironically, we find it’s the high performers who want coaching more than the lower performers! Spend time with everyone on your team, and make sure you adapt your approach and focus accordingly.
2. Flex your approach to each sales professional
Every individual on your team is unique. Therefore, you must adapt to the styles of each salesperson on your team. Find ways that you will be listened to, not just heard.
Great sales coaches also find a balance between tactical (in the moment) and strategic (territory or account level) priorities. They can shift gears as needed to be of service to their team, both in terms of the kind of help and coaching they need as well as in how to best deliver and engage them in the kind of coaching that will be most impactful.
3. Pay attention to strengths, not just weaknesses
To build the confidence and capability of the individuals on your team, you must pay attention to what they are doing well and what they need to work on. Most sales coaches will zero in on what needs to “improve” or be done differently. While identifying opportunities to improve and helping correct mistakes is critical to coaching, so is noticing and paying attention to what they are doing well. Taking stock and sharing specific positive behaviors will build confidence and encourage them to continue where they are strong. Make sure that you reward and recognize when they are winning, not just when they’re in a slump.
4. Walk into the fire
As a sales coach, you must be willing to ‘walk into the fire” and have tough conversations. Many coaches struggle with this part of their role; it’s easy to congratulate and thank, and it’s much harder to challenge and have the conversations your sales team don’t want to have. However, challenging your people is helping them think better or differently.
Although these are not typically fun conversations, they are necessary to help your team increase their sales performance and results. And…. more often than not, your team will thank you for it in the end!
5. Be a great partner
A great sales coach provides perspective to the individuals on their team. They are a great sounding board for new ideas and strategies. Since your sales professionals are often on their own, trying to figure out ideas and approaches in a silo, being a great thinking partner can significantly help improve their performance. It’s not about having all the answers, but rather acting as a mirror to bounce their current thinking. By asking the right questions, versus having all the answers, you can tease out new, fresh approaches.
6. Ask better questions
A great coach doesn’t tell their salespeople what to do, they ask questions to get them thinking about what the best thing is to do. Allowing the salesperson to come to the realization themselves is a much more powerful approach than simply giving them the answer. It encourages them to think about their prospects and where they are getting stuck and engages their minds to finding ways to get unstuck. More importantly, by causing the sales professional to think broader or deeper, you create a higher sense of accountability and buy-in to ensure these ideas get actioned.
7. Always be in their corner
Last but certainly not least, a great coach believes in their team even when the salesperson themselves do not. Providing encouragement and motivating your sales professionals is an important role you play in their development and performance. You can do this by reinforcing and rewarding positive behaviors and outcomes to keep your team on the right track.
A great sales coach is a true partner to the individuals on their team. They are their biggest supporters, guiding them in the right direction by asking thought provoking questions, encouragement and motivation. An adaptable sales coach who truly cares about the success of their team is one who will retain their high performers and lead their organization to new heights.
To hone your sales coaching skills, connect with us. We would be more than happy to hear from you.
HOW TO CREATE A POWERFUL SALES VISION FOR YOUR SALES FORCE
Clarify your sales vision and establish alignment to achieve your sales strategy.
Most sales leaders are dissatisfied with the extent to which their sales organizations use their sales strategy to make day-to-day decisions. In fact, our latest sales culture research shows that 60% of sales organizations we studied are not clear on their sales strategy.
This eBook shares a proven 3 step process to transform your sales strategy into a one-page map that acts as an integrated plan of sales goals, activity targets and commitments. Organizing your sales strategy on one page ensures ease of comprehension and more importantly, commitment to executing against the plan. You’ll also be able to measure and easily review your progress throughout the year.
This powerful process will help your leadership team decide where you want to be in 3 years and how to get there.
The fourth quarter can be a stressful time for salespeople, sales managers and sales leaders. Whether you’re feeling the pressure of hitting your fourth quarter goal or making your yearly plan, we’re sharing 5 strategies to help you finish the year strong without jeopardizing the first quarter of 2019.
1. Plan your work and work your plan
The first step to finishing the year strong is to sit down and get very tactical about your plan for the quarter and how it will be your best one yet. There are two important questions you must ask yourself:
a. Focus – Who are the target accounts, customers and prospects that you believe can deliver revenue for you in the fourth quarter?
b. Activity – What level of activity do you need to make your revenue goal? If you need better results in the fourth quarter, think about the increased level of proactive calling and networking that will be necessary.
2. Build your pipeline as fast as possible
Often, salespeople will do a real push for the fourth quarter. They’ll see a large opportunity and start spending most of their time on it. Be careful not to put all your eggs in one basket. Finding a healthy pipeline on December 15th is going to be great for Q1 but not for Q4, so you have to build your pipeline fast and early in the quarter.
3. Move opportunities through the sales cycle
Once your pipeline is where it needs to be, shift your focus to moving opportunities through the pipeline. One thing that has helped our team is adopting the philosophy of doing something today that you could do tomorrow. Extra effort every day means increased success.
In our work helping organizations increase their sales performance, we often see a proposal take 1-2 weeks to be completed. If it’s April, this may not be of concern. In the fourth quarter, you must move fast and think about how you can speed up the time it takes to get answers to customers to shorten the sales cycle. Perhaps this means getting some of your internal partners to help you with proposal writing or pricing. Make sure you and your team aren’t slowing down the process and work closely with your prospect or client to do the same.
4. Close, close, close
Make sure you are asking for the business. Get clear on what is and what isn’t going to close. Due to an increased focus, salespeople may keep situations in the pipeline that don’t have a high likelihood of closing.
5. Leave gas in the tank for January
There is a well-known story that illustrates the importance of setting yourself up for a great fourth quarter without compromising sales in Q1.
Xerox used to do 40% of their annual sales in the last 6 weeks of the year. How is that? The company set itself up to have a big fourth quarter – running a lot of specials and discounts that drove a lot of revenue at the end of the year. The reality is that there isn’t a sudden need for photocopiers at year end. Xerox was creating a false market and their clients got used to waiting until the end of year to buy because they knew they would get the best price in November and December. Be careful not to create a sales cycle that encourages a lot of sales in the fourth quarter that in turn leads to a poor first quarter next year.
In summary, Q4 success requires a plan (focus and activity), a healthy pipeline, sales cycle time management and closing skills. As you make your push to finish the year strong, make sure to also set yourself up for success in Q1.
If you couldn’t attend our latest executive breakfast event, we’ve got you covered. Whether you hold a yearly sales conference or have regular team gatherings, this topic is an important one.
We chose this topic because sales conferences and gatherings can be painful to plan, execute and attend. Yet these gatherings are an important investment made in your team. Bizzabo research highlights that 95% of marketers agree; live events provide attendees with a valuable opportunity to form in-person connections in an increasingly digital world. We shared our sales conference tips, summarized for you below.
Top 10 Sales Conference Tips
1. Do nothing until you answer this question: “What do I want to see my people do differently as a result of the conference?”
By creating Outcome-Focused Activity rather than Agenda-Focused Schedules, you will be a leader of change, setting more actionable tasks for your team to grab hold of and run with.
2. Include an “Open Mic” or “Questions and Answers” time hosted by executives.
By merging management members in the learning session with your team, you’ll ensure corporate goals and daily activities mesh, thus increasing opportunities for individual success as part of the corporate mandate.
3. Invite Clients to the meeting and create structured learning activities with them.
Their feedback will be instructive, ensuring authentic scenarios lead to real world success strategies.
4. Frequently put people in teams or groups to demonstrate the most recent learning and skills. i.e., Mid-Morning Recall Game.
You’ll ensure participants are consistently paying keen attention, “learning by doing.” Repetition is essential!
5. Encourage executive presentations to have less detail and more activities.
The process of learning works best when participants focus on doing a few things really well, rather than trying to do many things sparsely.
6. Include “White Space” – allow times for people to have unscheduled downtime.
Sure, intense “boot camps” sound like you mean business; but employees who sense that the company cares about them as people by offering them a quality experience will always give back more.
7. Cross-pollination – have time in regions, AND have learning activities for people across regions to share challenges, successes, etc.
This isn’t just a head office meeting! It’s important for everyone to feel fully involved on a highly personal level.
8. Invest in the sizzle (location, entertainment, award dinners, etc.), as well as the steak (workshop design and content).
A prudent blend of education and relaxation always makes for more memorable and impactful learning, while rewarding success.
9. Remember that workshops can have:
Role plays/Real plays
Pairs, trios, teams
10. Think of at least one activity each day that can remove people from their comfort zone.
This will help them think outside the box, promoting self-examination of their skills, attitudes and the views that they are accustomed to following…all of which leads to discovering ways to make improvements in their daily approach to their work.
According to research from the Sales Enablement Society, the average tenure of a sales leader has decreased from 26 months in 2006 to 19 months in 2016. Therefore, you have about four quarters to get traction.
Introducing The New Sales Leader Guide to Success
Harvard Professor Boris Groysberg’s research shows that the biggest difference with a new sales leader succeeding or failing in their new role are people-skills-related. Those that can build relationships and trust up, down and across their new organization will be more successful. This guide brings into focus the less obvious people factors that are easy to overlook.
Hitting plan requires a healthy sales pipeline. If you are worried about sales performance for the second half or you are recovering from a challenging quarter, here are 5 ways you can get back on track to make your yearly sales plan.
1. Diagnose Your Pipeline
If your results aren’t where they need to be, the first thing to look at is your sales pipeline.
In our work, we help sales organizations recognize four types of pipelines. When assessed, they can reveal a lot about your salesperson’s focus, activity, opportunities and territory coverage.
Healthy Sales Pipeline
A healthy sales pipeline has lots of prospects at the start of the sales cycle. It has lots of opportunities (with a healthy undiscounted dollar volume) and it is consistently delivering sales each month (or each period that is realistic to deliver sales).
False Hope Sales Pipeline
A false hope sales pipeline has lots of prospects, lots of opportunities and yet it does not deliver closes. Everything seems strong but each month seems to end with excuses instead of deals. Typically the false hope is in the opportunities, not the prospects. Often there are opportunities that should be removed as they are no longer active or realistic to close. Some salespeople like to keep everything on the pipeline as that is their reminder to stay in touch.
Thin Sales Pipeline
A thin sales pipeline has a few prospects, a few opportunities and it has infrequent closes. The good news is that the salesperson can move a suspect to prospect to an opportunity and then close. The bad news is that the volume in all stages of the pipeline is not nearly enough.
Congested Sales Pipeline
A congested sales pipeline has lots and lots of prospects but few turn into opportunities and thus very few closes. Healthy top of the pipeline but the rest is congested.
If your sales pipeline isn’t healthy, the next thing to look at is activity.
2. Increase Activity Quantity and Quality
To drive increased sales results, review the quantity and quality of current activity.
To improve quantity, consider making proactive calling a team sport.
Two or three times per week, kick off prospecting as a team in the morning. Set individual goals and come back together mid-day or at the end of the day (either on a conference call or in-person) to debrief. This will increase the number of first meetings, create consistency for prospecting and hold everyone accountable to their proactive calling goals.
To increase quality, you can have salespeople team-up. The benefit of doing these “prospecting blitzes”, as we call them at DoubleDigit Sales, is feedback received from peers. It has the added benefit of making prospecting more fun.
An approach that increases both quantity and quality of activity is the “1-2 Punch” method. Have your team leave a short voicemail to be heard, then follow-up with an email to make it easy for the prospect to respond.
3. Lead Frequent Pipeline Reviews
Our latest sales culture research shows that the best sales organizations use pipeline reviews to drive sales productivity. You’ll also promote accountability by leading pipeline meetings on a weekly basis.
Rather than reviewing every opportunity line by line, ask questions and be curious. Provide coaching on priorities and focus areas that will increase performance. Remember that pipeline is just one side of the equation; make sure you uncover the story behind the numbers.
Holding frequent pipeline reviews may put pressure on your sales team. It is up to you, as the leader, to set the tone and direction. Like a ship with limited time to get everything ready, you’ll need all hands on deck. Each member of your sales team plays an important role in achieving your yearly sales plan.
4. Hold Weekly Sales Team Meetings
Gather your troops for 30-60 minutes on a weekly basis to set the focus and build engagement across your team.
Typically, sales meetings are:
Sales leader dominated (70% of the talk time)
Result focused (we are X% short of our target)
Individuals on the team share in detail what they did last week or will do this week
A necessary evil
Instead, start leading sales meetings that your team wants to attend. Here is how you can make your sales team meetings engaging and valuable:
Team contributes and shares (leader speaks 30% maximum)
Activity and result focused
Individuals practice and solve more than share
Essential component to team success
In setting the focus for the week, reinforcing key selling behaviors and collectively solving challenging problems, you’ll strengthen the performance of your team.
5. Don’t Forget to Celebrate
Take the time to reward and recognize your salespeople. The goal of a reward and recognition program is to reinforce the right behaviours and acknowledge them in such a way that your team is motivated to continue to exemplify them.
Choose wisely when determining how to reward and recognize the efforts of your team. It could be a quick thank you note, recognition in a newsletter or tickets to a sporting event. Either way, make sure it resonates. Variety in frequency, value and rationale will help keep your team engaged and motivated.
To accelerate your team’s sales performance for the remainder of this year, consider the following weekly schedule which outlines the five strategies we discussed in this article:
While targets may be hard numbers, it’s the behaviours that drive those results that you have influence over. When building a plan to strengthen your team’s sales performance, focus on adding value in a way that motivates and inspires your team to deliver excellence.
If you need support to increase your sales performance, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team would be happy to partner with you to ensure you and your sales team have the competence and confidence to make plan this year.