Sustainable Improvement comes with a "Perfect Salesforce"
Your company's sales are far too important to leave to today's seemingly hit-or-miss approach to building a salesforce. The perfect sales force is a return to people - the different types of people who excel very naturally in different types of sales jobs.
The best sales teams share 6 simple but critical practices states Derek Gatehouse. Three of these are about how to hire the best talent. Best practices focus on how to assess your type of sale and how to identify the specific qualities and characteristics required for success. The framework is based on 10 selling talents: 6 hard wired and 4 depend on the type of sale. Use the book on how to find these people and manage them effectively.
Key Findings include:
- Sales talent cannot be trained. It must be hired.
- Top Performing Salespeople excel only at certain types of sales
- Environment and Conditions are more important than training.
- The World's Best Sales Managers Police Results, not Activities
- Top Teams Train Existing Strengths rather than trying to train a weakness
Our business clients have also found that a well-used CRM System enhances and builds upon the specific talents of sales professionals.
CRM has the processes for lead conversion, prospect nurture marketing, lead qualification, sales opportunity matching of solutions to business needs, tracking people interactions with digital communications, follow up conversation planning, and so forth. Thus a well-used, adaptable CRM will enhance the environment top producers best use their talents for.
The Perfect Salesforce book explains:
- what a Perfect SalesForce looks like
- gives the 6 best practices required to build one, and
- provides step-by-step instructions for implementation in any company.
The framework that Derek outlines is an extremely field-tested approach to identifying, hiring, organizing, and motivating a sales force comprised of people who process the natural talents for specific types of sales.
To build your Perfect SalesForce, you must do these Six Things:
The first three best practices will elaborate on all you need to know about structuring your sale according to talent, and casting the needed talents with pinpoint accuracy. Practices 4, 5 and 6 create the specific conditions. Both categories are required if a sales force of top performers is your goal.
Best Practice #1: Understand what arrangement of the 10 selling talents applies to your sale.
Selling 100's of thousand dollars, complex ERP systems to top level CFO's requires a different talent then selling office supplies to mid-market purchasers or selling cars to soccer moms. What talent sets are needed for each of these sales?
The first step to building a top-performing sales force is to learn the language of work ethic talents, communication talents, and influencing talents, so that you may cast the exact talent set needed for your company's sales.
Best Practice #2: Sort the Stages of your sales according to talent.
Use this step to determine whether our current sales process involves tasks - or sales stages - that actually require different talent sets. Top sales teams have learned that their most talented sales people outperform others but at certain sales stages only. Identify who is best at lead generation, prospecting, developing need, asking questions, closing, account penetration and customer service.
Best Practice #3: Cast the different selling roles using a talent-based hiring process
Talent-based hiring is an interview methodology designed specifically for identifying the presence - or absence - of the natural talents you seek to hire. The right talents are cast into each selling role.
Best Practice #4: Generate ultimate motivation with the perfect Pay Plan and Quota
This practice is to create the performance conditions known to be the most motivating to salespeople. It is more than just pay. Having quality behavior analysis helps you learn which components of a pay plan and quota system will generate autonomous top performance from every member of your sales team.
Best Practice #5: Conduct regular Sales Behavior Training
Here you learn once and for all how sales training fits into the performance equation. You will learn what type of curriculum to teach your people, how often, and to which team members. Identify when training should be optional versus compulsory, and when training is actually futile and the salesperson should be released.
Best Practice #6: Manage and develop your team using Result-Based Management
With the perfect team in place, operating under perfect performance conditions, your final step is to understand exactly which things should and should not be managed and enforced and by whom.
The world's best sales managers police results, not activities, and have very particular relationships with their sales people.
The Gallup Organization has been studying top performance in human beings for over 30 years. Gallup found that top performing salespeople sold between 6 to 10 times more than their average counterparts. Gallop found unequivocally that selling is a natural-born talent - not schooling or industry experience - but only talent. And talent cannot be taught. Acknowledging that selling is inherent changes everything.
Derek helps here by identifying 10 selling talents that address natural work ethic and tolerance levels, natural ability to influence others (or lack thereof), and talents regarding abstract explanation and communication.
Pinpointing these sales talents and observing their applications in all types of real world sales jobs helped Derek reach an important conclusion: top-producing salespeople are specialists. They excel not only at certain sale types that perfectly match their talent sets, but also at particular stages of those sale types. The talents that make someone great at selling actually have nothing what so ever to do with the talent that make a great prospector. And the talents that make a dynamite prospector have little to do with ongoing customer service.
"A top performer is someone with natural talents operating under specific conditions" - Derek Gatehouse
A well-used CRM System enhances the specific talents of sales professionals.
CRM is a key component in creating an environment for successful sales professionals. CRM involves different people oriented processes: from lead generation, to matching needs to your solutions, nurturing the prospect and providing ongoing results to customers. The structured processes and types involved in 'selling' can be best handled by people with the natural talent for that process. Using core processes found in CRM with people having the related talent greatly improves the performance outcomes.