Contact plan for Sales Managers

RelationshipDev

The rawest rookie sales rep gets coached by his or her astute sales manager to set up and faithfully execute a one-on-one personal-interaction-with-all-contacts-in-the-territory plan. Typically there’s a matrix with rows labeled Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Annually and columns labeled Face-To-Face, Telephone, E-Mail.  (Or better still, the contact plan is baked into the CRM system with appropriate reminders.)

networkMany sales managers inspect how closely their reps follow this plan. Makes perfect sense. While nurturing relationships is far from the only aspect of the sales professional’s role, it’s sure as heck one of the most important.

But how many sales managers have a similar customer communication plan?

With the press of day-to-day business issues, fire-fighting and the myriad other items on the ToDo list, it becomes oh so easy to be too busy to communicate with customers.  Ouch… Would you as a sales manager accept one of those “explanations” from a member of your team? Double ouch…

Sales Managers Of The World! Put that customer communication plan in place and hold yourself accountable to it!

You can’t leave your brain in your pickup truck

Having been around the manufacturing industry for most of my career, I’ve seen a lot of transformation.  The biggest change in my view, has been the nature of the work out on the factory floor.  As Ray Attiyah, Chief Innovation Officer of Definity Partners and a colleague and client of mine always says,

“You can’t leave your brain in your pickup truck.”

The days of the mindless, dumb, dirty and dangerous manufacturing jobs are gone forever.  HOORAY!!!  Sadly, the reputation lags the reality.  Too many of us still perceive the factory worker as the low-skilled robot doing mind-numbingly repetitive tasks.  BOO!!!  And it couldn’t be farther from the truth.

So this Labor Day, let’s celebrate not only the resurgence of American Manufacturing, but also the resurgence of lots and lots of challenging jobs and careers bursting out of the industry.

Get even more perspective on American Manufacturing from Manufacturing Revival Radio and my friends at Definity Partners.
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Love what you do?

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DLIguys

I offer as Exhibit A, the above photograph.  Five middle aged (OK, so maybe two of us are a tad past that…) guys during a break from an all day internal strategy session.  There was hot debate, disagreement, arm waving and table-pounding both before and after the photo-op.

But take another look at the picture.

Looks like a group having a good time, doesn’t it?  That’s because it was a group having a good time!  A group still having a good time!  Yes, of course we take our business seriously.  Like you, we have customers to satisfy, bills to pay and dreams to fulfill.  That is, however, no reason to sacrifice the basic human need to have a job that’s fun; something to look forward to most days; something that’s deeply fulfilling.

While I won’t necessarily advocate pursuing the lunacy of starting up a media company and a bunch of radio shows, I will most aggressively advocate pursuing a job and career that consistently bring joy, excitement and fulfillment into your life. It’s the only way to achieve success IMHO.

And as a closing thought…

If you have a story to tell; an experience to share; a business-related rant to rant, send us a Guest Profile.  We can probably slot you into one of our shows.

 

Preventing heart attacks with data (…and the implications for sales pros)

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During a recent interview on The Healthcare Insider, our guest talked about how his company’s software could literally prevent heart attacks with data.  At first blush, this might seem like something you’d hear from some slick-talking huckster.  It’s anything but.

correl6Think about having a data base that included daily tracking of things like weight, blood pressure, exercise, diet and family history.  Nothing more elaborate than that.  (In fact think about just how un-elaborate it is!)  Now let’s picture having that data for a few thousand people.  Using the equally un-elaborate “=correl” function in Excel, one could very quickly correlate that data to the frequency of actual heart attacks.  Armed with that insight, heading off heart attacks becomes vastly easier.

So what does this mean to a sales pro?

Well, heart attacks are no fun, so there’s that…  There’s also an equally un-elaborate way to apply predictive analytics to your sales process.

Think about having a data base that tracks, for each sales pro, the number of opportunities, $ value of each, how many move from each stage of your sales process to the next and how long that takes.  The very simplest, free, CRM systems can do that much.  Then go back to “=correl” in Excel to see what sort of funnel yields the most sales.

So simple, simple, simple.

Oddly though, there is tremendous resistance in the medical community to relying on predictive analytics. It’s just not the way physicians have always operated their practices.  But it’s really, really dumb of them to resist, isn’t it?  Once the heart attack prevention system is up and running, all kinds of heart attacks get prevented with virtually no additional effort required on the part of the doctor.

Do I really need to finish off the analogy for sales pros and CRMs?

Just so you know… (Beware the hidden sell cycle)

dreamlandmedia

dreamlandmediaThe YPS Group has just expanded its long-time partnership with Dreamland Media and the Dreamland Radio Network. As part of our closer collaboration, we’ll be providing more insight to you – a lot more insight – into the strategic and tactical of use media to advance sales efforts and shorten sell cycles.

Why expand the focus on media?

Pretty simple really.  It’s the “hidden sell cycle.”  Depends on whose data you believe, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 70% of what used to be the total sales effort is now completed without any involvement of a sales professional.  I surely hope this is not new news to anyone.  It’s the internet.  Buyers can easily, and at their own pace and convenience, learn darn near everything they need to know about product and service to make an intelligent decision.

But can they learn about your “secret sauce?”  Your differentiation?  What sets you apart from all the others?

Hardly.  That’s where the new sales pro comes in.  But let’s be honest.  Wouldn’t a buyer who can learn 70-80% of what’s needed to make an intelligent decision via digital media prefer to learn the other 20-30% via digital media?  Duh…

How many of today’s sales pros are savvy enough with digital media to communicate even that “easy” 70-80% to prospects?  Are you ready to apply your skills and deliver your secret sauce to close deals using digital audio, video and images?  Are ya’?

Frankly, pretty much zero of us are ready.  Thus the expanded partnership with Dreamland.  So, keep the above logo in mind.  You’ll be seeing more of it as part of your subscription to this newsletter.  It’ll help you take all of your Sales Processing Engineering investments to the next level.  Plus it’ll be a heck of a fun ride.

4 Pictures Worth 4,000 Words

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Is it important for each member of your sales team to 1) Earn the respect of C-level decision makers, and 2) Develop a level of personal rapport with those same C-level decision makers?  OK, dumb question.  Of course it’s important.  It’s critically important.  Without those two elements any sales effort is doomed to failure.  But how can a sales pro get that done?

Here’s one answer to that question.  Engage the executive in a conversation that 1) Requires thought and concentration on the part of the exec and 2) Has an element of humor.  OK, fine.  But how does one get that done?

Well, here’s one answer to that question. Execute a Trade Show Radio strategy.  Before you follow that link, take a look at the two pairs of photos below.  Tell me if the target executive decision makers (in the center of the pictures) are thinking and concentrating and enjoying themselves while doing it.

Exec #1:

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Exec #2:

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  • The 1st photo in each pair = A Thinking, Concentrating Executive
  • The 2nd photo in each pair = An Executive Showing a Humorous, Human Side
  • Each pair of photos = An Executive Having a Good Time Talking Business = An Executive Having a Memorable Experience = An Executive Who Will Return a Phone Call Next Week = An Executive Who Will Seriously Consider the Value You Bring to the Table

Now follow the link and read about Trade Show Radio and think about applying it within your own sales process._lscinterphex_012

Go for the “High Hanging Fruit!”

ReachForTheTop

ReachForTheTopOne of the best things about all the interviews I do on Manufacturing Revival Radio is the insight I get from the downright fascinating guests.  Ray Attiyah is one of those guests.  It’s well worth your time to listen to this guy!

Lucky for me, I got to pick his brain not only during the interview, but before and after as well.  Just had to pass along one more tidbit…

As he was packing up to leave the studio, Ray talked about how he had to get back to “work” [you can picture the air quotes he made with his fingers] and was fired up about “tackling more high hanging fruit.”  Think about that.

Anybody can grab the low hanging fruit.  Ho-hum.

So get up yourself.  Go for some of that high-hanging stuff!

Knowledge is power. Knowledge FLOW is money.

flow

Francis Bacon formalized the notion that “Knowledge is power” early in the 17th century.  He was right then and his insight most certainly still applies today.  …just not to nearly as great an extent.  Today, any knucklehead can immediately access virtually limitless knowledge.

Knowledge ain’t as powerful as it used to be.

flowSo if access to knowledge itself doesn’t cut it any more, what does?  In the 21st century, it’s Knowledge Flow.  It’s managing the movement of knowledge from where it is to where it can be effectively applied.  Knowledge Flow is power.  Stated more pragmatically, Knowledge Flow is money.  Intelligently managing the flow of knowledge is the stuff of success.  Not that it’s easy!

There are five fundamental components of managing knowledge flow:

  1. Identify bits of knowledge and how each currently flows – There are massively many of these, so focus on the ones most relevant to you and your industry.  Sorting and prioritizing – curating, if you will – is critical.

  2. Learn at least something about the most important bits and current flows.  Knowing where and how they can be applied is critical thing #2.

  3. Distribute – Get the right knowledge to flow to places it hasn’t been to before.  Beware of flooding people with interesting but non-useful knowledge.  The implication here is that you have a deep understanding about the goals, objectives and requirements of the potential recipients.  (Sound familiar sales pro?  Know your customer!)

  4. Augment – Add some value to the knowledge & flows.  Sure, being a great knowledge conduit it’s valuable, but you can do better than that!  Add-to, re-frame, re-configure.  That’s the essence of creating new knowledge

  5. Accelerate – Making knowledge available to anyone is not the only thing the internet has enabled.  It has also accelerated the pace of everything.  Get through steps 1 through 4 in less time than the competition.

Become the resource who gets the right know-how to the right place at the right time.

Win/Win is not enough

nowinwin

It’s quite rare for something to get sold without a Win/Win situation.  When something does get sold without a Win/Win, it typically doesn’t stay sold, and for sure there will be no follow-up deals. The spooky thing is, the vast majority of sales professionals earn their livings with a single-minded focus on generating one Win/Win situation after another.

The days of achieving success by creating Win/Win deals are numbered.

nowinwinDon’t get me wrong, the Win/Win aspect of any deal is still necessary.  Necessary, but increasingly not sufficient.  Even a 3-way, Win/Win/Win doesn’t carry the wallop it used to.  Technology has enabled the creation of larger and vastly more complex networks.  Projects that only a multi-national behemoth could pull off 20 years ago can now get done with an army of independent individuals and small firms who share nothing more than a common objective.

Think Linux.  Think WordPress.  Study what’s going on with 3D printing.  More and more of the BIG business wins will be based on loose arrays of large numbers of people and organizations; each involved perhaps for only a very short period of time; each with his, her or their own set of objectives.

The new critical sales skills are orchestrating and aligning.

Like the conductor of a symphony, the sales rep needs to orchestrate the skills of many – none of whom the rep controls – to produce a single, unique and amazing result.  (Check out this classic article by Peter Drucker for an outstanding explanation of the analogy.)

The sales rep also needs to be constantly vigilant about how each and every aspect of each and every one of his or her own products, services and capabilities can be positioned to align with not only the wants, needs and desires of customers, but also with the products, services and capabilities of just about every other organization out there.

It’s a bit like taking your own giant set of legos with thousands of different types, colors and connection points, then teaming up with a bunch of others, each with their own similar lego set, all collaborating to create that optimal combination of customization and personalization that each customer now demands.

In that context, Win/Win sounds like yesterday’s news.  It is.

Oh I NEED one of these for Christmas!

I’ve had a fascination with Collaborative Robotics since it first came out.  The impact they will have (are already having!) on manufacturing will be HUGE.  Baxter, for example is way cool!  Nobody can help being intrigued after just a brief exposure.

Saw something today that takes the notion of Collaborative Robotics to a whole new level.

It’s one thing (no doubt an awesome thing) to use a robot to take over boring, repetitive jobs on the factory floor; the infamous “dumb, dirty and dangerous” stuff.  It’s a whole ‘nother matter – and WAY more exciting – to apply the technology to knowledge work and knowledge workers.  Watch the video…


 

Think of all the times your personal presence would have been the “optimal thing to do,” but time, cost and logistics precluded travel.  Think of all the times you sat in traffic jams for 2 hours to get to a 1 hour meeting.  Think of all the times you sat in traffic jams for 2 hours to get to a 10 minute meeting!

Look, this technology is not as good as the real you.  And never will be.  However…  Think of what a great leap for mankind audio conference calling was back in the early 90s.  Think of what a great leap for mankind screen sharing was in the late 90s.  Think of what a great leap for mankind video Skype, Google Hangouts and the like are right now.  Think about shipping your “Double” to the other coast for that short, but important meeting.  Wow…

Now that I think about it, I don’t want one of these for Christmas.  One want two of the damn things!