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Category: Best Practices

Sales – A Wake Up Call: Part 4a



For Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series, I covered selling in a down economy and tips for the bosses and the marketers.

Here's my advice to sales people.

Ok all you sales types, gather round and listen. Grab a "Cup of Joe" and pay attention.

The above illustration is the first thing we have to get over.

What do you see?

Most folks – if not everybody – sees a "black dot."

Well, that is an example of why things aren't working as well as they should for you. That black dot represents everything that is wrong right now. The bad coffee, the idiot Boss, the way they treat you, the shitty leads, the bad sales territory, the commission structure, the fact you got up this morning, tore a hole in your pants, spilled juice on your tie and the cat peed on you. All that stuff!

It goes on and on, doesn't it. This is sadly the most critical issue you face – it is called fear. It masks itself in all sorts of manifestations – mostly us wanting to have something else to blame for our failures.

Well, I believe that the first thing to do is look at the rest of that illustration. I call the technique "eliminating Black Dot days".  There will always be something wrong – there will always be a gripe. But by focusing on these things you miss the point. Look at the big picture – the white space which represents everything that is right.

 Okay, here is the list of "do's" and "don'ts" for the sales types:

1. Do a projection formula for reliable, real, achievable results – don’t lie.

  • You need a formula. It has to be real. Start with what you want to make this year. Then figure out just how many sales that would have to be and base the net on what you get from each sale. Then calculate how many sales presentations you have to make to get the sales. Then the sales calls to get the sales presentations and then finally the number of sales cold calls. This is called turning Suspects into Prospects, into Sales and then repeat Sales.
  • You will need to track honestly exactly how you measure up. Number of cold calls that end up in sales is a sales ratio.

2. Get a sales system that can be tracked, adjusted and monitored – and don’t lie.

  • Your system must be solid, real and one that can be tracked and adjusted.
  • Track the number of suspects that you need to turn into prospects (whether by sales calls/phone calls or letters) and then the number you need to turn into presentations or sales visits. And then track the number of conversions from prospects to sales. You then can track repeat sales. Look at the numbers, do some initial percentage calculations (i.e. 100 suspects = 40 prospects = 20 presentations = 6 closed sales).
  • Then, if you have to, modify any and all factors. A better presentation, more work on your phone techniques, more suspects, better initial sales contacts, better “CLOSING” tactics or better tracking. All are flexible! All can be improved. And should be!

3. Never talk to other sales folks. Full stop. They lie.


Best Enterprise 2.0 Launch Ever? Penn State’s ThoughtFarmer Roll-out

Penn State Logo [Editor's note – we don't often post company-written case studies on One Degree, because most of the ones we get are vague, self-congratulatory and don't provide useful insights. But this case study from ThoughtFarmer, an intranet software development company in Nelson Vancouver, BC, rocked our socks.]

There seems to be two ways that social software enters an organization: bottom-up, or top-down.

Bottom-up might mean employees using Google Docs to share files, Twitter to communicate status and PBWiki to collaborate on documents. It starts small and spreads in an organic, patch-work fashion.

If you’re managing the introduction of enterprise social software at your organization, bottom-up doesn’t work. Bottom-up can’t be managed. And bottom-up happens at its own speed, which doesn’t work when you have deadlines.

So you’ve got to go with top-down. A planned roll-out. An orchestrated launch. And I have never, ever come across an enterprise social software launch as fast, well-orchestrated and effective as the one Penn State Outreach did last week.

Purchase order to 1500-user launch in 7 weeks — including Christmas break

While I was in the front room finalizing contracts with Penn State Purchasing, Bevin Hernandez, the intranet project manager, was already in the back room working on the launch timeline.

Our.outreach timeline

Planning the intranet launch

They set a hard launch date of January 29th, just 7 weeks away, with a Christmas break in between. This would be a very public launch — they asked all 1500 staff to keep the day free for something very big and very mysterious.

Outreach postcard

Outreach postcard - back

Mysterious postcard asking people to block out the intranet launch date on their calendars.


Sales – A Wake Up Call: Part 3

Sales – A Wake Up Call: Part 2 was a well-placed "Kick-in-the-arse" delivered to the Boss. You know who you are – don't be bashful. You are the folks who we look to when all hell breaks loose. It is, after all, your fault.

Now, moving on to some tips for the Marketers:

1. Stop reading pamphlets.

  • Please stop thinking every new trend will save your ass.
  • You know when Total Quality Management was the buzz in the last recession over 70% of companies that went bankrupt listed TQM as their #1 priority. Yeah, well #1 to me is doing your damn job.

2. There is no secret cure. There is no quick fix.

  • Everything is hard to do. And more importantly everything worth doing takes hard work.
  • If something is too good to be true – it is!

3. Like above -  a baseball  game is won by getting on base. FIRST BASE!!!

  • Home runs are great – but no one wins a pennant with just home runs.
  • Really focus on your core strengths – make 'em better and treat every customer like they are your ONLY customer.

4. That insecure feeling you get everyday at the office is good for you – it will keep you in your place.

  • You know that feeling. Wake up and wonder if today is the day they will finally find out just how much of a fraud you are? Yeah, we all feel that – get over it. If you stopped thinking about yourself as the centre of the universe, you might actually get your job done.
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