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How we used sales process to grow 20x in three years

 Not all salespeople are created equal; some are more gifted than others and are often called the “rainmakers”. All good things are rationed because they are scarce; this universal principle applies to these rainmakers too. 

These rainmakers follow an unconscious way of selling; they quickly adapt to the customer’s needs and don’t follow a single approach. And if you asked them to describe the sales process, they will be at odds to explain. The rainmaker’s inability to explain the process is often seen as a sign of fiefdom and reluctance to share knowledge. This is not true, they are genuinely not able to describe how they sell, and selling is innate to them. Rainmakers are rare, and your company will be lucky if it has more than two – three of them. Now if your business needs to scale up, it needs to find an alternative, this is where the second category of sales people comes into play. 

The second type of sales people is the process hero’s, they exist in abundance on Mother Earth, and I am not sure about other planets as on date. These people need a structured and defined process to take the lead from one stage to another. In the first few years of my career, when I led the insurance business, I always thought that my end goal is to make my company a breeding ground for rainmakers; on the hindsight, that idea seems stupid. I tried my yen at collecting these superheroes’, the challenge was that the moment you have more than three or four of them, attrition peaks, rainmakers need adequate attention and only a handful can be in your company at one time.

My inability to hire was impacting my business growth, and then one beautiful evening I decided to experiment with people who followed a process and had the fire in their belly. These were the only two skillsets that I looked for in my first hires. The process ninjas never game me a big order, but they were always giving me a constant and steady cash flow, and my rainmakers were bringing big bags.

The second rung of my sales team would never have been successful if I hadn’t put in place a sales process. By automating these processes few years down the line, the first version of Platformax – our sales acceleration platform was born. It was magical, and we were able to grow our business by adding more people, our sales numbers increased multiple times as we could easily hire a motivated person and guide them through our proprietary sales process to deliver numbers. In three years we were twenty times bigger than our competitors because they had one or two rainmakers and were struggling to find their clones. We had in the meanwhile decided to build an army of these youngsters who could use guided sales process to deliver results. 

The process and automation were in our companies genes by then, and magic happened, our rainmakers also wanted to take a look at these processes, with any prodding they started using it. At our company now we had the best of both the worlds. Our sales numbers were moving faster than light, and we quickly galloped to become the number one digital marketing agency in Slovenia.

We packed all our learning and experience in building the sales acceleration platform popularly known as Platformax. In case you are looking to grow beyond your core sales team of two – three people, we can offer you the best solution. Our solution is time tested and build and refined by rainmakers. We will be more than happy to set up a no obligation demo for you to try it out for a month, no charges if your sales don’t move northwards. Just click on the link below to set up your demo for next week!

14. 2. 2017|Categories: Productivity, Project management, Sales tips|

Are you future ready?

The next ten years will see accelerated pace of change, driving many businesses to bankruptcy. Don’t be surprised to see more of Kodak’s, Nokia and Motorola’s biting the dust. The emerging technologies driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution will eventually morph the world we know of in many ways. As a leader of the company, it is your responsibility to make the team think outside the box by trying to anticipate the changes that could affect your organisations and its members. This is not akin to straight-line extrapolation of company’s projected performance over a period.

If you and your team do this diligently, it will push your management team to develop business plans that can accommodate a variety of interacting change factors. It will also build consensus among your team members on future opportunities and threats. I have run this exercise at Platformax- a sales acceleration company, that makes you sell more. The biggest benefit was that the team members knew each other’s disagreements on key issues and realised that is because of their varying assumptions.

I find it valuable to involve and take input from external leaders who track industry trends, key customers or even our vendors at times. This allows the team to avoid being blindfolded and nudges them to the reality, as seen by different stakeholders in the industry.

These are the steps that I recommend you use to complete the star gazing exercise.

Map Key Factors

Along with your team, brainstorm a list of external factors that are likely to shape the business environment in which your company operates.

Rank These Factors

After you and the team have arrived at the laundry list of influencing factors, it’s time to rank them on a two-dimensional matrix of the degree of Impact and it’s the probability of occurrence.  The degree of impact refers to the intensity with which the change may affect your company’s performance. Rate these two factors on a scale of 1 to 10, with one signifying the least chance of occurrence and ten the highest.

Rate The Factors

Now its time to do some calculations; multiply the degree of impact score with the probability of occurrence score for each factor. From this list select the top two factors with the highest score, and the leave the rest of them.

Create Scenarios

For the top two factors that you have identified create an optimistic and pessimistic scenario, keep in mind that none of them should be highly improbable. There has to be a fair chance of them occurring in the future.

Combine Scenarios

In this step you need to the combine the four scenarios in a 2*2 matrix, the matrix will have a pessimistic and optimistic scenario for both the factors. For each of these four scenarios script down a one pager document describing details of each scenario, the sequence of actions that could lead to it and how would you know that its happening.

Map Probability & Implication

Now it’s time to reassess the probability of occurrence of each scenario, use all the data to evaluate factors that could trigger the emergence of the scenario.  The best case would be to arrive a probability score of occurrence, if possible. Once you have mapped the probability, it’s time to map the implications of each of these occurrences on your business strategy. Remember, some of the scenarios could have hard-hitting consequences like the severe erosion of margins or market share.

As humans, we tend to underplay scenarios that may not be right for us, Kodak after 128 years of existence filed for bankruptcy in 2012, mostly due to internal factors and the sense of disbelief in changing world. Kodak’s failure can be labelled as one of the biggest corporate blunders as it missed digital photography wave, ironically invented by the Kodak team itself.

The leadership team was not ready to believe that its new invention would cannibalize its mainstream business.  The morale of the story is, don’t try to ignore the new technology hoping it would go away by itself or deride it using various justifications, just because you have the seat of power.

We at Platformax help many clients in analyzing their sales process thereby making it efficient and effective. In case you want to shore up your sales number or launch a new product, please contact us for setting up the best sales process. Platformax makes you sell more!

9. 2. 2017|Categories: Productivity|

How to capture lessons learned by your sales team

Erroneously, being busy is seen as a sign of progress, nothing can be farther from truth. Most teams are busy in doing one thing or another. In case you have a sales team of more than five members, you will very well appreciate my comments. Once a company grows beyond a certain size, the number of projects and their membership swells automatically. Team members love to work on improvement projects, for they can showcase their superior talent and make a visible contribution.

In the race to participate in more and more projects, the lessons learned take a backseat; your company may not be creating a repository of organization knowledge. The lesson learned are limited and constrained to the participating team members only. Unless they share, which is rare, the larger audience is devoid of the learning’s. Due to lack of sharing, your company will keep on making the same mistakes again and again till all the members have gone through the learning phase. This is a waste of time and energy; by using a simple lesson learned template, you can make the learning’s universal.

Before you jump into implementing this, make sure that you set the stage right; we learnt it the hard way in Platformax. When I first started doing this activity, people were nervous, and anxiety ran high, they were worried that I as a CEO am looking for what went wrong and who was responsible for it. Most of the team members didn’t open up in the sessions, It’s only after two-three failed attempts that I started retreating that these sessions are not for finding faults or evaluating the performance of individual team members.

It’s an opportunity for them to look at the collective experience and build the organizational knowledge so that others don’t make the same mistake in future assignments. These are the steps that I tend to follow at Platformax.

  • I start with thanking all the team members for their contribution to the project and clearly explain that the session is for recording learning and has no connection to evaluation.
  • Ask leading questions to understand the project, at the end of this section there are sample questions for guiding the process.
  • Pick a flipchart and record the responses from members for each question.
  • The team members may have a differing opinion on some issues; I tend to highlight these matters for further discussions.
  • Ask for team volunteers and assign the task of consolidating the group’s responses to each question in one or two sentences.
  • Collate all the responses and publish it on your intranet or SharePoint so that all your colleagues can leverage it.

 

Here are the questions that I ask for documenting the lessons learned

  • In your opinion, how has this project performed on cost, quality and time metrics?
  • Are there any tools or techniques that we used on this project, be used in future assignments?
  • What were the unforeseen challenges that we encountered on this project?
  • What have we learned from resolving these challenges?
  • In which areas did this project fall below our initial expectations?
  • What unique skills did we bring to this project and can we leverage them in future too?
  • In hindsight, if you could go back in time, what would you do differently?
  • What steps shall we take to share the lessons from this project with our colleagues?
  • What unique skills did we bring to this project and can we leverage them in future too?

 

By asking these questions in a structured way you will be able to cement the learning across the company, making mistakes is part of the journey but making the same mistakes twice is a sure shot sign of downfall.

6. 2. 2017|Categories: Productivity, Sales tips|

Old is not gold any more – The CRM Saga

We underestimate the importance of adaptability, being agreeable and open to suggestions may be interpreted as a sign of feebleness.  Now you can elect to be a dinosaur, for hundreds of millions of years, they were at the top of the food chain, dominating the earth. They eventually died out, not because a more ferocious predator overpowered them, but due to their inability to adapt to the dramatic changes in global climate.

In the Month of November 2016, I was at the WebSummit in Lisbon, and we met hundreds of young entrepreneurs who want to change the world, under the same roof we met dozens of established companies too. We were exhibiting at the WebSummit as a beta startup and thanks to high pitch campaign we attracted a lot of eyeballs. I am the CEO and Founder of a Sales Acceleration company – Platformax. We help businesses in streamlining their sales process using new age technologies that use Machine Learning. We don’t automate a shitty process, thereby saving the companies the trauma of produce more shit faster. We improve the process and use technology to drive sales results through machine learning.

One of the things that set me thinking and to pen down my thoughts through this article was a meeting with one of the Fortune 1000 executives. This Fortune 1000 company uses a legacy CRM tool to manage customers, and he told me that they had grown their revenue by 10x in last ten years, though they are seeing a flat line now and sales people are not scaling up the numbers as fast as before. He attributed this flat line growth to lack of motivation and training.

In the early years of humanity, the wheelbarrow was the most sexiest thing on earth; it solved so many problems, made life easier and was the in thing, the legacy CRM systems are like the wheelbarrows. They move leads and customers from one stage to another and visually show you the sales funnel; this was path-breaking invention ten years ago, but not anymore. Today the environment has changed and you need smarter tools to help you in getting to deal closure before your competitor. The accompanying data should throw intelligent facts at you so that you make the right move.

The legacy CRM systems are like Kodak camera’s and their executives keep on adding features on top of an old run down thought process; Instagram took down Kodak; the same will happen to legacy CRM systems because they are the last remains of the pipe based business models. Most of the executives and company owners are stuck in the inertia of success, and they believe that just by having a CRM tool, all sales problems will go away, what a wishful thinking.

After an hour-long debate with this 6-figure salary executive from the Fortune 1000 stable, I was able to drill down that if you use an old system that is about to die, you will die with it. It’s similar to going into a war today, with horses and camels, now there is nothing wrong with animals, the fact is fighter jets, and tanks will blast the shit out of them in no time. As a leader of the company, you are as good as the tools and resources that you choose to fight the battle. If you select a substandard, legacy system that is in the last stages of dying, will your business thrive?

The world is changing fast, and the best companies can adapt. In business terms, their ROI (Return on Investment) is also related to their adaptability rate. The ability to adapt to newer thoughts is a sure shot predictor of a company’s survival. Sales are the lifeline of any business, and if it falters you can count your days, by moving and adapting newer sales techniques and tools, you can increase your chances of survival.

The current change is christened as the Fourth Industrial Revolution; it is the new fad, and everybody is claiming to be an expert, the truth is that most companies and individuals are struggling to adapt to new technological changes and learn the skills required by it. This shift is inevitable, and in case you want to bulletproof your sales numbers from future shocks, sign up for a free demo with us at Platformax.com

3. 2. 2017|Categories: Productivity, Sales tips|

Don’t Lead a Team of Headless Chickens?

Have you ever wondered why some sales teams work a lot and produce near zero results while others over deliver with a lesser effort? Most of the underperforming sales teams are confused, disorganised or at worst utterly aimless. On top of this, they have no clue as to how to measure their progress.

You don’t need to be a Steve Jobs to figure out, that unless sales teams have clearly articulated and agreed on the success metrics, their activities will rarely lead to meaningful results. Now, according to me, metrics is more than the year-end numbers that the sales team needs to clock in, the best companies measure leading indicators and not the lagging indicators. 

To give you an example, At Platformax we don’t put a single revenue number for a sales manager, we break down the journey to a successful sale. As long he/she can replicate multiple journeys the sales number will happen, the month end sales number is an output only. We measure the input steps, and this leads to a predictable sales number.

We work with multiple clients and help them in accelerating their sales number, whenever we onboard a new customer, we look for these symptoms to figure out if there are headless chickens doing rounds in the company.

We are always active

Most of the teams believe that they have been hired to be busy, no that’s the fist stepping stone, you don’t hire people to come and sleep in your office (though I love to catch sleep in the office when I am in Japan). 

The first reaction is to do a lot of work, and the lack of measurement systems doesn’t help them see through these activities and figure out that they are not translating into results. So the sales team may brag about the number of roadshows, cold calls and mailers sent and yet they may be unable to show a clear linkage between what they are doing and the final results that you expect them to achieve. 

During one of our sales acceleration assignments, we found that a sales team member continued to make calls and sending emails during Chinese New Year to clients in Hong Kong.  He made sure that he left a voice message too because most of went to voice mail.

He told us that customers in Asia prefer personal meetings and he has to travel to Hong Kong, as they don’t respond to phone calls. And the best part he had data to prove his point. His manager was logical and got convinced with the data and analysis. As a result, he got a 20k USD approval to travel to Hong Kong!

They lack direction

Lack of well-designed metrics squanders the team’s energy and most of them spray and pray for results to happen. Resources are always scarce, and they need to be allocated efficiently, the metrics help you in funnelling these resources to the most important activities that will lead to results. One of the first things that I do when we work to accelerate a client’s sales is to ask them “what are you working towards” if the jaw drops I know there are headless chickens around.

Inability to recover from failures

My passion is Archery, and I have competed at the national level in Slovenia. I must admit that I was very raw when I first started practising the game, my archery coach Samo Medved ( Samo Bear) had told me “If you fall, it’s not about why you fell, it is about how fast you can get to your feet again. After that see why you fell.”

Even the best sales team will have bad days and encounter failure, the presence of a scorecard in such situations helps the team see that they have steadily improved on the metrics and the failure is just a blip. Teams that do not have such guiding stars find it difficult to adapt to such a long terms perspective and may feel demotivated in such situations.

Using these simple principles, I hope that you will be able to guide your sales team to success. In case you are struggling with your sales numbers, please do write to us at Platformax and we will use our sales Jedi to help you in turning the tide. We have helped numerous clients in increasing their sales by using our proprietary tools and would love to help you too.

17. 1. 2017|Categories: Productivity|

What is killing innovation in your company?

 

Innovation is a buzzword in corporate corridors, and millions of dollars are being spent to find the holy grail of innovation. If the culture in your company is not conducive to innovation, appointing consultants or rebranding will not yield tangible results. Here are the few things that kill innovation.

 

You are living in a capsule

Exposure to cutting-edge ideas and best practices within their industries allows teams to explore their limits and test new ways of working. Unfortunately, some organisations suffer from a silo mindset that insulates them from ideas and individuals that are not from their coterie. The most isolated teams are the ones with the greatest deficits in creative thinking. Not only are they cut off from the flow of new ideas; they also don’t have access to informational networks that can keep them apprised of new ways of working.

When such teams try to innovate, they end up reinventing the wheel, because they are not aware of the new solutions that have been already applied, tested and, improved by their peers or competitors.

 

You suffer from not invented here syndrome

The company and its incumbents may be valuing experience over creative thinking. In this type of work culture, ideas are often killed before receiving a fair hearing and team members are routinely criticised for suggesting solutions that represent a departure from status quo.

 

You punish taking risks

If your company has a trophy wall with headgears of people who made a mistake, you have successfully created a group whose members dread making a mistake. As a result, most of them will be checking and double-checking their actions, because errors are fatal and may lead to annihilation. With consequences of this sort in place, team members quickly learn that they are likely to suffer criticism for proposing new and untested approaches to problems. On the other hand, if they adopt or support solutions suggested by their team members, they avoid the risk of failure. As a result, they will always wait for others to march.

 

In your company Managers call the shots

Newbies and less experienced team members tend to be influenced by the opinions and ideas of their senior and more experienced counterparts. These seniors censor and restrict the innovative ideas coming from juniors or fresher’s on the team. One of the most common tactics used by the seniors is to throw an aggressively timed challenge to the team members to come up with a complete solution when they are just beginning to formulate new ideas. Another commonly used approach is to take the team problem-solving discussion offline to influence the originator of the idea to get off the boat and tow the company line. As a result, the newcomers are reluctant to express new ideas and have great difficulty obtaining a fair hearing for their ideas.

 

Your company lacks drive

Innovation requires a work climate that compels teams to leap beyond barriers and explore new ways of solving the problem. If your business has little expectation from the team, which in turn discourages team members from testing and strengthening their abilities, innovation may be a distant dream. Lack of pressure puts the team at ease and complacency tends to set in such circumstances, which further erodes the drive.

 

Your company has limited or no interaction between teams

Innovation is a synergistic process that thrives in a work culture where team members learn from and build on each other’s ideas. This type of symbiotic learning may take many forms, from team members who exchange ideas on a particular project, to the team leader who shares an exciting research with the group. Innovation gets severely handicapped when team members lack ready access to one another or if team norms and practices discourage them from freely discussing their ideas without any humiliation.

12. 1. 2017|Categories: Productivity, Sales tips|

The Four Stages Through Which Team Grows

 

I have handled multiple assignments for our clients; most of them necessitated building ‘on-the-ground’ team that worked for them. At Platformax our customers trust us with their biggest problem, lacklustre sales or dwindling orders. We sift through the maze, automate the sales processes and help them tame the sales beast.

Through this article, I am sharing my experience on how the ‘on-the-ground’ teams evolve. As the team matures, members gradually learn to cope with the emotional and group pressures they face. The team goes through these somewhat predictable stages.

 

Stage 1: Forming the team

When a team is being formed, members cautiously test the boundaries of acceptable group behaviour. This stage reminds me of hesitant swimmers, they stand by the pool, dabbling their toes in the water. At this stage, they are moving from individual to a member status and analyzing their team leaders guidance officially and unofficially.

In the Forming stage these feelings surface:

  • Excitement, adaptation and optimism
  • Satisfaction in being selected for the assignment
  • Provisional sense of team belongingness
  • Doubt, fear and nervousness about the job ahead

In Forming phase, team exhibits these behaviours

  • Endeavours to state the tasks and agree how it will be fulfilled.
  • Efforts to define agreeable group behaviours and how to deal with group problems.
  • Decisions on what information needs to be collected.
  • Lofty, intellectual discussions on models & concerns; and some team members may be exasperated with these dialogues.
  • Discussions of symptoms or problems not relevant to the task; struggling in identifying appropriate problems.
  • Objections about the organisations and barriers to the task.

 

At this stage of the team formation, activity abounds and sidetracks the member’s attentiveness; the team makes minimal achievement in its project goals. Don’t panic; most of the teams go through this phase.

 

Stage 2: Storming

Storming is the most difficult stage for the team. It is as if the team members jump in the water and thinking they are about to drown, start panicking by flipping their limbs. They start to realise that the task is difficult and more burdensome than what they imagined it to be. This makes them tetchy, blameful and at times overzealous.

The lack of advancement fuels resentment, but they are still raw to figure out the next steps in decision-making; they feverously debate about the course of action the team must take. They heavily rely on their past experience and skillfully resist any need for inter-team collaboration.

In the Storming stage these feelings surface:

  • Opposition to the task and the methodology being recommended by other team members.
  • Snappy oscillations in their perception of the team and the project’s ability to deliver on commitments.

 

In Storming phase team exhibits these behaviours

  • Disagreement among members even when they agree on real issues
  • Defensiveness and competition, factions and choosing sides
  • Probing the prudence of people who selected this assignment and assigned other members to it.
  • Establishing unworkable goals; concerns about disproportionate work
  • A perceived pecking order, dissent, increased strain and distrust

 

As a result of these pressures, team members get drained and are unable to progress towards the desired results. However, they start understanding each other in a much better way.

 

Stage 3: Norming

In the norming stage, members resolve opposing devotions and duties.

The members wholeheartedly accept the team; agree to the norms and get comfortable with the role assigned to them, and graciously accept the individuality of other team members.

Emotional conflict and its draining effect on the team members shrinks as cooperation replaces competitiveness in the team. In other words, as team members realise that they are not going to drown, they stop thrashing about it and start helping each other’s stay afloat.

In the Norming stage these feelings surface:

  • Knack of expressing criticism in a constructive manner
  • Acceptance of membership in the team
  • Relief that it seems everything is going to work out

 

In Norming phase team exhibits these behaviours

  • An attempt to achieve accord by sidestepping situations that give rise to conflict
  • Increased friendliness, sharing personal challenges and deliberating about the team dynamics
  • A sense of team cohesion
  • Establishing and maintaining team ground rules and boundaries

 

As team members begin to iron out the differences, they free up more time and energy for the project, thereby making measurable progress on the team goals.

 

Stage 4: Performing

By this stage, the team has settled its relationship issues and expectations. They now begin performing, analyzing and cracking problems. By this stage team members have discovered and are comfortable with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They start playing with each other’s strengths instead of fighting over their shortcomings.

 

In the Performing stage these feelings surface:

  • Team members have insights into personal and group processes and better understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Satisfaction at teams progress

 

In Performing phase team exhibits these behaviours

  • Constructive self-change
  • Ability to prevent or work through group problems
  • Close relationship within the team

 

In this phase, the team starts acting as a consolidated unit. The pace of work and results gather momentum in this stage.

 

Every team goes through this cycle. The duration of each of the phases vary for each team, depending on how quickly they progress, work through obstacles or problems and so forth. At Platformax, we reinforce that these phases are normal and a sign of progress.

10. 1. 2017|Categories: Productivity, Sales tips|

The Four Golden Rules of Improvement

 

I must admit that I am a bit cynical when I see my pet dog, Adi, chasing his tail and running in circles. Now that reminds me of the way most companies run sales improvement projects. They keep on going round and round in circles with no end in sight, and the management rewards them for their efforts too.

Over the years, we have helped multiple companies in structuring their sales process. And we were not the first ones to get these assignments; the companies on an average had changed the head of sales thrice before they came knocking on our door. In most of the cases they were doing the same mistakes time and again and expecting different results, changing people does not shoo away the problem, the problem just passes over to a new incumbent. From my experience, these are the four golden rules of improvement, if you follow these principles, you will increase your chances of success by multiple times.

 

Start with meaningful data

Collecting useful data is the foundation of success, and the irony is that too often, teams collect inappropriate data or make poor collection procedures. Since they have never been shown how to recognize such mistakes, they base their decisions on unreliable data and end up failing to bring about the desired improvement. They collect more data and make more improvement without realizing that they are looking for apples in an orange orchard.

Collecting meaningful data in the first place can save you months of effort, doing this is not too complicated either. The golden rule is first to know exactly what you want to collect, using standard definitions so that everyone takes the measures the same way.

 

Be a Badger, dig deeper for root-cause

It is easier to react to the visible symptoms rather than searching for the underlying cause. The best way is to use a fishbone diagram or the five why method to explore the potential sources of the problems. You should have patience and avoid zeroing on to the first possible solution, however, plausible and palatable that may look.

 

Develop relevant solutions

The curse of being intelligent is that it forces most of us to pre-empt solutions or root-cause of the problem even before starting the solutions or data gathering phase, sometimes we may be correct too. However, this can be an exception and not the norm. In my experience, the right solution that fixes the problem for once and all is never evident at the first stage.

 

Plan and make changes

There is an adage, which says, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail“. However, over the years we have got attuned to “Ready, Fire and aim” instead of “Ready, aim and fire.” This attitude is slippery and encourages people to act even if it is not the right thing to do. The key to making strides at work is to have your teams look ahead, anticipate resources needed for a successful project and think about the steps to take if they hit a wall.

6. 1. 2017|Categories: Productivity, Sales tips|

Is Your Sales Team Fit For Challenges?

It is not uncommon for a sales team to run into occasional unanticipated challenges. Considering the times in which we live, sales leaders cannot plan for every eventuality. On the other hand, if your team is often choked with unforeseen events, you may want to develop stronger early warning systems. The best sales leaders know that being successful is closely related to securing timely information about circumstances that can affect their performance. Having an early warning system is more than just looking ahead, your team must be ready to respond quickly and with flexibility to the changes in the environment.

A team that lacks foresight often miscalculates the impact of external and internal changes. The team members may see a variety of potential problems in an impending merger but never consider the growth opportunities that will accompany the change. They are obsessed with threats and miss to see the opportunities. And opportunities don’t lie dormant; they are frequently gobbled up by your competitors, who may be adept at profiting from team’s lack of foresight or preparedness.

Depending upon your team’s position about the agility of response and adjustability, they can be classified as Happy, Jumping Jack, Let’s do it or Platformax.

 

Happy team

“Happy teams” live in denial. When they face a significant change, they either ignore it or convince themselves that it’s just passing by the phenomenon. They firmly believe that the hiccup is a temporary aberration and soon enough things will return to normalcy. It goes without saying that such teams display an extreme degree of rigidness. Once they chart out on a course, they keep on marching ahead, irrespective of any new or adverse information that may suggest a need for midterm course correction.

 

Jumping Jack team

The second kind of team that you witness is the “Jumping Jack” team.   They are usually slow to respond and take action after the situation is obvious. While they believe that the situation warrants change, they demonstrate a minimum amount of adjustability. They make small changes to the original plans and are convinced that the original plan was robust enough to tackle this unforeseen event. Jumping Jack teams focus their energies on the past rather than the future. The team members subtly deflect questions about planning or future actions and are quick to explain that they are too busy putting out fires, which need immediate attention.

 

Let’s do it team

The third kind of team that you may have seen is the “Let’s do it” team, these teams go ahead with change and consider the possible implications of events as they unfold. However, they are myopic in nature and plan for events that are just beginning to appear on the horizon. Mostly, they miss the business implications of large-scale changes as they concentrate on an event that concerns their unit only.

 

Platformax team

The fourth and the best team to tackle unforeseen challenges is to build a “Platformax team”. Irrespective of their day-to-day work pressures, they continually scan the horizon to track trends and performance of their companies. They invest a considerable amount of effort in thinking through and preparing for all contingencies, and wherever possible they attempt to influence the course of business events. They anticipate and make an endeavour to shape the change, rather than waiting to be engulfed by it.

 

We have helped numerous entrepreneurs in structuring their sales process. In case you want to build a Platformax sales team, drop me a note and our Sales Jedi will conjure the best team for you.

3. 1. 2017|Categories: Productivity, Sales tips|

How to Give Feedback to Your Sales Team

Feedback is essential to any team’s success and more so for the sales team. Without feedback, the team continues doing the same act over and over again and wishfully expects different results.

Giving feedback is not an easy task, and most of the sales managers are not good at it. From my experience of building large teams and helping a number of entrepreneurs in structuring sales processes to drive revenue, here are quick pointers on how to give feedback to your sales team.

 

Be Descriptive

While giving feedback to the sales team, relate, as objectively as possible to what you saw the other person do or what you heard him say. Give specific examples from recent past; avoid giving feedback, which is dated, as it would lead to disagreement.

 

Avoid using labels

Be clear, specific and unambiguous. Words like immature, unprofessional, irresponsible and prejudiced are labels we attach to sets of behaviour. While giving feedback, describe the behaviour, but avoid labelling them. For example, you could say, ” You missed the deadline we had all agreed to meet” rather than saying “You are irresponsible and I want to know what are you going to do about it?’

 

Avoid exaggerating

While giving feedback to your sales team, it’s best not to exaggerate things, saying, ” You are always late for deadlines” may not be true and hence will be seen as unfair. By exaggerating, you invite the person receiving the feedback to start an argument rather than looking at the real issue.

 

Avoid being Judgmental

By using words as good, bad, better, worst and should, you position yourself as a controlling parent. The usage of these control words, make the person receiving the feedback respond the way a child responds. Once the parent and child loop gets started, you end up in shutting the other person down and squander the opportunity to coach.

 

Avoid speaking for others

While giving feedback, avoid using references to people who are not present that point of time. For example, avoid making statements like ” A lot of people here don’t like it when you….”. You should avoid becoming a conduit for other people’s feedback; they need to deliver it themselves, instead of channelizing it through you.

 

Avoid using the word you

By giving feedback to another person with statements that start with you, the defense gets triggered, and they are less likely to absorb what you are saying. Take a look at these four statements

  1. You are generally late for meetings
  2. You are always on time for meetings
  3. I feel annoyed when you are late for meetings
  4. I appreciate that you come to meetings on time

The first two statements convey a parent-child dialogue, and the other two express an adult/peer relationship. Even if you stand higher in the pecking order than the receiver of the feedback, strive to maintain an adult/peer relationship.

 

Avoid phrasing the issue as a question

By phrasing your feedback as a question, you are giving a signal to the respondent that they better change their behaviour. See the difference in these two statements

  1. When are you going to stop being late for the meetings?
  2. I don’t feel good when you are late for meetings.

The statement one tends to make people defensive and angry while the statement number two implies that there is an issue that must be resolved jointly.

I have used this mantra to give feedback to my sales team; my team has overachieved results over the years. In case you need help in pumping up your sales number, give me a shout and our sales Jedi will be at your service.

29. 12. 2016|Categories: Productivity|