Sales Art vs. Sales Science

Sales is a Science

Sales is a Science

We’ve all heard the saying, “Sales is an art”.   It conjures thoughts of a master painter, effortlessly moving brush across canvas, as he paints a picture of a better life.  Or maybe it brings to mind the styling of an accomplished story teller, who uses words to create an epic tale that lifts us from the dregs of the status quo to the soaring possibilities and excitement of untold fortunes and adventure.

Sales managers love to have the “sales artist” on their team.   However, I would posit that between 1% and 5% of the sales population can truly be considered sales artists.  These are the top performers who seem to effortlessly create relationships.  It feels like they make contact every time they pick up the phone.  These are the guys who throw in a line and the fish come flocking to their hook.

SALES IS MORE LIKE SCIENCE THAN ART!

While there are those successful few who do it on talent and charisma alone; the fact is, sales success is closer to science than it is to art.  Scientific method is used to prove or disprove theories.  The Scientific Method of Sales is how we prove, or achieve, sales success on a larger scale.  This is extremely good news for sales managers.  It means that you can provide processes and systems that will help your average sales people perform more to the level of your top sales people.  What is the Scientific Method of Sales?

Research + Best Practices + Technology = SALES

Research

Companies like InsideSales.com and The Bridge Group have done all kinds of research for sales effectiveness.  Just as in science, it’s important to understand what is happening and why.

Best Practices

Best practices are often derived from extensive research.  Things like 31 Must Haves for Driving Leads, Appointments, and Sales and 7 Rules to Increase Sales Success will help you to see the processes and practices that, when followed consistently, will bring exponential increases in sales.  Invest in training so that best practices and procedures can be learned, practiced, and implemented.  Managers should invest in building the skill level of the team.  Likewise, individual reps should invest in their own improvement as well.

Technology

The right technology will automate the mundane tasks that take up a sales persons time.  Dialing, leaving voice mails, sending emails, and recording notes after a call are only a few of the time consuming things that distract a salesperson from actually selling.  Get the right technology that will eliminate time wasters.

The companies and sales teams that follow the Scientific Method of Sales will always be more successful than those who don’t.  It is the method by which average sales people become better and awesome sales people become legend!

By: Brian McFadyen

http://linkedin.com/in/briannmcfadyen

 

Inside Sales Compensation and Metrics

In the years I’ve spent in sales I have seen many organizations that claim to make a difference in the overall success of their clients and I have seen those companies that actually do.  The companies that actually do make a difference tend to focus a lot on research.

One of the organizations that I have been privileged to call a partner as I’ve worked with InsideSales.com is The Bridge Group, Inc.  They are one of those awsome organizations that DO make a difference.  Given my latest post discussing the worth of great people, I wanted to share some research that they have done in the way of inside sales compensation and metrics.   If you are a sales person worth your salt…this is good news!

The picture below shows the average compensation and metrics around Lead Generation teams, Inside Sales Teams, SaaS Inside Sales Teams, and Inside Sales Management.  It also points to some of the top challenges faced by these teams.

The Bridge Group research

 

 

As displayed in the image above, you can see that average compensation breaks down as follows:

Lead Generation:

  1. Average Base Salary: $47k
  2. Average Total Comp: $72k

Inside Sales:

  1. Average Base Salary: $53k
  2. Average OTE (on target earnings): $94k

SaaS Inside Sales:

  1. Average Base Salary: $57k
  2. Average OTE (on target earnings): $109k

The diagram is a visual representation of more in depth research that you can find by going to The Bridge Group site at http://www.bridgegroupinc.com/saas_metrics_insidesales.html?utm_source=ISDC

As I touted in my last post – Great People are Worth It!

By: Brian McFadyen

http://linkedin.com/in/briannmcfadyen

 

Newsflash: Great People are Worth It

Lebron James

Lebron James

If you’re like me, you’ve heard many times the adage “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”  It applies to people of all backgrounds and positions in life.  It even applies to entrepreneurs and business owners.   In my discussions with business executives nationwide (and across multiple verticals), I am often asked a recurring question “How do I GET and KEEP the best people for my organization?”  My response is usually, “What expectations are you setting with your compensation package and culture?”

Getting the Right People on the Bus:

I recently had the pleasure of re-reading the Jim Collins book “Good to Great.”  What an insightful book! It shares research on what truly great companies have done to grow from a good company to an absolutely great one.  He talked about the first thing that the extraordinary executives in these companies did when preparing to make this transition.  Simply put:  They put the right people in the right seats on the bus even before finalizing the direction they would take.

It sounds counter intuitive, however, as Collins points out “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”  He goes on to state, “In a good-to-great transformation, people are not your most important asset.  The right people are.”

You have to have the right people, holding the proper positions, in your organization in order to realize the full vision of what your company can achieve.  Not only to realize, but to then maintain prolonged success.

Keeping the Right People on the Bus:

There are many variables that go into finding and retaining the best, most skilled, employees for any organization.  Articles abound pointing to benefits, culture, location, brand prestige and more.   In reality, they all contribute.  However I’ve found, especially in a SALES environment,  that the variable overarching all of the rest is COMPENSATION.

Collins sites compensation as being very important while making a great distinction as to how it should be used.  He states, “The purpose of a compensation system should not be to get the right behaviors from the wrong people, but to get the right people on the bus in the first place, and to keep them there.”

Over the past 15 years working in and with sales teams I’ve noticed that the organizations who pay well seem to attract the most qualified, skilled, and driven  individuals.  This lends enormous credence to the idea that you need to pay your people in a manner equal to the output you desire they achieve.  In a sales environment, if you want someone who is a six figure sales person, then provide them the six figure compensation.  If you offer on target earnings (OTE) of $60k, then you will attract a $60k performer.  Put another way, you can’t attract a Lebron James by paying a Mark Madsen salary.

Adam Grant addresses this idea in his book “Give and Take”.  The company must evaluate what they are willing to pay for TOP Performers and then compensate their people in this manner.  It will attract the top performers and keep them for the long haul.  

Beware – don’t feel like you are “getting a deal” by hiring a six figure performer at a $60k price.  That individual will not last long with the company and will likely be unhappy and less productive in that time.  If the worry over money is removed, the right people can, and will drive amazing results for your company.

What About the Wrong People:

Of course, there will be those who just don’t fit the top performer compensation you offer.  Jim Collins states that you should make a change quickly, but in a calculated manner.  Perhaps that person is a driven, capable individual who might shine in another area of the organization.  Make the move and bring someone else in to fill the vacated role.  Get the RIGHT PEOPLE on the RIGHT SEATS.  If it turns out that they truly are the wrong person for your company, then it’s best to let go so they can move to something more suitable to them, and the company can focus on filling the seats with the right people.

Ultimately, the choice is yours as to what you’ll do to attract and keep the best talent in your organization.  But from what I’ve seen and researched, the best way to find and keep the right people is to remove the money barrier, get them on board, and find the right seat.  Like Lebron, they’ll bring the HEAT!

By: Brian McFadyen

http://linkedin.com/in/briannmcfadyen

The InsideSales.com Solution: It’s not ALL about the technology!

IMG_0893When companies look for a solution to improving their sales revenue, they often look to technology.  However, it takes more than technology to drive exponential growth.

Insidesales.com provides the best lead management and dialer technology available today.  The technology provides increased efficiency, high visibility, and exponential output.  Companies using any combination of the insidesales technology are experiencing 5 times increases in their results…sometimes more.  How can you not with amazing products like PowerDialer, LocalPresence, PowerStandings and PowerSocial

As I survey the sales floor at IS.com I hear the constant buzz of 22 business development reps, and close to 40 sales reps answering questions and sharing demos of this phenomenal technology.  It is a major reason for our huge growth.  We’ve more than doubled in size since this time last year and expect to double again by the end of 2013.

Yes, InsideSales.com technology is unmatched in the marketplace.  But, what many don’t see, or sometimes don’t understand, is that InsideSales.com is a full sales solution that includes training and consulting for organizations who want to transform the productivity and professionalism of their sales teams.

The exceptional software is developed by the need for sales organizations to adhere to best practices that drive contact rates, qualification rates, and sales revenue.  These best practices are derived from extensive research spanning many years, thousands of companies and billions of sales data points.

Certification Training

Training and consulting is provided as a way for clients and other organizations to master the research and best practices.  It helps companies take the 5x gains derived from the software and increase it another 8x.   I’ve never met a CEO or VP of Sales that didn’t want to see a 13x improvement in the results they get…no matter how good the already are.

  • The Certified InsideSales System Administrator (CISA – I) certification provides full knowledge and expertise on the technology and how the best practices are served by it. 
  •  The Certified InsideSales Operations (CISO) certification provides the research, models, and strategies to drive exponential sales in any sales team.

Information on these programs can be attained at www.insidesales.com/certification.

Consulting

Insidesales.com takes their industry leading research and best practices and combines it with their technology to help organizations build, improve, or save their sales organizations.  Through a process of analysis, design, implementation and evaluation, we have helped many organizations accelerate sales and exceed revenue goals.

See www.insidesales.com/consulting

Really, any organization that purports to help improve your sales team has to provide you an entire solution.  Without the research, best practices, and the technology to incorporate them, you are missing the opportunity to improve your sales results EXPONENTIALLY!

By: Brian McFadyen

http://linkedin.com/in/briannmcfadyen

Sales: It’s All About The Leads

February 6, 2013 1 comment

In my last post, Building and Improving a Sales Team Through Consulting, I mentioned a study that highlighted the  “The Top Problems of the Inside Sales Industry”. The study is very enlightening as it provides insights on the top obstacles faced by both sales managers and sales reps.  Take a look at the research and see if the same things are keeping YOU up at night:

Top Sales Manager Obstacles

Top Sales Manager Obstacles

Sales managers have a lot to worry about.  They are responsible for hiring the right people for the sales team.  They have to equip, train, and compensate them.  They must monitor and report on their ongoing results.   All of these tasks occupy the mind and the calendar.  However, the study clearly showed that the top concern sales managers face is providing their team with good leads.

Top Sales Rep Obstacles

Top Sales Rep Obstacles

The top 4 obstacles expressed by sales reps have to do with leads and the ability to contact those leads.

I personally have found this to be the case in my career.  Finding and making contact with the right leads is the most difficult part of the sales process.  I would venture to say it is also the least enjoyable part.

Companies who want to produce greater sales revenues need to help their sales managers and their teams address these concerns.  BUT HOW?

  1. Focus marketing resources on finding the right lists.  Go after the best lists you can afford.  The lists MUST focus on your target industries, companies, and decision makers by title. Remember that the best lists will be the hardest to find.  But, if you spend the time testing and searching, those lists will be worth their weight in sales gold!
  2. Provide your sales team with the tools to increase contact rates!  InsideSales.com has had a 92% contact rate for nearly 3 years.  This is due to the technology and sales models that focus on the 7 ways to increase contact rates: immediacy, persistence, optimal response, time of day, day of week, direct dial number, local presence.  These same technologies and sales models have helped companies like Lexis Nexis to see a 13x increase in their sales productivity.

If leads are the top concern of our sales managers and sales reps, then why wouldn’t that be a major focus of the organization?  Ken Krogue, President of InsideSales.com, continually and rightfully sounds this clarion cry of the successful sales organization…”It’s all about the leads”.

By: Brian McFadyen

http://linkedin.com/in/briannmcfadyen

Building and Improving a Sales Team through Consulting

October 25, 2012 1 comment

The chess game of consultingA recent research study titled “The Top Problems of the Inside Sales Industry” highlighted the issues facing sales managers and their teams.  The biggest problems shared by sales managers revolve around finding the right leads and hiring, training, and retaining the right people.  The front line sales reps reported that their largest issues dealt with making contact with busy decision makers.

When companies contact my team for help, we are often asked the same questions:

  1. How do we get more good leads?
  2. How do we get good people?
  3. Will you do it for us?

These three questions are the basis for the training and consulting services we provide.  We do this because so many face these issues.  We do this because, so often, all a company needs is a little time to learn how…or remember how…to focus on and work efficiently around these issues.

Why is consulting so important?

To answer that, I will share a story from our group here at InsideSales.com.  Our President Ken Krogue was called on to consult for PeopleWise, a division of Lexis Nexis.  They had experienced a couple of years of stagnant growth and were looking for a way to break the cycle.  They had 4 lead gen reps, 4 inside sales reps, and 12 field sales reps.  Ken started with a benchmark of their current process and results.  He noticed that the lead gen reps were making 20 calls per day and only averaging 1/2 an appointment per rep per day.  He decided his focus would be the lead gen folks and helping them perform.  By so doing he could impact the sales reps in a huge way.

Ken worked with the management to find and test the best lead sources and incorporate the technology to drive efficiency.  Using InsideSales technology they improved their calls per day to 170 per rep ( an 8.5x increase).  However the appointments per day only went up by 5x to 2.5 per day.  With the effort improved, the results needed to then be addressed.  Ken taught them the CLOSER Model, the First Call Sequence, and how to build credibility via the Trust Ladder.  His training and consulting lifted them to 170 calls and 6.5 appointments per day (a 13x total increase).

The client realized 3 record sales months in a row because of an increase in contact and close rates.  Consulting had ended their 2 year stagnancy.

Consulting has a huge impact on companies in 3 categories (and every company is in one of these categories):

  1. Set up – a company who is building their sales department
  2. Accelerate – a company looking to accelerate and improve sales performance
  3. Turn Around – a company who has experienced declines  and is looking to turn it around, rebuild, and grow.

Whatever your situation as a team or company, the question to ask isn’t “should I bring in a consultant?”  The question to ask is “What effect will the additional success a consultant brings have on me and on my company?”

By: Brian McFadyen

http://linkedin.com/in/briannmcfadyen

Knowledge is PowerDialer

October 24, 2012 Leave a comment

You and I have heard, many times, the old adage “Knowledge is Power!”  We can’t argue with the truth inherent in this statement.  Education is key to personal and financial growth.   Of course, i know there are those who, lacking a college education or degree, have earned comfortable livings and even amassed wealth.  However, these people also tout ongoing learning of other forms.  Knowledge truly is power!

InsideSales.com not only believes this to be an irrefutable fact, but has gone so far as to train and certify all employees from day one on the systems they provide.  By so doing they have empowered their employees and provided them the knowledge to be more productive.

Did you know that research in certification shows that putting two people through the exact same training and then having only one of them take an exam and certify yields 20% higher productivity by the individual who certified over the individual who didn’t?

Why mention all of this?

Certification is the difference between proficiency and mastery!

When a client first starts, they are implemented and trained to be successful with the systems.  The systems, within a short amount of time, yield improved results and positive ROI.   InsideSales has taken things even further by offering the Certified InsideSales.com Administrator and Certified InsideSales.com Administrator for Salesforce certifications.

These certifications are designed to take your CRM admin or your sales ops person from proficiency in the systems to a completely knowledgeable in-house expert.  You understand the ins and outs of PowerDialer (or PowerDialer for Salesforce), ELF, LocalPresence and more.  In fact, you can go to www.insidesales.com/certification and see a video testimonial of people who have attained this mastery!

The minimum 20% increase in productivity that comes from certification provides an additional boost to the entire sales team that uses the system.  Where else can an individual and a company see improved productivity in just a few short days?

The concept of “knowledge is power” is taken further still with a new Sales Operations Boot Camp (Certified InsideSales.com Operations certification), a new Marketing Boot Camp (Certified InsideSales.com Marketer), and a new Lead Generation Boot Camp (Certified InsideSales.com Lead Gen) that have been developed by Ken Krogue, one of the top marketing and inside sales minds in the nation.

Ultimately, the more knowledge you, our clients, have about the systems you use and the strategies around inside sales, the greater the success you achieve.  Our success is dependant on you and your success.

It can truly be said in a sales world that knowledge isn’t just power, Knowledge is PowerDialer!

By: Brian McFadyen

http://linkedin.com/in/briannmcfadyen

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