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Sales signals ... Salespeople spent 2009 on the frontlines of a battle for business. In Autumn,

Sales signals ...

Salespeople spent 2009 on the frontlines of a battle for business. In Autumn, Krauthammer, with the Groupe ESC Clermont Graduate School of Management, asked them – in depth - about their experiences. In 2010, we will publish the results - four reports into ‘the state of sales’. In the first, (April 2010), we asked salespeople to tell us how confident they felt about their ability to do their jobs and reach their targets. We checked the business pressure they felt, and their commitment to their organisations.

Now, in this second report, we ask: what behaviour do salespeople believe is necessary to move from the quick win to sustainable performance? To what extent do their views diverge from what thousands of observations have led us to conclude are ‘exemplary? And crucially, what standards do their managers encourage?

How high can I fly? Overall, 6 out of 10 salespeople understand what exemplarity is In this report we discover that salespeople have a fair grasp, overall, of what exemplary behaviour is. Overall, around 64% truly support our propositions (based on 30 years of identifyng and modelling sales excellence). The biggest knowledge gaps – where people do not even ‘get’ what exemplarity is - are in the process domains of prospecting, (where people also feel the least competent) and diagnosing. People’s understanding of good practice in negotiating and closing is far higher, however.

Can you help me get there?

Overall, only 5 out of 10 managers generally encourage exemplarity

If, overall, 64% of salespeople understand what exemplarity is, strikingly fewer (48%) managers are reported to generally encourage it. The poorest support is to be found in the area of prospecting (again), negotiating scores highest by a slim margin

Between what salespeople believe they should do and what they say their managers encourage them to do, where are the biggest gaps?

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Gaps by process domain The most serious gaps between what salespeople seek and what their managers

Gaps by process domain

The most serious gaps between what salespeople seek and what their managers encourage lie in the following areas – indicated below.

Prospecting

Diagnosing

Persuading

Negotiating

Closing

whereby potential clients are identified and approached.

whereby the real need of the client is identified.

concerning the ability of the salesperson to constructively convince.

concerning the ability of the salesperson to resolve often conflicting demands.

concerning the ability of the salesperson to seal the deal and an ongoing partnership.:

Involves:

Involves:

Involves:

Involves:

Involves:

Selecting prospectsPhone prospecting Prospect follow up Obtaining the first meeting Behaviour in first moments of the initial rendez-vous

Formulating questions Questioning with intentIdentifying customer needs Challenging the customer’s analysis Identifying the key decision-makers, defining a strategy

Formulating explanations Illustrating a pointSaying NO to a request Selling key argumentsPrescribing a solution

Finding a win-win agreement Handling group negotiations Responding to an objectionBreaking the deadlock Defending the price

Reacting to competition-based objectionsGuiding the customer towards the final yes Arranging implementation Developing partnershipsHandling complaints Getting references

         
         

So much to do, so little time. Where to prioritise?

We surveyed 26 sales skills and attitudes. So, on the basis that truly adopting a new behaviour can take six months of practice, where to focus? Converting knowing into

doing is helped by the will to change. What, therefore, exemplary behaviours salespeople most believe they should be adopting? And, to what extent are they encouraged to

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excellence by their managers? Where will they most welcome coaching? In the full report, you will

excellence by their managers? Where will they most welcome coaching? In the full report, you will find exactly what lies behind these behaviours, as well as constructive, practical messages for everyday application. Here, for now, are the top ten.

excellence by their managers? Where will they most welcome coaching? In the full report, you will

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Sales management routines – a checklist for practitioners 1 Check the gaps Check questions: What explicit

Sales management routines – a checklist for practitioners

  • 1 Check the gaps Check questions: What explicit behavioural standards, if any, are set out in your sales policy? How do they compare with those you will find in our report? How aware is your team of your standards? What beliefs and attitudes do they hold? To what extent do these correspond or differ? How consistently are your salespeople able to translate their knowledge regarding best practice, into observable behaviour? How well are they supported and encouraged by their manager? How exemplary, indeed, are the sales managers in your organisation? Methods: A gap analysis can be performed

    • a) through debate and discussion. Presenting your team with this report is a good first step! How do they identify with the findings?

    • b) using formal analytical tools. These include:

      • a. 360 0 analysis

      • b. Krauthammer’s 4LS Evaluation, on which this report was based.

  • 2 Exercise exemplary: Apply point 1 to your own knowledge, beliefs and competences!

  • 3 Insist upon performance reviews: knowing that this should be conducted every 6 months and that our previous report revealed serious failings in this area, how rigorously is this routine installed?

  • 4 Insist upon coaching and support in the field: check How well is this installed in your team? What is the state of coaching competencies of your sales managers? How about your own coaching competencies?

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    For more like this, and the detailed r <a href=esu lts, go to the full report. Coming up ... Over 2010, we will report further. We will see how clearly salespeople’s work is defined and organised, the systems and processes in place, and how helpful – or harmful - these are felt to be. At the close of the year, we will round up with a summ ary of all findings, with a deeper statistical analysis of the data. For the detailed results, go to the full re port Subscribe to the next report in this s erie s, and fu ture Krauthammer reports, or join our research group. living performance " id="pdf-obj-4-2" src="pdf-obj-4-2.jpg">

    For more like this, and the detailed results, go to the full report.

    Coming up ...

    Over 2010, we will report further.

    We will see how clearly salespeople’s work is defined and organised, the systems and processes in place, and how helpful – or harmful - these are felt to be. At the close of the year, we will round up with a summary of all findings, with a deeper statistical analysis of the data.

    For the detailed results, go to the full report

    Subscribe to the next report in this series, and future Krauthammer reports, or join our research group.

    living performance