I've been manufacturing, engineering and selling most of my life....tech products, medical devices, sports apparel, and now consulting services. It's a wonderful and exciting profession, but make no mistake, Sales is tough work:
- Measurements occur every month and every quarter that totally define your success and income
- Frequent rejections happen all the time due to the necessary waterfall math of any sales funnel
- Positive energy is required all the time, even when you're knocked down once in a while
- There's a requirement to consistently learn new skills, technologies and processes
The Question of the Day: Can Sales be "taught", or is it "just natural"?
"There's no such thing as a born salesperson!"
- In our 23 pairs of chromosomes, there's nothing marked "SALES"
- In our two DNA strands, there's no labeling anywhere of "SALES GENE"
Hint: When assessing any person for their sales abilities, divide the process into three categories:
- Skills: What are the specific selling skills that you need? Skills can be taught, trained for, and tested. There are close to 50 different sales skills that can learned, polished and for which, professional salespeople can be tested, and most importantly, certified in.
- Experience: What is the exact experience that you need in your salespeople? What are the years, the degrees and what are the types of salespeople you require for 2018-2019? Define the specific experience that you need in the sales jobs in terms of types of customers and years as in "more than x years"
- Attributes: What are the social qualities that you need and are most reflective of you as the manager? When it comes down to the Sales Attributes expressed in such words as drive, commitment, passion, work ethic and 40 other sales-related attributes, these are the qualities that were defined in all of us at very young ages sitting around the kitchen table, listening in church and by being in a classroom in our very early school years. It's extremely hard to modify attributes, and, more importantly, as a hiring sales manager, I neither have the time or the skills to modify anyone's behavior.
For more details on this hiring tactic, click HERE.
For more sales tools go to our "Sales Tools Solution Center" click HERE.
Sales "Skills" can be taught; Sales "Attributes" Cannot
At Tufts, for 10 years I've taught a course in Marketing, and will do the same again this spring. The content is taught in the context of six marketing projects from real companies which are provided to the student teams of five by our customers and also through the outreach of this blog. Right now, we've received 17 applications for Marketing projects for this spring, and I'll be going through the difficult process of assessing these and making choices during the first week of December.
"The Art & Science of Sales" Course
This is the second semester for a new course titled "The Art & Science of Sales". Limited to 20 juniors, seniors and grad students, this course is taught based on the same principle of providing content within the context of four sales plan projects provided by real companies. In this course, we learn about detailed sales processes, sales tools, sales technologies and metrics. During 13 weeks, the students become CRM certified and are highly qualified in creating sales tools and corresponding metrics...and right now I'm actively looking for sales plan projects for this course.
- ...you're looking for a detailed 2018 sales plan for a new product launch or a new market
- ...you're assessing what a new 2018 sales model might look like
- ...you want to build a detailed 2018 sales process with integrated tools and a new CRM
...just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll send you an instruction sheet and set up a call to discuss this in greater detail. While we would prefer emerging companies, this semester's companies ranged from a large public chemicals company to a mid-size software tech company to a commodities distribution company and everything in between.
I would recommend not to overthink this right now, and if you're interested, or even just curious, in having a team of five students do detailed research in and create an executable sales plan for a product or for your business as a whole, send me an email. I'll send the instructions, and then, if you are interested, we can set up a time for a 15 minute call, and we can decide whether this makes sense for your business.
By working with one of our students teams, this is a superb opportunity to take a fresh look at your sales planning for 2018, or a new look at a product line or new market that you have not had the time or the resources to assess. We have both the time and the resources !
Happy Thanksgiving !
Just a couple of days left now in the critical month of November. A couple of days off this week, and then we jump directly into the narrow end of the funnel as we begin the 20ish day countdown to the end of the year.
Exciting, demanding and complex times, so rest up over T-Day, hug your family, figure out what you're thankful for, do more of that and less of everything else...and psyche yourself up for the December Push!
Just a few ideas to think about this Monday morning, while you're having a great day selling !