Sunday, July 30, 2017

Living the country song

Highly enlightening ::.... looking at this blog, I think it was SPOT ON!  Perhaps taking a step back from a world you know instinctively, intuitively and intimately:  SALES. 

Although "What do you want:  a farmer or a hunter?" is my all time BEST clicker with over 25% of my highest readership is attracted by this post I wrote, not that long ago.  As a matter of fact, I have been coping with being a round peg trying to fit into a square hole:  some could say that it is a rigid, unrewarding culture that exudes fun, playfulness thru its advertising campaigns.    Yes, I do believe people buy into that:  if you're cute and cuddly, your staff is pleasant and bubbly:  you have arrived at the optimum platform.  Posed for growth.   Highly entertaining if you allow yourself to take a step back, examine what is there, around you.  More often than not, you will have it around you. 

 When you float through the fondest of memories, you realize they aren't about a badge, or a trophy, or a monetary bonus!  It is who is around you.  

Your medal of honor  aligned with pure identity to being who you authentically are.  Permission to have fears.  Latitude for anger on what affronts you:  violence, bullying, manners, nepotism, feminism, plagiarism, (hard word to spell!!  Thanks #Google [right click + proper spelling at the top right hand] ~ plagiarism and bullying, oh heck so does nepotism seem so unfair, biased [ref: Donald Donald J. Trump​]. 

 My sweet spot is sales, has always been sales, and challenges me in no other fashion.  I dig in my heels {some days pointy, other days square, usually comfy as a 50-something fashionista.  [ self-reference ].

WOWzers @PeterGross

Watch this movie.  It is brilliant!!

5*s #bestofeverything #movie

Thursday, July 20, 2017

What type of sales professional are you looking for?

The following blog is my all-time most read blog.  It certainly does focus on sales.  My first love.  My career sweet spot.

I challenged organizations to define the type of sales professionals they want working for them, or at least help decipher what type they may actually have.

Whether your organization is growing rapidly and you have decided to have sales professionals manage the steady influx of clients, or business is lagging and you think hiring a sales professional is the cure, you should examine what emphasis your organization's focus is on.  In both cases, they can increase your revenue, they may just do it differently.

Hunter or Farmer: What type of sales professional do you want?

Clever people will recognize and tolerate nothing but cleverness. 
                                                          ~Henri Frederic Amiel

I am often asked how do you really find a top performing sales professional?  What characteristics or qualities can you readily identify that will ensure you’ve got a winner?  That takes me back to what my own sales manager advised me when I was replacing him and asked to a top performing sales role to my first “gig” as a sales manager:   “Hire’em, train’em, send’em out, then watch’em like a hawk!”

I wish it were as simple.  Looking back now,  I can clearly see what mistakes I made when I started and find it easy to identify new or bad managers based on repeating those same mistakes.  Good and bad managers will be left for another blog while I tackle this weighty question:  How do you reduce your risk of making a bad hire in sales?

Initially, you have to understand what type of sales professional you looking for.   Most organizations will say they're looking for "Hunters" and not order takers.  What they mean is someone who can drum up new business.  They can be titled "Business Development” or simply “Sales Representative”.  They are more easily identified when you take the time to understand the Hunter mentality:

  • Short sales cycles
  • High call rate/activity (they will look and sound busy)
  • Transactional sales:  Find’em and Close’em and Move on
  • Someone else takes care of the follow through (deliverables, implementation), follow up and customer satisfaction
  • They should be armed with lots of marketing pieces and tools to sell
  • They will rarely make formal presentations or get involved with RFPs
  • The call types are usually small to medium-sized businesses
  • Networking to them is to gather as many contacts as possible
  • They don’t need leads, but appreciate being fed leads once in a while
  • They tend to turnover quicker because what attracts them to hunting may also go hand in hand with becoming bored with doing the same thing over and over again.
  • Hunters aren’t as respected amongst colleagues because others tend to have to do clean up from the “sell at all costs” mentality.
  • Make sure they are base salary + commission – reward based on results
  • They will thrive in a competitive environment – post stats or sales scoreboards – that motivates them to see themselves on the top
  • Don’t expect them to be a team player in the office because their game is winning sales, not fans
  • They excel at “feature dumps” and may be more technically savvy with every gadget known to speed up sales
  • They may be annoyed by too many meetings or impatient with training that takes them out of the hunt
  • What paperwork?  You want them to make calls right?  Enter information into a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system – yeah, right, whatever you say … then back out they go.
  • They may drive you crazy when you have to constantly remind them to complete administrative tasks.  On time?  When’s that?
  • There will be several fish stories and a few whales that got away
  • Research for leads is scanning newspapers or web Career Section
  • In when the boss is, lunch with "prospects" and out of the office at 5

If you’re still gungho on taking on a Hunter, you should have a plan on how you will take care of existing customers or new customers once they’re signed.  For the sake of clarity, we’ll call them Customer Service.  Here are questions that should be addressed:
  •  Are these personnel trained to handle complex issues?
  • If existing customers are your bread and butter, should they be left in the hands of someone who may not be your most experienced employee?  
  • Is there an elevation process to move up quickly to solve issues?
  •  Does someone proactively call on customers before issues come up?
  • Who monitors your company's service level agreements are being met? 
  • Does anyone personally call on the your customer's place of business?
  • How do you promote new product offerings to existing customers?
  • Do you identify customers levels?  By revenue?  How they do business? Or frequency?   i.e. Business to Business (B2B),  mid-level, major accounts or enterprise.
  • Who can keep track of whether competitors are swimming around your customers, low-balling to get in the door, and you only find out after they've already left by the donut crumbs (zeros) on the revenue sheet?
  • If you bog your sales reps down with administrative tasks, writing their own proposals, composing RFPs from scratch, doing their own estimating, etc. etc. is it fair to call them a Hunter?

What often paralyses organizations is when you point out  “take care of your customers and your customers will take care of the bottom line” ...  or,  it takes 85% more effort to attract a new customer than it takes to keep existing customers happy.  This is where there is a disconnect.  Organizations want to pay someone commission to find the new customer and then have them move on to find more.   That is fine as long as you understand:
  • How do you define new business?  New customers or net new revenue?
  • Who manages the relationship with the customer?
  • How are you going to take care of new customers once they sign on?
  • Do you know whether the customer bought the person selling them just as much as the organization, service, product?
  • At what stage or how do they transition from the rep to someone else?
  •  How complicated is the sales process?  
  • Is pre- and post-sales support required?
  • How long are the sales cycles?
  • Is your offering transactional business that churns quickly?
  • Do you support sales efforts with captivating marketing or sales tools like brochures, samples or demos?
  • How accurately are the territories aligned?
  • Are you giving kudos to a rep who carries a $750,000 territory and increases new business by 10% and not to another rep who carries $1.5 million but only increases new business by 5%?

If you want your sales reps to do the hunting while the organization takes  care of the business they sell, that is completely fine.  However, depending on the answers above, sales cycle, ongoing involvement required, you may hire an Account Executive or Account Manager.  They come packaged looking like a  “Farmer” with most or all of the following attributes:
  • Builders of strong and lasting relationships
  • Not as high activity as their Hunter counterparts; there is a balance between hunting versus taking care of existing customers; more of latter
  • They will be thorough because they care about their reputation
  • They can be annoying by being actively concerned and want to be involved during any implementation process
  • They will do follow up, know everyone and everything about the customer
  • They’ll research a prospect, understand who’s who, what’s before they pick up the phone or enter the premises
  • Networking to them is within the context of their customers' industry so they can attend their events, see them in their own environment, with their peers and learn more about the customer's business
  • Yes, they appear to spend time doing pretty power points customized to who/what they’re presenting
  • They rely on referrals more than cold calls, because they’re warm and a testiment to their hard work and reputation
  • The new business  may not be from brand new customers, but from brand new individuals or departments within their customer base
  • There will be little clean up from over promising and under delivering
  • They will have  ideas on how to make the life of “their” customers easier
  •  They won’t turnover, as long as you recognize the value they bring
  • Don’t criticize their sales efforts, new business means new revenue 
  •  Paperwork will usually be detailed, updates whether you want it or not
  •  CRMs are conscientiously updated because they want to track and remember each customer as though each one is their only one (that is how they will be treated)
  • They won’t mind meetings as long as it is discussing their customers, resolving issues, coming up with innovative ideas to manage customers better.
  • You may wonder if that rep leaves if that customer will leave with them?
  • They will be more of a team player because they’re open to learning better ways to retain their customers or new avenues to create revenue from their warm pool.
  • Chances are while everyone else is sharing whale tales or discussing sports scores, they're at their customer's office or working at their desk; they'd rather not discuss it until its done
  • You probably don't notice what time they start in the morning, unless it seems late, failing to notice dark circles under their eyes

This sometimes circles back to organizations rethinking the original complaint that they want hunters.   Many sales managers fall short on this area.  Especially new sales managers.  Ask yourself:  as long as revenue is growing, what is the problem with feeding off existing customers?  The predisposition is to expect new customers.  Many executives love the war stories of Hunters and think that they must be doing extraordinary. What is wrong  with new revenue channels from existing customers?  Aren’t the results the same?  The challenge being, you can't rely on existing customers in the long run.

As a matter of fact, most end up with Farmers because they actually prefer the behaviours of a Farmer.    They are easier to manage.  They don’t turnover as much, nor do they strain the organization resources as much as a hunter does.  

By now, you may be irritated.  What you really want is new revenue.  Well, then you have to decide what that new revenue will look like and how it will be managed once it arrives.

Often times,  the people doing the pre-screening are not sales people.  Unfortunately, the mediocre sales pros are sometimes better at selling themselves than producing results.  The Hunter is who HR tends to gravitate towards if they're pressured to hire someone that can sell.   In some circles, Hunters can be stereotyped as “bottom feeders”.  From my perspective, if you're not careful, they'll tell you what you want to hear then afterwards eat your bottom line.

Personally, I’d opt for the person who is attentive, appears to be somewhat humble, and asks great questions.  I understand that high turnover in sales actually detracts from creating revenue streams.  Many short-lived sales people result from being fakes, not being able to add value or deliver results.  I get it that there are ones that may actually look like a Farmer but still have the Hunter instincts.  That's when you have  found Utopia.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Game of Gnomes

 I happened to capture this Tweet a few weeks back … and I’m not even online 24x7, not even an honest day’s worth of 8 hrs [I have a REAL life full time job] …. 

I have found that the latest feature that has crept up and captured my attention, for whatever that is worth [these days=nothing] Twitter has started to encapsulate conversations and link the same twitter train (essentially, what it is doing, organizing profiles under the umbrella of a, let’s call it a “Master Tweet”. If you are lucky to be included with a large number of influencers, who acknowledge by a like [heart] or a reTweet [ #RT ] can cast a much larger web.

Lamb by Catherine Darling

If you are a Bleater (a lamb’s annoying noise or cry) with content that lack substance are Bleater online …. a newly created word by me to describe online behavior that repeatedly shares lovely images of flowers, sunsets, beautiful vistas. A Bleater is a noun, as in a person.

Twitter is likely creating secret analytics and algorithm symphony to create the proverbial carrot scattered about among rabbits [ for the purpose of this story and theme, let’s say that the big BRANDS are rabbits ]. But for a uniqueness score and continued theme, brands will be called Grabbits. Grabbits could be Coca Cola, Tesla, or Trump Towers.

Grabbits are slowly developing a very large appetite for carrots. The carrots that rabbits cherish, evolved to the online, social media, world we still get a spellcheck or (insert name: Grammarly - who I use) whenever you type “influencer” or “influencers”. We can’t grammatically call them anything that sounds like SIRs because of the many GALs that share the same space.  Yes, those cute, adorable, engines working to separate you from your money.

For ease of speech and spelling, the influencers are dubbed “The Doers”. These are the people that can make or break your opinion, the popular opinion of those online {amassing and growing by leaps and bounds). The “Masses” are the obvious ‘other’ people circulating and clicking.

The Doers have developed a positive brand, reputation with a steadfast, loyal following. With authenticity continually under question online, I see how Twitter is grasping, seeing the need that Facebook has accidentally stumbled upon (Stumpleupon is still out there, FYI) how a tribe does impact your vibe. The Doers are critical of themselves mostly yet avoid detractors, sociapaths, egomaniacs, etc. [if only to share sometimes as an interest not a direction nor an opinion].

Twitter is developing the ability to keep The Doers in the same circles, refining their recommendations for whom others should follow. Wouldn’t that be cool if you ended up on that few box list? They probably can cleverly guess who is more likely to have someone click on The Doer profile based on the demographic, clicks, followers of their followers.

I’d like to call the followers “A Flower”. A flower needs nourishment in order to grow into a great thing of beauty. So all my followers are now Flowers: I hope to be able to sprinkle a little sunshine on.

To understand this, do this simple exercise: find one of your favorite quotes, settle on your favorite art and send it out to 10 people whom you enjoy reading their Tweets, would like to go beyond a connection to an ENGAGEMENT and include them in the tweet.

This will land directly in their notifications category — MUCH MORE gratifying and appealing to see the numbers grow in NOTIFICATIONS on Twitter than the Private Messages {cluttered with Spam). SPAM is the negative description for annoying interruptions to your otherwise joyful cruise online. Seemingly, screaming at you, guaranteed to be annoying to you. A SPAM is a person, a post, a tweet that is self-serving only to themselves. Self-advertising as is often disposed by the Grabbits.

Viral highjinx is the new order of the day: let’s see if we can trick people to think this is a heartwarming moment that Flowers may grow, grabbed by SPAM paid for by Grabbits.  

Thursday, July 13, 2017


So many things to aspire to and be inspired by.  Here is a gallery of quotes blended with quotes, as I prove:  PRACTICE does make PERFECT [and I have a long way to go .... and will keep trying].

I hope you like one or two ... let me know which one is your favorite or if I missed one of your's.

I am celebrating creativity.  A form of coping in a unruly world of controversy, chaos and so many decisions in the life of opportunity.  Rely on nobody else.  There is no one more invested in YOU than YOU.