Sales Disablement

Nov 22, 2019

We've gone from CRMs to Sales Automation and now Sales Enablement which is comprised of Tech Stacks, Social Ecosystems, Acceleration Platforms, Revenue Intelligence Machines, and even (insert favorite phrase here). 

I'm just wondering, 

  • With all this technology why is it that salespeople still have about a 50/50 chance of achieving or exceeding their quota?
  • Why is it with all this technology, executives still say that over 75% of all presentations by salespeople provided no added value?
  • With all this technology, why are salespeople only spending approximately one-third of their time on actual sales-related activities?

At times, it seems to me, that the more we engage with (depend on) technology, the less we engage (connect) with clients.  

When does sales enablement becoming sales disablement?  

VA

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The Huevón Zone

Nov 20, 2019

About a year ago, a young man whom I've known for a few years called for advice. He had a dilemma. He was offered a full scholarship to a 4-year university and was thinking of putting his training business on hold.

I asked, "Why? Why do you want the degree?"

He responded, "Well, it's free and I always wanted a bachelor's degree?"

There were three problems with his thinking:

1) Just because someone offers you something for FREE doesn't mean you should accept it.

2) Nothing is ever free! Payments come in three forms: physical, financial or psychological. Opportunity cost is real!

3) Want and Need are two things. You may WANT something, but do you NEED it? He wanted a degree but he didn't need it to be successful in his business.

After stating the above, my parting words at the time were,

"You know what you want and its to have your own business and you're tossing it away because you think you need a degree and it's free. Stop being a huevón (lazy idiot...

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Chief Friction Officer (CFO)

Nov 20, 2019

I was thinking about the book, The Effortless Experience by Dixon, Toman and DeLisi which was published in 2013. I recently discovered it a few months ago and have read it twice. It's that good!

One of the key tenets of the book is to forget about trying to 'WOW' customers and focus on simply meeting their expectations. What a novel concept!

It's not about trying to impress your customers, it's about being able to serve them (i.e., resolve issues quickly when they call in) or better yet, allow them to serve themselves (i.e., solve a problem on their own without calling customer support).

The authors used the term 'effortless' but as an engineer, I like to think in terms of friction. The more you can reduce the 'coefficient of friction' between two surfaces, the faster an object will travel.

The same holds true for a customer and an organization. Being able to reduce the friction between the two will allow for a frictionless experience allowing the relationship to evolve...

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Forecasting Failure

Nov 15, 2019

A postmortem is an examination performed on a dead body to find the cause of death. In business, a premortem (a phrase coined by Gary Klein) is an examination performed on a project which hypothetically died (failed).

A typical premortem session is performed as follows:

  • Your team is informed that Project X has been hypothetically implemented and it has failed. For example, you've implemented a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and 6 months after completion, the sales team refuses to use it.
  • The Project Leader then asks the team to write down the reason(s) why the CRM project hypothetically failed. For example, one reason could be that there was no buy-in upfront from the sales team.
  • A list of reasons for the project's hypothetical failure is then compiled.
  • The Project Leader then works with the team to find ways to prevent (or preempt) each specific 'forecasted failure'. For example, If there was no buy-in from the sales team, a...
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SMART Coaching

Nov 14, 2019

If you're a manager or a coach, here are 5 SMART questions to explore the next time a team member falls short of their target (goal):

  • Skills: Do they possess the necessary skills (e.g., knowledge, training) to perform at that level?
  • Motivation: Are they motivated enough (e.g., energy and level of excitement) to do their job?
  • Adaptability: Do they have the ability to change (e.g., strategy and tactics) with the market?
  • Resources: Dod they have the resources (e.g., money, mentors, tools) they needed to get the job done?
  • Time: Did they allocate their time to the right tasks (i.e., high leverage activities)?

Use the SMART framework for an honest coaching discussion of "What happened?" Hopefully, you'll be able to identify areas of improvement to ensure success or at a minimum improve performance.

VA

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Reading Rules

Nov 13, 2019

I have a confession to make. I am a slow reader. I don't know what it is but my brain is constantly stuck in first gear when it comes to reading the content.

I struggle to read but I love to read. What a conundrum!

Nonetheless, I read on average about 2-3 books a month following these rules:

Rule #1: Be clear WHY you're reading the book. What do you want from it? What information are you seeking? Think Easter Egg hunt!

Rule #2: Find your WHEN (book by @danielpink). We all have a time of day when we are highly focused. I'm a morning reader so I'm up at 5:30.

Rule #3: Read for 30 minutes...at least that's what I tell my brain. I usually end up reading for 45 minutes before my brain taps out.

The most important rule...

Rule #4: The '100 Page Rule' - If I'm bored or unimpressed when I reach page 100, I stop reading. I donate the book to Goodwill and move onto the next.

Do you have a "Reading Rule" you can share? I'd love to hear it!

VA

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Cancel Culture

Nov 12, 2019

A colleague of mine was delivering a workshop to 80 people. During the workshop, he showed a slide with the following quote by Mike Tyson,

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

One of the participants was so distraught at seeing this quote that the person had to leave the room. The slide apparently triggered some deep-seated animus for Tyson.

During the next break, the organizers of the event confronted my colleague about the slide. He was confused and shocked given that the context of the quote was about business and planning.

Nevertheless, he offered to apologize to the group but the company leaders decided it would be best that he pack up his things and leave thereby ending the full-day workshop; which I estimate cost the company about $100,000.

A missed opportunity for everyone!

A real leader would've (1) allowed my colleague to resume the workshop with an apology and clarification, and (2) use the incident as a learning moment for everyone. And, who knows,...

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Business Samurai

Nov 12, 2019

 

I love watching Samurai movies; especially those that capture the mood of Japanese culture during the 16th and 17th centuries.  

I'm also a fan of Akira Kurosawa (Films: RAN, Yojimbo, Seven Samurai, and Rashomon). Kurosawa has a way of exploring and revealing the bushido of the Samurai of that time period.

Bushido is a moral code of honor developed by the Japanese samurai that centers around eight principles:

  1. Justice
  2. Courage
  3. Benevolence
  4. Politeness
  5. Honesty
  6. Honor
  7. Loyalty
  8. Character 

These principles should be universal in any culture, more specifically, a business culture. 

A real leader is one who embodies the 8 principles of bushido and is able to institutionalize them into their organization. That is the essence of a true business samurai.

VA

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Chappelle's Close

Nov 08, 2019

Comedian Dave Chappelle said, "I actually write my jokes backward." He thinks of a random funny punchline, he writes it down on a piece of paper, puts it in a fishbowl and when inspiration strikes, he comes up with a funny story that 'lands' on that punchline.

For example, his punchline was, "And,... I Kicked Her in the Butt!" (Note: I've cleaned up the actual line)

Sometime later in the Netflix special, Chappelle ends a random story on that very punchline! Shocking the audience into laughter and demonstrating once again why he's one of the best comics today!

This got me to thinking about how we 'ask' for things; especially in selling. What if we try a Chappelle Close. Instead of trying to learn 101 clever closes, why not come up with one good 'closing line' and build a value story around it.

VA

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