Wednesday, 26 October 2011

War Room Sales

Sometimes sales teams need to consider a specific sales strategy and focus for key customers, especially if they make up a considerable percentage of your organisations business. Just lately I have been working with a customer where we have a war room for selling. Here are the tips, tricks and traps for war room selling.

In my mind, war rooms look like Winston Churchill's WWII Cabinet War Rooms, model ships laid out, tanks and soldiers to bring focus and plan implementation. Always in a bunker with a large map and table in the middle. For sales the concept holds true. 

In a challenging sales environment, assemble your key sales people, set aside a space and start to build a visual, focused and structured sales offensive.

The space – A room with plenty of bare walls, whiteboards and flip charts. A research computer with internet access, basic tables and chairs and lots of paper and pens. Less is more. More of what matters counts.

The sales vision – Write it down and stick it up on the wall. Include key strategies for sales success and the purpose and prime objectives of the space. Start with the end in mind.

The process – Once you have the vision, map your 80/20. Who or what are the 20% that give you 80% return? Who are the key clients that you need to develop - switching cost, relationships of sales intimacy and extension into wallet share. Mind map each customer on their current state, covering every detail you know about them, then everything you need to know.

Innovate – When all the mind maps are done, begin to consider your plan of attack. Don't go straight into action! Consider first the opportunity in each client. Agree that there is, or is not, an opportunity to grow. Then map ideas. Go wild! Seth Godin 'Purple Cow' style and then action.

Action and implementation – Now use the old one page plan method to action up each client attack plan. See the video on our YouTube channel or contact us for instructions.

People – This is a great opportunity to select a strong team to mange the process. Choose your best soldiers then run a specific 8-week cycle where you meet regularly, set targets then review and refine. Celebrate your steps to success. It can be fun, a great learning environment and who knows, may just increase sales.

Remember, the key for selling to big zebras is winning the wars not the battles!


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Selling in a downward economy

"Train my sales people – fast!". As the world goes once again into a giddy spin, I'm hearing this time and time again. Let's take a look at the mechanics and dynamics of sales effectiveness, and why sales performance may not be improving?

Sales training has been around for a long time, see John Patterson's NCR Primer from 1887, and every year we see old ideas tossed aside to make way for the new.

It is reported that in 2008, US corporations spent around $6 billion on sales performance improvement, yet sales productivity (pre-recession) was down.

On Amazon there are 40,000+ "how to sell" books and 12,000+ on "sales techniques". Social media and blogs are teeming with daily offerings, free webinars, articles, ebooks, videos, everyone is searching for help to improve sales capabilities.

There are numerous surveys, reports, magazines and firms, including ourselves, circling around sales and marketing ineffectiveness. Add to this Sales 2.0, apps, Facebook, Squidoo, LinkedIn and copious other associations and groups.

People are looking for help. So what Boiler, you may ask?

To us, and many others in the field of sales training, the core issues of sales ineffectiveness are clear. There's plenty of sound advice and answers for anyone that cares to look. There's a proven process, that when properly applied, works.

Regardless whether organisations are large or small, some act and find success while others do nothing and never change.

So, GFC, interest rates, retail slumps aside, why is sales as a profession and function, going backwards?

Dynamics, I think.

It's the attitude of sales people, sales leaders and directors to the function of selling. The loss of passion, attitude and drive to be outstanding sales professionals. Business people who sell.

Rarely mentioned, dynamics are deemed soft and very hard to measure, so often considered not important. Yet in every role, in every business, the whole person comes to work and must be engaged fully – both mechanics and dynamics.

Are your sales team committed to the art and profession of selling? Do they have the energy to be Sales Cats or just mechanical reps, "order takers?" Do you lead, coach and or manage the whole person?

Challenge this idea and let us know the results.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Farewell Steve Jobs

Banjar Group would like to acknowledge the passing of Steve Jobs and recognise the innovative brilliance of the Apple co-founder. 

In our work we often reference the address that Steve Jobs made to the Stanford Graduates on June 12, 2005. In this talk he pointed out the importance of “connecting the dots.”

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, and karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

If it wasn’t for Steve dropping out of College he may have never taken a calligraphy class that showed him how to make type beautiful. This opportunity resulted in the creative simplicity of Mac’s, not to mention the beautiful typography, multiple typefaces and proportionally spaced fonts!

Steve often commented that being fired from Apple was the best thing that ever could have happened to him. It freed him to enter one of the most creative periods in his life. The result of this creativity was Pixar.

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

In closing, Steve made mention of a publication, The Whole Earth Catalog. A bible for his generation it was full of ideas, tools and notions. In the days before personal computers it was lovingly hand-made.

“On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it was the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.”

Our wish for all is to find what you love and do your best at it. Never stop looking for what is right and what makes you happy or makes a difference. 

Vale Steve Jobs.

You can read the full Commencement address here.