0 comments on “What Drives Your Sales & How Do You Get More?”

What Drives Your Sales & How Do You Get More?

The growth of sales

Do you know what your process looks like that drives sales?   Are there certain actions and activities that yield meetings and sales?  A lot of businesses do not know the answer to this question.  Great businesses do.  They know that there is a number for each of their sales staff to accomplish day in and out that will yield results that the company has set as their targets.

If you believe sales just happen I encourage you to finish reading this and in the end, see if you still feel the same. By the time we are done you will be defining your process. There is a process behind everything with very, very rare exceptions.  So, let’s take a look at it from a real business perspective.  Every proactive sale starts with a customer contact.  A contact can be a phone call, in-person visit or an email for a few examples. Those then tend to lead to a meeting and that meeting may involve others, etc.  For some businesses, the sale happens at this meeting and for others, there is a proposal step back at the office and then another meeting to present this plan to the customer again.  At this meeting, the “yes” or the “no” take place on the deal.

If we track these events over time, say for 6 months, we can start to determine our sales effectiveness process or SEP.  This is a term we use at The Growth Factory when we help you build out your metrics to show at each step in the process the number(s) needed to drive the next result.  SEP workshops are incredibly beneficial for not only you as an owner or sales leader, but for your team to really see what behavior they must increase to keep the sales funnel producing.  We start at your closed sales and work back.  For example, it might look like this:

  1. Closed Sale to get here took…
  2. 4 proposal meetings with a customer to get here took…
  3. 20 prospect meetings to get those took…
  4. 100 initial contacts with a customer.

In this example, we can start to draw out some metrics. For every 100 initial contacts, we can create a closed sale. So, if our business needs 5 closed sales a week we need to make sure we are having 500 contacts taking place within that cycle timeline you determined.  If you really look at your business I know you will see the same types of flow to your sales.  Through a SEP session, you can learn the number of sales contacts that have to happen to yield your goals for the year.  You will then know if you have the right staffing and tools available to make this happen as well.  The first step is tracking your data through your own system or a CRM system.  Take the time to do this if you have not and we will guarantee you your sales will grow if you increase the right behavior that is the start to your SEP (Sales Effectiveness Process).

Wishing you Growth and Great Selling

Tim

0 comments on “Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?”

Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?

businessman with the weight

When it comes to selling our need to be busy and active will often convince us that following our sales process is not necessary.  When we have a process, and we utilize it, it is important to work the whole process and not jump in and out or skip around it.  A process by definition is a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.  In the case of selling the end is a sale.  Just by thinking about the definition it should be clear why following a process will yield success.  We avoid things that seem like hard work.  By nature, most people if left to their own choices will choose the easy way out.  Taking shortcuts and skipping steps in our minds is a smart thing to do and by doing so we undermine our process and success.

The sales process for most businesses follows steps that look something like this.

  1. Identify prospect
  2. Qualify prospect
  3. Meet to gain understanding and discover pain
  4. Build a plan to address the pain
  5. Meet to reveal the plan and attempt to close the sale
  6. Rework the plan to match customer changes and close sale
  7. Recalibrate after the sale moves forward to remain in sync and grow account

So, if we follow the above process there is not a step in there that is more important than another.  If you leave any one step out or do not fully complete one you will have a reduced chance of success.  It is hard to ask great questions of your customer to find their pain if you have not spent the time in steps 1 and 2 to find out all you can about the account and make sure it meets the model for your business to have success.  Looking at the process we achieve success by bringing the client along with us we ease their fears by providing proof of our ability to handle an account like theirs.  We do this through client testimonials or other hands-on knowledge of our capabilities.  When we pitch our solution and attempt the close we match the client’s employees at the buying table.  We want to show and demonstrate the value that we see in them and our team that is ready to stand alongside and work with them to find success. So, if they have the owner present our owner will be there as well.  We want to have Subject Matter Experts (SME) present in areas like IT or Digital Marketing to show our strengths or reach in a specific area.

If we do the steps in our process we will find success awaits at the end.  If your business does not have a formal sales process maybe it should.  Don’t be your own worst enemy. The Growth Factory is here to support you in building out your process or just having a review of your current process and maybe freshening up your team on how to sell successfully.  Let us know how we can help you grow your businesses success.

Tim

0 comments on “Why Did The Growth Stop?”

Why Did The Growth Stop?

Stagnation or Growth Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

“Why did my business stop growing?”  This question comes in many forms.  It often presents itself in times of challenge and all out panic.  Right out of the gate many companies can grow when they serve a niche market or have solved a valuable problem with a widget.  That initial growth comes easy with an overwhelming market demand.  But, often the business or the CEO/Owner of the business is fooled into thinking they’re leading the growth.  They tend to think that their sales team is the best in the market or their sales leadership is top notch and they believe it will always be this way.   They quote how much growth they achieved in the early years as a badge of honor and something that will continue on forever.  The unknown success is a curse or a nail in the coffin unless the business takes the time to understand the why behind their business that’s really making the customers turn to them.  As Author Simon Sinek states, “Customers don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

Different businesses will run for varying lengths of time before hitting the wall or plateau as some will call it.  Those that hit it sooner are always easier to try and get back on course as behaviors are not as deeply set.  Other businesses can go for 15 – 20+ years before the problems hit and they’re convinced of their knowledge so they refuse to look inward for the opportunity to fix their lack of growth.  As a leader, this is where having openness and vulnerability will make all the difference in the world.  But wait, how many leaders/owners really operate that way.  Yes, really very few are willing to listen openly to the challenges and input from their management team, employees and especially their customers.  They will go back to what’s comfortable and think it’s innovative because they want it to be.  The business is not listening to the market or the customer they’re listening to themselves and will continue to try to grow by repeating past strategies and behaviors.

The one cure to this challenge is regular meetings where management is brought together and spends time redefining core values, core focus, and market needs.  By having a continuous trusting and open dialogue the business will have the opportunity to evolve to the market and customer feedback.  As the business owner, we can apply filters to what we hear and convince ourselves that our current direction will still work until it is too late and we are too far behind the market to catch up.

Don’t let this happen to you and your business.  The Entrepreneurial Operating System builds in the quarterly checks and forces the business to stay in tune to the market and customer’s changing demands.  Companies that fully implement EOS have grown by an average of 18% per year while eliminating a lot of common frustrations.  Let EOS build Traction in your business.  The Growth Factory is here to support your business at any step along this path of continuous growth.

Wishing you success and growth

Tim

0 comments on “Quit Chasing Squirrels!”

Quit Chasing Squirrels!

Focus Concept Clipped Cards and Lights

Everything in business moves faster and happens easier when everyone is moving in the same direction or following the same plan.  One of the most critical things we can do as business leaders are to make sure we align core values throughout the organization.  After core values are set and we are following them we must stick with the core focus of the business.  When a business has this focus, there is tremendous growth driven by a clarity of the vision seen by all.

Like all things, this is easier said than done.  For business leaders, owners and entrepreneurs there is always that fever for more growth and doing more.  Most of the time it becomes satisfied by going outside of your core strengths.  Businesses believe that since we do so well with “A” we should go ahead and enter market “Z”.  This is the downfall for many as they try to chase hot markets or expand well beyond their core focus.  Once the errors of those ways come to surface resources have been squandered and key customers have been lost, maybe even lost employees.  While it may seem easy to take on other business opportunities the result is moving outside of your businesses sweet spot.  When this happens and the product/service is not performing, more resources are thrown at it because we never think it’s not the right product. We tend to think that we just must be doing something wrong.  Then the dust settles and it’s realized that the product/service is not a fit and it has failed.  Ultimately, your business has paid the price through loss of various resources as we discussed above.

It is critical to determine your real core values and then take those to create your core focus.  By doing this the clarity of your core values will bring into focus what you are looking for.  That core focus should come from answering just a few simple questions.  At the Growth Factory, we help clients find that core focus by walking them down the discovery path of what truly makes their business unique and help them to build on it. We work with you to find the “WHY” behind your business.

Once you have this direction set it becomes really easy to ignore all those pesky squirrels that want to take you off course to chase them somewhere you don’t need to go.  Let your competition chase them while you grow by delivering the best product/service to the right customers.

Wishing you great growth!!

Tim

0 comments on “Speed Up Growth & Gain Traction”

Speed Up Growth & Gain Traction

Traction Gaining Ground Momentum Speedometer Measure Progress

Typically, I spend time in my blogs providing helpful advice and information to make you a better leader or manager.  Today will be no different but it is in the form of a product we offer at The Growth Factory.  Many people do not know what the EOS process means for your business.  We are professional EOS implementers so I’d like to spend my time today filling in some of the questions you might have about EOS.  The book “Traction” by Gino Wickman is the best resource to help you understand the key components of the EOS system.

As a small business owner, myself, it often feels as if there are a hundred different things I need to focus on.  It’s easy to see how “Traction” applies not only to business owner’s but also to sales leaders.  You could argue (correctly) that running a sales organization is not much different from running a company.

Every great company needs an Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).  And every EOS consists of 6 core areas of focus:

Vision
People
Data
Issues
Process
Traction

These areas are not new to most of us, but tying them together into a cohesive operating plan is what we most struggle with.  Here, I will briefly take a deeper dive into the 6 areas.

Vision
EOS lays out what’s called a Vision Traction Organizer (V/TO) to help simplify the process.  A sample V/TO is provided in the book.  We provide complete user guides to the EOS process that contain all the tools in the system.

It will be important to create your team’s vision.  You’ll need to get it out of the thought process and down on paper to make it easier to track and to work with.

There are 8 core questions that must be asked and answered and it provides an action plan for creating and communicating the vision.

People

EOS will introduce you to the People analyzer tool.  It will match your core values to those you are hiring or those you might be promoting or moving within the organization.

We have all heard about the importance of having the right people on the bus.  This builds on that concept with helping to identify those people more accurately.

The “right person” is determined by whether they share the company’s core values.
The “right seat” has to do with the “Accountability Chart”.

The accountability chart (an improved version of the org chart) forces you to view your organization in a different way and to address people issues that have possibly been holding you back for years.

Data

We need data in order to measure the success of our efforts.  Nowhere is this truer than in sales.  But the best leaders, rely on just a handful of numbers to manage their business.  Whether it’s five numbers or fifteen, they should all be monitored using a scorecard.  A scorecard keeps the measurement process from becoming overwhelming and it also ensures the process is meaningful.

As you learn and move deeper into the system you will learn there are 3 rules of thumb for effective scorecards.  I will save those for another time or call us and we will get rolling on your numbers and metrics.

As you’ll see in the sample scorecard provided in the book, each number is assigned to one person who is ultimately responsible for the results.

Issues

Often the thing that drains energy from people and organizations is unresolved issues. Traction outlines a process that helps leadership teams quickly dig to the root of an issue, discuss solutions, and then decide.

It is the decision that’s most important.  Indecisiveness it seems can have a more negative impact on an organization than making wrong decisions.  To help you tackle issues quickly and effectively EOS uses IDS or identify, discuss and solve to break issues down and solve them effectively.

Issues will exist at all levels of your business.  The main key is prioritizing them and then knocking them out one by one.

Process

In the sales profession, the process is a hot topic.  The more clearly you can define and standardize on a sales process, the theory goes, the more you can replicate success.  So, this chapter specifically, should resonate with sales leaders.

A typical organization runs by 6-10 core processes.  How they work together is the system.  This chapter helps you systemize your core processes if they are not already in that state.  Once there, you can refine them, simplify them, and make them consistent throughout your organization.

Traction

Most leaders know that bringing discipline and accountability to an organization will make people a little uncomfortable. You don’t have any other option if you want to build a great company. The good news is that short-term discomfort will give way to long-term satisfaction and traction.

Traction comes to life through 2 things that are core to this process.  Prioritizing the critical things that need to be accomplished (goals/objectives called rocks) and meeting regularly to hold yourself and team accountable for getting these things done.  This regular meeting “pulse” is itself a key to the success of the plan.

Traction contains all the tools and components that make up the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). If you can master the individual elements of EOS you’ll have the traction you need to realize the vision and growth for your company.

0 comments on “Stop Talking & Start Leading”

Stop Talking & Start Leading

Stop Talking Indicates Warning Sign And Blather

Too many managers forget this simple rule.  We have 2 ears and one mouth for a good reason. We should use them that away.  Managers have a tendency to feel like they have to be talking in order to show they’re in charge or lead of the situation.  We often fail to remember that communication is a 2-way street.  In the case of leadership, it should probably be 2 lanes coming at us and one lane going with us.

If we could learn to listen 67% of the time and talk 33% we would be miles ahead of most managers in 2017.  Statistics show that 65% of managers talk up to 75% of the time and during that other 25% they may be thinking of what to say next and still not even listening to their team.  Today I would like to focus on just one technique to help even this out a bit for all of us.

When meeting with an individual or team start to think about the number of questions you ask versus the number of statements you make.  We should be shooting for almost 3 questions for every 1 statement.  I know you are saying “But Tim, how do I show my importance and overall command over the situation if I am asking questions and not making statements?”  To that, I say you must unlearn that misconception of leadership. This technique is the exact right place for you to start.

So, we will be asking the 5 “W’s” – who, what, where, why and when questions.  This alone is a game changer.  When your responses go from “You should have done…” or “Next time that happens make sure you…”  and you start saying “What do you think you need to do” or “Based on the information you just shared, what do you think our next step should be” amazing things start happening.  Your teams’ confidence increases almost immediately and they will show more independence.  This, in turn, saves you time by not having to be bothered with every little thing.  You should get used to that because I know how much we love to knock out those rapid-fire answers to those softball questions that should never have made it to us in the first place.

You will move from talker to leader and your team will thank you as they grow and believe in themselves more and more with every new opportunity they manage.  I hope this helps you grow and your business to do the same.

Wishing you that growth and success.

Tim

0 comments on “Sugar Coating + Criticism = Trouble”

Sugar Coating + Criticism = Trouble

White sugar cubes in a boat

Over time, it happens to all of us.  As a new manager/leader there comes a point when you must deliver that first bit of criticism or coaching that you know will not be what the employee wants to hear.  Often, out of fear of how to deal with that conversation we head down the sugar-coating path in an effort to soften the effects it has on that employee.  On the other hand, there could be an experienced manager who comes into a similar situation and decides to not be so direct.  After all, what can it hurt?

So what, you might ask.  What is the harm in trying not to be quite so direct?  Well, it boils down to a couple of simple things.

  1. Mixed messaging – “Am I doing it right or wrong?”
  2. Loss of respect from your team – “I wish my manager would just tell me where I stand.”

When necessary, give honest, genuine and direct criticism.  It’s not personal, it’s business and there are expectations.  So be efficient with the conversation and avoid taking the long road to explaining where they’re lacking.  That long road is where the sugar coaters live.  It is in those moments that we’re not being direct and clearly honest.  We start looking for ways to soften what we should say.  In the end, if that’s what we’ve done, we have failed our employee.  They will respond better to an honest message than they will if they’re unsure about what it is, exactly, that you are saying to them.  No one likes to hear when they are not doing something up to standard.  However, you are doing them a big disservice when you don’t help them to correct and avoid the same mistake from reoccurring.

So, lay off of the sugar, let the words do the heavy lifting in your conversations and your team will thank you.

Wishing you Growth!!

Tim

0 comments on “What Did You Do Today?”

What Did You Do Today?

Weltmacht USA

How many times in our lives did we hear the question, “What did you do today”?  Those 5 words would hang in the air and our response had the full attention of mom, dad or both.   Depending on our age the response was either simplistic and straightforward or our older more mature responses were intentionally vague to keep others guessing at what was going on inside our worlds.  It was always a probe sent out by mom and dad to see what was going on with this alien-like teenager they didn’t fully understand.  It seemed reasonable that a response would be shared based on the conversation starter they threw out.  They missed the part where most teens learned that single syllable responses ended parents quest the fastest.

Well, all those fun memories aside, it’s time to start answering this question again today.  What did you do today?  Did you make a difference in the world today?  Did you impact someone’s life positively?  What impact did you have over the 8-9 hours you were in the world on your own?  Is there something or someone to show for your time?  Maybe there was a life you changed in some small way through your actions.  Maybe there was a decision that changed due to your work and effort.  All these things add up to your mark in the world and you are writing it every day.  We all need to think about the traces of ourselves we leave behind.  Hopefully, we want the impact to be a positive one.  Are we doing the right acts for that to happen?  If you feel like you might not be doing the proper things up to this point that’s the beauty of the process.  Change now, make your traces powerful and remembered by others going forward.

As we sat back on this Memorial Day and remembered all the veterans who answered this question 90, 60 or 10 years ago with the most powerful answer to give; do we realize that we have a long way to go before we’ve sacrificed much at all?  Reflecting on the purpose of Memorial Day we recognize that if not for those brave men and women who are willing to lay down their life for a bigger purpose we would not be in this great country we find ourselves in today.  We may not even have the freedoms to ask this question.  Go out every day to answer the question, “What did you do today”?  Give it everything you’ve got and leave nothing behind.  Our mission at The Growth Factory is to help create and develop better leaders and managers to have an overall impact on their companies and every person they come into contact with.  We hope you find your purpose and live it out to the best of your abilities.

Wishing you Good Growth.

Tim

0 comments on “Love Your Day Job & Find Your Passion”

Love Your Day Job & Find Your Passion

do what you love word abstract

It has been said that “If you do what you love you will never work a day in your life”.  We all know this is true, but the challenge is being able to find it and support our life responsibilities at the same time.  We all have things we love to do, things that make us happy and enjoy life.  Then, we go to work and we do something different.  So, how do you combine what excites and motivates you with your everyday job?  This is the magic that’s needed to change our point of view.  Do what you love and reduce the things that hold you back.

Here is the reality of where we stand.  Most of us do not have a job that fulfills our passion.  It is said that less than one-third of graduates are even coming out into jobs related to their majors.

WOW!!  It’s not a simple task to find our passion against these odds.  Right now, I want you to look yourself in the mirror and say “If I want it, I can find it”,  and repeat “If I want it, I can find it”.  Now, let’s dig into beginning the process of making this happen.

Today I am not going to tell you to quit your job and start your own e-business or anything like that.  Of course, if you can follow your passion that way, by all means, do it.  I want to focus on the 75% of the population that is taking care of their family or themselves with a career that falls short of their passion.  So, how do you bring that into your current situation?  If we can think of our life as a puzzle it takes a lot of pieces to put us all together.  The key is bringing the passion pieces of your puzzle to the forefront more often.  Here are a few ideas of what I mean.

  1.  Look for a project you can volunteer for with an opportunity to express your creative side that’s held back with your daily work.
  2. Look for a charitable connection at your job that will allow you to combine a work skill with a great community outreach that more closely aligns with your passion.
  3. Look for a position in another department that may allow you to move closer to what it is that you’re truly looking for.
  4. Be an idea generator. See if you can think of a new product or concept for your business that allows you the opportunity to create an ideal job.
  5. Help others achieve more. For many, your passion can be fed through others rather than yourself.  So, do all you can to help increase the role of others in what you do.  Standing in the shadows and watching the success of a team can fulfill certain individuals.  If that’s you, find a way.
  6. Use a tool like Linkedin and start connecting with individuals that can create a bridge to your goal.  Find others with the passion role you seek and start up a conversation.  Don’t be afraid to show humility in reaching out to folks whom you share that same passion with.  After all, what is there to lose?  Several people I know have created their own opportunity this way.

My point is this.  If you sit here and complain, nothing will happen to take you in a positive direction closer to your passion and doing what you love.  That is unacceptable! As a coach and a leader, I want more for you than that.  I want to see people reaching their goals.  The reason I do what I do is to help make that happen every day.  Life is full of pathways we must choose to take.  So, please start choosing them with the end in mind.  Seek your desires and strive to go for it rather than heading for the cliff like lemmings.  Be inspired, “go for it” and try to reach that place, that job, that business, that charity or whatever it is you desire to make every day a pleasure and not feel like work at all.

Good Luck and Great Growth in all you do.

Tim

0 comments on “Put Me In, Coach!”

Put Me In, Coach!

Sitting on the benchAs cliché as that title is I had to use it.  It conjures up the correct mindset for the blog. Since I have you picturing in your mind some time in the past when you were in pee wee football, t-ball, softball, volleyball you name it and you can recall looking to a coach and asking for playing time or just some attention.

In business, coaching takes on a different but similar approach and impact to your employees.  They are looking to you for mentoring and help to achieve the next job opportunity or project.  You, as the leader, have a responsibility to your team to make each one of your team members consistently better.

How do you do it???  “TOSS EM” the ball and let them run!

If you have read any of my prior blogs you know I’m a guy that likes to have a plan for things.  Sometimes it’s in a formula and sometimes in an acronym.  Mentoring and coaching come down to following a certain path with your team and helping them get to where you need to take them.  So, here is an acronym for you “TOSS EM”.

“T” – Trust.  It is the key to great coaching and it’s required.  If your team does not trust you nothing else will matter.  Building trust takes time.  Doing what you say you will do when you say you’ll do it.  Also, offering a certain level of transparency to your team so they’re able to clearly see your motives.

“O” – Open the door and release talent.  This simply means that as a great coach and leader, under most circumstances, you know that your team will operate better if they’re left to themselves to work through things with their own creativity and talents and not be micromanaged each step of the way.

“S” –  Status Quo must go.  Allowing things from the past and the “we always have done it that way” limit your creativity and output as a team or individual is a killer.  So, as a coach, you must make sure you remove any of those barriers that might be there and allow the team to move freely and creatively

“S” –  Simple Strategic Goals.  You must help the individuals set clear, easily definable and achievable goals.  Goals must be easy to measure and have accountability built into them.

“E” – Execution.   Execution of goals, plans and projects are critical.   Setting all the goals is great, but getting the work done correctly and on time is confidence to help the individual grow and want to take on more and more over time.

“M” – Make feedback a priority.  Slow down and listen.  The feedback I am talking about here is the individual and teams feedback to you, not yours to them.  You should be ready to listen to suggestions and be open minded to considering a change.  Once you have heard what the team needs to say then it is fair game to offer your own observations to help them as well.  Just don’t shut down their feedback or ever retaliate with feedback to them for what they said to you.  That will not only destroy feedback but it will destroy trust and any chance you have of being a successful coach.

Look out for your team and “TOSS EM” the ball.  Chances are they will run up the score for you.

Wishing you growth and success.

Tim