There’s no doubt that sales training is an investment; but, when done right, it’s one of the smartest investments your company can make. Small improvements in selling techniques can make a huge impact on revenue. What would it mean to your sales results if your average reps were producing as well as your top performers?

We have 17 years of experience training sales teams, which means equipping them with the skills and tools they need to achieve sales goals. We are different from other training organizations because we don’t teach a one-size-fits-all course. Our curriculum is customized to your unique sales process and selling environment. Your reps will leave our course having learned and practiced the techniques they need to successfully engage with prospective customers to drive revenue.

We provide both in-person live sales training along with virtual sessions. While we love to engage in person with your teams, if you do opt for an online training experience, you can rely on our fine-tuned virtual event platform that allows you to maximize learning opportunities through group break out discussions, private and public chat features and a one-on-one coaching.

Whether you choose to hold your sales training in-person or virtually, take advantage of our Online Learning Portal which has helped hundreds of our customers’ salespeople reinforce what the sales skills they acquire in our workshops.

On the final day of their Sales Kickoff Meeting, Todd Massas, the Chief Commercial Officer for Harvest Small Business Finance, took the stage for their Awards Ceremony. This is something many organizations do to celebrate top performers and build momentum going into the new year.

During the previous two days, Flannery Sales Systems ran a Sales Process Workshop for Harvest, focusing on key selling skills they can use to improve their overall performance. We had a great time. Their participation was excellent, we were able to cover many of the challenges they face in the marketplace, and we put a plan in place for post Workshop coaching so they can continue to practice what they learned.

Back to the awards. Todd recognized many of his internal team members who produced big results and represented Harvest’s value offerings to the market—there are a lot of talented people on that team. Then, to my surprise, Todd turned toward me and began to describe the valuable contribution Flannery Sales Systems provided during the Workshop. He said he saw our services as being pivotal to their success in 2022 and invited me to the front of the room to receive a “game ball.”

I was floored. Over the years, there have been many nice things said about our team and compliments made in the form of referrals and invitations to events, but this one really impacted me. How thoughtful and kind for Todd to do this in front of teams that we had just trained, and what a powerful way to bring a partner company into the fold in a new capacity for Harvest.

Thank you, Todd and team, we are grateful for the recognition and look forward to helping your team continue to build selling competencies and provide excellent service to your customers in 2022.

In Hollywood, many films are based on true stories. Don’t let your revenue pipeline be one of them.
There are 3 macro criteria you should be looking at now (and a few subsets thereof) to determine if your revenue pipeline has enough in it to hit your goals for 2021. Listen in to this video for a description of each, and make plans to adjust if there needs to be more in development.

Have you ever experienced something that changes you in a significant way? Something that shifts the lens through which you view yourself, your work, and your relationship to the world around you?  I was lucky enough to have just this experience. I attended an event in which I had the pleasure of hearing Dawn Barry speak. Her topic was Authentic Leadership, and her message was so powerful, I felt inspired to share it with you.

Dawn Barry is currently the founder and President of Luna DNA, after spending twelve years as an executive at Illumina. Prior to entering the workforce, she attended the University of Vermont, earning her degree in Biology and playing Division 1 softball. Her entire career has been spent in the field of genomics.

But Dawn wasn’t there to talk to us about science — she was there to tell us about a turning point in her own career during which she learned what it means to lead with authenticity. In the early 2,000’s when Dawn was starting working, she was coached to lead like a stereotypical, old school, male exec. She was coached to dress a certain way. She had to maintain a serious demeanor. Feelings, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses were attributes she was taught to leave at home.

While preparing for a TEDx talk, Dawn got a sneak peek into the power of opening up and allowing her personal feelings to come forward. She was well versed in giving science talks, but her first few cuts at her TEDx talk failed to impress her coach. Her coach said, “I’m sure all this science stuff is important and interesting to you, but I’m bored. I want to know about you and why this stuff is important to you…. why should I listen to YOU?” Dawn tried again and still her coach pressed her, “where does your energy about all this stuff come from?”

Frustrated, Dawn let it all go. “I’ve been in biotech my whole life,” she said, “and watched both of my parents die of cancer over a one-year span with seemingly no insights from science – no molecular characterization of the tumor, no DNA guided drug choices, no personalized medicine. Meanwhile, I’m trying to climb the corporate ladder while taking care of my parents and raising two babies. After my parents died, I moved to California to work at Illumina headquarters to accelerate fixing this stuff.”

Her coach smiled and almost shed a tear. “Now,” he said “Now, I want to listen to you.”

By opening up, Dawn had created room for her coach and the TEDx audience to connect with her on a deeper level, and the result was powerful. Particularly in industries defined by innovation and change, leaders must emotionally connect with people in order to establish trust and encourage dialogue. Dawn’s years of projecting invincibility, of not showing her emotions, had actually hurt her ability to lead.

So, who are authentic leaders? They are genuine. They show their real selves at all times. They do not act one way in private and another in public. Authentic leaders are mission and purpose driven. Innovation is often being met with uncertainty, and that’s okay. Authentic leaders establish themselves as trusted stewards of change.

After Dawn’s talk, I spent some time thinking about what authentic leadership meant to me. I thought about how important trust and rapport are when I’m leading my training workshops — if my clients don’t trust me, how are they expected to adopt the methodologies I teach to improve their sales results?

How about the role of authenticity in the sales process itself? If a buyer doesn’t trust that a seller is motivated by fixing a legitimate business problem, rather than just make a buck, how effective can the seller possibly be? A sales person’s ability to connect on an emotional level and establish trust and rapport is critical to his overall success.

On a personal note, I find myself thinking about authenticity as it relates to other areas of my life. How I can be a more authentic husband, father and friend? How can I be brave enough to show my true self to those around me, and allow them the space to do the same?

Has authenticity played a role in your life — either personally or professionally? I’d love to hear more.

This time of year brings thoughts of Thanksgiving, Christmas and scary costumes for Halloween.  For some sales organizations it brings a number of worried thoughts and concerns as well.  Will we hit quota, is the pipeline as strong as it needs to be, and do we have the right players in place?  Are our buyers as committed to us as the information reflected in our recent correspondence? Or have they slowed the communication down?

For some, the pressure is mounting to close the year out in a strong capacity and it seems like requests are coming from every direction – senior management, buyers and the sales team.  Don’t panic.  There is time to assess the situation and make some course corrections.  Here are some solid steps you can take to bring in the 4th Quarter business:

  1. Grade your Pipeline. Do it early in the quarter (aka NOW) and often if the opportunities don’t seem as solid as desired.  Lower probability opportunities should be re-qualified and moved to 2012 if a Q4 close doesn’t seem to be realistic.
  2. Manage your Buyers. Some buyers will let the clock tick to the end of the year for concessions.    If a buyer senses that a seller is too desperate, too needy or tips his hand that he is behind budget, prepare to have your margin eroded.  Seek to establish milestones early in the quarter so buyers don’t feel like they are being pressured at Quarter’s end.  Negotiate from a position of strength.  If a seller reviews milestones with a buyer and offers Quarter 1 target dates, the buyer will believe that you have a full pipeline and may communicate a commitment to close earlier.  The seller must be strategic about allocation of time and resources.  If a buyer is not ready to move, adding them to the 2012 pipeline may be the smartest move.
  3. Maintain Business Development Activities. Start to identify opportunities for 2012.  Too often sales teams have moved from crisis to crisis and fail to understand that insufficient business development activities are the cause of the reoccurring nightmare.  Don’t buy the argument that sales staff can only step up their game under pressure.  Every major league coach knows that games are won on the practice fields and that good behaviors and performance are exhibited on game day only after detailed preparation.  Early business development activities insure that sufficient time is available for the lead to be nurtured.
  4. Assess your bench. Do you have the right people on the team?  What resources do you need to deploy to close the deals you need to hit quota?  Are additional skills and practice needed to increase your close rate?  What approaches are going to be the most effective with your buyers?  Is there an opportunity to improve the skill set of the sales team?  Can you role play the critical opportunities to maximize the potential for a successful outcome?  Is there a development plan for 2012 that you should be budgeting for now based on the assessments and opportunities for improved performance?

Frequently I am asked by management teams to attend their sales meetings, to give feedback, and to participate in how my customers are developing their revenue engines. These meetings are often designed around team building events on a beach or at a resort with a golf course. Sometimes they are dialed down meetings, designed to set the vision for the company; others are an opportunity to relax with their colleagues. Some are both (my favorites, indeed)

Recently, I’ve sat back to consider what makes a good sales manager great. A manager’s primary role is to develop the sales rep. The sales rep’s primary role is to develop the opportunity and win the business. There are four competencies that a manager needs to master to become great.

1. Set Objectives: I’ve seen managers set objectives based on their own personal experiences with no buy in from the rep. It looks like this: “All sales reps must call on 5 opportunities a week and make 20 cold calls a day.” This approach may work, but the better way would be to set objectives with the sales rep. It looks like this: “Here are the revenue objectives we are trying to meet this year. What do you think we need to do to achieve that objective?” Managers who can get buy in from the rep and set clear objectives will garner amazing performance.

2. Schedule Reviews with Agreed Information Share: Once the objectives are set and the expectations are clear- now what happens? Don’t just leave it up to your sales rep to “wing it”. If the objective is to win $500,000 new business, then discuss with the rep what types of customers they should be talking to. How many of those customers will they need to talk to reach their goal? Have them send you the follow up correspondence they are sending their customers as a checkup. Walk them through the process and the expectations for follow up and you will have repeatable success.

3. Evaluate and Coach: In my experience you can learn a lot about a sales rep’s performance from the prospect’s replies to follow up correspondence. Are the customer’s goals clearly stated? Can the capabilities provided move them closer to those goals? Are enough letters going out to show an ample pipeline? Are they talking to the right people at the company? These letters should tell all these things and more. After the evaluation, choose 1or 2 things to coach them on. It can’t be too many or the little time you have to spend with the rep will seem crowded and your coaching will be overwhelming. Tackle one skill to help them improve at a time. For example, role play with them and listen to how they position your product’s capabilities. Then tackle another skill the next time you talk or meet, soliciting their feedback on how the reinforced skill is developing.

4. Feedback and Reinforce: Look for what the sales reps do well. You’ll need to constantly reinforce the positive and maintain the foundation you’re building on. If the objectives are not being achieved, then focus on what’s going right and how that skill got you 50% there. Then work together on skills that will to get you the rest of the way. If a manager can master this skill they will not just be a great manager but a great leader as well.

As John D. Rockefeller said, “Good management consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people.” By mastering these 4 skills managers will get superior people with superior results. My management workshops are an in depth development of these skills, and I welcome an opportunity to discuss them with you.