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Jason Atkins, Incentive

TSE 1113: Leveraging Sales Incentive Data to Increase Performance and ROI

Jason Atkins, Incentive
Sales is equal parts art and science and one of the keys to success is leveraging sales incentive data to increase performance and ROI.
Jason Atkins is the founder of 360 Insights, a software platform that enables large brands to execute all of their channel incentive strategies. Jason’s company works with tens of thousands of salespeople who work for major brands and helps them get smarter and make data-driven decisions.

Critical data

Many people believe that sellers must be born with the skillset to succeed. We believe that anyone with a desire to sell can succeed and get the proper training. Understanding data will help tremendously.
The art of sales deals with the relationships, the conversation handling, and dealing with objections. The science of sales revolves around data and activities.
Jason recalled hearing that we’ve created more data in the last year than in all of mankind combined. That kind of growth is exponential. Think about how much data that represents.
So how do you mine through the data and leverage the insights contained within it? How do you make the data actionable?

Leveraging data

Many companies believe that consumers buy products become of promotions or rebates. Jason’s company doesn’t believe that’s always accurate. Their response to these situations is that they’ll track the data and the consumer purchase information, and they’ll figure out why the consumers bought what they did.
What they found was that the promotion was the fourth reason the consumer purchased. The number one reason was “because the sales guy told me to buy it.”
The question becomes why are you so focused on the promotion when you should be focused on the key drivers to the relationship?
Consider how you’re educating the buyer about your product. How are they ensured that you’re the trusted advisor?
Purchases are a big decision, and people often buy based upon advice from others. How are you leveraging that to ensure that you provide great advice?

Status quo

Many of us make choices based upon the status quo. Zig Ziglar tells a story that his wife always cut the ends off of the meatloaf without really knowing why. Turns out her mother did the same thing because the meatloaf was always too big for the pan she had. But no one knew that’s why she did it. Zig’s wife just always cut the ends off without knowing why.
In sales, we often do things because that’s how our company has always done it. Instead, we should look at the data and determine what is actually most effective.
Jason’s company always deals in context for the data. In the case of the meatloaf, no one had context for why the ends were cut off.
Determine the context for decisions that were made in the past, then look at the hypothesis of what we should be doing in the future. Then we can execute against that and then measure it.

Executing sales incentives

One of the first keys is to understand why people sell what they sell. Jason’s company started by interviewing 1,500 sales reps to determine why they sell what they sell. They determined that sellers do so because of quality, because of price point, because of brand, because they’ve been educated, to ensure happy customers, because they want to know what’s in it for them, and because they of the relationship they have with the brand.
People don’t want to sell something that isn’t great. They like to buy something they’ve heard of before, so new brands often struggle.

Creating sales incentive

Focus on building data around the data you have, and building context so you can get to better decisions.
Start by understanding the customer journey and the decisions that are made throughout that journey. Then align the incentives across the journey. At the end of the day, an incentive is just a motivation tactic to get to a specific action.
Incentives might include rebates that are perceived as price discounts, sales incentives that motivate a seller to keep a specific brand top of mind, or volume incentives to drive sales into locations.
If you want to run an incentive program, don’t think about the incentive. Instead, think about the customer journey and identify opportunities to use incentives to drive actions.

Customer journey

Many silos exist in larger companies. Certain teams in the company understand different components of the buyer’s journey. It’s really important to bring all those silos together to understand the complete journey.
In the early days of incentives, many companies intentionally made rebates difficult to submit in hopes that consumers wouldn’t actually send them in. But in a digital and social age, that kind of program is problematic. Brands realized that this kind of program could backfire.
Jason’s company saw a huge opportunity to step in and create an unbelievable experience for the consumer. Instead of a rebate being the last touch point a brand had with its consumers, the rebate should now be the basis of the next journey they have with you.
Many organizations have people now that understand all of the customer touch points so they can actually start to map them out.

Looking back and forward

Think about insights and data in terms of looking backward and looking forward. Most companies look backward on a monthly or weekly basis. Jason’s goal is to encourage companies to forecast so they can start to optimize as a company.
If someone comes to us with $1 million we can help them figure out what to do with it to drive sales.
Then imagine being a salesperson who has a conversation where you’re talking to your customer about what’s happening in his competitors’ businesses. You can demonstrate the results the competitor is getting and the things they are doing. That’s unbelievable data that can help your clients make better decisions.

Model the masters

There’s plenty of material to read about leveraging data. Attend webinars and then model the masters. Find the people who are doing this the best and then model the activity they are doing.
When Jason launched his company, he discovered that there was one seller who earned more than $1 million in sales incentives from about five or six different brands over the course of a year. The person was crushing it because he saw a huge opportunity to move traditionally brick-and-mortar sales to online selling.
Look at the people who are doing things differently. Find those who are challenging the status quo. It takes tenacity to be successful as a seller.
Understand the customer journey from beginning to end. Understand the data that happens through the journey and then figure out how to leverage that.

“Leveraging Sales Incentive Data to Increase Performance and ROI” episode resources

You can connect with Jason at He and his team love to talk to people and have great conversations about sales.

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

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Sales Vision, Daily Planning, The Sales Evangelist, No Vision

TSE 997: Where There is No Vision The Salesperson Perishes

Sales Vision, Daily Planning, The Sales Evangelist, No VisionWhere there is no vision the people perish, and that’s especially true in sales. Because we aren’t constructing physical structures like houses or sidewalks, the game of sales is largely mental, and it requires a visionary mindset.

The book Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, now available as a free download,  addresses the importance of vision and what can happen when you don’t have an eye on the future.

Vision for salespeople

Vision demands that we look beyond the work that we’re doing today. It demands that we look into the future, perhaps to the end of the quarter or the end of the year. In some cases, we’ll look to the end of five or 10 years.

Without vision, you won’t progress and you won’t grow.

We may imagine the worst-case scenario, and then we find ourselves in a loop, playing it over and over in our heads.

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps shared his strategy of playing a “tape” of a perfect race in his head. His coach encouraged him to imagine how it would feel to win, the accomplishment he’d experience, and then think about that over and over.

Positive loop

Michael had a positive loop playing in his head, so even when he found himself making bad decisions, he was able to get back on track quickly. He had a tenacious drive to succeed.

I worked with a guy once who always saw life through a negative lens. He could turn the very best outcomes into negative scenarios.

If he won the lottery, he’d likely complain about driving to Tallahassee to claim his prize, or about the fact that he had to pay taxes on his winnings.

You may work with people like this.

Avoid getting pulled into their negative mindset. When you spend large amounts of time around these people, you may allow their negativity to creep into your thinking.

Change your focus

Emerson said that whatever we persist in doing becomes easier.

I refer to this quote all the time because it’s true that our mindset affects our outcome. If you are focused on negativity, you’ll more readily see negative outcomes.

If you focus on the fact that you’re going to set an appointment, you’re going to capitalize on an opportunity. You’re going to reach your commission and create power to accomplish those things.

When I spent too much time around my negative coworker, I spent less time on the phone and less time doing email outreach.

When I changed my focus to positive things, prospects were more willing to listen to me because I was the catalyst. I still had negative experiences, of course, but there were fewer of them.

Get rid of negative

When I was a young seller, I didn’t speak up to my negative coworker because I didn’t want to cause a rift between us.

If I could go back, I would push back against the negative thinking. I would share positive thoughts and read encouraging books. I would either seek to change my coworker’s attitude or repel him because he knew I wasn’t going to listen.

Be honest about the fact that you’re trying to focus on positive things.

Imagine the wins

When you achieve your daily goals, what will it feel like? What will you say to convince those people to close?

Practice seeing how that will look.

Take charge of your life. Read encouraging books. Refuse to let other people affect your personal vision.

You’re listening to this podcast, and that’s a great start.

Command your destiny

Take charge of your future.

For the team at The Sales Evangelist, 2018 was our best year ever. My 2019 vision is to double the numbers we had in 2018 and c continue to increase our customers and grow our podcast.

I had a vision last year of writing for Hubspot and we’re doing that. I envisioned being mentioned by Inc. magazine, and TSE was just mentioned as one of the top podcasts to fuel company growth.

My vision helped me connect with the right people so that I found positive opportunities.

Create positive vision for yourself.

“No Vision” episode resources

This episode is brought to you in part by Maximizer CRM, personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. To get a demonstration of maximizer, go to the sales

Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM, and it works whether you’re a small organization or a large one.

This episode is brought to you in part by, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

They are offering a 14-day free trial, and half off your subscription when you use the code Donald at checkout.

This episode is brought to you in part by, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. It allows you to set it and forget it. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

Previously known as TSE Hustler’s League, our TSE Certified Sales Program offers modules that you can engage on your own schedule as well as opportunities to engage with other sellers in other industries.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

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Voodoo Selling, Forecasting, Sales Forecasting, Robert Harper, Donald Kelly

TSE 136: Stop Your Voodoo Selling…It Does Not Work!

Voodoo Selling, Forecasting, Sales Forecasting, Robert Harper, Donald Kelly Are you a voodoo seller? Are you relying on crystal balls, bones and feathers, and teabags to know whether you would hit this month’s goals or not?

Well, been there and done that and I’m telling you, “voodoo selling” just doesn’t work because you can’t quantify it.

In today’s episode, I am talking with Robert Harper and together we will shed light on the repercussions of voodoo selling and what you can do to ultimately be HIGHLY effective in sales. I have talked about this over and over, and again, PROCESS is key. Rather, GREAT PROCESS is key.

More about my special guest: Robert is a serial entrepreneur who currently owns five companies, four of them are in the midwest that do B2B integration, like access controls and CCTV, making buildings safe and comfortable. His other business endeavor is a virtual company that provides virtual solutions to business owners.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Robert:

What is “voodoo selling?”
Selling based on guessing and hope rather than on planning, implementing strategies, or using metrics.

Why proper planning is a major challenge among salespeople:

Salespeople and entrepreneurs are creative thinkers. It makes us less interested in the process of selling and thinking of sales as a science since we tend to think of it as more of an art.

Sales as a science vs. sales as an art

The repercussions of voodoo selling:

It is a waste of time because you’re trying to sell to people who CAN’T say no to you

How to better gain scientific concepts in your sales presentations:

  1. Sell to somebody who can say no. If they say no, do it as quickly as possible so you stop wasting time.
  • Break the theory and move on to the next.
  1. Determine your budget on how much you’re going to sell.

Instead of targeting “X” amount of dollars a quarter, target how many phone calls or meetings it would take you to make that dollar amount.

  1. Start today. Start keeping track honestly of:
  • How many phone calls you make?
  • How many of those phone calls will get you a meeting?
  • How many of those meetings will get you a proposal?
  • How many of those proposals will get you a sale?

Tracking your information allows you to introduce a change into your process and see how it affects those numbers.

The telltale sign of a salesperson or entrepreneur that doesn’t know their numbers:

Split testing every appointment, so you’re changing everyday. You will never find a system that’s going to function for you if you’re doing it this way.

  1. Have the process for the actual sale itself.
  • Analytics and a great process are keys.
  • Know your customer’s pain points
  • Bring out the numbers and give precise information
  • Look at the metrics
  • Provide real data to the customer

Terms that tell you they don’t know where they are in the process: “verbal,” “feel,” “great connection”

Understanding BIG DATA:

  • Case studies/best practices: Sears & Walmart

What Robert did for his company:

A customized tracking system for their sales team

*Robert will make a master copy of this and put it on his website for you to grab and utilize the template.

A special tip for sales managers:

Don’t talk about the numbers. Don’t judge people based on how many phone calls they’re making. Otherwise, your people will lie on those forms. The numbers are for them and not for you to judge them.

Robert’s current projects:

  • Involved in K-12 education working with 43 school districts in and around the Kansas City area
  • Helping companies transfer their physical phone systems to virtual phone systems

Get in touch with Robert through his personal blog

Check out Robert’s blog post about voodoo selling plus a link to the template they use to track statistics for their sales staff.

Robert’s Major Takeaways:

Don’t ever be afraid to ask every prospect if they have the ability and if they are willing to say no if this isn’t a good fit for their company. But, if it is a good fit, are they able to say yes?

For every sales meeting, have an agenda and send it to your prospect at least 24 hours before the meeting. In the agenda, go over what you want to cover and leave room for them to edit it for what they want to cover. During the meeting, follow the agenda. Ex: budget, decision process, the decision maker

The Sales Evangelizers, Donald Kelly, Sales Facebook Group