A CSO report suggests that 13% of salespeople produce 87% of corporate revenue. Let’s try to tackle this as we bring in the mad genius, Mike Kunkle, as he shares with us today some reasons for this widening gap, what you can do to close this gap as a seller, and how managers and executives can move this into the middle of the bell curve.
Mike is the Senior Director of Sales Enablement for Brainshark, a sales enablement software provider. His current focus is on the internal aspect of the company – onboarding, training sales reps and managers, ensuring that they have the knowledge, the skills, the processes in place, the systems and tools they need to find, sell, and serve buyers who are looking to improve sales readiness and sales productivity at their companies
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Mike:
The reasons for the large gap between top performing sellers and the rest:
- The general human performance gap
Sales is like an Olympic sport that requires knowledge, skill, practice, dedication to hone your craft and to be the best. And there’s a smaller number of people who truly excel at anything who are on the far right side of the bell curve. So it’s not natural for everybody to be a great performer in a large organization.
- We accept that the first reason is unchangeable.
Hence, we don’t work hard enough to move the middle of the pack or support the bulk of the middle performers in selling more effectively.
Strategies in Mike’s company to close the productivity gap through a multi-pronged approach:
- Use of the Brainshark Sales Accelerator in their learning cloud:
- For onboarding and training to organize everything.
- To serve up the right content to their sellers at the right times of the buying and selling process
- Solid work with buyer personas.
- They are able to better understand their market and the buyers they work with and incorporate that into the way they sell.
- Reworking sales onboarding to be more effective.
- They implemented a very buyer-oriented, consultative, and outcome-focused sales methodology.
- This seeks to align the buying and selling processes
- 2016 initiatives to maximize and raise the level of effectiveness of the team and the sales leaders alike
How managers and executives can address this disparity:
- Study top producers and the middle producers carefully.
Do your best to determine what differentiates the top from the rest. Not everything that the top producers do is scaleable across the entire salesforce.
- Teach managers the content first.
Sales managers are sadly often ignored. Prepare them to do a more effective job in coaching and help them understand effective pipeline management practices and performance management.
The differentiating factors among top performers:
- Great job at discovery
A great sales performer is able to quantify the negative implications of the current state or the way the buyer is measured. Then work with them over time to provide solutions that address those implications and then deliver compelling business outcome.
- The ability communicate and create value.
- The ability to hustle.
- Positive attitude.
- Being aggressive
Marinate in this Zig Ziglar quote which Mike cited:
“You get what you want in life by helping enough other people get what they want.”
Strategies for improving as an underperforming seller:
- You need to commit to learning and to the discipline, the organizational skills and the mastery of the craft.
Maximize all the resources the company provides. Step up to the plate, do the work. Make the effort and ask for help.
- Have the mindset of wanting to succeed, open to learning, and open to coaching.
How you can help an underperforming seller:
- Get their commitment to be open to training and coaching.
- Help them create a buyer-focused mindset.
- Have a plan.
Where is your market? Who are your contacts? Are they the right ones? How do you plan to approach them?
- Walk them through the process of approaching, lead generation, managing through the pipeline.
Mike’s Major Takeaway:
Focus on the buyers and their problems, the implications for not solving them, and the outcomes you can help them achieve. Then you will have a better chance not only in making a sale but also in differentiating yourself from the pack.
Connect with Mike on Twitter @mike_kunkle and on LinkedIn
Check out his blog at www.mikekunkle.com
Check out Mike’s SlideShare on Sales Onboarding
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