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Why Innovation Is Key To Driving Sales Performance…

And Why Sales Leaders Need to Loosen Their Grip On Their Sales Teams

As sales dry up and the pressure to achieve target increases, for sales leaders it can be very tempting to impose greater oversight of sales teams through more regular check-ins, activity reporting, new processes and more. This is understandable given how volatile the world is right now. To make well-informed decisions about how to adapt to the new normal, it is only natural for a sales leader to want to have up-to-date information from those on the ground. But is it the right approach?

We already know that salespeople spend a lot of their time on non-sales activities, for example this Salesforce survey of sales professionals identified that even before lockdown on average 64% of their time is spent not selling. So if we are now asking them for even more information, more frequently, that can only further reduce the amount of time available for selling.

Worse still it may be stifling sales innovation at the very moment you need it most. There is a growing body of evidence that fostering a culture of innovation amongst your sales team will positively impact upon the bottom line. This is not achieved by a rigid ‘one size fits all’ style of management. It is based upon encouraging individual salespeople to share knowledge with each other, to ask questions, to challenge existing methods, to generate ideas and to explore these further in order to problem solve, all with the intention of adding value for the customer.

It requires sales leaders to focus on knowledge and behaviour within the team rather than their targets and outcomes. And it requires individual salespeople to work collaboratively rather than acting as lone wolves.

In rapidly changing and uncertain economic climates, everyone in the sales team and across the organisation needs to be sharing, and interrogating, information not just reporting it up to the sales leader. Allowing sales teams to be innovative could be a real differentiator. Encouraging your salespeople to think differently and to challenge each other and the status quo will enable them to respond innovatively and lead to better solutions that will enable them to position themselves with their customers as a trusted advisor; someone they want to hear from and whose insight they value. It is that quality of relationship that will drive your competitive advantage.

Jim Bloomfield is a Director of Bloojam Consulting with 20 years’ experience of using business psychology to develop salespeople and leaders. He is a member of the Association of Business Psychology (ABP) and the British Psychological Society (BPS) and has successfully helped some of Britain’s best-known businesses exceed their sales goals.

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Why Sales Leaders Need To Encourage Their Salespeople To Ditch The Sales Process

A lot of B2B sales organisations like to have a clear sales process written down for their salespeople to follow. The thinking is that this clarity will make the purchase experience easier for the customer and therefore will speed up the sale for the seller. A win-win that benefits both parties.

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Three Things Sales Leaders Should Do Now To Support Their Sales Teams

Nobody needs telling that business is tough at the moment. In the UK, GDP fell by 2% quarter-on-quarter for the first time since the last financial crash in 2008 and the next quarterly report is likely to be far, far worse. The government furlough scheme in which the state pays 80% of an employee’s wages now has more than 1 in 5 of all workers enrolled and has recently been extended to October.

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Klopp’s lessons on leadership

This reluctant football supporter has become just a little fascinated by the leadership phenomenon that is Jürgen Klopp. Surrounded by Liverpool FC supporters at home, I’ve begun to embrace the emotions of the club’s unbelievable fans and their seemingly impossible journey to the Champions League final. Klopp’s post-match interview after LFC’s amazing comeback in the second leg semi-final against Barcelona really brought to life some of the leadership theory that informs my work practice. Here are some musings:

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What can online 360 feedback do for my sales team?

As a leader of a sales team you want to maximise the performance of your team to deliver your sales target. In a world where salespeople may only spend one-third of their time on selling, it’s no wonder that nearly 60% expect to fall short of their quotas*. So, what can you do to help your salespeople to identify what they need to do differently?

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4 ways to use 360 feedback to improve your Sales team performance

A well run 360 feedback survey can produce many benefits for both companies and more importantly, individuals. Not only does a robust 360 feedback process identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, but it also helps to develop their self-awareness.

But what about from a sales lens? How can the use of 360 feedback truly help improve the performance of your sales team?

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Do your technical experts have the Acuity to be successful in strategic sales?

Jo is a technically brilliant accountant who has worked hard to climb her way up to the upper echelons within a large management consultancy firm. Along with her strong technical skills, Jo has always been great with clients, providing an efficient, flexible and supportive service, building relationships based on trust, and providing insight and advice that really adds value.  Jo has just been promoted to Partner and she is delighted – with one exception: It’s the first time that Jo has been given a sales target to meet. Jo does not see herself as a salesperson. She knows she is great at what she does, but now she is also expected to bring in significant amounts of business and will be judged accordingly.