Skinned Knees Blog

Skinned Knees – What An MBA Didn’t Teach You About Sales

Skinned Knees – What An MBA Didn’t Teach You About Sales

The sales profession is challenging. You need to work hard at it to succeed. You need to learn from the best. You need to improve your skills continuously. If you think you can sell since you are a hit at parties and have a lot of friends, you may soon find that you are a failure as a salesperson. Blunt truth: 

because the sales profession is so hard, you have to focus on doing everything in sales very well, or you will be considered a failure.

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Crafting a Sales Process Flowchart: Visualize the stages in your sales process for consistency – Driving New Sales: Transforming Small Businesses into Sales Powerhouses – Episode 9

Crafting a Sales Process Flowchart: Visualize the stages in your sales process for consistency – Driving New Sales: Transforming Small Businesses into Sales Powerhouses – Episode 9

Welcome to “Driving New Sales: Transforming Small Businesses into Sales Powerhouses,” the essential podcast for B2B sales professionals, managers, and CEOs of companies aiming for revenue growth. In today’s episode, we’re diving into the core of any thriving sales organization: the Sales Process Flowchart. Guided by Sean O’Shaughnessey, a veteran in sales strategy, we’ll explore how to craft and refine your sales process for peak efficiency and effectiveness.

Our esteemed sponsor, Kevin Lawson of Lighthouse Sales Advisors and Sales Xceleration, is our sponsor for this episode. Kevin offers unparalleled sales leadership solutions for small businesses, focusing on navigating sales growth challenges and scaling up operations through his extensive experience. Kevin’s fractional consultancy is the answer for those looking for expert guidance in sales team development without the commitment of a full-time executive.

Contact Kevin:
Email: Kevin@lighthousesalesadvisors.com
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/kwlawson

Key Topics Discussed

  • Blueprint of Success: Discover the importance of having a well-defined Sales Process Flowchart as your guide through the sales journey.
  • Stages of the Sales Process: Sean breaks down each stage of the sales process, from prospecting to nurturing long-term relationships.
  • Customizing Your Sales Approach: Learn the significance of tailoring your sales process to fit your unique business model and industry requirements.
  • Visualizing the Sales Funnel: An exploration of how visualizing your sales funnel can identify potential leaks and optimize the sales journey.
  • Leveraging Technology: Insight into how automation tools and CRM systems can enhance your sales process and free up your team to focus on selling.
  • The Dynamic Nature of Sales Processes: Emphasizing the importance of continuous feedback and adaptation to keep your sales process relevant and effective.

Key Quotes

  • “Success doesn’t come from random acts of effort. It requires a blueprint, a master plan that orchestrates every step of the sales journey.”
  • “Imagine your Sales Process Flowchart as the architectural plan for a skyscraper. Without it, you’re merely stacking bricks without knowing how high they should go.”
  • “Technology is the wind beneath our sales team’s wings, freeing them up to do what they do best—sell.”

Additional Resources

  • Sales Management Association Study: Highlights the performance impact of using a formal sales process.
  • Harvard Business Review Study: Shows a significant revenue increase for businesses with a standardized sales process.

Action Items You Can Do Today

  • Develop a Visual Sales Process Flowchart: Start with a simple outline and refine it to suit your team’s needs.
  • Solicit Feedback from Your Sales Team: Use their frontline insights to improve your sales process.
  • Customize Your Approach: Ensure your sales stages align with your business model for increased efficiency.
  • Invest in Training and Technology: Equip your team with the necessary knowledge and tools to excel.
  • Embrace Continuous Improvement: Regularly update your sales process based on feedback and changing market conditions.

Today’s episode with Sean O’Shaughnessey has armed you with the knowledge to construct a Sales Process Flowchart that is the backbone of a successful sales strategy. Implementing the discussed actionable strategies will refine your sales process, making it a powerful engine for business growth. Stay tuned for more insightful episodes to further empower your journey to becoming a sales powerhouse.

Contact Information

  • Sean O’Shaughnessey: Email – Sean@NewSales.Expert

For more expert advice on transforming your sales strategies, don’t forget to subscribe to “Driving New Sales: Transforming Small Businesses into Sales Powerhouses.” Join us next time for another deep dive into the strategies that can elevate your sales game. Until then, keep selling smart and forging meaningful connections with your customers.

Boosting Profitability in Sales: Mastering the Art of Negotiation – Video 11 of the New Year Motivation Series

Boosting Profitability in Sales: Mastering the Art of Negotiation – Video 11 of the New Year Motivation Series

As we dive into the New Year, it’s crucial for sales professionals, managers, and CEOs of small companies to reflect on one pivotal aspect of their sales strategy – the art of negotiation. I am committed to guiding you toward more profitable deals this New Year and beyond.

Evaluating Past Deal Profitability

Take a moment to review your deals from the previous year. Were they as profitable as they could have been? The ease of offering discounts can often overshadow the challenge of selling at list price. However, your company’s profit model heavily relies on effective negotiation.

Look back at your past deals. Pinpoint the aspects where negotiations fell short. Set a clear goal for this year to avoid repeating these mistakes. Improvement begins with recognizing what didn’t work well in the past.

Embracing Continuous Learning in Negotiation

As I’ve emphasized in a previous video, continuous learning is crucial. This is particularly true in negotiation. A slight improvement in your negotiation skills can significantly impact your bottom line. Consider attending a class, webinar, or consulting with an expert to hone this skill.

If negotiation is not your forte, reach out for assistance. I’m here to offer suggestions, recommend training resources, or even provide personal training to help you negotiate more effectively.

Preparing for Negotiations Proactively

Prepare a list of items you can afford to discount and those you cannot. Develop scripts and strategies for common negotiation scenarios. This preparation will help you remain steadfast during negotiations, ensuring you don’t make concessions on a whim.

Identify services or add-ons you can offer during negotiations that provide value to your client but don’t significantly impact your costs. This strategy can be a game-changer in making your proposals more attractive while maintaining profitability.

This is the year to enhance your negotiation tactics. By doing so, you’re not just closing deals; you’re maximizing the value and profitability of each transaction. Remember, effective negotiation is not about conceding profits but finding a mutually beneficial ground where your company’s value is rightly recognized and compensated.

Happy New Year, and here’s to your profitability and success in the New Year!

Check out my video below (the final video in this year’s series to start the New Year with confidence and capability).

Revolutionize Your Sales Strategy: The Power of Streamlining Your Sales Process – Video 10 of the New Year Motivation Series

Revolutionize Your Sales Strategy: The Power of Streamlining Your Sales Process – Video 10 of the New Year Motivation Series

As we embark on this new year, it’s time to reevaluate and refine our sales strategies. My mission is to empower salespeople, sales managers, and CEOs of small companies to achieve remarkable growth this New Year. One crucial aspect that often goes overlooked is the efficiency of your sales process.

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is more than a digital Rolodex; it’s a strategic tool that, when used effectively, can transform your sales process. Ensure that your CRM reflects and aids your sales process. If it doesn’t, you face a gap in your strategy and tools that needs immediate attention.

Take the time to map out your current sales process within your CRM. This exercise isn’t just about documentation; it’s about identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Once you spot these, you can start making targeted improvements.

You may not solve all the problems overnight, but identifying and addressing even one bottleneck can significantly enhance productivity. A small change, like streamlining a step in your process or improving communication flow, can have a compound effect throughout the year.

Remember, you don’t have to do this alone. Your sales team, operations staff, and even your customers can provide invaluable insights into what’s working and what’s not. Collaborate with them to find ways to make your sales process smoother and more customer-friendly.

Your goal should be to make dealing with your company as seamless as possible for your clients. Imagine a scenario where your customers view working with you as the easiest part of their day. This level of customer experience can set you apart in a competitive market.

As we move forward in the New Year, I challenge you to enhance your sales process proactively. A well-optimized sales process increases your team’s productivity and elevates the customer experience.

Make this year count by refining your approach to sales. Good luck, and here’s to a year of effective selling and remarkable growth!

For more insights into this process, watch my video below.

Embrace Continuous Learning for Sales Success in 2024 – Video 9 of the New Year Motivation Series

Embrace Continuous Learning for Sales Success in 2024 – Video 9 of the New Year Motivation Series

In the ever-evolving world of sales, resting on your laurels is not an option. My mission is to inspire small company sales professionals, managers, and CEOs to seek knowledge and improvement constantly. As we venture into the New Year, let’s focus on embracing continuous learning to elevate your sales game.

The first step towards growth is acknowledging there’s always more to learn. With 38 years of experience in sales, I still actively seek new tools, techniques, and ways of presenting. This mindset is crucial for everyone in sales – from the rookie to the veteran.

Immersing yourself in your industry is key. Subscribe to at least two industry newsletters this week. These resources will keep you updated on your field’s latest trends, challenges, and innovations. It’s vital to stay informed and conversant about the evolving landscape of your industry.

Podcasts are a goldmine of information and can be a convenient learning method. I host two sales-focused podcasts, ‘Two Tall Guys Talking Sales‘ and ‘Driving New Sales,’ which offer weekly insights into sales best practices. However, don’t limit yourself – explore other sales and industry-specific podcasts to broaden your knowledge.

Commit to daily reading about sales and your specific industry. Early mornings or commute times are perfect for catching up on the latest articles and insights. Sharing interesting findings with your team or on platforms like LinkedIn can enhance your professional network and credibility.

If you’re in a leadership role, guiding your team through this continuous learning journey is part of your responsibility. Encourage your team to share new insights and strategies, fostering a culture of knowledge and improvement.

No matter where you are in your career, there’s room for improvement. Set personal goals for learning and betterment this year. It’s not just about closing more deals; it’s about becoming a more knowledgeable, versatile, and successful sales professional.

As we embrace this new year, let’s commit to continuous learning and improvement in our sales careers. It’s not just about staying ahead; it’s about setting a new standard for excellence in sales.

Good luck, and here’s to a year of growth and successful selling! Please enjoy the video below, in which I discuss this concept even more.

Elevating Your Sales Game in the New Year: The Essential Guide to Social Selling – Video 8 of the New Year Motivation Series

Elevating Your Sales Game in the New Year: The Essential Guide to Social Selling – Video 8 of the New Year Motivation Series

Understanding and leveraging social selling has become more crucial in a business landscape where digital presence can make or break your sales success. I guide salespeople, sales managers, and CEOs of small companies through the intricacies of social selling to ensure a solid start to the New Year.

Crafting Your Digital Persona

Your online profile, especially on LinkedIn, is often your first impression of a potential client. Is your profile projecting you as a job seeker, or does it establish you as an industry leader and expert? Updating your social media profiles to reflect your professional expertise and the value you bring to your clients is a crucial step.

Consistently sharing relevant industry content is not just about staying active online; it’s about positioning yourself as a knowledgeable and engaged leader in your field. This could be anything from exciting news articles to insightful blog posts that align with your industry and the solutions your company offers.

Engaging with Prospects on Social Platforms

While direct outreach is valuable, the real power of social selling lies in the research and insight phase. When you find a potential client on a platform like LinkedIn, engage with them by sharing content that resonates with their needs or challenges. It’s about building a connection and demonstrating value before the first sales conversation begins.

Setting Goals for Social Media Interaction

Commit to a regular posting and interaction schedule on your chosen social media platform. Aim to publish new, thoughtful content weekly, and make sure to engage with your network. This consistent presence ensures prospects find an industry professional actively contributing to the industry conversation when they research you.

Are you aware of your Social Selling Index (SSI) on LinkedIn? It’s a valuable metric that helps you gauge your effectiveness in social selling. Set goals to improve your SSI by being more active and engaging and providing value through your posts and interactions.

Attend virtual industry events and webinars. This broadens your knowledge and increases your visibility among peers and potential clients. Aim for at least one event per month to maintain a consistent presence.

In this New Year, your ability to harness the power of social selling can significantly impact your sales results. It’s not just about being present online; it’s about strategically building your digital persona to attract and engage with the right prospects.

For more insights on effectively using social selling to boost your revenue, check out my video series with the latest installment below. Let’s make this year a milestone in your sales journey.

Happy selling, and best wishes for a prosperous year ahead!

The Follow-Up Formula: Driving Sales Success in the New Year – Video 7 of the New Year Motivation Series

The Follow-Up Formula: Driving Sales Success in the New Year – Video 7 of the New Year Motivation Series

As we venture into the New Year, the key to propelling your sales, whether you’re a seasoned sales manager, a striving CEO of a small company, or an enthusiastic salesperson, lies in one critical skill: effective follow-up. My video series aims to arm you with best practices to ensure this year is your most successful yet.

A common pitfall in sales is failing to follow up swiftly and effectively. Every interaction with a client or prospect should be promptly followed by a thank you note or email. This small act signals your dedication and interest in the client’s needs. If you’re leading a team, make it a non-negotiable standard – a follow-up within 24 hours is a must.

A well-implemented CRM system is a game-changer for managing follow-ups. It should facilitate sending personalized emails with just a few clicks. If your CRM process is cumbersome, it’s time to reassess and streamline your approach. Remember, if following up feels like a chore, you’re not using your CRM effectively.

One of the golden rules in sales is to schedule the next one before ending a meeting. This practice helps maintain momentum and keeps you at the forefront of your client’s mind. It eliminates the hassle of tracking someone down later and significantly reduces the chances of being ‘ghosted.’

Consistency in follow-up is vital, but so is adapting your strategy to fit your industry’s unique rhythm. Whether it’s a few days or a month later, re-engage with clients who haven’t responded. This persistence shows your commitment to providing solutions. However, constantly tailor your follow-up timing to suit the client’s needs and industry norms.

Make following up a habit, not an afterthought. Whether you’re a VP of Sales ensuring your team adheres to this practice or a CEO looking to make a significant impact this year, diligent follow-up can be the difference between a good year and a fantastic one. Set reminders, use calendar alerts, and let your CRM be your guide in this journey.

This year, let’s resolve to excel in our follow-up game. It’s not just a sales tactic; it’s a fundamental aspect of building lasting relationships and driving success. Check out my other videos for more insights and strategies to kick-start your sales year with a bang. With the right approach, 2024 can be a year of remarkable achievements in your sales career.

Happy selling, and here’s to making this year not just great but phenomenal!

From Features to Solutions: Rethinking Sales for the New Year – Video 6 of the New Year Motivation Series

From Features to Solutions: Rethinking Sales for the New Year – Video 6 of the New Year Motivation Series

As we navigate the early stages of the New Year, the time is ripe for salespeople, managers, and CEOs of small companies to redefine their approach to sales. My mission is to guide you towards a robust start to the year. Remember, a sluggish beginning can set a challenging precedent, so let’s dive into how to kickstart your sales effectively.

At the heart of every successful sale is the ability to solve a problem. It’s not the product itself that’s key, but the solution it provides. Think beyond the immediate features of what you’re selling – drill down to the core issue it addresses for your client.

There’s a classic saying in sales: You don’t sell the drill, but the hole it makes. However, I encourage you to take this even further. It’s not just about the hole; it’s about what your client does with that hole. Your job is understanding and articulating how your product or service facilitates your client’s goals.

Your communications – proposals, emails, or presentations – should be framed around problem-solving. It’s crucial to showcase your understanding of the client’s challenges and how your product or service offers the solution. This approach makes your proposal resonate with your direct contact and with anyone else who might view it.

Documenting case studies where your product or service solved a specific problem can be incredibly powerful. These real-life examples prove your solution’s effectiveness, making your sales pitch more credible and compelling.

When drafting proposals, focus on the problem you’re solving. Avoid just listing product features or part numbers. Your proposal should narrate a story – the story of how you understand and can solve the client’s unique challenges. This approach is essential, especially when your proposal is passed along to decision-makers who might not know you yet.

In this New Year, your success in sales will hinge not just on what you sell but on how well you connect your product to the solutions your clients seek. Shift from a transactional mindset to a problem-solving approach. This is how you’ll differentiate yourself in a crowded market and drive meaningful, long-lasting client relationships.

Watch my video series for more insights and practical strategies to boost your sales this year. These videos will help you start strong and maintain momentum throughout the year.

Happy selling, and here’s to a successful and prosperous new year!

Unleashing Your Sales Potential in the New Year: The CRM Game-Changer – Video 5 of the New Year Motivation Series

Unleashing Your Sales Potential in the New Year: The CRM Game-Changer – Video 5 of the New Year Motivation Series

As the new year unfolds, the urgency to hit the ground running in sales is paramount. My mission is to guide you toward a robust sales strategy. The cornerstone of this strategy? Mastering your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

The Critical Role of CRM in Sales Success

A CRM is more than just a tool; it’s the lifeline of your sales process. If you’re still on the fence about using a CRM or struggling with your existing system, it’s time for a change. A well-implemented CRM can revolutionize how you track, interact with, and close deals with your clients.

Practical CRM Usage: Beyond the Basics

Are you just logging in and updating records, or are you actively utilizing your CRM to set daily goals and time blocks? A proactive approach to your CRM involves strategic planning and analysis. Use it to identify trends, focus on high-potential clients, and set specific targets for customer interactions.

If your organization hasn’t adopted a CRM yet, don’t wait. Modern CRMs are affordable, with some even free, offering a significant return on investment. As a sales professional, taking charge of your client management through a personal CRM can set you apart and drive your success.

Understanding the full capabilities of a CRM takes time. For more detailed advice and strategies, reach out to me directly. I offer a wealth of resources on effective CRM utilization on my website and LinkedIn, tailored to enhance your sales performance.

Remember, a CRM isn’t just about managing contacts; it’s about maximizing your sales efficiency and effectiveness. Make this year the year you harness the full power of your CRM, and watch as your sales figures soar.

Happy selling, and here’s to a successful and prosperous year ahead!

Please check out my short video below for more helpful guidance on the importance of your CRM in growing sales.

Elevate Your Sales Game: Time Management Secrets for a Prosperous New Year – Video 4 of the New Year Motivation Series

Elevate Your Sales Game: Time Management Secrets for a Prosperous New Year – Video 4 of the New Year Motivation Series

As a fractional VP of Sales, I’ve witnessed many companies struggle not due to a lack of opportunities but because of inefficient time management. In a world where the potential market is vast, and the economy’s ebb and flow is a constant, the real game-changer is how you manage your time.

1. Prioritizing Revenue-Generating Activities

Prioritizing tasks is crucial based on their potential for immediate revenue generation. Ask yourself: What can I close today? Focusing on high-priority, revenue-generating activities is essential. This means deliberately carving out time in your schedule for these tasks.

2. Strategic Time Blocking

I advocate that many people should implement strategic time blocking. This involves reserving specific periods in your day exclusively for high-value activities. Whether it’s client meetings, follow-up calls, or strategic planning, these blocks of time should be non-negotiable and dedicated solely to tasks that directly contribute to your revenue goals.

3. Reducing Time on Non-Sales Activities

A common pitfall for many sales professionals is spending too much time on non-sales activities. The goal is to shift this balance. If you’re currently spending 20% of your time on sales, aim for 30% or 40%. This shift can significantly enhance your productivity and sales outcomes.

4. Setting Daily and Weekly Goals

Don’t just block time, but also set clear, achievable goals for client interactions. These goals should be tracked daily and weekly, ensuring you’re consistently progressing and adjusting your strategies as needed.

5. Accountability and Continuous Improvement

Regularly review how much time you’re spending on client interactions and sales activities. Strive for incremental improvements – even a 10% increase in dedicated sales time can lead to substantial growth in your business.

If you want to dive deeper into these strategies and transform your approach to sales this year, check out my latest video. It’s filled with insights and practical tips to help you make the most of your time and drive significant revenue growth.

Happy selling, and here’s to a prosperous year ahead!

Elevate Your Sales Game: New Year’s Guide to Advanced Client Relationship Building – Video 3 of the New Year Motivation Series

Elevate Your Sales Game: New Year’s Guide to Advanced Client Relationship Building – Video 3 of the New Year Motivation Series

Achieving sales success goes beyond just understanding your product or service. It involves establishing strong and enduring connections with your clients. As a Fractional Vice President of Sales, I have learned the immense value that relationships play in driving business growth. This year calls for a shift in our approach to sales.

The economic landscape is always filled with challenges, but the key lies in deepening connections with both existing clients and potential prospects. Personalizing communication becomes crucial—moving beyond generic greetings to truly engage with clients personally, understanding their unique needs and how they interact with what you offer.

If you haven’t had any contact with a client for 90 days, chances are they have forgotten about you. Regular check-ins are essential, especially for your most important clients. Aim to maintain a communication cycle of 30 to 60 days with key clients to keep your relationship active and ensure that your services stay at the forefront of their minds.

Don’t solely focus on existing clients; continuously seek out new prospects as well. Set an attainable goal of establishing one new client relationship per month. This proactive approach to acquiring clients is crucial for maintaining long-term growth.

Having a structured method to track client interactions is highly important. If you don’t already have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, acquire one. Ensure that you document every engagement, not just responses to RFPs but also genuine and meaningful conversations.

Networking events offer abundant opportunities for new connections. There’s nothing quite like a personal introduction. Aim to attend at least three networking events this year and utilize these platforms to meet potential clients and gain valuable introductions.

These strategies are just the beginning of what can be accomplished. For more detailed insights on these approaches and how they can transform your sales techniques in this new year, I encourage you to watch my latest video. Begin implementing them now and witness your sales performance soar.