I was honored to present “The States of Sales in Small Businesses” at the annual meeting of FocusCFO. This presentation compiles data from the survey of thousands of business owners regarding their sales practices. Sadly, very few small businesses excel at sales, which is why they need to hire high-quality fractional Vice Presidents of Sales, like the services provided by New Sales Expert, LLC.
FocusCFO provides CFO services on a fractional basis, meaning clients get all the advantages of a full-time CFO on flexible and affordable terms, working under a recurring schedule that fits within their budget. With a CFO on the management team, the entrepreneur is free to focus on what they do best: building great products and services and growing revenue.
Small and mid-sized businesses benefit from FocusCFO’s industry-leading model.
As a company owner, one of the most important aspects of running a successful business is setting and achieving sales objectives. But how do you determine what those objectives should be? Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you set realistic and achievable sales goals for your business.
Sales objectives are goals a company sets for its sales team to achieve over a certain period. These objectives can be anything from increasing revenue by a certain percentage to selling a certain number of products or services. Sales objectives should be set annually, but they can also be set for shorter periods such as quarters or months.
Let’s talk about the basic steps first.
Define your overall goal.
Break down your overall goal into smaller, more manageable goals.
Create a timeline for each goal.
Assign responsibility for each goal to a specific team member or department.
Measure progress and revise objectives as needed.
Celebrate accomplishments and learn from failures.
Define your overall goal.
Sales goals are essential for any company regardless of size. They give you a target to aim for and help to motivate your sales team. Without a goal, getting complacent and falling into bad habits is easy.
It’s essential to clearly understand your company’s sales process before setting a goal. You need to know your closing rate, average deal size, and how many leads you need to generate to hit your target. Once you have this information, you can start to play around with different numbers to see what’s realistic.
Every company wants its salespeople to be well-trained. After all, better-trained salespeople mean higher quality products and services, which leads to happier customers and increased sales. But with the training costs averaging $1,459 per salesperson, it’s important to ensure that your training budget is being spent in the most effective way possible. Here are four tips for getting the most out of your training budget.
Prioritize Your Training Goals The first step in making the most of your training budget is prioritizing your training goals. What skills do you want your employees to learn? What knowledge do they need to be able to do their jobs effectively? Once you’ve identified your goals, you can create a training plan to help your employees achieve them.
Invest in eLearning Programs eLearning programs are a great way to train your employees without breaking the bank. Many different eLearning platforms are available, so you can find one that fits your company’s needs and budget. Plus, with eLearning, your employees can complete their training at their own pace and on their own time, which means they’re less likely to get overwhelmed or frustrated.
Use Technology to Your Advantage Many types of technology can be used for training, from virtual reality simulations to online learning portals. By taking advantage of the latest technology, you can create a more immersive and effective training experience for your employees. Plus, using technology for training can help you save money by eliminating the need for travel and lodging expenses.
Consider External Training Programs If you’re looking for more comprehensive or specialized training than what you can provide internally, consider partnering with an external training provider. These companies have the resources and expertise to develop custom training programs that meet your specific needs. And while external training programs can be more expensive than other options, they can also be more effective in helping your employees achieve their goals.
External training providers also offer the added benefit of scaling up or down as needed, which can help you save money in the long run.
To increase retention and effectiveness, companies should offer reps additional training at times of need, provide them with access to supplemental material that reinforces what they’ve already been taught, and allow them opportunities to practice their skills in time frames connected to actual buying processes. They can do so by using the same technologies that are “disrupting” their customer-contact activities: videos and mobile apps that reps can view on their devices before, during, and after training initiatives.
Role-Playing: The Secret to Sales Training Success
There’s one secret ingredient that can make all the difference: role-playing. Role-playing allows trainees to practice their new skills in a low-stakes environment by simulating real-world sales scenarios. Not only that, but role-playing also helps trainees to better understand their customers’ needs and how to best meet them. As a result, role-playing is essential to any successful sales training program.
March brings March Madness. March Madness is the college basketball tournament where the 64 teams battle to find out who is the best college basketball team of the season.
While you are watching your team this year, I would like you to learn a lesson that every basketball coach has had to learn. The easiest way to learn this lesson is to do a little analysis. I would like you to count the number of times where the game is tight, one team is on the free-throw line, and the coach makes a substitution – himself.
Yes, count the number of times the coach doesn’t trust the player he has been coaching all season and puts himself on the line to make that winning shot.
I can already tell you the number: zero.
During a game, the coach can rant, rave, coach, and cajole but he cannot play the game. He has to trust that the athletes that he has coached all season will take his instruction, remember the skills that they have practiced, and execute those plays as they were taught.
This doesn’t happen in sales. It is almost commonplace for the coach (the sales manager) to step in and drive the conversation. He puts his athlete, whom he has been coaching perhaps for years, on the bench.
So, let’s explore what would happen if suddenly you were required to stay on the sidelines while you watched your salespeople sell and it was impossible for you to take over the sale.
The global pandemic has caused crisis after crisis to hit US companies. These crises include:
global supply chain problems affecting worldwide shipping
increased prices due to the shortage of components or subassemblies
To assist our clients, Sean O’Shaughnessey and Kevin Lawson teamed up to create the following webinar. The webinar originally aired on January 13, 2022.
The following is a transcript of the webinar video above. It has been sparsely edited to increase its readability, but many of the idioms and poor spoken grammar have been left in place. The transcription was automatically generated by Sonix.ai and, as capable as that product is, there are times when words are missed or sentence structure was incorrectly interpreted. We have tried to catch all of these software misses, but we are confident that some still remain. The below text is provided for those that would rather read than watch a video.
The average cost of a face-to-face sales call is reportedly $250 – $500. With virtual sales calls, you can talk to your prospects for a much lower price. Virtual sales calls are an easy and inexpensive way to start building relationships and generating leads.
Virtual sales calls have become more and more popular in the past few years, especially during and now after the global pandemic. The most apparent advantage of virtual sales calls is that they can be conducted from anywhere and anytime. This means that companies can save office space while still conducting meaningful business conversations with customers and prospects. Salespeople can save time by using virtual sales calls to get on the radar of potential buyers or secure new leads.
Another advantage is the cost savings of not having a physical presence at an event or trade show. Virtual sales calls also offer a level of confidentiality.
I recently spoke to Robert Gillette, the host of the podcast Reclaiming Sales. It was a great conversation! We discussed many things that will benefit beginning sales professionals. Specifically, we discussed:
Get to know your prospects better, understand how they make and lose money.
Get curious, and stay that way… even when you’ve heard your 100th prospect tell you the same thing.
Build your belief, it will keep you company when times get tough.
The following is a transcription of our conversation for those that prefer to read rather than listen. The transcription is as close as possible to the spoken word but effort was made to try to make it a little more readable with fairly grammar correct phrasing, sentence structure, and paragraph structure. Where the commentary overrode grammar or the use of synonyms, the spoken word was chosen.
You’re listening to Reclaiming Sales because you don’t need to sell your soul to be successful with your host and fellow salesman, Robert Gillette.
Robert Gillette 0:41
Hey everybody, welcome back to the show. My name obviously is Robert Gillette, and I have a new friend of mine. I know everybody I meet on the show, I say my new friend, but it’s true so far—a gentleman named Sean O’Shaughnessey. Honestly, the reason why you’re on the show, to be totally honest, is he, you engage with me, you commented on the things that I post, and you send me messages. And you know, when you’re doing a podcast, it’s like screaming into the void. And so when the void reaches back out and gives you feedback, it’s incredibly helpful. I’m used to performing on stage, in general, so I just wanted to have you on the show, first of all, to get your perspective on what we’ve been talking about so far. But, still, you also have some pretty deep claws into this whole sales game as well, and you have some perspectives that I just want to explore and see what we can uncover over the next 20 minutes or so. But before we get onto that, Sean, why don’t you, I guess before you take off your sales guy hat, what do you sell and who do you sell it to.
Sean O’Shaughnessey 1:42
I am the CEO of a company called New Sales Expert. I sell sales management to companies with bad sales management or don’t know how to have sales management.
Robert Gillette 1:56
Okay, and we don’t have a lot of, you know, people on the show who aren’t salespeople. But I guess my first question to you before we move too far into this is. Do you think it’s harder to sell to salespeople or to sell to non-salespeople? Is it hard to sell to people who sell for a living?
Sean O’Shaughnessey 2:16
So it’s I think it’s easier to sell to salespeople because we like to hear a good pitch. I actually sell, though, to the CEO that is frustrated because he doesn’t know how to manage a sales force. So that’s actually whom I sell to. And that’s the problem I solve.
Robert Gillette 2:32
Okay, so you’re actually selling to a CEO or someone at that C suite level.
Sean O’Shaughnessey 2:37
Correct. I’m usually selling to the founder of the company. And he is in a situation where he can’t figure out how to manage salespeople, how to recruit salespeople, and how to make salespeople better. So that’s what I do for him or her.
Robert Gillette 2:51
Unfortunately, mostly him, but we’re working on that diversity by brute force. We’re doing it as a country anyways.
So let’s, let’s roll this back to the beginning of your career, how did you get into sales. And why did you stick with it all those years?
I recently met with one of my clients to discuss the company’s sales team. They had ten salespeople on their team.
Five of the salespeople had brought in about 40-45% of the company’s revenue, and two others also brought in about 40-45% of his revenue. A bigger problem, though, was the remaining three that only brought in 10-15%. Those three were dragging down the team.
The biggest problem that the President was starting to realize was that the top two performers were becoming disgruntled and would probably leave the company. As I did my initial interviews with these two, they confided in me they had become frustrated that every time the company needed more revenue, the challenge was given to them to bring it in the door.
To keep their spirits up, I told them that these challenges were an honor. Like in basketball, you have your best players on the floor when the score is tied, with a minute left in the 4th quarter. One of them replied, “But if the 7th man would have made his four free throws, two layups, and grabbed those two defensive rebounds in the 3rd quarter, the score wouldn’t be tied at the end.”
Great people want to be surrounded by great people. Top athletes want to play on the same team as other top athletes. Top salespeople want to work in the same company as other top salespeople.