All sales people should change career NOW – or maybe not.

My reply to a recent headlining statement.

The pretext

This week it was revealed by Brian de Haaff, the CEO of Aha, that he would never hire another sales person. He quoted various statistics surrounding client purchasing engagement with sales people being involved in the last 10% of the sales cycle. You can’t argue with statistics right?

How I see it

So let’s use these statistics and work backwards in the sales cycle. There are 7 stages of a decision making cycle:

  1. Decision:
  2. Implementation:
  3. Changes over Time:
  4. Recognition of needs:
  5. Evaluation of Options:
  6. Resolution of Concerns:
  7. Negotiation:

Typically your average sales person is only asked by a prospect to get involved at the end of number 4, and therein lies my beef with Mr de Haaff’s decision to never hire a sales person again. (We’ll come back to this).

An astute, well trained and hungry sales person will be aware of business and cultural changes happening within the industry he or she serves and will start their engagement, at best at the beginning of stage 3, most likely part way through.

Your absolute top performer, however, that person will be engaged throughout. Even if the decision has just been made it is at this point that the next purchasing decision has begun and this person knows this, nurturing this potential client through the difficult stages of implementation all the way through until the next decision is made, only this time in their favour.

There are then the super sales persons, the one in a million who can still turn things around in the last hour. Take look at this 2015 Sales Kick Off meeting hosted by Anthony Iannarino. 1 hour and 9 minutes in Jeb Blount tells a story using the exact same statistics Brian de Haaff used, but with a totally different outcome as a result of a sales person.

My Beef

So here’s the thing: I appreciate that in some circumstances an outright sales person, for some businesses, is not entirely necessary. Small, web-based, transactional sale items could be serviced by a Customer Success team. However if your business requires a more complex sales structure then you will save much more by investing in the right training for your existing sales team than you would be replacing it with something that is not financially motivated to the success of your business.

Conclusion

It is lazy sales people who have given Mr de Haaff every reason to believe what he has written to be true, and I really cannot blame him for this. If you fall into this category then yes you should most certainly look at a career change. If, like me, you believe that now more than ever there is a real need for great sales people then start by doing the things that great sales people do. Pick up the phone, nurture your dream clients, learn from the best (a couple of which I have mentioned in this post) but most of all believe that what you do is vital to the success of the company you are working for.  You and only you can make your company grow.

2015- The best year of my life

Welcome to the best year of my life.

This is not me going off on some massive positive thinking trip, this is really going to be the best year of my life.  I have never felt more positive about a year’s outcome than I have about 2015 and the results will be the proof as we progress through the year.
I was in the very fortunate position to have a long break over the Christmas and New Year period, which I spent with my family doing the things that you would expect any family to do.  I also completely downed tools, which gave my head time to de-clutter and subsequently allowed fresh ideas to enter.

As we sit here today (14th January 2015) I have already achieved one of my main personal goals, WAY AHEAD of schedule.  The inevitable weight gain of the festive season has not only been eliminated but I’m now at last year’s end of season weight meaning that there’s only a few more pounds to go before I reach last year’s peak season weight, which I will consequently attain before this season even begins.  Now pardon the pun here but this is a weight off my mind because this part of my life has become a grounded routine, leaving even more space in my head to work the things that matter.  Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy business.

So you see business in 2015 has already got my full attention, which in most of my previous years it most certainly didn’t.  In fact in years gone by my over indulgence during the festive weeks  generally continued right up until the start of Lent, at which point the cycling season was more or less upon me, and the 40 or so days leading up to Easter were hardcore dieting and thinking of nothing else but loosing weight and the lack of food.  Business, by default, then became my routine.  What happened as a result is that work was the “status quo” and we all know that if you keep on doing the same old thing, your going to get the same old results at best, and in most cases a dwindling of success is what transpires.  So by achieving this personal goal so early in the year, by means of a few well thought out lifestyle adjustments, it means I can now focus on what really matters and that is doing the best for my family and friends.

Sorry did you not think that was coming?

  • If I want to do the best for my family and friends I have to be my best at work.
  • If I want to be my best at work I have to be in good spirit and health.
  • If I want to be in good spirit and health I have to ensure I eat well, exercise regularly and take time out.

Family – Friends – Health – Spirit – Work

This goes back to a 30 second speech which the ex CEO of Coca-Cola Bryan Dyson gave in which he said:

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for Balance in your life.”

Thanks to the Christmas and New year break I have that balance and as a result 2015 is going to be my best year ever in both business and life.

Welcome to 2015 and happy New Year to you all.

I can see clearly now the rain has gone!

I can see clearly now the rain has gone!