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Thought For The Day

A Blueprint to Develop Sales Talent

© The Gulas Group 2010

The word process is tossed around a lot these days. The best example of a successful process for me comes from recently watching the University of Alabama football team.  Three years ago in 2007 the University of Alabama had no football players drafted to the NFL and they lost six games. Two seasons later, Nick Saban’s team won the national championship, had six all Americans, multiple players drafted to the NFL and a Heisman trophy winner. The first thing I read when the new coach Nick Saban was hired  in 2007 that signaled his upcoming success was when he said, “Always focus on the process the goal will take care of itself.” He also said, “Do not focus on the score whether ahead or behind focus on the next play and how you will dominate the competition one play at a time.”  Now some may say my bias to the Crimson Tide makes me impartial. That may have merit, but these words came from Nick Saban’s book titled” How Good Do You Want To Be?” in 2005 when he won the National Championship at LSU. The point is Nick Saban has a successful process that he replicates no matter what school he coaches.

Objective Management Groups research indicates 91% of the companies they evaluate do not have a formal structured repeatable sales process in place. And those that do have a sales process in place few actually consistently execute that process. Today I want to introduce you to a repeatable sales process. This sales process can produce national championship results.  The sales process is based on 240 sales behaviors. The behaviors roll up into 21 sales competencies which in turn become internalized selling strengths we call “success elements.”  When you recruit sales people you must assess to determine the hidden weaknesses which prevent these behaviors from being consistently executed.  The sales person which has mastered most of these behaviors will spend less time to “on board” and has over a 97% chance to be successful in your sales organization.  Coach Nick Saban has impressed football fans with his recruiting process. What this means is he has a template and assessment process that he uses over and over to select the best talent for each position. He does not waiver from that list and he makes sure character is one of the main ingredients. Ask yourself, do you have a recruiting process that is disciplined which uses a template and a screening tool to uncover 240 selling behaviors?

Now what do you do about the sales team already in place? The next step in the sales development process is to conduct an “Impact Analysis Report.”  You must determine how many of the 240 selling behaviors each member of your sales team has mastered and the hidden sales weaknesses.  This report will tell you about the people, systems, tools, processes, strategies and tactics used by the existing sales team. Once this is completed and analyzed you can start on your journey to develop both your new recruits and your existing team. In some cases you may need to realign you existing sales team and push out some dead weight. Watching Coach Nick Saban’s process recently at the University of Alabama fans started to see that dead weight eliminated very early in the process with transfers and drop outs from the team.

This realignment is where things start to fall apart in the corporate world. The reason for this is “excuse making” from sales people and especially with sales leaders.  Here is a recent example that comes up. It has its roots in this statement,” at least I am better than most of my competition so why do all this work the process calls for?” Again I refer back to the football analogy. When you have a weak bench then the top players are not pushed to be their best because there is no competition. The players tend to move toward complacency. Most companies cannot see this till it is too late and the competition and or the economy start to take away market share.  A common theme expressed by sales leaders goes like this, “we are meeting all our goals.”  My answer is perhaps you set your goals too low and are not focused everyday on the process. So the first two sales competencies to work on should be Destination and Compass. Destination and Compass is setting goals, creating a track to run on and tracking goals properly. Here are the competencies and behaviors one should work on to master these two competencies.

                Destination: Has A Written Goals Plan
                                Focused and Clear Vision Based
                                Realistic, Relevant
                                Total unwavering unconditional commitment
                Compass: Follows a Written Goals Plan
                                Knows what must be done and why
                                Has Developed Action Plans
                                Follows Action Plans
                                Has Determined Possible Obstacles
                                Has a plan to deal with obstacles
                                Has check points and calibrates weekly and monthly

                                Debriefs daily

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