Tag Archives: Graham Chapman

How To Utilize Data To Inform Your Sales Process

The Four Ways That Data Can Be Utilized To Inform Your Sales Process

By Dave Mattson | August 28, 2020


For as long as there have been salespeople, there has been data to analyze about the process they use to bring in business. The only issue has been how effective leaders are at drawing conclusions from that data.

All too often, companies don’t make effective use of the information available to them from their sales teams. They fail to generate the most relevant data points… or they focus on information that is familiar to them but less than meaningful. These common mistakes result in, among other things, the dreaded “garbage in, garbage out” sales forecast. So: How can you as a sales leader use data to support both the organization and the sales team? Here are four questions that will help you to do just that.

Question One: Do you have a sales process? This may sound like an obvious requirement, but most organizations we work with do not have a sales process! If you start breaking down data without a systematic process in place for generating sales, the data you come up with isn’t going to do you a lot of good. Note that a sales process gives people the steps they need to follow, from start to finish, to create revenue for your organization. Every company has a slightly different process; you can think of the data generated by the various steps of your sales process as being like an MRI. When it’s done properly, that kind of comprehensive scan is going to tell you what you need to know about the internal workings of your sales team. But to be useful, the analysis must line up with a functioning sales process!

Question Two: Have you identified your expectations? What are your expectations for each of the phases of your sales process? Break the process into its constituent parts: lead development, also known as prospecting; qualification; and then fulfillment and servicing the account. These three phases can also be understood, in the enterprise world, as landexpand, and renew. So. What are the specific outcomes you want to see within each of those three areas? What are the behaviors that make those outcomes possible? What are the departmental benchmarks – meaning what are your time-bound goals for behaviors that will land new business, expand existing business, and renew relationships with your best customers? Once you know that, you can break it down. What are the team benchmarks? What are the individual benchmarks? Set specific expectations. Hopefully, you’ve overlaid some competitive information, and you are meeting or exceeding the relevant industry benchmarks as you work with your team to identify the right goals. Once you have set the expectations, you will have something to compare the relevant real-world data to. (See Question Three.)

Question Three: Are you measuring the right stuff? Get meaningful data. Specifically, make sure you are getting data that connects to a specific step of your sales process. Make sure you are using your CRM system as a source of actionable business intelligence… not as a demonstration of compliance on the part of your salespeople. Make sure you are tracking leading indicators (activities that predictably generate revenue, such as having an initial voice-to-voice conversation with a decision maker) not just lagging indicators (activities that connect to revenue that has already been generated, such as filing a signed contract). Often, leaders spend too much time on lagging indicators and not enough in leading indicators. Identify the leading indicators that spotlight the effectiveness of a particular step of your sales process (such as the number of times a salesperson begins a discussion about the budget). Use that data to strategize improvement. What specific tools, resources, and behaviors will help everyone ensure the needle is moving in the right direction? How will you share the data in a way that inspires salespeople to monitor – and control – their own behavior?

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Question Four: Are you looking at a problem… or a symptom? This is perhaps the most important question of all. Is the data you’re examining pointing you toward an actual problem, or is it identifying the inevitable result of some underlying issue that you haven’t yet addressed? Sometimes, what seems obvious about a sales team’s needs isn’t obvious at all. Let me give you an example: Often, companies will look at their presentation-to-close ratio, realize that it’s low, and then self-diagnose based on that. They’ll say to themselves, “Okay, we need some help; we need to get better at delivering our presentations.” They think that’s the right response to what the data is telling them. But time after time, we find that’s not the problem.  When we do some digging, what we generally uncover is that they have a poor qualification process. The majority of those people they’re presenting to, they shouldn’t have been presenting to in the first place. They had no opportunity to win. Remember: There is a time to step back and get some help in assessing what the data is really telling you.

New technologies in CRM, in artificial intelligence, voice intelligence, and in any number of other areas are giving us all access to much deeper analyses than we could have made just a few years ago. As sales leaders, we can get the right data up on the dashboard… we can use that data intelligently… and as a result of what we learn, we can do a better and better job of leading our teams and our organizations in the direction they need to go. That starts with asking ourselves the four questions I’ve shared here – so we can avoid the all-too-common mistake of trying to land the plane without an instrument panel!

Interested in learning more about how you can utilize technology and data to inform your organization’s sales process? Learn why Sandler partnered with Gong to bring a measurable, data-driven approach to sales learning programs.

 


 

How To Learn About Entrepreneurship From Colonel Sanders

The 7 Inspiring Lessons Colonel Sanders Can Teach Us About Entrepreneurship

Published 2 days ago

on Aug 30, 2020

By Graham Chapman


Colonel Sanders was rejected exactly 1009 times before he was able to sell his KFC recipe successfully. In addition to this, he failed at every job he even turned his hand to during his life. After a lifetime of facing failure after failure, he finally sold KFC at the ripe old age of 75.

In this blog, we’ll be covering seven of the inspiring lessons that the Colonel’s entrepreneurial journey can teach us, and whether you’re 25 or 75 years old, there’s something here for any budding entrepreneur.

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Lesson #1: Failure Breeds Success

As I mentioned, the Colonel was rejected over a thousand times before he was successfully able to sell his Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe – that’s a lot of rejection. Not only that, but Sanders failed miserably at every other career he ever attempted. Between the ages of ten and forty, Sanders tried his hand at the following, among other things:

  • Streetcar conducting
  • Farming
  • Law
  • Sales
  • Fire fighting

This just goes to show that no matter how much you experience failure, there’s still time, no matter how old you are, which brings us neatly onto our next lesson.

“I’ve only had two rules. Do all you can and do it the best you can. It’s the only way you ever get that feeling of accomplishing something.” – Colonel Sanders

Lesson #2: It’s Never Too Late

When Colonel Sanders was 75, he finally sold KFC for $2 million (roughly $15 million today). Can you imagine experiencing such a win, after a lifetime of losing? I’ve met people during my career who think they’re over the hill by the time they’re in their thirties! Yet the Colonel ploughed on in the face of adversity and ended up as the founder and face of a brand we’re still so familiar with over five decades later. 

Lesson #3: The Past is In the Past

In order to be successful as an entrepreneur, many people simply need to learn that the past is in the past, and it will only define your future chance of success if you allow it to. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve failed, where you’ve come from or what negative things you’ve experienced or done in the past.

Your past doesn’t hold the keys to your future success. The Colonel failed at every career he ever attempted. He even spent much of his life in an unhappy marriage, ending in divorce and had to provide for three children by the time he was nineteen. For most, that’d be enough for them to settle down into an unfulfilling career, but the Colonel pressed on with faith in his own abilities and principles. 

Lesson #4: Giving Up is the Only Way to Fail

Failure is a natural side effect of life; the story of Kentucky Fried Chicken tells us that quitting is the only failure. If you have the same outlook and faith in what you’re trying to do, the possibility of significant success is never off the table. Even when you see the clock is ticking and the days and years are flashing by, there’s no time limit on being a success. Never stop searching for that light at the end of the tunnel.

Lesson #5: A Fresh Start is Sometimes All You Need

It’s clear to us now that cooking was a passion of the Colonel’s, but he didn’t discover his enthusiasm until much later in his life. It’s only through having the courage to fail and start over, again and again, that he was able to discover his real calling. 

When you try to succeed at multiple disciplines, it’s a sure-fire way to burn yourself out. The start is always the hard part, and for most, the idea of doing it over and over again, in their 50s, 60s and 70s would be absolutely exhausting. The energy and passion that the Colonel showed by doing this well into his seventies is an inspiring lesson to any entrepreneur. 

Lesson #6: Take a Leap of Faith

It’s no great shock to learn that following your heart’s desire is often the key to success, happiness and contentment. How is it then, that so many of us won’t chase after what we truly want from life? Sitting back and relaxing into your comfort zone means that many of us don’t realize how vital passion and desire really are. In the end, the pursuit of a passion will make anyone happy, contented and prosperous. 

“One has to remember that every failure can be a stepping stone to something better.” – Colonel Sanders

Lesson #7: Keep it Simple

It seems crazy to say it, but Kentucky Fried Chicken started by selling chicken on the side of the road. After selling his recipe, the business grew rapidly, and these days it’s commonplace to see KFC franchises in countries all over the world – 145 to be exact. The lesson here is never to be afraid of keeping things simple. So long as you’re willing to start, work hard and keep at it, things will grow. 

It’s often the case that would-be entrepreneurs will put off starting their venture, launching their website or whatever it might be because they simply don’t believe they are big enough to make a start.

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Graham Chapman

Graham Chapman is a sustainable product and business expert and owner of powerguard.co.uk.