Developing Salespeople with Effective Coaching

Developing salespeople doesn’t happen automatically. Many sales manager never invest the time and attention to do so and end up paying the price in turnover and poor sales. Developing salespeople requires you to understand and apply a simple yet powerful coaching process.  This process involves three steps. They are:developing salespeople

1.    Recognize coachable moments. Coachable mo­ments are specific opportunities where coaching is most likely to make an impact. Coachable mo­ments fall into three ar­eas:

  • When sales­people perform well;
  • When sales­people fail to per­form; and
  • When salespeople seek help.

2.    Engage. This means taking the coach­-able mo­ments and turning them into performance discus­sions. These performance discus­sions should be brief, very fo­cused, and viewed as helpful by salespeople. These are great  opportunities for developing salespeople.

3.    Mobilize. To effect change, man­agers must con­vert the perfor­mance discussions into actions. These actions can be comprehen­sive (e.g., devel­op­ing a key ac­count plan) or focused (e.g., use visuals during a presentation). Developing salespeople requires that you monitor your salespeople’s progress with the actions you assign.

Coachable Moments

In order to get peak performance from your salespeople you have to use every opportunity to develop their effectiveness. You as a coach must recognize and respond to coaching opportunities as they present themselves. This means using a different approach with each coachable moment. We’ll discuss each one separately.

When salespeople perform well.  Your objective in this situation is to reinforce the salesperson’s positive behavior. This coachable moment is often overlooked because many managers feel that salespeo­ple don’t need positive reinforcement. Unfortunately, this is a faulty assumption. Reinforcing positive behavior increases the frequency of the behavior. If you fail to reinforce positive behavior, it will occur less often.

When you want to reinforce or praise the perfor­mance of a salesperson, use the BIT Model.

B= Behavior Describe what the salesperson is doing that is positive.

I= Impact Describe why the salesperson’s perfor­mance is important and how it contributes to the organiza­tion.

T= Thank You Deliver a specific expression of appreciation.

An example of giving a BIT would be: “Making those extra calls this month has really paid off. Your 20 percent over budget really helped us get over the top this month. I really appreciate the extra effort you’ve put in. Keep up the great work!

When salespeople fail to perform. Your objective for this coachable moment is to give feedback and help salespeople improve a specific area of their performance. Giving negative feedback is not always easy, but it is necessary for improvement. To mini­mize the potential of causing salespeople to become defensive and not motivated, make sure your feedback is specific, focuses on behavior, and helpful. Using the BIEC Model should help you do so effectively.

B=  Behavior-Describe what his/her behavior is doing or not doing that needs improvement.

I= Impact-Describe how the behavior is impact­ing performance.

E=  Expectation-Explain what you expect the salesperson to do or not do to change.

C=Consequence-Explain what will happen if the salesperson changes or the consequences if the behav­ior continues.

He­re’s an exam­ple of the BIEC Model:  “Mary, this is the fourth time this month you’ve submitted sales orders with incomplete or inaccurate informa­tion. When you do this, the order has to be re-written and reprocessed. This adds to our costs and delays the order from being pro­cessed. Delays in orders can lead to lost sales and dissatisfied custom­ers. From now on, I expect your orders to be submit­ted with all the information complete and accurate. Doing so will make it easier to process your orders and keep your customers happy. Also, we can’t afford to jeopardize business because of poor paper­work. If there are future prob­lems, we’ll have to review your account list”.

When your salespeople seek help in solving a problem or maximizing an opportunity. Too often, managers solve their people’s problem instead of managing the problem-solving process. Managers take this approach because it seems the most expedient. In the short run, it probably is. But in the long run, the approach creates salespeople who are dependent on their managers. If you want to develop salespeople who take initiative, accept responsibility, and hold themselves accountable, then remember, the goal of this coachable moment is to support their efforts, not solve their problems.

Using the CEAC Model will help you draw your salespeople out and identify how you can best support their efforts.

C= Clarify the problem or opportunity.

E= Engage in a discussion of what options are available to address the issue.

A= Agree on actions to be taken with deadlines (What, by when and by whom).

C= Commit your support to the initiative.

Summary

Developing salespeople with effective coaching is an investment that requires both time and effort. A few minutes before and after a sales call or while a salesperson is developing a proposal can pay huge dividends.  Therefore,you must view coachable moments as opportunities to make a difference, not a distraction from your job.  Remember, sales managers who are constantly looking for oppor­tunities to make a difference, generally do. So, don’t let your coachable moments go unful­filled.

Developing Salespeople with the OREO Model

Developing salespeople is easy when you can understand and apply three basic concepts:

1.  “Winning is fun, losing isn’t!”

2.  “Winning is different for every person!”developing salespeople

3.  “Your job as a manager is to help your people win everyday!”

When you discover what winning is for your people, then you are well on your way to helping them succeed. The quickest way to help salespeople win is to have a clear description of where they want to go or what they want. This is called an outcome. Using their outcomes to achieve business goals is an effective method of getting results and developing salespeople.

One way to organize a plan for achieving an outcome is the OREO Method developed by corporate trainer, Gerry Schmidt.

  •  Outcome: What is the desired result?
  • Reality: What is the current situation, including the resources available and the resources that are needed to change the  current situation?
  • Evidence: What evidence will be used to demonstrate that the outcome has been achieved?
  • Operations: What will the salesperson do to achieve the desired outcome?

Here are some important guidelines for Applying OREO while developing salespeople:

1.    Key to successful coaching is having a clearly stated and well-formed outcome. To discover someone’s outcome ask, “What do you want?”

To ensure that the person’s outcome is well-formed, make sure that it is:

•      Stated in the positive (describe what the person wants and not what the person doesn’t want).

•      Within the person’s control. The actions that will lead to the desired outcome must be within the person’s control.

•      Actions must be small enough and specific enough to facilitate immediate action.

•      Actions must have time frames.

•      Achieving the outcome will produce or lead to achieving a larger goal or outcome.

To determine the larger goal or outcome ask, “What will ________________ (insert desired outcome) get you or allow you to do?

2.    The next step is to assess the person’s current reality and compare it to the desired outcome. To assess a person’s reality, ask the following questions:

•      Compared to your desired outcome, where are you now?

•      What stops you from having the desired outcome now?

•      What are you doing that is keeping you from having the desired outcome?

•      What resources are available?

•      What resources are needed?

3.    Evidence defines how people will know that their outcome has been achieved. To determine a person’s evidence ask, “How will you know when you have achieved this outcome?”

To help clarify the evidence, ask the following:

•      What will other people see, hear, and feel when you achieve your outcome?

•      What will be the first indications that you’re making progress towards your outcome?

•      What other benchmarks will you use?

•      What will be the long-term impact of achieving the outcome?

•      How will achieving this outcome impact other areas of your life?

4.    Operations outline the person’s plan of attack. To discover a person’s operation, ask “What will you do to achieve this outcome?”  To make the plan as practical and effective as possible, ask the following questions:

•      How else can you achieve the outcome?

•      What are you going to do first?

•      Specifically, when are you going to do it?

•      What could get in the way of your success?

•      What support do you need to be successful?

•      How certain are you that you will carry out the agreed upon actions? (Use a scale of 1-10, with 10 being absolutely certain.) If the rating is less than an 8, find a new outcome or a new plan of action.

When salespeople do things for their reasons they are far more motivated than if they were doing things for yours.  Using the OREO model for developing salespeople helps you keep them focused on activities that produce meaningful results.

Grow Your Business with the Right People

grow your businessDo you want to grow your business? If you do then you must have the right people. In Jim Collins book “Good to Great” he says you have to make sure that “the right people are on the bus”. This means that you as a leader must know the strengths and motivation of each person on your team, as well as how the individual impacts the performance of the team. Recognizing a person’s talent and then managing it creates a motivated and engaged workforce. Failure to hire the right people for the jobs and not putting people in positions where their talent can soar is a waste of a company’s resources. Southwest Airlines set itself apart from the industry by hiring and developing people who are a natural fit for the company and the jobs they were hired for. The result has been an engaged workforce, low turnover and great customer loyalty.

Let’s look at how having the wrong people in place can cost your company dearly even at entry level positions. I was with a friend waiting in line at Starbucks as he was paying for his $8.00 grand latte supreme. The young woman at the cash register said, “That”ll be $8.00 please. Boy that’s expensive!” In that moment of truth my friend looked at me and said with a chuckle, “She’s right.” He paid and left with his prized coffee. But he stopped going there deciding his coffee money was better spent at 7-11 at $2.00 a pop. Situations like this are as preventable as they are unfortunate. The right person with the right training would never have made this comment. The right people will help you grow your business while the wrong people will sink it.

Marissa Levin, CEO of Information Experts has grown her $15 million award winning business through hiring the right people. Levin explains her company secret to hiring , “When we look at employees, there are three things that we have to look at. And this is a rule of thumb pretty much for everybody, any organization. It’s called the GWC Principle. Do they get it? Do they want it? And do they have the capacity to do it? So as we look not only at new hires, but at the existing people as we shuffle them around and reorganize and grow, we have to look at people and say, “Do they get it? Do they really get what they’re supposed to be doing? Do they want it? Do they have the passion for it? And do they have the capacity? Do they have the physical capacity, the intellectual capacity, and the emotional capacity? Whatever the capacity may be, do they have the capacity to do it?” And not all employees in every position are going to have the get it, want it and have the capacity to do it factor.” Use the GWC Principle to grow your business.

To grow his cloud hosting business Matthew Porter, CEO of Contegix pays a finders fee to employees of $20,000. He puts his money where his mouth is because he understands that without the right talent his company won’t grow. How much is the right employee worth to help you grow your business?

In a competitive marketplace having the right human capital is critical to surviving and ultimately thriving. Make sure that you spend the needed time, energy and thought to hire and develop the right people to grow your business.

Cash Flow Management for Business Growth

Cash flow management will make or break your company especially in a tough economy. In fact, of the 150+ major businesses that failed in 2008 and 2009 most were due to bankruptcy. (Wikipedia) Also the biggest reason small businessecash flow managements fail is usually lack of capital and poor cash flow management.

Poor cash flow management is like going on vacation without cash or credit cards. Neither turns out to be a pleasant experience. This may sound like common sense but common sense isn’t always common practice. There are many reasons why companies fail to manage their cash flow effectively including having insufficient accounting systems in place, lack of focus and lack of discipline.

Some companies struggle because their eyes are bigger than their wallets. For example, a $5 million tech firm had enjoyed steady double-digit sales and profit growth selling non-core technology to small businesses.  In late 2011 the company jumped at the chance to bid on a large project for a mid-sized business for their core technology. They were ecstatic when they were awarded the business and high fives were given all around. However the euphoria quickly turned to angst when the CEO realized the project would consume most of their resources and cash flow for the next 6-9 months. Although the project would eventually be profitable the company had to take extreme measures to survive the implementation, including laying off personnel and putting a halt on new business development. Because they failed to anticipate the impact the project would have on their cash flow management the long-term viability of the company is still in doubt.

Spending and committing resources as if the road always be straight and narrow is inviting disaster. Cash must be managed as the precious resource that it is instead of the endless supply people thought existed before the start of the Great Recession. At that time, much growth was fueled by the desire to grow and the availability of money. In the New Economy credit and cash have tightened up and demand has fallen off in many markets. This means unless you have money to burn don’t pursue a market that doesn’t have demand or you can’t uniquely and effectively service. At least not right now.

One example of a large company who positioned themselves for growth with cash flow management was ITW. They put several initiatives in place that helped them recover rapidly from the downturn they experienced in 2009. Among the actions taken, ITW:

  • Restructured several businesses to get their cost structures in line with the marketplace.
  • Assessed their various global markets and put resources where they saw growth and put growth plans on hold where markets were stagnant.
  • Improved working capital by managing receivables and inventory.
  • Implemented programs to increase cash flow.

Managing your cash flow doesn’t mean don’t spend and don’t grow. It means having the financial resources available when growth opportunities are available.

Do you have the financial resources to support your growth initiatives without putting the company at risk? If not get your financial house in order immediately. If you wait until the “time is right” it may be too late.

 

Metrics: Are Yours Helping You Grow Your Business?

MetricsDo your business metrics keep your business focused and moving toward your vision? As a small business owner or CEO of a small business you are paid to describe the future (your business plan) and then create it. This requires vision and execution. The path to any vision is rarely as smooth in execution as it is on the drawing board. Like most flights on an airplane getting off course is expected. The key is how quickly you and the pilot can course correct.

To make mid-course corrections you need an instrument panel or dashboard.  The business dashboard as a metaphor for critical metrics to measure business performance originated years ago at General Electric.  Just as you use the speedometer, oil gauge, fuel gauge, and other instruments to monitor the status of your car as you drive, you want to keep track of key indicators of the performance of your company. Like the dashboard gauges, your metrics allow you to continually assess your progress and detect any potential problems.

An effective dashboard provides you with the information you need to make good decisions that keep your company out of harm’s way and moving in the right directions. This means that you must select reliable and predictive metrics. Armed with the information they provide, you must be able to use them to help decision making. This isn’t always easy. Consider the fact that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other top central bank officials failed to see the housing crash coming as late as December 2006.

With all the resources at their disposal coupled with the years of experience identifying economic trends, how did they miss the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression? Were they looking at the right metrics? Or did they interpret them wrong? Or did they just make poor decisions based on what they saw? We may never know. But their failure to execute on this key leadership lesson points out how important it is to have metrics that inform you well enough in advance to take corrective action. 

Your choice of business metrics and the importance you give them show what you value. If you value customer service or new product development, for example, you make them central to your business metrics. You include it in your dashboard.

By instituting key business metrics across functions and groups and at every level, you directly link individual performance to measurable outcomes. This sends a clear message that not only do you care about customers and revenue, but so should everyone else, since they are accountable for the results measured by their particular metrics. Clear accountability is essential for executing this leadership lesson.

Whether you manage a small administrative staff or a  global company, you need business metrics to keep your business on track. Having a solid business plan is essential but that’s not enough because of the dynamic nature of the marketplace. This is especially true for small- and medium-sized businesses. Juvo Products manufactures assistive living products for seniors and people with mild disabilities. Because they are a growing early-stage business they must remain extremely nimble. As Park Owens, President of Juvo Products explains, It’s a matter of how quickly you adjust and how flexible you are. How quickly you can react.  I would say 50% of our business plan was right on and 50% was off.”

When establishing metrics, beware of metrics that:

  • aren’t easy to collect data that’s accurate or complete
  • are complex and difficult to explain to others
  • complicate operations and create excessive overhead
  • cause employees to act not in the best interests of the business, just to “make their numbers”

John Menzer, CEO of Michael’s describes how he and his management team use metrics to manage their business. “We talk about what we saw in our stores and we ask,” What are the three things we need to adjust for the weekend to maximize sales and earnings for the weekend?” And we make those changes on Friday. What do we see in competition? How are the promotions doing? Do we need to make any adjustments because of that? So we’re running the business on a kind of weekly basis, but our Merchandising Team is probably running on a daily basis. Even marketing is maybe running on a daily basis now because the economy is just so tough. We are changing on the fly even based on weather. We’re now using weather service and we’ve incorporated that weather service into our modeling and pricing and promotions. So if we know a snow storm is coming, we’re going to get that promotion in earlier rather than later.”

If you are committed to accelerating your company’s speed to vision you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do your metrics allow you to proactively respond to challenges and opportunities?
  • Do you have systems in place that make it easy to regularly monitor your metrics and course correct to achieve your goals?

Your honest responses should go a long way for you putting in place the metrics and systems you need to navigate in today’s tough economy.

Sales Process: The Key to Growing Sales, Profits and Customer Loyalty

sales processThe sales process is one of the most overlooked assets a small business has for growing sales, profits and customer loyalty. If you want to grow your business this is one of the first places to look for dramatic results. I’ll explain why and what you can do to get the most out of yours.

A sales process is a series of documented steps salespeople follow to move prospects from first contact to purchase. It should include:

  • Each specific step a prospects take
  • Knowledge prospects need to move to the next step
  • Resources you can provide to help prospects move forward
  • Length of time a prospects need at each step
  • Metrics that measure conversion rates (the percentage of prospects that move from one step to the next) for each step

With a documented sales process, you have a powerful tool that enables you to:

  • Sell more efficiently
  • Create more accurate sales and revenue reports
  • Estimate the revenue and return on investment (ROI) of your marketing campaigns
  • See which stages take the most time and find ways to move prospects forward
  • Create better literature and tools
  • Improve your campaigns
  • Minimize time your reps spend on estimates and forecasts

Unfortunately, with all the benefits of a defined sales process 70% of companies don’t require their salespeople to comply with a standardized, documented set of sales processes.*(*ES Research Group)

Not getting  compliance may be caused by any number of factors including:  the process is poorly designed, or it’s not understood or it’s not supported by the organization. For whatever reason, allowing salespeople to “wing it” is a very expensive business strategy. Without a defined sales process resources can’t be effectively allocated, revenues can’t be accurately forecasted and customers may not get the information they need when they need it. All these factors contribute to lost sales, lower profits and diminished customer loyalty.

Even if your company has a defined sales process, that doesn’t guarantee success. Your next challenge is to make sure that your sales process aligns with your customers’ buying process. Starting the sales relationship just after a customer purchased from a competitor is far more challenging than starting when the customer first becomes aware of a need or want. When do you want your salespeople to start allocating selling time and company resources? Aligning your sales process with your customers’  buying process ensures your selling efforts begin as early in the buying process as possible. Thus giving you the best chance to influence the sales outcome.

Does your sales process make sure that you use the right selling effort supported by the right resources to make sure that sales are made in the shortest time with the fewest resources? If your answer is not a definite yes then you have a great opportunity for growing your business without adding costs. Improving your sales process doesn’t add costs because it’s simply directing your selling effort more effectively. The sooner you start the sooner you’ll start seeing bottom line results.

Sales Message: Is Yours Positioning You to Win?

Sales MessageIs your sales message positioning you win, draw or lose? The answer depends on several factors including if your sales message is  heard, who is hearing it and how effective it is.

Having your message heard is a role of the media, message, timing, frequency and delivery. A recent LinkedIn survey revealed the number-one challenge on the minds of sales professionals was “getting the attention of prospects”. Customers are bombarded with information, so much so everything begins to sound like “Blah, Blah, Blah”. Making matters more challenging is only 3% of your target market is in the buying mode at a given time. If they aren’t buying they aren’t listening.  Getting your sales message to your customers too early, too late or without impact is a waste of time, money and energy.

In the communication jungle, there are just too many products, too many companies, and too much marketing noise. The mind, as a defense against the huge volume of today’s communications, screens and rejects much of the information it’s offered. The only hope to deliver your sales message is to be selective and to focus on narrow targets. In a word: “positioning.”

According to John Foley CEO of Interlink One,“This is a one-on-one world…you have to really be more relevant with the marketing channel and the media you use to the people you’re trying to reach and not only relevant in those channels or media, but also the content, messaging, timing, and even how they’ll respond.”

To effectively position your your products and services you must find out:

  • How the marketplace sees your company
  • How your ideal or target customers see your company and what they value
  • What you know about your own company and the customer value it creates

Positioning your sales message should be a foundation for action to design, manage and defend your brand. It should inform everything you do, including:

  • What  customer value you create
  • What you value
  • What’s your sustainable competitive advantage
  • How you conduct your business
  • How you communicate and interact with customers

Business consultant and CEO of Grow My Revenue Ian Altman worked with a health insurance company who was getting a 1% response rate to their cold calling efforts. Sales were down and morale was even lower. Altman helped the company change their generic sales message to one that highlighted what the company did best and appealed to a large segment of the market. Selling the same products with the same salespeople, the company saw its response rate increase to 30%. Achieving such a dramatic increase was accomplished by simply delivering a better sales message.

You must view your sales and marketing messaging as an asset that  you can quickly leverage into increased sales and profits.

Take a close look at your sales message and ask yourself: How does it help your ideal customers  clearly understand how your solution uniquely satisfies their buying criteria and emotional needs; and is it delivered when it most influences the buying decision in your favor? If you answered no to either one you’ve got some work to do. Improve your sales message and watch sales grow.

Grow Your Business with Customer Knowledge

If you want to grow your business start by taking a close look at your customers. Not only are they the key to your growth what you don’t know about your customers is putting your business at risk. Why? Because market trends and customer needs are changing more rapidly than ever before. If you don’t know who your ideal customers are, as well as how, when and why they are motivated to buy, you can’t position your solution to uniquely satisfy their needs. 

When your customers’ needs shift how quickly can you re-align your company to serve those needs? If you don’t take care of your customer someone else will.  Just a few years ago BlackBerry was the Smartphone industry leader with 43% market share. Today they trail both Android and Apple with a market share of  less than 10% and dropping.

Borders failed to recognize the importance of selling books on line and paid the steep price of going out of business leaving 11,000 employees without jobs.

Knowing who your customer is and being close to them isn’t enough in the New Economy. Companies like ITW have emerged successfully from the Great Recession because of their understanding of their customers. As Bob Hamilton, Group President for ITW explained,” The most important thing for us regardless of what market we’re in is we need to know our customer better then he knows himself. And we need to not only be close to that customer we need to be able to predict what he’s going to do.”

To survive many businesses have resorted to discounting, coupons and promotions to attract customers. What they found the customers left as soon as the promotion ended or the coupons expired. They didn’t gain customers they merely leased them. This is not a long-term sustainable strategy. Because you can’t grow your business with leased customers.

Sometimes the best way to grow profitably is to know who you are and who you’re not. Irwin Steinberg has steadily grown his CPA firm Steinberg Advisors by focusing on what his ideal clients want and need — business advice. Steinberg explains his firm’s business model,” …a lot of CPA firms have a lot of product lines. We don’t have the same product lines that they do. We have business consulting, valuation, accounting and tax. We’re not in the IT business. We’re not in investment banking. We don’t manage money for our clients.” Instead of dissipating his firm’s resources by offering services his ideal customers don’t value and don’t want, Steinberg focuses on what they do value and his firm can deliver. What are you relying to grow your business?

If you want a road map to grow your business  identify your ideal customers, make sure you know them well enough to predict their behavior and then give them what they want better than anyone else.

 

 

 

 

Grow Your Business with a Superior Customer Experience

Grow Your BusinessDo you want to grow your business? Then deliver a  superior customer experience.

Customer experience is defined as the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. This means every touch impacts that experience positively or negatively. Your ability to deliver an experience that sets you apart in the eyes of your customers serves to increase how much they spend with you and, optimally, inspire loyalty to your brand.

To create a superior customer experience requires you to first understand the customer’s point of view. Only by standing in your customer’s shoes can you appreciate the full impact of the day-to-day customer experience that your company delivers.

In the New Economy it’s becoming more challenging to grow your business. Products are becoming commoditized, price differentiation is no longer sustainable and customers are demanding more. To compete, companies are focusing on delivering superior customer experiences. A study of over 860 corporate executives revealed that companies that have increased their investment in customer experience management over the past three years report higher customer referral rates and customer satisfaction (Strativity Group, 2009). Many experts feel that the customer experience has emerged as the single most important aspect in achieving success for companies across all industries.

As evidenced by the number of business casualties over the past few years most companies talk about becoming customer focused, but few actually do it. Doing customer satisfaction surveys is one thing, changing the company’s culture based on what was learned from the surveys in something totally different. If you want to grow your business in today’s marketplace you’ll need to get serious about the customer experience you deliver.

Some companies have learned that being customer focused can give them a competitive advantage that helps them grow. Customers choose Disney World and Zappos because of their experience with them.

Here are a couple of examples of how successful CEOs are using their customer experience to grow their businesses.

Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint Nextel uses hand written notes as a way to show customers appreciation. Hess says. ” I know it’s kind of old fashioned, but I think in today’s digital world customers notice and appreciate that we take time to write letters to them.” The idea came about when an employee and his team started writing customers thanking them based on their longevity. Since they did it every Thursday,  it’s become “thank you Thursdays” company-wide.

As companies add more technology they make doing business with them more complex. Improving the customer experience means they must help customers manage the complexity they face. Successful companies are finding ways to simplify products and services while making them easier to use. As Steve Hennigan CEO of San Antonio Credit Union explains, “Customers must have a seamless experience with our organization no matter which channel they choose.”

Hennigan uses the process of purchasing a mortgage as an example of how his organization must tame the complexity monster for his customers and deliver a seamless experience.

“In the mortgage space we’ve got to allow you the opportunity to make a loan via the phone, via the Web, via the call center, or via one of our branch interfaces. And we’ve got to do it so that it’s as if you’re in one channel. Say for example you’re doing research in one channel and you start an application process on-line, but then you get stuck and you want to talk to somebody You ought to be able to seamlessly jump into another channel without us making you do the extra work as the consumer… the technology must seem simple to the user although it may be very complex on the back to provide a simple solution, which is: I start on-line and then when I get stuck I can go get a face-to-face and I don’t have to start from the very beginning again.”

Both of these CEOs know that growth starts and ends with the customer experience and it’s up to them to constantly innovate ways to improve it.

Is the customer experience you deliver helping you grow your business?  What ways can you improve your customer experience so that you can grow your business? I suggest that business owners and CEOs take one area of customer experience each month and improve it. By the end of the year they will improve twelve ares. Plus improving one area often has a compounding effect on other areas. This is a simple and straight forward approach to grow your business one customer experience at a time.

Hiring Solutions: Developing Successful Recruitment Ads

Are you looking for hiring solutions for building a better sales force? If you are one of the first areas to look is you recruitment ads. With increasing competition, it becomes imperative that you hire the right person for the job. Otherwise, you face the very real prospect of losing your competitive advantage in the marketplace.

If you’re going to run a job ad, make sure it pulls the type and number of candidates needed to make it worthwhile. All too often, companies sacrifice their recruitment message in the name of timeliness. Because of unexpected vacancies, managers fall into the trap of placing an ad as quickly as possible, regardless of its merit. Placing an ineffective ad is a waste of time.

To attract top sales talent you need effective recruitment ads.

Hiring solutions for developing successful recruitment ads

Use these five steps to develop recruitment ads that will attract the talent you need to build your sales organization.

1. Define your recruitment goals.

•Do you need to fill one position or several?

•What is the recruiting time frame?

•What are the Critical Job Dimensions (CJDs) you’re looking for?

•What sort of training will you provide?

•What career opportunities are available?

•How much can candidates expect to earn?

2. Define the job for candidates.

•What responsibilities will they have?

•What industries will they be selling to?

•Who will they be calling on?

•What are the downsides of the job (e.g., travel, new product, commission only, etc.)?

3. Identify the job’s strong points.

•What is unique about this job?

•What does your company have going for it?

•What do your salespeople like about the job?

4. Develop the body copy.

  • Use key words that will attract top talent to your ad. If they don’t find you they can’t apply.
  • Elaborate on your primary message by stressing as many benefits as possible.
  • Talk about the company. Research shows that sales professionals want to know about more than just the job.  They want positive facts about the company.
  • Mention negatives about the job (e.g., evening work, heavy travel, relocation, etc.). Doing so helps weed out candidates unwilling to accept certain conditions. You can phrase downsides of the job without being negative. A heavy travel requirement, for example, can be phrased as an invitation to “see the U.S.A.”

5. Issue a strong call to action.

Decide how you want candidates to respond. Consider the following:

  •  Call for an appointment
  •  Send a resume
  •  Send a letter outlining their qualifications for the job

Your call to action can be an also be an effective qualifier and make this hiring solution even more effective. For example if you want a large number of candidates to apply you can say, ” Immediate openings. Training starts next week. Call today for your personal interview.”  Or if you want to be more selective you can say something like,” If you’re a top producer and are ready to take on a bigger challenge and be rewarded for it send you resume today. If you’re not a top producer who can back up your claim don’t bother applying.”

The One of the keys to success in the New Economy is to “win with your winners and not lose with your losers.”  The hiring solutions outlined here will save you time and energy. It will also add sales, profits and customer loyalty for your company because by following these steps you’re increasing your chances of hiring winners.