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Is your sales organisation as effective as it could be?

question-mark-2405202_960_720After a lifetime of experience and a lot of academic study, I have compiled ten questions that you can use to judge for yourself how well your organisation is at maximising revenue and profits.

1. Fundamentals – Are your sales people presentable, personable, enthusiastic, motivated and apply sufficient effort to get the job done effectively?

2. Professionalism – Are your salespeople organised, disciplined and ethical? Do they follow through on their promises, and can you trust them to always do the right and fair thing?

3. Customer servicing – Have your salespeople sufficient knowledge and experience to sell effectively? Do they qualify and only select the right customers to work on? Do they build effective relationships, and do they adapt their offering to suit their customers’ needs?

4. Recruitment – Are your jobs clearly analysed, specified and recruitment criteria clear? Are you attracting the right candidates and executing an on-boarding plan that supports newcomers from pre-employment to sales success?

5. Training – Are you undertaking training needs analysis and providing only sufficient training to your people? Have you got the right balance between the number of courses, delivery methods and time taken away from selling?

6. Territory design – Have you designed your territories to maximise the value of sales from your whole market? Is the workload of your salespeople appropriate and do their sales targets motivate them to reach for the full potential of their territory?

7. Evaluation – Do you have a formal salesperson evaluation process? Is the criteria clear and applied uniformly and fairly across your sales team? Have you taken steps to remove subjective factors and protect against manager-bias?

8. Segmentation – Have you segmented your customers and when doing so, used a clear process that apportions customers consistency? Have you checked that your criteria effectively meet not only yours, but your clients’ needs?

9. Relationship models – Have you determined which customers should be dealt with as transactional, account based or key accounts? Are your customers happy with the relationship that is offered and as importantly, is the relationship offered by you appropriate considering the view that the client has of you as a supplier?

10. Sales channels – Are you using multiple sales channels? Are your processes and people properly aligned with each channel to maximise the opportunity and to avoid channel conflict?

If after you have answered the questions, you conclude that you may have areas for improvement, do feel free to contact me. Phill

New Portsmouth training centre

We are delighted to announce that from January 2017 we will be delivering sales education and consultancy services from the Innovation Space, Portsmouth.


Situated in the heart of the University quarter, the Innovation space provides a range of flexible training spaces including classrooms, meeting rooms and an informal social space.

Full location and parking details will be sent to anyone enrolled on a course in Portsmouth. However, if you want to drop in for a coffee and chat, you can find us at Halpern House, 1 Hampshire Terrace, Portsmouth, PO1 2QF but please do give us a quick call to check that we are not all delivering courses!


Highly recommended resource for taking coaching to the next level!

Making Sense of Coaching

Although this coaching book is more academically based it still manages to talk to practicing managers.  As a step-on from Coaching Made Simple, it explains how coaching works and how, by understanding what is happening, a manager can improve their coaching skills. Management is all about learning skills and passing them on.  What we particularly like about this book is that it teaches the subject in enough depth so as to enable a practising coach to teach others to coach successfully.


For Managers that want to get the best out of their team

Coaching: Learning Made Simple

This book pretty much does what it says in the title – it makes learning to coach simple. In our experience management is often thrust upon ambitious people who have the talent and drive, but have not necessarily received any management training.  What we like about this book is the way that it sets out the coaching process from start-to-end and for each element and explains what it is, how it works and how best to use it.


Students: Not quite what you would expect

If you are not already engaging with your local University enterprise society, perhaps today is a good day to reach out and discover the depth of talent that is on your doorstep.

Earlier in the year the Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Society of the University of Southampton ‘Fish on Toast’ put on a brilliant conference: YouTech. While they may have a funny name (something to do with the old university logo – a dolphin on a square) they ran a fantastic event. What’s more it was free.

With speakers from Google, Samsung and LinkedIn as well as a host of other highly successful local companies, there was something for everyone. You only have to watch the 3 minute pitches from the business leaders of tomorrow, to know that things are changing. Everyone student I spoke to had a great idea to pitch. We loved seeing the next generation gearing gearing up, ready to take on businesses of today. We’d much rather be with them, than against them.

We are really looking forward to next year’s event. And we’d highly recommend getting involved with the enterprise society or Business School of your local University. Not only is there an opportunity to give back to the local community through business-education collaboration and supporting events and initiatives, there is also the added benefit of being inspired by and connected with the bright young minds of tomorrow.


So what has Google ever done for us? Well, there’s the free Google learning tools for Businesses for one!

Apart from search, oh and Analytics. Oh and suppose there is Trends, and search Console. But what’s this about Google Digital Garage?

One of the highlights of the YouTECH conference earlier in the year at University of Southampton was the presentation from Google about Google Digital Garage.

Did you know that unless your website is mobile device friendly (meaning that it is easy to use when accessed from devices of various screen size without the user having to pan, pinch and zoom), your site will actually be penalised and will appear lower down the search results than other sites that are mobile friendly?

Keeping up with best practice to ensure that your website remains visible in search results and making sure that your website meets user’s ever increasing expectations can be challenging. However, help is at hand! The Google Digital Garage initiative provides people like us (businesses owners and managers) with enough online learning to get to grips with how websites and digital channels can be put to work for business. Oh and by the way, it’s free 🙂 There are 23 sessions to watch in a really user friendly video format. You can pick which sessions to watch depending on your businesses and online goals such as selling online, reaching your audience or getting noticed. There is no jargon and everything is explained in layman’s terms. It really is a great resource to help business owners understand the basics of search, website and what online presence can do for their business.



Selling and Sales Management

This is a great book that addresses both selling and sales management. It is ideal for those who need a quick overview, rather than an in-depth study of the subject.  Part three: ‘Sales Technique’ provides a particularly useful, quick and easy to read introduction to the world of selling.  Main topics are sales responsibilities – what a salesperson should be doing, personal selling skills – how to go about doing it and Key Account Management – how to deal with larger, more important customers.  We suggest this is a “must-read” for anybody new to the discipline.


Augmented Reality: bringing online and offline firmly together

Following on from our LinkedIn post back in July The ‘Pokemon Go’ Distraction we thought it would be worthwhile to do a follow-up post on how businesses and marketers are taking advantage of the exciting opportunities presented by Augmented Reality (AR) Apps and the widespread use of mobile devices.

Also take the opportunity to ponder on the evolution of this new online-offline hybrid marketing phenomenon and how businesses are capitalising on it to deliver practical solutions and services in addition to driving deeper customer engagement.

The Tipping point: Augmented Reality makes it mainstream
But first, for those that didn’t get what all the fuss over a mobile game was about, here is a quick overview, from a marketing and business perspective, of the tipping point that the Pokemon Go augmented reality game represented:

Within weeks of its release in July this year the augmented reality game smashed Apple App store download records and became the most active mobile game ever with more active users around the world than Twitter! Even giving Facebook a run for its money in the engagement stakes with users spending on average 26 minutes on the game each day.

Online driving strong offline sales
It didn’t take long for big brands such as McDonalds and Asda to get in on the action hosting selected stores as Poke-stops where players of the game could turn-up for the opportunity to catch exclusive Pokemon on their devices, driving significant footfall as a result in addition to raucous ‘brand building’ social chatter online. As a direct result of sponsorship McDonalds Japan saw a 27% jump in sales and actually posted a profit for that quarter following a tough run of seven consecutive losses. With huge sponsorship opportunities as well as in-app purchase revenue, there is no doubt that around the world developers in the gaming industry are scrambling to bring out the next big hit AR Game. Perhaps another classic such as Pac Man or Mario bros will receive the augmented reality revamp and have people running around in the real world collecting computer generated oddities whilst spending money at the sponsor’s restaurants or stores in the process.

Augmented Reality’s Viral Marketing potential
But gaming aside, what really stands out as exciting for marketers and businesses is the way that augmented reality brings offline and online marketing together and the potential for buzz, virality and engagement that has rarely been seen before. Ahead of the pack, in 2014, and hitting viral sharability right on the nose, Pepsi Max’s used an AR adapted bus-stop window to augment an ordinary street with a sudden, explosive asteroid crash landing. The campaign saw the brand gain 2 million YouTube video views and 24,000 shares in the first week.

Augmented Reality: crossing the two dimensional limitations of online marketing
In addition to the excitement and novelty value creating a viral marketing buzz, augmented reality has been used to provide practical solutions to cross the digital vs. experience divide. Despite delivering a heavy blow to the high street online browsing and buying experience has to-date limited the opportunity for consumers to assess and experience products to a flat 2 dimensional screen. Now with augmented reality apps and mobile devices it is possible to see exactly how that Ikea couch would look in your front room, or how the new shade of Max Factor lipstick would boost your pout.
AR has been successfully used to drive footfall off-line, increase in-store activity and engagement and bring previously 2d online products to life at home. We are sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, according to the Times (2016, Aug, 11) Digi-Capital predicts that the AR industry will be worth a staggering $90bn by 2020! No doubt, there is a multitude of ways that AR can help brands and businesses engage with their audience from the more practical- non-gaming related use to the fun, dramatic and pure novelty application.  AR has huge potential to serve, support, entertain, assist and attract.

We’d love to hear your musings and predictions as to how ‘augmented reality’ might be applied in your industry or businesses whether for customer support, services, product demos or customer engagement.

Rossi, B. (2016, Aug, 11). Times: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connect/media-and-technology/augmented-reality-inspired-by-pokemon-go/

AdvertisingAge. (2016, Aug, 09, 2016). http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/mcdonald-s-japan-posts-profit-boosted-pok-mon/305388/
Knapp, A. (2016, Aug, 16).

The Unknown History of ‘Pokémon GO,’ The Future of Augmented Reality and Other Tech News. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2016/08/02/the-unknown-history-of-pokemon-go-the- future-of- augmented-reality- and-other- tech-news/#4b4a76303e07

Media skills for Salespeople

Should salespeople invest in rich-media skills?

Whilst putting together a presentation about the technology skills that salespeople need to be effective, the obvious candidates- proficiency using CRM systems, the use of SMS and Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing came to mind.

But then I started thinking about all the presentations I have ended up writing over the years.  In the beginning, we used 35mm slides (showing my age here), then Harvard Graphics, now PowerPoint.  But nowadays, a presentation is more often than not going to need a video to back up a point, give the audience a different perspective from a presenter who couldn’t make it, or simply raise the entertainment to information ratio.

Let’s face it we now all carry mobiles with excellent cameras, post pictures and videos on Facebook for our friends and family’s enjoyment.  The question is, is this now a skill that should be developed for use by Salespeople in the workplace?

Leaving aside the question of should a salesperson be preparing their own presentations, and for the record I think they should – even if they have help with it, should salespeople invest in the skills to create their own presentations, edit their own graphics, shoot and edit their own video footage to a quality that is acceptable to customers?

Could this be a future skill set that sets apart the tech-savvy salesperson from the rest and will companies embrace it, nurture it and value it as an employability consideration?

Indeed, social media combined with tougher economic times has provided a fertile ground for Network Marketing to flourish resulting in a plethora of entrepreneurs and self-employed people using images, video and rich media to promote themselves, their products and their business.  Could these same skills be polished and applied to a workplace environment where creativity and media skills are encouraged and supported?

This question highlights the increasingly blurred line between where marketing ends and sales begin.  Both have communication at heart, discovery and elements of persuasion or at least the ‘demonstration of satisfying customer’s needs’.  If marketing skills help salespeople sell more perhaps they should be nurtured.

Looking forward to your comments.

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Recommended must read for Sales Professionals

In our humble opinion this is THE ultimate sales textbook for sales professionals.  But don’t be fooled by the phrase “textbook” it really is an easy read.  In fact it is so good some university sales courses are exclusively based on it.

If you are looking to build a career in sales, understand sales methodology, or increase sales performance this really is the go-to book.  The fact that it provides a complete training course in one book suitable for either reading through front to back or dipping into when you need a solution to a problem makes it an incredible resource for all sales professionals.

Sales Manager tip:  This book has everything you need to run sales training sessions for your team.


If you would like to discuss sales training please don’t hesitate to get in touch!


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