Every mile counts. What sales teams ought to learn from marathon runners?

By | 2018-07-12T06:23:28+00:00 June 20th, 2018|Blogs|

Every mile counts. What sales teams ought to learn from marathon runners?

I was watching Eluid Kipochege run the London Marathon. He won the race in 2 hours 14 min and 17 seconds. The lead pack ran his first 5k run in 13 min 48 sec (insanely fast), this meant if you add another 18 seconds, the pack would finish in 1:58:59. The next 5k was covered in 14:31 (still under the world record pace) but every 5k after that could barely meet 5k standards.

Breaking the marathon into smaller 5k chunks makes it easy for me or any other enthusiast/amateur understand what went wrong. I can only imagine what it does for guys at Eluid’s caliber. Because breaking it down helps narrow it down to small factors. Maybe, derive cause and effect relationships.

Now, I would think some deals take longer to close. Multiple meetings to close one deal. Some of these bear fruit and some don’t.

Many a times, it is only the final stages (deals won/lost) of a CRM that is discussed in the daily/monthly/yearly sales meeting. But what about the tiny nuggets of information of those meeting that led to a deal being won or lost.

The meetings could be a treasure trove of answers to questions such as,

  • Why did the prospect drop out after this meeting?
  • What did I communicate in the meeting that I had on Saturday?
  • Did the customer’s profile/requirement match the product I pitched?
  • Where did I meet the customer? Was it too noisy to converse?
  • When did I last follow up with the customer?

Now, you could probably argue that noting points down in a sales journal or the notes/description system of a CRM might help. Well, it might.

But, there are some challenges with this approach:

  • Writing down in a note pad/book: Assuming that you and your team meet a lot of customers, these meetings notes are going to get lost in a sea of scribbles, addresses, customer phone numbers and if you’re like me, doodles.
  • Notes/description section of a CRM: Most often, these sections give you a time stamp of the last edited date and not the date and time at which you made each individual entry (of course, you could probably type it out before you make every entry, but do you really want to do that?)
Too many channels

What you/your team need, is an easy way to view customer/prospect details and submit meeting reports once you’re done with the meeting. This should come naturally.
You know, I am meeting a customer, so let me read about the customer.
I’m done with the meeting, so let me report about the meeting.

Something as easy as a couple of clicks:
Choose customer>Click customer meeting forms>Fill meeting details>Submit.

Once your team submits the data, you should be able to download all the reports in an easy excel format. You get data by individual meetings. You know what went right and what didn’t. Who pitched correctly and who didn’t. Who waited too long to follow up and who was too eager.

Flexible forms

This data helps you and your team learn from every individual customer interaction. It helps you make every meeting count and learn from every one of them.

Bsharp’s flexible forms have helped customers in consumer electronics, healthcare, publishing, telecom industries make every meeting count.

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Clock 1 – Sales person 0. How fast can you pitch?

By | 2018-06-14T06:51:27+00:00 June 12th, 2018|Blogs|

Clock 1 – Sales person 0. How fast can you pitch?

Medical representatives get just 2 minutes when they meet a new prospect. 2 minutes to make a point and hopefully close a deal.

In some cases, these prospects are doctors, who have spared 1- 2 minutes of their busy schedule to listen to a pitch. So, a medical representative has to MAKE MOST OF THE CUSTOMER FACING MINUTE.

Let’s break a typical meeting down. It’s the beginning of the month and a sales person has fixed an appointment with a doctor.

The doctor and the medical rep exchange pleasantries… That was easy.

The sales person begins pitching a product using catalogs and other material. The doctor listens intently.

And suddenly, asks to talk about a different product. The medical rep begins to flip pages.

Triiiing..Goes the buzzer. Times up. The doctor has to leave as does the medical rep.

[Day 1] Clock 1 – Sales person 0.

Let us change the set a bit.

We replace the heavy-paper-based marketing materials with mobile app based platform which is powered by fluid search. It has all the marketing material a sales person would need.

Reset the clock and repeat the scene.

This time when the doctor asks medical rep to talk about a different product, he has the mobile app handy, searches for Product A + Specification B+ Body part C. The system dynamically searches for these tags. And displays the relevant data.

Our medical rep has just saved some time. Time to make his point, time to tilt try and close the sale.

[DAY 2] Clock 1 – Sales person 1

Month end is here and our sales person has continued to use this platform.

[Day 31] Clock 1 – Sales person 30

We at Bsharp with our platform that consists of a structured document repository, flexible meeting capture forms, customer/account management and fluid search to tie it all together help customer across industries plan, execute and report their sales days better.

We help them make most of the customer facing minute

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Guesswork and hope in sales, will only get you so far

By | 2018-05-29T12:43:43+00:00 May 29th, 2018|Blogs|

Guesswork and hope in sales, will only get you so far

You’ve hired your salesperson. Put him or her through an extensive sales program during which you think you’ve imparted enough for your sales person to take on the world.

Your new sales person gets to work and is now part of a 300-person sales team. So, you think everything has gone well.

But then your customers keep raising complaints such as :

  • Your sales team does not know the product it is selling

  • Your sales team just doesn’t listen and so on

And, you’d like to know what is happening/happened during daily customer meetings. But, none of the data is reaching you.

Ultimately, guesswork and hope is what you rely on. You think that your team like and understand the training content you shared. You guess that they are well trained on the new product. You hope your clients are being met. But, is guesswork the ground reality?

Let’s go back to the time when you held that induction training.

Imagine you asked yourself these questions, things might have been slightly different.

Things would have been slightly different 4 months down the line.

You need a framework from day one. A frame work to Share and Measure.

Share

  • Share data collection forms

You need to ask for data when you want it. You need to ask for it in the format that is the easiest to slice and interpret.

These typically are data such as attendance, meeting data, sales, and store audit data.

You should not have to engineer an app specifically for this purpose. You should not have to refer to multiple communication channels to collect simple field data.

  • Share information

You should be able to share information to your field team in a structured manner, in which the information can be easily consumed and more importantly easily measured.

You will have to share new campaign information or a training for a new product that you just launched. These are really important info that your team would benefit from- IF THEY KNOW THIS CONTENT EXISTS AND IF THEY CONSUME IT.

So make sure they know it. Make sure you know they’ve consumed it.

Measure

  • Field data shared by your team

Field data such as attendance and sales you’ve asked for, is going to come in the hundreds. You need an easy way to segregate and filter data the way you want and export them in the format you need.

  • Information consumed by your team

You’ve shared a lot of important information with your team. You ought to measure everything from open rates, knowledge levels and feedback on the content you share.

  • Measuring content open rates

You should be measuring how many of your sales folks opened/consumed the content and if they’ve opened it for how long did they view it.

Lower open rate. Lower product/service knowledge. Lower sales.

Reward people who consume content regularly and motivate those who don’t.

  • Measure knowledge levels

So they’ve consumed the content but have they understood it or spent time to understand it.

Measure knowledge levels my deploying a steady cadence of assessments or quiz module.

Maybe, initiate a steady drip of a question a day.

These question forces your team to continuously learn and helps you asses how much they’ve learn. It also helps you tailor content to focus on the team’s weaknesses.

  • Measure feedback

The content you share is only as good as its relevance in the field. If your team thinks your content is not helping, it might not be helping. Best way to understand this, is asking for feedback as soon as they view the entire content. Make you collect feedback from only those who have viewed your content.

Key takeaway: Measure. Measure what your team shares. Measure what you share. Measure it quickly. Measure it without friction.

Get rid of hope and guess work based decision making.

Measure.

Bsharp’s platform gives you the ability to ask for field data using flexible forms, share data in a structured format, measure content consumption and has a quiz metrics to let you measure knowledge levels.

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BsharpCorp Mobile Sales Enablement platform”


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Easily capture barcode data on Bsharp

By | 2018-05-22T09:53:14+00:00 May 22nd, 2018|Blogs|

Easily capture barcode data on Bsharp

Need to capture sales/merchandising info quickly but don’t have the budget for a complex point of sales (POS) system or custom software? Not able to stay on top of your market?

Relax, we’ve got you covered.

Bsharp’s platform hosts a flexible form builder to help you capture sales data in the way you want it. All you need is a team, the Bsharp mobile app and an idea on the format in which you want to capture data.

Your team can view your entire product code/SKU base

Here is everything you need to know:

Bsharp’s platform lets you deploy your product code base to your team. Your team can search for any code or specification and use the feature as a ready reference.

You can upload your code/SKU base in bulk. Got multiple specifications/attributes than define your code? No problem, we let you define your own code base.

Now, you can design and deploy flexible forms

Capture sales or other SKU related data using a drag a drop feature to build your sales/merchandising capture form.

Have a barcode to capture and want to reference it with your code list?

No problem. Just check the barcode option and the system will help you capture the barcode. If your SKU code is the same as the barcode, the system will also help throw errors for incorrect matches.

Plus

You can set quantity and discount limits to help reduce human errors and keep your data squeaky clean.

There’s more.

  • The app works great on Android and the iOS

  • The form builder has a variety of data fields to help you capture field data. Fields such as text, image, audio, GPS and multiple choice can be dragged and dropped to build your form in minutes.

  • You can use the flexible form builder to capture field data such as attendance, customer feedback, complaints, and event info.

No more lengthy engineering cycle or expensive software to capture sales/barcodes/merchandising info. Just drag and drop and deploy.

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BsharpCorp Mobile Sales Enablement platform”


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Questions. Questions. Questions. An easy way to arrive at the answer.

By | 2018-05-11T07:42:21+00:00 May 11th, 2018|Blogs|

Questions. Questions. Questions.
An easy way to arrive at the answer.

How much have they learnt? What do we need to teach them? Do they know what we do and what we sell?

Are just a few of the question that sales or learning and development managers worry about.

Sales people are also pondering on questions such as how do I sell? The product I am selling, how is it any different from my competition? Am I supposed to pitch this feature over the other?

It seems easy, doesn’t it? But often, these questions remain hidden. Either the manager has no means to get to the answers or the sales person seems to think it doesn’t matter. And sometimes, these questions get lost in daily transactions.

Now, these questions could be categorized into 2 broad buckets. First, the questions related to learning and assessments and the second, questions related to everyday reporting. Let us now understand them a little more.

Category type 1: Everyday reporting.

A lot of such questions remain unanswered. Now, unanswered could mean two things. One, the questions were asked but not answered and two, the questions were answered but were lost in transit.

These are everyday questions with respect to sales data, field sales person attendance, retail merchandising and other such scenarios. Generally, these are asked through a variety of channels leaving the questioner scuttling to probe the respondents to answer and later collating the answers (heads up, you’re setting yourself up for data loss) and the respondents turning into octopuses because that is the only way they can manage all these channels through which their manager thinks they can respond.

Nope.

Category type 2: Learning and assessment.

These are questions that could directly affect the way your teams sell or the way you teach them how to sell.

Your sales team is only as good as the message you give them. And for the message to sink in, it ought to be given continuously. Continuous learning.

And continuous learning must involve assessments. And assessments should be frequent. To test whether your message to the team is relevant. To test whether your team is learning.

Your team also learns from the question they ask you and the answers you give them. Questions they ask through the day. How to do this? How to sell that? Questions about the product.

So, we’ve uncovered the source of the questions, now what does it take to,

  • Ask questions to get daily field data,

  • Ask questions to assess your teams, and

  • Respond to frequently asked questions.

You need a platform that is flexible enough to let you ask questions that help you capture field data the way you want it. Make edits to suit your business imperative and redeploy the data-collection forms. No lengthy engineering cycles.

You need a platform that helps you deploy content in a structure that is measurable. And deploy quiz modules to assess the team continuously.

You need a platform that provides your team with a direct route to you to ask questions and to browse through FAQ repository for everyday solutions.

You need a platform that brings it all together.

Bsharp’s flexible platform lets you deploy content and tag them to act as answers to FAQs. Its discussions platform helps you solve your team’s queries quickly. With the Bsharp platform, you can deploy various types of quiz and also deploy flexible forms to capture field data in real time.

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BsharpCorp Mobile Sales Enablement platform”


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What sales people want?

By | 2018-05-11T05:57:59+00:00 April 16th, 2018|Blogs|

What Sales People Want? Survey 2017

We spoke to 350 (sales + sales managers) participants to understand their needs and wants, aspirations, motivations and frustrations of the sales people. This Research conducted on “What sales people want?’ bridges the gap between what sales people want and what their leader’s expect.

 What motivates a Sales person at daily work?

Recommendations:

  • Delegate responsibilities like resolving queries when the team leader is not available.

  • Holistic training should include general, simple management topics for effective development for a sales person.

  • Follow best practices such as deploying courses and linking them to points. On crossing a level of points, a sales person gets Badges: 3000- Silver Badge; 6000- Gold Badge; 9000 – Platinum Badge etc.

  • Clear communicate on their salary and incentives. Communication about incentives received (% of incentives) will help the team to understand the levels of compensation – at least in the initial phase.

What are the goals of a salesperson for next few years?

Recommendations:

  • Develop a career plan for sales people like moving them to a larger outlet or handling some part of the team’s function.

  • Guide them to move up the ladder.

  • Get benefit from the entrepreneurial energy (who wants to start their own business) by hosting internal entrepreneurial competitions, where winners can have their ideas implemented into retail outlets or can even receive monetized compensations.

 Heads Up:

With a rise in the startup culture several salespeople are motivated to start their own own company in the same sales service or various other services that would complement their experience in sales.

 What are the goals of a salesperson for next few years?

Recommendations:

It is essential to conduct training on product specifications and soft skills in regular frequencies.
This helps salespeople leverage their skills and furthermore gives them a chance to experiment and practice whatever they have learned.

What are the methods used for training a salesperson?

Recommendations:

  • Use of online applications – to share product specifications i.e. intricate details of a new product. Leverage multiple file formats such as video, audio, documents to impart online training.

  • Adopt Continuous learning that enhances skills and knowledge of sales team.

Heads Up:

The use of online applications are sure to rise in the forthcoming years as:

  • Several companies are already blending into the online application revolution.

  • With the introduction of AI and machine learning, face to face training obsolete session might decrease and the use of online applications will be a forerunner in sales training.

How often do sales people have internal sales competitions and does this help them to sell better?

Recommendations:

  • Daily feedback should primarily be given to new comers or individuals those are new to the sales environment, this can be in the form of e-mails, f2f meetings etc. This helps acknowledge their services and keeps them motivated on a regular basis.

  • Increased frequency of feedback will help keep salespeople in sync with brand expectations and individual expectations. It also helps them understand their weakness and gives them an opportunity to rectify their mistakes and improve in a holistic manner.

What are the sales tools used to accompany a salesperson to complete a sale?

Recommendations:

  • Equip sales people with applications and database that help them show customers the benefits that the company offers when compared to competitors would be a good option.

  • Sharing E- brochures with customers through an email.

 How often do sales people have internal sales competitions and does this help them to sell better?

Recommendations:

  • Internal sales competitions help foster teamwork (through team based competitions) and build healthy a competitive spirit.

  • Conducting competitions during a new product launch help sales people familiarize themselves with the intricate details of a product and come up with product pitch.

  • This can also happen online by integrating leaderboards into online applications.

  • Internal sales competitions and leaderboards that track the progress, keep the salesperson on their toes.

What Do Sales People Fear The Most?

  • Inadequate Compensation

  • Lack of Benefits

  • Lack of recognition

  • AR and VR technology might soon replace them

Make your sales team great: Overcoming the Challenges

  • Enable learning off-field and train sales people on continuous basis, be it skills training or product training

  • Connect with sales people regularly, send and receive information seamlessly

  • Introduce leader boards – encourage Entreprenaural competitions

  • New features added to a product or product launch, communicate to whole sales team at one go

ONE STOP SOLUTION

“Engage and enable your frontline sales team with
BsharpCorp Mobile Sales Enablement platform”


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 To Sum up

  • Greater job roles and responsibilities keeps the sales person motivated.

  • Creating a career roadmap for each sales person and guiding them towards it helps.

  • Conduct frequent product training sessions and keeping sales team updated about the product helps them sell better.

  • Equipping salespeople with tools that helps them share product information with customer is essential.

  • Using online platform to share information (training modules), collect information (reports on sales) and to give feedback is advantageous.

About the author

Eric D’Souza was a summer intern at Bsharp in the summer of 2017. Eric is studying business at the Schulich School of Business, Toronto, Canada.

Create Diamond Sales Team

By | 2018-04-06T13:25:29+00:00 March 28th, 2018|Blogs|

A Diamond Sales Team

Stupendous, prolonged pressure on hydro carbon particles is known to create diamonds.

Many sales managers and organisations are inspired by this. They try and replicate this with their team.

They pile on pressure on the poor hydro-carbon – the frontline sales person.

The pressure on the human is beyond enormous. Most of it is internal.

“Fill in those excel sheets for another plan.” “How about the make up plan?” “I want a day wise commit for the next 18 days till the quarter end.” “I want you to do 30 units by the end of the day today – I don’t care how you do it.”  “Call me every hour, by the hour and give me an update.” “Send me a daily tracker on commit vs. actual. And a make up plan to make it up all over.” And on and on.

Unrealistic goals. Constant transactional follow-up. Strong messages on ‘existence’. Incessant  questions on competence. Death by Excel, PowerPoint. These are some of the techniques field sales managers use to try and produce ‘diamonds’.

Effects of the wrong kind of pressure: Entropy. Churn. Fear. All motion – no action. Huge business projection drops on the last day. A dispirited team. A conviction less follow-up meeting for the next quarter.

In sales, diamonds are not created by constant pressure. They are created by detailed planning, coordination and continuous activities towards the goal.

Great sales managers have different methods. Their pressure is on actions and micro-results throughout the quarter. They keep fine tuning the operation all the time.

This is a positive feedback produces wonderful shining particles.

 

Here are the areas great sales managers focus upon.

1. Define a Sales Process

The sales process outlines the method to get to the results.

Here the sales manager and the team define a sales process together. They are constantly aware on the method to get to the business projections.

 Macro perspective

At a high level, they focus on things like: What is the ‘capacity’ of the market to deliver today (number of dealers, working capital of the distributor, delivery bandwidth of the distributor, coverage etc.?)  How do we expand the capacity in a sustainable manner?

Micro perspective

At a micro level, they focus on things like: What is the business capacity for a particular outlet? What are the leading indicators that determine the quarter’s business? How is the funnel creation trending? What is the conversion percentage? Is the sales person adequately trained?

The great sales leaders manage this process. The team is very aware of the flow and what is expected of them in each stage. This works as a well oiled machine.

2. Drive Purposeful Activity

What are the leading indicators for ultimate business success? Great sales managers analyze this in the start of the planning period and set up goals for the team as per the leading indicators. This can include:

  • Number of retail outlets to be expanded

  • Working capital and delivery capability of the distributors

  • Working capital of dealers – one way is to get their reimbursements on time

  • Activities to be done in the outlets to create walk-in, funnel

  • Focus on follow-up on sales in the market

  • Pro-active focus on merchandising and display

3. Leverage Analytics

Great sales managers are eager consumers of data. They are not just focused on high level numbers and mix percentages. They ask and answer questions like –

  • What is the walkin conversion rates – how is it trending across outlets

  • What is the ROI/ $ spent on promotions in these outlets

  • Is the merchandising in order? Is the sales person on message?

  • What is the funnel for the closure? How do we accelerate the funnel?

  • How do we best utilize the national promotions?

  • How do we best utilize local social campaigns for success?

They are focused on the metrics of every stage of the sales process and maximizing conversion at each stage. Not just on the output.

4. Promote Continuous Learning

Learning is the Oxygen for the team. That simple. Constant training is required to sustain great sales momentum. Great managers are focused on making sure that the teams are trained on the sales process, products, promotions, competition, campaigns with constant refreshers. In effect, this has to be a continuous process, run by the organization. The sales leaders are the custodians of the process.

5. Enable Automation

Great Sales Managers are aware, that business cannot be run by Instant Messaging groups, text messages, excel sheets and calls from the coordinator. It has to be run in auto-mode so that the sales person is focused on value added activities.

They border on fanaticism towards the adoption and usage of automated cloud based tools. They set up methods for training online. They set up tools for collecting daily business critical data. To forward leads and track them through the life cycle. For customer relationships.

They train the sales people on these tools and drive usage. They even review the sales person only based on these tools and the metrics it provides.

To an extent, they resist random activities. They do not constantly ask for team updates, make up plans, day wise commits etc. except those provided by the tools. This ensures that the maximum time is used in sales, rather than backend processes.

6. Focus on Onboarding

Great business managers realise that hiring is the just the first step towards business results. The frontline sales person needs to be trained and inducted.

The managers spend energy (using the organizational processes: Mobile training tools etc.) to proactively induct the sales person. They focus on :

  • Company introduction – how to position the company?

  • Sales process training

  • Sales person Roles and Responsibilities

  • Soft skills training

  • Product training

  • FAQ

  • Best known methods for sales success.

This ensures quality interaction with the customer right from the word go and maximum bang for the investment made.

Diamonds are forever

If the sales manager drives the business in a systematic fashion, a virtuous cycle of sales is created.

The team will work as a cohesive group. They will know what is expected of them in every stage of the sales cycle. And perform like clock work. Individual members of the group will be sought after in the larger organization.

The team leader will be an inspirational figure for everyone in the company and will constantly move towards larger opportunities.

“Engage and enable your frontline sales team with
BsharpCorp Mobile Sales Enablement platform”


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Retail Rain Maker for Years

By | 2018-03-21T05:54:46+00:00 January 17th, 2018|Blogs|

Morning Routine of Successful Sales Personnel

A salesperson is not a one day wonder!  She/He has to go on for years and years – through the entire career and keep on selling.
Want to be a multi-year Rain Maker? There are many elements that you have to get right.
The first and foremost in this list is your…

Morning Routine.

You gave all that you can yesterday.  But you still didn’t see success. You even lost a deal you were hoping to close – to a competitor. It is human to feel de-spirited.
If that shadow of that loss follows you to the office today, how will you bounce back? How will you fire back at your competitor?
In sales, as in life, it is not about crashing down but it is about bouncing back.

Successful sales careers grow out of discipline and dedication. Not out of flamboyance and cow-boyism.

Here is the morning routine of many multi-year Rain Makers! This helps them to re-build the winning spirit and handle the day with renewed energy!

Find some ‘Me Time’

  • Find a few minutes in the morning to not do anything. Yes, not do anything. It could just be 5 minutes. No screens. No diversions. Just you and your thoughts.
  • Finding this time might be a challenge for those who have long commutes. But plan and find the time. Maybe you get up 15 minutes early. Or find this time during your commute. Or just spend a few minutes with yourselves as soon as you land up in the office.
  • This softens your mood from the anxieties of yesterday and sets you up afresh.

Be an early bird

  • Mornings are great to network with other stakeholders. Try and reach the office early, use the extra 15 minutes to organize yourselves and interact with colleagues without the rush.
  • The relationships you build will help you to handle critical customer situations throughout the day.

Slurp Motivational Boosters

  • Whip up the mobile sales enablement app provided by your company. Review the latest product details, positioning statements and talking points.
  • Listen to a motivational talk from your favorite speaker.
  • Take twenty minutes to listen to a TED talk –  to learn a new idea or a concept————.

Review Month PlayBook

  • Check out your targets for the month – by category of products. Review your attainment. Map it against your pipeline. Check out what actions are required to meet your goals.
  • Review the latest product, price, promotional updates from the company to find additional opportunity to hit your goals.
  • This is the time to call your Manager – to update the progress and to get additional inputs to meet your goals.

Store Review

It is time to review your work area.

  • If you are operating out of a store, it is time to review your work area. It is your responsibility to make sure it is in order –as per the planogram plan specified. Deploy any new material that is required.
  • Make sure that your devices are “demo ready” – working, software loaded, and all charged up.
  • This is going to impact the first impression of the customer and your ultimate demo effectiveness.

Happy Calls

Call your customer to know their experience with your product.

  • Your existing customers are a great source of new Either through cross-selling other products or through referrals.
  • Call the customers you sold a few weeks back. Check if everything is OK and if their experience has been great.
  • Ask them if they would like to buy any other product from your stable. Also, ask them to refer you to their friend.

20 New

  • Collect customer feedback forms with contact details after the demo. This is a rich source of sales funnel. If you have a price move or promotion in any of the products, use this as an opportunity to reach out to the customer.
  • In the course of the day, whenever you get free, reach out to these customers through Email, SMS or Phone.

Successful sales personnel follow this as a religious routine. They are dedicated to doing this every day – so that they can continue to be in the top of their trade!

Happy Selling!

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Eight Simple Steps: New Employee Orientation

By | 2018-04-06T12:32:34+00:00 November 22nd, 2017|Blogs|

Eight Simple Steps: New Employee Orientation

Zero Day to Floor Day: How many days in between? Personnel change across your retail stores is a matter of fact. Most retail businesses operate at around 3-5% personnel churn every month.

Given that reality, how do you get the new employee oriented? How do you get them productive as fast as possible? How do you get them floor ready?

You cannot take risks, given that they are the ambassadors of your brand. You don’t want your customer to say, “The sales person knew nothing… if only he had answered the first few questions, I would have bought the product…”.

Here are a set of thoughts on new salesperson orientation based on our experience of engaging with Sales personnel.

What are the best practices you have come across? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.

Fastest path to the floor: Running an effective mobile-based new employee orientation program

Running an effective mobile-based new employee orientation program

The Same Time, Same Place Challenge:

Before we get into the operational aspects, let us see why is it a challenge.

  • Employees typically join any day of the month
  • At any of the cities (say 300 of them) you have retail outlets in
  • At any of the retail outlets in those cities (say 3-4 per city on an average)
  • And you have limited number of trainers to orient them.

So, it is basically a logistical issue. In most of our discussions with salespeople, the orientation happens within 15 days of the person joining the retail outlet. Till then, the salesperson is on “honeymoon” period – with no specific knowledge or goals.

How about getting the salesperson floor ready in 3 days?

The Smartphone Swiss Knife:

Of course. The solution is the smartphone. Every new salesperson has one. Accelerate the new hire induction through a smartphone based program. Companies across industries like Consumer Electronics, Electronic Accessories, Healthcare, and Telco have set up structured new hire orientation through smartphones.

What is in it for me?

What is in it for you? Well, that depends on whom you are.

For the company sales head

If you are the company sales head, think of gaining additional ~12 days of selling time from the salesperson. Let us look at the math.

  • Assume that you have 800 retail sales personnel across the country, and your monthly churn is 5%. That is, 40 new salespeople join every month.
  • Assume that the average inducted salesperson sells about 50 units at $1000 ASP per month
  • Assume that the mobile orientation program helps them gain around 12 days of selling time. They are on the floor with details much faster.

Incremental number of units sold : 12 days * 50 units / 30 days * 40 personnel * $1000 =  12 * 50 / 30 * 40 *1000  = 800000. A cool incremental $800K of sales due to faster orientation of the sales person.

That is the difference between leading your category and losing market share. Put a mobile orientation program in place – that will help cover some of your sales gaps.

For the local team leader – the sales person’s direct manager

You have limited outlets to produce the results from. You do not have easy access to the trainers on the day you want. You go around and train the new employees. You want to spend more time, but you have other priorities in the market.

  • A mobile new salesperson orientation program saves your time
  • Increases the time to market of your new salesperson
  • Increases the motivation of the salesperson and reduces early attrition. As you are aware, “uncertainty increases attrition”, “the first 2-3 weeks is important to watch out”
  • Helps you hit your numbers

You are the guardian of the process – you need to ensure that your new team member completes the orientation.

For the salesperson

  • Get all the selling information required to sell well in the first 3 days. Have a systematic, well-planned information transfer.
  • Get productive by Day 4, start showing your sales prowess.
  • Hit your numbers early in the process and get some good incentives.
  • Get aligned with the company as soon as possible

The New Employee Orientation Program Structure

1. Mandatory Certification

Package it as a mandatory program that ends up with a certification. This program is administered through a smartphone based learning system. It is initiated by the immediate manager of the new salesperson.

2. Content Structure

The content needs to be in form of :

  • Training content, interactive and videos
  • Handouts for further reading
  • Assessments

The content needs to get delivered in millennial-friendly “7-minute nuggets” – to be consumed over the first 3 days.

3. Content coverage

Plan to cover the following content.

  • Company

    • A welcome video from the company senior management
    • Training covering History, Culture, Innovations, Awards
  • KPIs

    • Get here right at the beginning: This will set the tone for the rest of the training
  • Processes

    • Joining formalities – how to get the salary account configured, leave system set up etc.
    • Daily routine recommended and processes thereof
    • What is the selling process recommended by the company to the salesperson
    • Mandatory reporting processes
  • Products

    • The biggest section of the training program
    • De-mystify the product technology to any fresh sales people or people from other segments
    • Get a clear articulation of the product portfolio – explain the function of each of the products in the portfolio
    • Focus on: Target audience for the product, the elevator pitch, key selling propositions, further explanation of difficult terms, competition handling, objection handling, the stories to be told and conclude with a neat summary.
    • Include product brochures, videos, demos and other titbits in the training

The content structure needs to be reviewed every quarter for new information that is required for selling.

4. Assessments

  • At each stage of the program, set up assessments. There are two different objectives for assessments and they have to be set up differently:
    • Assessment to reinforce the learning: Typically immediately after a module or for a refresher. Push the sales person to take the assessment until they get 100% correct.
    • Assessment to check the learning levels: Could be timed or not timed, with randomization in questions. This is to check the knowledge level score of the person.
    • Set up one assessment in the orientation time frame. Set up another at Day + 15 and Day + 30 to reinforce the learning and assess knowledge retention levels.

5. Process Rigor: Core Messaging

  • It should be made amply clear in the initial communication process that this is absolutely mandatory before the person hits the floor. Experienced sales personnel might try to skip – that should be done consciously by the team leader.
  • The training manager should give the overall annual training plan in the video and say that this is an important part of being a salesperson for this company.
  • The Team Leader should be in charge of inviting the user to the training application – and making sure that the salesperson gets familiar about what needs to be done.

6. Badges

  • Some companies provide a stock of badges to the immediate manager. The Immediate Manager can provide the badge to the salesperson on completion of the course. The smartphone app can also provide the badges.

7. Responsibility

  • Messaging on importance and setting up the environment: Sales Head & the sales hierarchy
  • Getting the content ready and refreshed – the program structure in place: Training Manager
  • Inviting the user to the app, getting them oriented and tasking them to complete the orientation: Immediate Manager
  • Getting trained and certified by Day 3 informing the immediate manager: The New Sales Person

8. Metrics

  • Operational metrics: Number of new joiners per month, number of joiners certified in <3 days, 4-10 days, 10+ days
  • Knowledge metrics: Quiz scores for the program. Certification Quiz, D+15 quiz (15 days after the program), D+30 quiz.
  • Business Impact: We can easily measure the “before-after” of this program. Check the new salesperson Month 1 performance before the implementation of the program and after – that will clearly indicate the net impact of the program.

On the floor on Day 3

  • Companies can gain a lot of getting the salesperson floor ready asap: The revenue, leadership and morale benefits are enormous.
  • A smartphone-based employee orientation program is a force multiplier. It can get the new team ready for the Face 2 Face logistics are worked out.
  • The sales management commitment to execute the program and the messaging is most critical for success
  • Set up content based on Company, KPIs, Processes, and Products. Set up assessments on Day 3, Day 15, Day 30.
  • Give certification, badges – make it aspirational.
  • Track the metrics of the program: Operational, Knowledge, Business Impact

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Your next product launch and a mission ready sales team

By | 2018-03-21T05:47:18+00:00 November 7th, 2017|Blogs|

Success of Sales Enablement Team & Product Launches

Product launches are typically make or break times for most companies. It is the perfect opportunity for the Sales Enablement teams to pitch in strongly to enhance the objectives. A field ready sales team gives a 30-45 head start for achieving the product transition objectives.

Challenges

  • Face to Face training happens in a distributed fashion – over time
  • There is a plethora of communication. The sales enablement team needs to cut through the clutter of communication to the field to get their attention
  • Need to communicate #What_is_in_it_for_you

Smartphone-based force multiplier

Smartphone-based field enablement is a powerful force multiplier for new product introductions. A sustained program through smartphones from the Sales Enablement Manager will help in the acceleration of the field knowledge levels.

Seven Steps to a mission-ready sales team

  1. Set up objectives:

    Objective of the product launch readiness exercise: Set up clear metrics in terms of

    • # People to be certified
    • Field Knowledge levels
    • Key messages to be pushed
    • Audit scores that are expected

This is typically done about 30 days before the product launch.

  1. Alignment with the CSO:

    Getting their “buy-in and support” for the objective is key to the success of the campaign.

    • Messaging support: Can the Product Manager appear in a 2-minute video about the importance of the product
    • Review cadence: Can the CSO review the field team and managers on the adoption of this training

Getting the management stakeholders aligned is key to a sustainable campaign.

  1. Program Communication:

    Create a memorable branding for the training program for the product ramp. Create communication around the branding to the team.

    • Name, critical milestones, mandatory completion dates
    • #What_is_in_it_for_you if you complete, and if you don’t complete.
    • Set up a clear communication cadence for the duration of the program
  1. Content structure of the smartphone-based program

    • Video from the CSO on the importance of the product
    • Product training structure: Positioning of the product in the portfolio, the Target audience definition, 3-minute elevator pitch, product features in detail, product assets and data sheets, objection handling, competition handling, closing process for the product, other process related inputs, summary
    • Retail set up, equipment set up, demo set up, merchandising requirements
    • Product demo videos from the Product Manager
  1. Continuous assessment and certification:

    Memory needs constant reinforcement. We have observed that 4 levels of reinforcement are required for the field teams to sustain their memory on the product features.

    • Conduct assessments on Day 0, Day 10, Day 20, Day 30 of the launch
    • Day 0 assessment: After the completion of the above training program
    • Day 10 assessment: Timed assessment with randomized questions to check the field knowledge score.
    • Day 20 assessment: Open book assessment, with multiple submissions that pushes every user to get 100% before submission. This will ensure that they know all the relevant answers – even if they have to refer to their notes for it.
    • Day 30 assessment: Final assessment where the field teams compete for high scores and glory. This will set up the pass criteria.

On completion of the course and the assessments, the salesperson can get certified on the product. A certification by Day 30 is mandatory for the field sales person to sell the product.

  1. Discussions: 

    Set up discussion forums around the training and assessment. This is towards:

    • Provide clarifications on key questions that field teams might have
    • To address ongoing sales situations like sales processes, competition
    • To motivate and rally the engaged sales personnel
  1. Leaderboards and contests:

    • Set up ongoing leaderboards – leaderboards can be organized by teams (instead of one at the national level) to provide higher level of motivation
    • Set up contests and prizes (typically e-com vouchers) to incentivize the team

Metrics

You need to set up clear metrics to be tracked as part of the program:

  • Number of sales personnel, (retail outlets) engaged, by region for training
  • Number of sales personnel certified
  • Final knowledge assessment score levels

F2F Reinforcement:

A face to face reinforcement within the first 1 month of launch is also usually part of the plans. The F2F messaging need to reinforce the smartphone-based training.

Audit:

Companies have quarterly audit processes to verify field team readiness. The audit needs to be designed to evaluate the efficacy of the mobile sales enablement program.

Product Launch Tailwinds: 

Dozens of factors have to come together for product launch success. Getting the distributed sales team ready is one of the most critical aspects of the CSO, Product Manager, and the Sales Enablement Manager.

A smartphone-based field sales enablement program to inform, train, assess, engage the interest of the field sales team will put in the much-needed tailwinds behind the product launch.

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Ideas for salesperson enablement at Launch & Ramp Up stage of product lifecycle are here.

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