Ali Ghaemi

May 192019
 

Several years ago I wrote about customers asking for information. This is often a way to blow off salespeople.

The post refers to the concept of activity versus result. We in sales can show activity, but it should always point to a result. Salespeople ought to want to move forward with their process, with their quota and with sales. Salespeople do not want to have activity for its own sake.

 

Collateral, documentation, etc. have their place. They bring a prospect to an educated point, they raise customer awareness and bring customers to salespeople. If the customer is already speaking to sales then it is time to move forward with our process. Collateral here makes sense only if it is in conjunction with a bona fide sales process, next steps that are time-bound (i.e. exactly when?) and speak to a comprehension of pain and issues.

Otherwise, a customer saying “send me a pdf” is akin to their saying “let me give you something to do so I avoid actually speaking with you or taking action.” Let us be frank. How many times is “send me information” a polite way to say “I am dismissing you.”

 

Customer: “send me information.”

Salesperson Good: “Great! Customer is interested. I will send them information.” Most of the time this leads to a customer disappearing on salesperson.

Salesperson Better: “Thanks for requesting information. However, what exactly are you looking to find out? I want to make sure it is exactly relevant to your need. I may also be able to answer it right now.” Most of the time this either leads to a serious sales prospect (because Better salesperson will dig out pain and make the information relevant and personalized) or disqualifying a false prospect.

 

Salespersons should ask themselves honestly: how many times have you sent “information” to customers and it has not only not resulted in sales, but also there has not even been a follow-through?

 

Sales happen when customers have a reason to act. The Salesperson has tallied the ROI, spoken to the decision-maker and made them know why they need the solution. In such cases, the very least one could do is couple the sending of the information with a Calendar to discuss it. Although, again, why send information that the customer can discuss with their Account Manager/Regional Sales Manager?

 

*Things that need to go away: Confusing activity with actually selling something

Photograph Credit: Geralt

 

 

 

May 052019
 

Many salespersons have heard the term ‘value proposition.’ What does it mean? Why don’t two people agree on the meaning and definition of the term? Is it because no one has bothered to define it? Is it because it means different things at different times? Is it that due to laziness everyone wants to think what they are doing in the name of ‘proposing value’ to customers is the way to do ‘value proposition’? Perhaps others believe it is all irrelevant.

In this instance and for the purpose of modern selling we are speaking about showing that the TCO (Total Cost Of Ownership) is less than the benefits gained. Let us think of TCO in terms of simple cost (the cost of the air conditioner, software, apparatus, whatever). As such, if we can prove to the customer that owning a solution saves them money (and maybe time and maybe number of errors and other factors) the salesperson has a decent shot at making the sale.

Photograph Credit: Lukas

For this to happen the salesperson must:

Have access to the customer and its processes and workflows. Incidentally, not being given access is a good indicator of where the sales process, and its likelihood of success, resides.
Be able to leverage this access to count, calculate and put a figure (value) against how things are happening now pre-automation, pre-efficiency gained, pre-effectiveness garnered. With me so far?
The mathematics begins now. The seller must quantify the existing workflow and contrast it with the (hopefully) lesser cost of the solution. In other words, if the solution costs $100,000 and the value gained is $200,000 then there is a net ROI of $100,000 or 100%.

Here is an example I shared elsewhere recently that I paste here to demonstrate the sample math:

 

  • Our software module costs $20,000. However, to take the minimum and smallest possible scenario, they have 1 person spending 2 hours/day doing something manually or inefficiently (say shuffling paper from the warehouse to the desk, reviewing it, approving it and then delivering it to their finance department…).
  • This person is paid $40/hour. That is $80/day, which is $1,760/month, which in turn is $21,120/year. So in one year they have broken even with our software (and we didn’t even place a value against the person doing other work once freed from this task or the elimination of potential human errors).
  • Over the 5 years they run this solution they could realize a 400% ROI!

 

This is but an example, but it should apply to any enterprise sale.
The above is important, but sellers need to remember that no matter what humans buy based on emotion and only justify against logic with either a formal process or against a set of data later.

 

*Things that need to go away: Thinking of selling as asking customers questions like ‘Is this a good time to move forward with project ABC’?

Feb 042019
 

Aha! Clickbait. Well, not intentionally, but it looked like it as soon as I typed it.

Someone asked ‘What would it be if there is one thing you would do or suggest in sales?’ Search these pages and you would see an emphasis on hard work, process and sympathy for customers. Otherwise, there are none no matter how many articles, books or advisors scream about the magical silver bullet.

With that said, the best answer this writer would come up with is to cross the t’s, dot the i’s and have a process. Notice that each of the below is several items in one.

1- Do a meticulous job of conducting discovery. There is no solution for a customer without one.

2- Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think in their terms.

3- Make sure that both internally (manager, salesperson and the supporting team) and externally (buyer and seller) the languages are the same and the lexicon is shared. Otherwise, the results of the questions asked from the customer and shared and thought about internally are not necessarily translated correctly.

4- Create a TCO

Is this as close to a silver bullet as sales could get? What do you think?

 

*Things that need to go away: Articles about that one top thing that accomplishes it all.

Photograph Credit: Viergacht

Dec 282018
 

Photograph Credit: Geralt

 

Cold calling for an enterprise product or service is not the same as cold calling for a low cost item. A high value cold call is not a hit and run. It is not a quickie. Respectfully, it is not B2C. It is not to sell the product or service. Sellers should internalize the difference.

 

Let’s assume that sellers understand that a cold call should never be a cold call by now. So what is it for if enterprise prospecting is not to close a sale? It is to start a process. It is to understand the process. It is to go from cold to lukewarm. It is about a human connecting with a human and to lay the foundation for a relationship. Hard selling will not work.

 

This is not an easy process, which is why sellers must take the time to not make it any harder for both sides. The caller needs to garner enough interest to begin a conversation and a process. That is all. Let’s compare the process to a marriage (OK don’t get excited). No one begins the process by proposing and getting a ‘yes’ on the first date or meeting. With the obvious said how does the dance, which is the process to gain interest, show industry and role-based relevance and prove merit begin?

 

  • It begins with the above-mentioned research and relevance factors. Why and how can you be relatable to them because it is never about the caller. It is about the prospect.
  • Armed with those then comes the short, open-ended questions to obtain guidance for the next steps. Prospects are not stupid and do not need to be spoon-fed or have their time wasted. They are actively assessing if there is a reason they should stay on a call (or e-mail chain) with you.
  • It is up to the caller to set parameters however. Ask and be guided, but also have a reason for your call because you are the expert. As the publisher, creator, vendor or seller you have knowledge of what you can do for them and how it has tangibly helped persons and companies like them. This requires the caller to be confident and convey the same.
  • Stay away from jargon and product names. Assuming they mean something to someone will either lead to putting people off or asking them to potentially admit they are ignorant.
  • Know where you are going with it. To state the obvious the point is not to feel good about reaching somebody, adding connections on LinkedIn or following someone on Twitter. These are all means to an end. The point is to begin a relationship.

Bonus: Measure, Review, Track. Assess your success rate by number of ‘touches’ and over specific lengths of time to know what works and what does not, how you are doing over a comparable measure of time and adopt what works and change what does not. This includes not only assessing the first touch, but also the continuous process of working with prospects no matter which stage of the process and relationship one is in. Bottom-line: if the first approach content does not work it needs to be changed.

Photograph Credit: Mohamed Hassan

 

Practice and know the reason behind the cold call and prospecting. One never knows when the connection is the one and only opportunity to begin the process. As always, the fundamentals apply. The foundation for success is asking, doing and doing both more and often.

 

PS: And for goodness’ sake if you cannot feel genuinely good about your product or service, cannot stand behind it or know it is not helpful to the potential customer run, don’t walk, to your boss/engineering/manufacturing/programming/whatever department to get the item changed and improved or a new job or back to school.

 

*Things That Need to go away: Cold Calling And Not Knowing Target Industry And Role

Jul 252018
 

Photograph Credit: Jarmoluk

 

Which senior salesperson has not attended an interview only to be asked a variation of the “do you have contacts/do you know anyone in industry X/at company Y?”

 

It is a common interview question for candidates for sales positions. The hiring manager wants to know whether the candidate for the open sales position is going to be able to do what he or she is being hired to do, which is maintain and expand the business, and preferably to do so rapidly. In that context it makes sense to ask the question with a genuine interest in the answer. After all, companies and their sales managers likely see a salesperson who starts there and soon books business as something akin to a birthday present.

Photo Credit: Robin Higgins

While the question makes sense for the short term, the answer for employers is more complicated in the medium and long term. Studies show that the best marker of a salesperson’s success is nothing more complicated than (a) hard work. Aside from that, what will create a winning condition for the salesperson and the company is going to be (b) having a proven sales process that includes alignment of goods and services with the buyers’ stated or latent needs or pains. This includes studying and understanding the account base’s needs and verticals. Moreover, (c) the company’s sales enablement will play a critical role in the success or failure of the sales process.

Even in the short term any buyer is unlikely to purchase something just because he or she is on the seller’s rolodex. Again, the question is valid. Also again, assuming a salesperson A is better than salesperson B because A knows someone and B does not is short-sighted. Sales leaders should look at the salesperson’s knowledge and commitment to the aforementioned (a), (b) and (c) first and foremost.

As an aside, a few sales leaders may identify with me when I recall seeing sales candidates being emphatic and positive during their interview regarding the many contacts they possesses. The thing is that while it is very likely true, it sometimes is not. It goes without saying that a candidate should never fabricate answers at an interview. It is clear why this is done on the hopefully very rare occasion, but it is important that honesty and integrity be the hallmarks of an interviewer and interviewee. A salesperson joins a company and the contacts do not materialize and everybody feels disappointed. It does not have to be. As said, the name dropping and close contacts are not leading indicators of success to begin with.

The last time I was interviewed for an individual contributor role I was subsequently given a surprise vertical and account base and did well bringing in large enterprises as customers without knowing anyone there to start. We have all met sales folk who knew everyone and everybody and things were not going smoothly for them. These are not blanket statements of course, but rather cautionary tales in the world of sales. As a sales manager one has to be sympathetic to the needs of the company and the sales team.

 

Photograph Credit: Tumisu

 

With that said, what should candidates do when faced with the question? After all, senior sales candidates who are asked who they know and how many contacts they bring with them may feel the same way a new or junior salesperson at the dawn of his or her career feels when every job requires a minimum three years of selling experience.

 

The answer firstly is to rationally explain that the candidate believes in and practices the aforementioned qualities of hard work, implementing a sales process and leveraging the sales enablement processes at their disposals. That is not enough however. Candidates should not stop there. They should proceed with citing examples yielding success based on their personal work experience and additionally delving into how their methodology works, how they will apply it and within which time frame. The salesperson has to explain to the interviewer’s satisfaction how a lack of contacts will be overcome. It is the job of the salesperson to persuade the interviewers that he or she can successfully get around the lack of a ready network. The salesperson has to ‘sell’ a methodology for messaging, prospecting, closing and keeping customers at the interview.

So what is your strategy?

 

*Things That Need to go away: Enterprise sales with an exclusive focus on the very short term only

 

Jun 282018
 

 

 

 

Dave Brock is a California, USA-based author, coach and consultant who founded and acts as the president of Partners In Excellence. He focuses on the sales, management and corporate culture domains. Given his activities he has a busy schedule and it was pleasantly fortuitous to sit down with him for a chat and pick his brain about the aforementioned topics. The questions were posed both based on professional interest and his area of expertise and his answers were additionally appreciated because he took them spontaneously and answered without advance preparation.

 

Dave, thank-you for your time and allowing me to pose several questions. Could you please introduce yourself and tell our readers what makes you an expert in sales and management.

I am the CEO of Partners In EXCELLENCE, a consulting company focused on business strategy, strategic alliance, sales and marketing.  I am also the author of Sales Manager Survival Guide. I am a theoretical physicist by training. I got into selling after being Chief Product Officer at a failed start-up. I realized there is more to business than great products. I started selling mainframe computers to money centre banks in New York City. I went up the food chain with increasing managerial and executive responsibilities at IBM and then went on to do turnarounds of several tech companies as EVP of sales or CEO.

 

Could you tell us more about Partners In EXCELLENCE. What do you do and how long has it been around?

I started the company in 1991.  We have fifteen partners scattered around the world today.  We focus primarily on helping Global 750 organizations improve performance and execute their business strategies at the highest levels.  About fifty percent of our clients are in technology and industrial products, about twenty-five percent are in professional services and the rest are in the not-for-profit, retail, CPG, basic materials, et cetra.

 

Could you speak about the book Sales Manager Survival Guide? Which topic does it zoom in on?

The book focuses on the role of the Front Line Sales Managers. For all the literature on sales out there there is very little that helps sales managers. It’s a practical guide on how to maximize the performance of their teams.  This fall I am following it with the Sales Executive Survival Guide, which focuses on the top executive and how to achieve overall organizational excellence.

 

In cases where the sales numbers disappoint, is it sales managers who fail more often or is it their teams which fail? I know the goals are one and the same, but where do the fault lines lie?

The right answer is, it depends. If there is a failure at an individual level it is both the sales manager and the individual.  The sales managers may have hired the wrong person or may not be coaching and helping the person achieve the highest levels of performance. It is usually a systemic failure attributable to the sales manager or higher up in the organization If the whole team fails.

 

 

One thing I want to ask you about is regarding sales managers who sell without having a personal quota – as opposed to helping their teams sell. You write about this topic. The sales manager often sees no choice and is faced with quarterly and annual deadlines and pressure, as you know.

The only way the manager achieves his numbers is if everyone on the team achieves their goals. If the manager dives in to try to do all the deals himself he will ultimately fail.  The sheer volume of the deals will kill him, he loses the respect of his team, et cetra.  His job is to maximize the performance of the team period. He doesn’t do that if he takes away the selling responsibility.

 

I believe this may be a manager self-consoling and rationalizing, but what about managers’ feeling that by doing they are also coaching? That is, his or her team members can see them in action, learn and emulate them in the future.

There is a certain amount of showing that is helpful, particularly if you are looking at new capabilities, but at some point the salesperson has to practice, execute and be coached about how to improve. More importantly, the manager has to help the salesperson learn how to think and figure things out themselves.

 

This is quite true and we agree, Dave. I have seen the power of what you say in action with my teams and it is a near-universal truth. One of my favourite topics is sales enablement. Could you give us your definition of this concept and expand on what you see as the most important elements that companies and managers need to provide their sales teams in this regard?

Sales enablement is a very broad topic and not just limited to the sales enablement function. In a very real sense, the entire company must enable sales. For example, develop great products, serve customers well, and create great customer experiences, et cetra. The manager is really at the lead of enabling his team.  The sales enablement function supports sales with training, tools, programs and content. I disagree with the trend of many sales enablement organizations which are trying to displace the sales manager in doing those things.

 

Another perennial favourite of mine: it seems to me that often companies trip themselves up and get in their own way through rivalries, politics, jealousy and people not wanting to look bad and the C-level doesn’t seems to care enough to put an end to these distractions and to focus the team on the mission or is powerless to do so. How do you see this issue within the corporate and selling department context?

There are many organizations that are covertly or overtly anti sales. This is an attitude driven from the top and ultimately leads the organization to perform at a level far below its potential. There are other organizations that have terrible cultures that don’t promote collaboration, team work, accountability; they perform below their potential. There are organizations that inadvertently ‘love their sales people to death.’  By this I mean they try to be so helpful they actually detract from time that salespeople spend selling. This relates to one of the biggest issues we see in organizations which is internal complexity creating a huge sales burden. It’s well intended, but it detracts from sales productivity.

We recently worked with a Global 50 organization. Their salespeople had nine percent time available for selling! The rest was spent getting things done on behalf of the customer or deals internally. They didn’t realize this happened and figured out how to be helpful but free up the salesperson to sell. Large sales organizations have complexities in selling. People do their jobs, but the internal complexities detract.

 

That nine-percent statistic is astounding. I have often had to go to argue and make a case in my own career for either my team or my own ability to be able to sell efficiently, but still nine-percent is such an extreme. With that said, when you write covertly or overtly do you mean unintentionally or intentionally?

Perhaps that’s another way to do that. No organization will ever say they are anti sales, but when you look at behaviours, priorities, et cetra they are anti sales. Too often, they think it’s their “hot product” that is driving success, not realizing that hot products aren’t sustainable and don’t drive growth.

 

As a follow-up let’s talk about how companies, in my experience, understand that commissions, bonuses and other incentives are motivating, but do not understand how aforementioned issues and corporate challenges are demotivating. I have seen one too many eager and energetic folks enter the sales department and end up becoming jaded. Is this something you think about? How do sales leaders or organizations take positive individuals and turn them upside down? Or perhaps you like to put the responsibility back on the shoulder of the individual salesperson?

I think non salespeople, as well as many sales managers, get distracted by compensation and what sales people earn. They need to look at what salespeople produce and assess how they would be able to do the same without salespeople.  If they can achieve the same results, with a lower cost of selling, then they need to do that. But too often it’s an irrational emotional reaction. For example, I’ve encountered CEOs who refuse to let a salesperson be paid more than they are. They are just cutting their nose off to spite their face and limiting the company’s ability to grow and succeed – assuming the compensation plan has been well constructed in the first place.

Most non sale executives have little experience or empathy with what it takes to be very successful in selling. They tend to think of it as transactional whereas in most B2B cases we see it is far different than that perception.

 

I am fully aware that it is an unfair question perhaps that doesn’t do the topic justice, but when you go into companies with these “anti sales,” as you put it, challenges what would be the one thing you first and foremost suggest as a Band-Aid?

It depends. Often, the companies I go into with this anti sales attitude are in a turnaround mode and I’ve been brought in by the board. In many cases, those execs are the problem and I replace them. In some it’s a culture issue and you have to get management to commit to a cultural change. Again, usually they get to this point because they are troubled and failing. Cultural change takes a long time and deep commitment from the top. Some just don’t have the time.

This is a bad answer, but often I won’t waste my time, if they have the wrong attitude, the wrong culture and won’t change it. I’ll deal with the management team that replaces them. There is no silver bullet or a magic solution however.

 

Dave, it was a pleasure chatting and discussing these topics. Why don’t you say a few words about Sales Executive Survival Guide?

Yes, the book will come out in the fall. It’s targeted at CEOs and Top Sales Execs. Where SMSG (Sales Manager Survival Guide) focused on individual and team performance, SESG focuses on organizational excellence. It will address issues like culture, people and talent, complexity, frameworks and systems’ thinking, organizational-growth oriented mindsets, creating a culture of relentless obsessive learning and relentless execution.

 

 

 

 

Partners in EXCELLENCE’s website is at www.partnersinexcellenceblog.com.

Jun 262018
 

I have written about objections and red flags in the past. They are not bad events. Since a red flag suggests sudden death perhaps a better name for them is ‘amber flags.’ Red flags are not fatal blows in the course of a sales process, but they are markers and a sign that a sales professional is doing his or her job. Rather salespersons need to think of them as signposts that should be interpreted as the means to help them identify what they do not know and should, what they have not addressed and should, who they have not met and should, et cetra. Red flags are like road constructions signage that guides the driver to not crash or burn or to meet a pothole. Red flags are like the poles on the slope for the slalom skier to know where to go and where to avoid. Looked at this way, they are actually handy because the alternative may be sticking one’s head in the sand and no ostrich has ever made an enterprise sale*.

 

Salespersons need to actively look for red flags, recognize them as such and proactively react to them where they have not been pre-empted. In my experience, salespersons who cannot identify red flags are in as a precarious position vis-à-vis their sale as those who either do not know how to react to them or, worse, choose to do nothing.

 

There is a myriad of examples my teams and myself have come across over the years, but here is one example of a red flag to paint a picture. A new executive/technical person/user of what is being sold has been hired and his point-of-view is unclear. His or her opinion is important and valid and should be known and considered. Sales needs to communicate with the person.

 

*That is to the best of my knowledge. Let me know if you understand otherwise.

*Things That Need to go away: managers who are unhappy when a salesperson steps forward to discuss a red flag he or she has discovered.

Photograph Credit: terimakasih0

 

May 092018
 

Photograph Credit: Mediamodifier

There is a question among suppliers regarding the tender and procurement websites that are available in Canada. In order to clarify the muddle and compare and contrast the options here is an explanation on the options in Canada.

There are several portals for accessing, participating in, bidding and winning business, which is advertised through a RFx, which is an acronym that is a variation on RFP, RFI or its lesser-used sibling RFQ. Suppliers can access competitive contracts and bid for the business available publically.

The majority of this business is centred on the Public Sector as the government, and its related entities and organizations, is bound by legislation to offer its business openly, but on occasion private business is offered to bidders and suppliers on the private portals as well.

 

  • Name: Biddingo (www.biddingo.com)
  • Cost: $250 (annual)

Toronto-based Biddingo competes with Merx and roughly provides the same service. It hosts tenders for provincial, territorial and municipal governments as well as related pubic sector contracts. It also scours the Internet for a limited number of private sector procurement bids. As of this writing Biddingo showed 1,884 tenders available for the last 30 days.

 

The Government Of Canada began making its tenders available on this portal beginning June 1, 2013. It is a free portal that hosts all current (and expired) Federal Government tenders and does not require registration. However, by registering a supplier could leave a profile behind and obtain its Procurement Business Number. Once an organization wins a contract the organization can get on a Standing Offer. The portal is run by Public Works And Government Services Canada (PWGSC). More recently, the government made moves to decentralize some purchases away from Public Works, but this portal remains the main source for procuring government needs. Since the government has various laws and international trade agreements it abides by there is a minimum threshold for bids which must appear on the website. As such, contracts for lesser amounts (typically less than $25,000) may or may not appear on the website.

 

  • Name: Merx (www.merx.com)
  • Cost: $233 (annual)

Ottawa-based Merx was previously the sole portal for hosting the Federal Government Of Canada’s tenders. This contract ended on May 31, 2013 and the Government Of Canada moved its tenders to Buyandsell.gc.ca. It hosts provincial and other government tenders now as it competes with Biddingo. As of this writing Merx showed 2,998 tenders available for the last 30 days. The portal is a unit of Montreal-based Mediagrif.

 

  • Name: Ontario Tenders Portal (https://ontariotenders.bravosolution.com)
  • Cost: Free

Here is a bonus inclusion as it is pertains to only one province. The Ontario Tenders’ Portal is run by US-based BravoSolution since April 1, 2014, which was recently acquired by Jaggaer. This website hosts Ontario Provincial government’s tenders. Its interface and search capability are archaic, but is the source for tenders for Canada’s largest province. Moreover, as of April 1, 2018 vendors will no longer be required to pay user fees for online bid submissions on the Ontario Tenders Portal.

 

All the abovementioned websites offer search and e-mail notification services.

Post it in the Comments’ section if you have a question about any of these and I can help.

Apr 292018
 

 

Has anyone ever asked to see proof of your educational background? It occurs to me that twenty years on no company has asked to verify the degrees and certificates on my resume. Mind you, I have worked at larger and globally recognized multinational corporations and never been asked to actually submit proof of my degrees. Companies either are trusting or take the resume’s education section for granted. This came to me when reading an article about people who claim university degrees when in fact they took partial course loads or abandoned the quest for the degree prior to graduation. That article itself came a couple of months after a CBC TV investigative program about bogus degrees and universities a.k.a. degree mills. According to the program, the phony credentials are issued by impressive sounding universities like Harvey University, Barkley University and Nixon University. What is more the program claimed over a million of these phony degrees have been sold. It occurred to me that not only no one has ever asked me for proof, but, to the best of my recollection, as an interviewer and hiring manager I myself have never asked or challenged a candidate or one of my employees for proof of their credentials. I doubt my recruiters have either. While no one is asking for proof the coursework has certainly been helpful to me. There is no question that employers too rightly care for the experience and knowledge that legitimate education offers, but what of the sales and management professions specifically?

These have been operating on an ‘experience only’ basis far too often. That is, hiring and training for these jobs seem to rely on tenure and learning as one goes. Perhaps this is because traditionally people have thought of salespeople as reliant on their demenaour and charming people skills as opposed to having methodical skills. With products and services becoming more varied and advanced and buyers gaining more sophistication such elemental thinking has to make way for something more somber.

Things need not be that way. Yet, how many salespersons do you know who have studied ‘Sales’? The profession obviously would be more effective and respected were it reliant on more formal education. Compare this with a Marketing degree, which is considered more of a science and have been omnipresent at schools. There is a discussion to be had regarding why such an important role does not attract its own formal program. In fact, things sometimes seem to be going in the other direction. I completed a management program and curriculum in Ontario called OMDP (Ontario Management Degree Program), which was later cancelled. Salespersons and their employers have thus been largely reliant on the plethora of sales books, courses and certifications on offer.

There are attempts at change and advancement out there however. Below is a listing of some of the better known certifications (as opposed to sales methodologies some of whose books you can find reviewed here).

  • The Canadian Professional Sales Association offers three certifications. These are:
    • Certified Sales Associates (CSA),
    • Certified Sales Professionals (CSP) and
    • Certified Sales Leaders (CSL).
  • Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP) through AA-ISP is a series of 11 courses.
  • Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP) through The National Association of Sales Professionals’ (NASP) is a 45-day online course.
  • HubSpot Academy offers a number of free sales and marketing courses through its online portal.

More recently accredited schools have introduced programs to give salespersons and the profession training and the credentials that go with it. See these:

There are even offers out there for free workshops:

Other related reading:

What do you think about the topic? Which one of these programs or resources is the better one and which is worth the money?

 

*Things That Need to go away: Salespeople who think more about their power tie than what the customer needs.

 

Mar 132018
 

Toronto-based Chris Herbert of PrimeTime Recruiting is a recruiter specializing in sales positions. It would not be an exaggeration to say that nearly every sales professional – as well as other professionals – has worked with either an internal, or like Chris, external recruiter. I posed a few questions to Chris to get a recruiter’s perspective.

Could you introduce yourself and what you do?

My name is Chris Herbert. I am the President of PrimeTime Recruiting Services. We are a boutique recruiting company dedicated to B2B technology Sales professionals.

What can a candidate/hiring manager expect when working with you?

We pride ourselves on being honest and transparent. I respect the candidate’s time. I try and help them whether the opportunity is with a client of ours or not.

What are the tips to better work with a recruiter? What a- do you look for in a candidate specifically and b- what do your requisitions generally seek in an ideal candidate?

Do your research before speaking with a recruiter. If you are interested in an engineering role at a manufacturer, for example, I know nothing about that and will not be able to help in any way. Find a recruiter that is experienced in the role that you are interested in. Have a good idea what your ideal career looks like before speaking with the recruiter. The more specific you can be about your goals and objectives, the better the chances are they will find a great opportunity for you. Be clear and honest with the recruiter. It is a two-way street.

What are the most glaring mistakes candidates commit when contacting or working with recruiters?

Polish your resume and LinkedIn profile before you reach out to a recruiter. Of course, make sure your resume and LinkedIn profiles align. Do your homework first and have a realistic expectation of compensation and experience.

Could you highlight and pinpoint any hiring or employment trends. Are there any newer developments or trends you have noticed?

There is lots of opportunities out there, however the rule of thumb is that the better the opportunity the stiffer the competition. I believe this is accurate. It is my opinion there are lots of hiring managers that are risk-averse. If you make a bad hire it is very expensive in more ways than one. That being said doing nothing will not help them either so it is challenge they have to face.

One often hears about a lack of follow-up from the recruitment industry in general. Do you feel there is validity to this? How do you see the issue?

The follow-up is often a case of the hiring person being busy or overwhelmed with many responsibilities. The same can be said for the recruiter. I always ask the candidate to follow up with me if they have not received an update in 2 to 4 days.

Thanks for your time and answering our questions. This is hopefully helpful to the candidates and job seekers out there. Chris, Feel free to add any comments you wish here to end the interview.

My suggestion to the hiring organizations would also be to do your homework first. Is the recruiter highly knowledgeable in that industry or vertical? Do they have a deep understanding of the role? Can they provide guidance or advice to you regarding the position or a suitable compensation structure? In my experience, when you select the recruiter by fee only you often get what you pay for.

 

Chris Herbert can be reached by calling 1 416 998 4168 or by visiting http://primetimerecruitingservices.com

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