Jul 132022
 
remote work

Image Credit: RoadLight

 

Statistic Canada reports that 40% of Canadian jobs could be performed through telecommuting. The same study indicates that 80% of people who were asked to telework due to the pandemic look at the arrangement favourably and would like to continue doing so at least half their work time.

 

What is bad news for Aeroplan status hounds and addicts is good news for Cloud and technology providers. We have known for some time that employees prefer this arrangement.  Employers is another matter, of course, and I must confess that I am of two minds about this situation, as well, given the mental and physical health issues – the very important matter of the need for social distancing to prevent the transmission of the virus aside – that arise, but what is the implication of the virtuality of virtual work?

Salespeople need to double their efforts and work almost twice as hard to make up for lack of access to prospects and customers at the latter’s places of work. They have to contend with less group meetings or on-sites at offices. Group e-mails, conference calls and video meetings are the new normal. Everything else is the exception now. Going against this grain makes it difficult to recruit and retain employees to start. On the plus side, employers have access to a larger work pool and can cast a geographically wider net.

People need to ramp their knowledge of digital technology and seek out ones that are easier to use for customers. Many people are not comfortable with the technology and even more people do not wish to contend with difficult applications. Make it easy on yourself and insist on making it easy for your customers. Even if the pandemic is vanquished the outcome is a hybrid work format so choose correctly.

That is, have the right tools, be set up properly, test everything to ensure it is monkey-proof and double down on clarity and explanations because things can get lost in translation when communication is remote. Also, spend a moment to thank technology and the Cloud because without these advances a pandemic would have been a disaster by a multitude. Actually, never mind, the providers are getting paid handsomely for their efforts.

 

A few telework tools to add to email and the telephone.

 

  • Asana: Workflow management software that helps organizing and keeping on top of the team’s work.
  • Flock: Video and audio calling, texting and chat for businesses.
  • Monday.com: Project creation and collaboration software
  • Slack: Business communication and ‘channels’ dedicated to specific topic that allows voice calling as well.
  • Teams: Microsoft’s chat, audio and video call and file storage platform. It has gobbled up Skype as well.
  • Zoom: Video calling

*Things That Need To Go Away: The proliferation of difficult-to-use software whose accumulation is itself as much a headache for users as is using it.

remote control by Sony

Image Credit: Nuzree

Apr 182022
 

 

Sales Enablement has been quite an oft-discussed concept in sales circles for the last decade or so. As the name suggests the concept should be simple. Sales Enablement is the who, what, where, when and how of enabling sales (defined here broadly as inside, outside, SME, enterprise, BDR, etc.) to achieve its goals in general and quota targets specifically. Simple enough. Yet, there is a lot more to helping sales, and indeed the whole company, deliver the value message to customers.

Personally, Sales Enablement for me is anything and everything that enables sales. As such, and for me, marketing is sales enablement. A company executive travelling or getting on the telephone with a salesperson to aid his or her effort is sales enablement. Training is sales enablement, et cetra.

However, there is a niche and segment for Sales Enablement all to its own in the marketplace. The segment is large given how the addressable market is vast. The number of vendors vying for a piece of the pie is large because sales is so crucial to everything everybody does. These vendors and suppliers define the market more narrowly than my definition and seek to inhabit the more focused and accepted definition of what the marketplace for their solutions is.

This narrower definition speaks to tools, solutions, programs, software and content that allow the Sales team to find prospects or take a top of the funnel prospect and convert it to a paying customer at the bottom of the funnel. Yes, it is still multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted, but defined more narrowly than my definition above. And with the advent of technology, Sales Enablement in the hands of its official suppliers and vendors has become more technical, more up-to-the-minute as pertains to the needs of the individual accessing it and more relevant for the type of sale it is accessed for and, notwithstanding the automation of much of it, has become more advanced and scientific. That automation piece is actually important because salespersons do not always have the will or time to engage with the technology proactively. it is a win for the sales team’s time and also insurance that the rights steps are being taken when the solution triggers events in an optimal sequence. Modern AI-powered solutions do wonders sometimes.

The more focused definition is fine and here you will find a list of the vendors in the space as of today. The sentence says ‘as of today’ because by the time this writer finishes this paragraph and hits the ‘publish’ button half a dozen vendors have sold themselves, merged or failed rendering the list dated. This is only half a joke. Another half a joke is how a company that is in Sales Enablement could not enable its sales team to take over the world (yet wants to help everyone else do the same). Yes, it is understood that many companies do not seek to remain or grow. Like any sector, half of the companies out there seek to be acquired and cash out. Here is another quip: it is said (by me) that any company with a a.ai domain is flashing a sign saying ‘buy me! buy me!!’

The list is coming shortly, but first a few bullet points on why Sales Enablement is seriously important and a comment on its integration with other departments.

 

Why are companies adopting formal Sales Enablement programs and solutions?

 

Sales is not an insular position. It needs and feeds everyone else at the company. From the management team to Marketing and Delivery sales needs to be hand in glove with everybody else. Sales and other departments need to be in sync. The right Sales Enablement environment enables this aspect. This is internal alignment.

Similarly, sales needs to be in sync with its prospects and customers. Sales needs to supply the right impetus, content and information to its customers – whether the two parties are speaking currently and directly with one another or not. Sales Enablement needs to ensure that the two sides (supply and demand) are related and relevant. This is external alignment.

Finally, all of this should be measurable and accountable. How many videos professionally filmed and uploaded by companies have you seen that despite clearly having cost time and a monetary bundle in preparation, lighting, filming and editing have a paltry one hundred views (half of which is the producing team)? Isn’t something amiss? Yes, there is. It is not serving the needs of sales or its customers obviously. How many leads from Marketing were garbage? How many quality leads were mishandled by Sales? Why are people not responding to content? These are mere examples of a mismatched Sales Enablement piece of the puzzle that is not performing and is screaming for a programmatic review, be it content-wise, consumption-wise or perhaps even forming an accessibility point-of-view challenge. Things need to be measurable so they can be manageable so we improve and consistently recaliber.

Finally, Sales Enablement should be integrated. The more all the sets of data, material and processes are integrated the more likely for them to actually work, to be leveraged by sales, to save the requisite time and ultimately to contribute rather than detract. Moreover, when all solutions are integrated the company can better measure the effectiveness and garner insight into what is working and what is not at scale.

Perhaps an ancillary reason to adopt these solutions is to recruit salespersons in the first place. Obviously, enablement tools help the team be successful, earn more and treat customers correctly, but what a recruitment tool? A company adopting the right tech can expect to have more successful sales teams and give people more reasons to work there, right? After all, this whole article is about adding value.

 

 

Is there a list of providers and vendors in this space?

 

With that said and without further ado, here is a list of companies in the space. As mentioned, this is narrowly defined and offerings such as marketing-only, training-only or CRM are omitted.  One further ado: Having not personally used all these solutions, inclusion does not equal warrantee that it does what it says. My experience is that several are quite useful and helpful. A few are a waste of time and have proven themselves to be a nuisance. The advice goes doubly for readers who are not in the USA. Contact data are more scarce internationally in many of these tools and process norms do differ from country to country. Review and analysis before buying are your friends.

  • Adapt – Real-time customer data that integrates with your CRM
  • Apollo – Find prospects, segment them and connect with them
  • Bombora – Buyers’ intent data to understand who is looking to buy
  • CallMiner – Analyses your communication with your customers to drive your actions
  • Chorus – Conversation intelligence to analyse sales meetings and suggest improvements. Owned by Zoominfo since 2021
  • Cognism – Market and Sales intelligence including contact information and intent data
  • D&B Hoovers – Contact information including areas of responsibility and job titles
  • Datanyze – Contact information for businesses and which solutions they use
  • DealHub.io – Share information and quotations with customers, automate steps and track engagement
  • Demandbase – Connects first and third-party data for one view of accounts – now includes InsideView for CRM data management
  • DiscoverOrg – Contact information and profiles that is integrated with your CRM. Part of Zoominfo
  • Dooly – Organizes opportunity notes and fields and syncs them into Salesforce to share with others
  • Enablix – Connect Sales and Marketing content for data-driven decisions on what content is needed next. Also measures engagement
  • Enthu – Analyses team’s calls and collates them for management for intervention, training or other insights
  • ExecVision – Conversation intelligence and mining platform in multiple languages
  • Global Database – An international business directory
  • Gong – Captures and analyses customer interactions to determine best course of action and areas of hit and miss
  • Groove – Automates sales activities and lightens the administrative burden of sales. It also automates action items
  • Guru – Create, share and access data and within the sales workflow
  • Highspot – Combines content, customer engagement and knowledge sharing in multiple languages
  • InsideSales.com – Playbooks for sales to optimize sales interactions including appropriate contacts and triggers
  • Jiminny – A coaching tool to record, analyse, track and learn from your customer conversations to enable improvement and analytics
  • Klue – A competitor insight platform compiled from internal and external sources
  • Lead 411 – Company and employee contact information and triggers
  • Leadgenius – Scale your outbound by finding the right contacts and lists
  • LeadIQ – Targetted information on potential leads integrated with CRM
  • Lessonly – An eLearning solution including presentation, tracking and assignments. Purchased by Seismic in 2021
  • LinkedIn (Sales Navigator) – A professional networking and communication social media. LinkedIn is a part of Microsoft
  • Lusha – Identify a prospect’s e-mail and telephone number, especially in the USA. It acts as a browser extension
  • Mediafly – Create and enhance your presentations, including trackable links and analytics
  • MindTickle – Identify the right sales behaviour and train the team on it
  • Observe – An analysis of your customers’ audio calls and text communication to derive sentiment signals
  • Outreach – Helps create and manage sales workflows and track them
  • SalesHood – A Learning Management System (LMS) that includes testing and tracking
  • SalesIntel – Helps you identify your prospects with buying intent and provides contact information
  • Seamless – Finds your prospects’ contact and LinkedIn information
  • Seismic – A content management platform that allows Marketing to create and customize sales-related material and for the sales team to discover and brand it for a particular engagement
  • Showpad – Sales content management, training and coaching in one. Track content usage by the customers as well
  • 6Sense – Uncovers buying behaviour and information based on web activity, which triggers for ABM efforts
  • Slintel – A market intelligence and buyer intent. Part of 6Sense now
  • TechTarget – Identify target contacts and acquire their contact information
  • Uplead – Business and contact data including e-mail verification
  • Volley – Convert leads into customer using intent data and personalization
  • Zoominfo – 360 degree view of customers including intent data and hierarchies

 

Any names missing? Let me know.

One final important note: All applications should be tested for ease of use. Salespeople are busy and dislike spending time when a software is not user friendly. All purchase decisions should take this, as well as utility, into consideration. Need to heavily configure? Need to code? Need to wait minutes for it to load? Need to complete a curriculum to use the application? Need to become versed in boolean search parameters? Skip the tool.

 

*Things That Need To Go Away: Sales Enablement solutions that make the sales team neither more effective nor more efficient

 

Jun 172021
 

This should have grabbed your attention if you are either an ERP software watcher or run SAP ERP and, in turn, likely work for a larger enterprise company. SAP has announced the deadline for supporting its ERP S/3 6.0 ECC (and earlier products) is 2027. Good news is that this was quickly updated from the initial 2025 time-line mere days after the earlier deadline ostensibly due to adverse customer reaction. Installing, running and certainly upgrading or tossing SAP ERP is no simple matter. This is not to single out the SAP ERP system, as most ERP module providers have had their share of implementation challenges, but SAP is the market share leader and has had a few more publicized issues. Notably, in parallel SAP has committed to supporting S/4 HANA until 2040 only. That itself is less than twenty years only. History points to SAP extending that deadline however.

Companies depend on SAP ERP software to run everything at their companies and the decision to upgrade or change this all-encompassing software is a multi-year engagement either way that will certainly come with both user experience and process challenges.

Customer choices are:

  • To upgrade to SAP S/4 HANA, which utilizes SAP’s own HANA database or
  • Switch to another ERP.
  • A third, and perhaps more short-sighted, choice is to switch from SAP direct to a third party support organization beyond 2027. Third party providers certainly have their place and often offer good value, but the change has to happen sooner or later. It essentially delays the inevitable.

 

It is important to note that S/4 was rebuilt from the ground up and this is not a matter of a ‘simple’ upgrade. Moreover, the change in database requires that this large piece of the puzzle undergo its own transformation as well. SAP would remind customers of the upgraded architecture, capabilities and speed boost of its S/4 HANA product. Customers new and old should look at their SAP choices carefully and consider (right as they look at their numerous customizations) what to do soon as the SAP expertise out there is limited and one should not be caught shorthanded. SAP integrators would be delighted to help with what is surely not a mere software change, but a company transformation. A new implementation or upgrade is a multi-year effort and should be weighed against SAP’s 2027 deadline.

Frankly, springing into action last minute may give your company less leverage when speaking with SAP or others.

In short, the time to look at your current and future needs, processes and capacity for change is now.

 

*Things That Need To Go Away: A Pound Of Cure Instead Of An Ounce Of Preparation

 

 

Jan 312021
 

In the world of sales cross-selling and up-selling are known and accepted concepts. Or are they?

 

I surreptitiously questioned my acquaintances recently and the concept was unclear to a few. In fact, a couple of folks confused one with the other. So without further ado what is a cross-sell and what is an upsell?

 

Cross-selling is offering a customer additional and complementary products or services. A customer arrives at the local junk food joint and asks for a cheeseburger. The employee asks whether the customer would also like sauce for $1 extra. That is cross-selling. That is a dollar of revenue that the business would not have obtained without the particular act of offering something else for sale. Is it a useful service? It could be. For example, the customer may derive pleasure from the sauce or be further satisfied at home when finding out that sauce enhances the food. This could be a matter of convenience too. Amazon does a stellar job at this. Look up anything or buy any item and Amazon will tell you what else other customers have purchased or what product goes with the one you are buying.

Up-selling is selling a more expensive, larger, grander or fancier version of what is the standard offering or the customer is requesting. This more expensive offering has more functions, better features and is more enhanced. A prospective home owner enters a builder’s sales office and enquires regarding a certain model of the houses available. The salesperson steers the person towards a larger house with an extra bathroom, fireplace and a functional attic. This model costs more and brings in more revenue and profit. Is it a service to the customer? Potentially. The fireplace is handy if the transaction is taking place in a cold region.

 

Cross selling or up selling may work or not. They may be useful or not. It is up to the seller to make the suggestion and offer value in return for the higher price. The customer will decide if the value of the additional or high-end item is justified given the price differential.

Coincidentally, the best time to introduce these concepts to customers is not at the tail-end of a sale, but at its start. That is, inform the customer in advance of the availability of complementary or more enhanced offers. Then ask the question and explore the possibilities after the initial sale request has been discussed.

 

Image Credit: Geralt

 

The motions could certainly be value-enhancing and a simple way of increasing revenue. It goes without saying that the seller must have different items and categories in its arsenal to offer its customers for the concepts to be usable.

 

*Things That Need To Go Away: Greasy French Fries a.k.a. Selling Anyone Anything They Do not Need 

Feb 192020
 

… What is the difference between Sales and Marketing? My last post discussed Social Selling and Marketing.

Well, what is the difference between Sales and Marketing? Most have a fairly good gut feeling regarding the difference between sales and the marketing fields, but defining the demarcation line is somewhat trickier. Most know, for example, that Marketing is a degree at universities and colleges while Sales is not (link to courses) and, perhaps just by sheer force of practice at this stage, Sales has become defined as customer facing while Marketing has managed itself into a back office role, but where does one end and the other begin? Is there a clearly defined border? Why do they often speak about the departments and professionals as separate and distinct? In order to contrast the two we can draw a distinction.

 

Think of Marketing and Sales as a linear process with Marketing at the beginning and Sales picking up in the middle. Marketing’s job is to create interest, obtain leads and turn these into prospects for the said goods and services. Sales has to take the baton of these leads and prospects and turn them into paying customers. Defined as such, salespeople running goods, services or territory campaigns are marketing. By extension, Marketing is focused on a market comprised of a larger audience than Sales focuses on. It is a funnel and Marketing is the top and Sales is the narrow bottom part. One can see how Sales is more intimate and closer to the customer, but reliant on Marketing.

Marketing and Sales have one goal, are the continuation of one another and cannot be successful without one another and yet it is amusing and amazing that at many companies they are separated, segregated and do not even know one another. A friend of mine who works at the Marketing department of a bigger company cannot even name a single salesperson at her company.

Marketing should bring prospects to Sales, which in turn, assists the lead to a transaction.

Both should measure and track their activities, but that is a different post.

The two share a common goal: to sell the organization’s goods or services and complement and complete each other, but they are two disciplines clearly practiced by two sets of people with differing skills and temperaments.

Photograph Credit: Domeckopol

Things That Should Go Away: Sales And Marketing Employees Being Like Two Planets Orbiting One Another Without Ever Relating

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’?

Aug 272017
 

In Sales and sales management circles few would argue that compensation, a major component of which is income, is trivial or a minor issue. Modern management theories tell us that not only happy workers stay longer, but also they are more productive. We know that pay is often top of mind for employees, but other factors also chart well. When one is not caught in the vice of low or unsatisfactory pay, one is enjoying his or her work and is therefore engaged, committed and sees a future.

In the book The Code of The Extraordinary Mind the author speaks to Richard Branson about the secret to the billionaire’s serial success. Branson tells the author the secret is to have a vision, hire great people to execute it and then get out of their way. Notice, he didn’t say pay them 30%, or whatever, in commissions.

Imagine now for a moment all this evidence, wisdom, research and information out there and next to none of it is applied to the profession of sales by the responsible management and the companies at which they work. The whole thing is on autopilot, has been for years and clichés abound. The conventional wisdom hangs like an albatross around the neck of management and human resources. In the well-argued book Drive author Daniel Pink makes an evidence-based case for not paying salespeople commission and SPIF when creativity is required.

Is any company taking heed of the applicable information? All indications point to the answer being ‘no.’ This website has long argued that people management has to be personalized for the individual and one size does not fit all. Why are so many sales departments and companies struggling, and why does anyone need extra pushing and shoving, if salespeople uniformly respond to extra commission and variable incentive? The answer is that salespeople do not and like any other profession and group individuals respond differently and have different motivations. We even wrote about motivation for salespeople as a function of their cultural background on this site in November, 2016.

Why then are companies not overhauling how they compensate their employees in general and sales department in particular and instead prolapse to the same old? We know now that as a matter of random statistics a portion of the sales team likely responds better to and is more responsive to things other than being paid on commission. How about looking at 100% salary entitlement? There is also this, which likely lead to companies taking action like this.  In addition to the above arguments, there must be a reckoning that today’s customers are better informed and sales is becoming more of a team sport. A successful sales team is not only comprised of different people (inside, outside, technical, post-sales consultancy..), but also requires adapting to customers’ buying process, which is an outward outlook and not necessarily satisfied by internal necessities.

ventilation pipe (flexibility)

Photo Credit: Bilderjet

Instead could individuals be motivated and double their efforts for:

  • Peer and employee recognition
  • Additional time off
  • Health, or other, club membership
  • A gift card for the salesperson’s significant other
  • Paid learning opportunity or mentorship
  • Paid-for recreational classes such as cooking, climbing or arts and crafts,
  • Job promotion (with a caveat)

Keep a higher emphasis on variable compensation for those who are actually and demonstrably motivated by it and remove the yoke from those who just do not care for it and either do not perform better given the scheme or do so only marginally.

There is no doubt that driving sales and winning deals is the raison d’etre of any sales organization. The question we should be asking is what actually drives performance versus what we have always accepted drives performance.

Indeed, sales management must measure all that leads to a sales win (could be customer engagements, presentations, customer meetings, marketing response rates, etc.) and develop a compensation plan based on low and upside potential calculations, team alignment, composition and of course how all of this is being measured, but understand that the drive to create the components of success is propelled by different means among individuals.

 

*Things That Need To Go Away: We Do It That Way Because It Is Always Done That Way

 

Individual

Photo Credit: Geralt

 

May 142017
 

The world has advanced much and there is a lot of useful and productive technology to work with and leverage whether it is an industry, company or individual that is the topic of discussion. This website has touched on many of them with much more to come, but this post is about good old fashioned customer service.

A good friend of mine Nissar Ahamed who runs the CareerMetis website e-mailed me reminiscing about a business, which I once had introduced to him. By introducing, I mean, he and I once walked over to grab an egg sandwich. He also picked up a coffee. It is a simple, and rather small, coffee stand in the PATH below King Street West in Toronto called Treats. The name is unimportant as is the location really. Down there one literally finds dozens of counters and shops serving morning coffee, banana bread, croissants and juice to passers-by on their way to work. Nissar dropped me a message saying how he misses the (non-descript, cramped, limited menu, with no name recognition, plain – these are my words) place. In fact, Treats is a mini-chain, but as far as companies go theirs is rather unknown and, as mentioned, the take-out only coffee shop is barely noticeable or stands out amidst the plethora of better-known and flashier competition. Nissar even mentioned that the Tim Hortons he now frequents (since his office location has changed) is no match for the old place.

Photo Credit: Nousnou Iwasaki

Now, you are asking yourself, what is so great about this bona fide kiosk that beats everyone else and puts a $3.5 billion company to shame? Is it the coffee? Is it the muffins? Is it the croissants? Could it be the egg sandwich they prepare? Is it the swift service or the bottom-less beverages? Perhaps they have the best banana and apples in the bowl ready for customers every morning?

The answer: none of the above. It is the… customer service. Oh, how… non-digital.

Grossly assuming they have 250 customers a day I made a back-of-the-envelope calculation that on average they have over 66,000 individuals to serve a year. Yet, the middle-aged East Asian couple who run the place will always smile, always thank you, always semi-bow or wave and seem grateful to have you as a customer. There is a glint in their eyes (don’t worry, inside sales professionals, there could be a ‘glint’ in the voice too). It is a small thing that costs them nothing and they do not have to do, but recurs day in and day out.

The result? Customer loyalty,  well wishes and a very small business that can stand head and shoulders above mega-chains, flashier competitors, cool businesses with Instagram accounts, advertising budgets, marketing departments and real-estate location managers. The experience and service there are tools in their arsenal that they deploy without presumably even meaning to and, in this day and age, the genuine care translates to word-of-mouth, loyalty and business.

What does interest one is how whether it is a cultural thing or an ingrained habit they seem to be unaware of their own behaviour.

It is a lesson for all of us in the sales game, management business, human-to-human interaction domain and for anyone who has noticed the world is being commoditized.  I once personally walked 10 minutes out of my way to get to the couple, walking past tens of businesses who could have sold me something very similar for a morning sandwich. The point is not the mere minutes, but the many other choices en route. I don’t even drink coffee.

Photo Credit: Mike Wilson

*Things That Need To Go Away: Assuming technology overcomes the need for cherishing and serving customers.

Dec 132016
 

Who here has not received an offer of employment with a strict deadline of 24 or 48 hours for the candidate to accept? On the other side of the table, how many employers or recruiters reading this have added a clause to their offer insisting the candidate accept within a day or two or else…

The reason for such clauses and conditions seems straightforward.

  • Employers need to know where they stand as they have a need to hire for backfill or expansion.
  • Employers and recruiters have a requisition to fill, which they would like to close as soon as possible in order to move on to the next task.
  • Recruiters work on contingency and would like to get paid.
  • Assigning a deadline to a candidate and offer pushes the candidate to accept thus taking him or her off the market.

Please Stop.

Very tight deadlines are signs of a woefully unprepared employer at best and a red flag against the employing firm at worst. Long-term relationship demand respect from the start and sensitivity towards the other party and not to mention reality.

As a team manager I had a candidate join another group’s team only to leave a week into the job for a position at a credit card company. She obviously preferred the alternative she eventually chose, but had accepted this job under the gun and fearing losing either. Such scenarios are actually quite common.

While these concerns all have some merit they are one-sided, dated and not in line with modern times and, by implication, counterproductive. Why are they working against candidates and employers? Employers derive no benefit from enforcing a clause, which either recruits an employee who may join holding a grudge or feeling pushed or could quit in 3 weeks anyway if he or she were interviewing elsewhere. Fact of the matter is that employers and employees have to see employment as a collaboration where both parties profit and are working towards a common goal. There is no place in the modern workplace for a company that feels superior to the needs of its employees or for an employee who feels above the ‘law.’ If a company gives itself the right to interview multiple candidates and assess them based on its elected criteria, then the employee has the right to interview multiple employers, take time to assess the offer, discuss it with an employment lawyer, consult friends, family or mentors and be comfortable.

While it is reasonable to have deadlines and ask for specific time-lines putting a gun on someone’s head cannot have a happy ending. What does work instead is respectful communication between the parties including an explanation from both sides on with what they are working.

The invitation for candidates, employees and employers to come together benefit from frankness and be supportive of each other should be regardless of the economic climate. Being patient is not helpful to immediate needs perhaps, but will pay dividends in the long-term. Whether it is boom or bust times should not matter. Genuine respect is the way to go and one of the keys to a productive relationship. It also saves everyone time and probably money too.

 

*Things That Need To Go Away: “You have 24 hours to accept our job offer or it’s on to the next candidate.”

Nov 272016
 

There have been a couple of articles in these pages in the past regarding how sales managers need to understand the individuals on their respective sales teams in order to deliver personalized motivation and incentives. This concept resonates with me as a person who has risen through the sales ranks and also as a people manager who has seen the results in action. Articles have appeared here and here because it is something often on my mind. The book Drive partly dedicates itself to the same exploration.

Getting this process 100% right and reaching perfection is like finding the pink unicorn, but the more one applies oneself into this process the better it gets.

With that said, here is an article that is original and well worth reading for those managing diverse salespersons. Written by academics and authors Christian Homburg and Sebastian Hohenberg of the University Of Mannheim in Germany this research piece addresses sales management, training and human resource departments and discusses motivation and incentive planning within different cultural environments, which is applicable at multicultural sales settings or for sales managers in matrixed and multinational organizations.

Bottom-line again: different people need different approaches and a one-size-fits-all approach is lazy and less productive.

Image from Sebastian Hohenberg and Christian Homburg (2016) Motivating Sales Reps for Innovation Selling in Different Cultures.

Image from Sebastian Hohenberg and Christian Homburg (2016) Motivating Sales Reps for Innovation Selling in Different Cultures.

Image from Sebastian Hohenberg and Christian Homburg (2016) Motivating Sales Reps for Innovation Selling in Different Cultures.

Image from Sebastian Hohenberg and Christian Homburg (2016) Motivating Sales Reps for Innovation Selling in Different Cultures.

*Things That Need To Go Away: “That Is How Our Incentives Have Always Worked And That Is How They Will Keep Working…”