Nepotism has a new face…

February 18, 2020

Nepotism has a new face, and that face has an Instagram and a following.
The question is.. Is brand more relevant than experience?

Nepotism is the act of showing favor due to family or friendship, but more recently a new trend has emerged. Showing favor to those with an image, even when that image lacks the basic skill set needed to perform the job they’re hired to do.

In a perfect world the ideal candidate would have a balance of skills and brand, but where does the weight shift? And what are the ramifications of the outcome when one [brand] is vastly greater than the other [skill]?

Let’s take a conservative look and play best case / worst case, shall we?

Best case:

  • Candidate with great knowledge and experience comes into the role and has a strong brand and image forged in expertise. That’s the purest and most powerful form of brand.
  • Candidate with a brand and image comes into the role and learns on the fly, but due to name recognition, there is interest and visibility to the product. In this scenario, even as a best case, speed to competency will lag. You can’t know until you know…you know?

Worst case:

  • Candidate with great experience and knowledge comes into the role and shuns from the spotlight. You’ve hired the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain.
  • Candidate with a brand and image comes into the role, but the necessary skills do not come, the intuition is not there, competency is out of reach. You’ve hired disaster, and handed it a microphone. Ouch.

Sure the likelihood of one of the absolute worst-case scenarios will happen is slim, but…but is it? I just don’t think it’s the smartest business decision, not in sales anyway.

To be clear, I don’t blame the employee here. Good on them for building a strong enough brand to get a shot at whatever role they grabbed. I am speaking to you – the employer – here. Substance over sound. Experience still matters. Find somebody with both – skills/experience and a brand – if you really want to win.

There are still companies out there looking for that solid mix of experience, brand, and clout, and I hear from them everyday. If you are looking to make your way into a new role, reach out and I would love to connect you.

Currently, I know of companies looking for:

Head of Sales – SF, Austin, NY, ATL, Boston
Revenue Ops – SF, Austin, Boston,
Customer Success roles – Austin, Boston
BDRs -SF, Boston, Austin
VP of Marketing – Boston
AEs – Austin

Also, Richard Harris and I have been hard at work interviewing some of the best sales leaders, mentors, and dare I say…influencers in the game! Take a listen, and pick up some tips, tricks, and motivation! Check out the Surf and Sales Podcast. You might learn something.

Best,
SL

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5 steps to drive technology adoption

February 11, 2020

Would you consider yourself innovative?
Are you the first to know?
Do you follow the trends, do you make the trends?
Are you an influencer?
Or…is “slow and steady” more your speed, and “if it ain’t broke don’t fix,” your mantra.
Are you “old school?”

Understanding your adoption tolerance and resistance can be vital in ensuring your own success, and the success of your team. Change can be hard, but understanding the resistance to change, and following a strategy can improve adoption and ROI of new sales tools and enablement.

The root of change resistance typically stems from a threat to stability and security. These perceived threats can manifest in a number of ways like a fear of the unknown, mistrust in leadership, lack of vision and value, and a breakdown in communication.

Understanding resistance can allow leadership to be proactive in the strategy, and implementation of any change initiative. Use the following quick guide to drive better adoption of new sales tools, and technology.

5 steps to greater adoption:

  1. Conduct a needs analysis – round table, or survey your team to address what challenges and hurdles they encounter with their current technology. Their answers may surprise you, and save you from making a wasted purchase!
  2. Communication transparency strategy – Communication is key! Communicate the benefits to the organization, and individuals, make sure to tie benefits to specific pain points. Accountability starts at the top, lead by example!
  3. Create the narrative that supports the movement – Involve all stakeholders and secure their buy-in. Generate excitement and buzz around the initiative. “Capitalize and seize the opportunity!”
  4. Set realistic expectations – Nothing kills joy, and creates resentment like missed expectations. Listen and compassionately address fears, while maintaining a commitment to partnered success.
  5. Involve the team and identify Champions – Involvement creates pride, accountability, and enthusiasm. Take notice, and celebrate champions as early adopters. Champions can evangelize and lead their peers from the front lines.

Remember to emphasize the importance of staying current with the trends, and the impact of new technology on the organizational and individual goals. By following these steps, you are ensuring the greatest opportunity for successful change management.

Best,
SL

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How to create a successful training

February 04, 2020

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Are you holding trainings, or are you holding meetings? What’s the difference anyway? Does it really matter? How can I best prepare for delivering a successful training?

Trainings take planning, and a process is necessary to ensure the greatest opportunity for success. Without a process there lacks consistency, and without consistency we rely too heavily on luck. So how do I put together a successful training?

Training Session Plan

1. Define learning objectives: The first step in developing a training is identifying the needs of your audience. Core skills for a sales floor may include:

      • Basic Sales Skills
        • FTP [Find the Pain], Qualifying, Value, Sales methodology [Addiction Selling]
      • Product
        • Product functionality, Value add, features & benefits, competitive landscape
      • Systems & Processes
        • Pipeline management, sales tools and enablement, metric efficiency
      • Mindset
        • Setting goals, maintaining motivation, career growth and development

Conducting a needs assessment of the sales floor on a consistent and ongoing basis is a great way to engage and address the team. Involving reps at this level creates ownership and accountability for the development of the team.

What concepts or skills are most important to be addressed? How will addressing these skills benefit the sales floor? How will success be measured?

2. Organize materials and collateral: Once the topic is decided upon, draft an ordered outline to ensure the most important parts are covered.

      • What objectives need to be addressed?
      • Is an agenda appropriate?
      • What resources or training collateral will improve engagement?

3. Presentation techniques: A varied experience is most likely to keep your reps engaged, and meet the broadest learning styles. Different techniques include:

      • Lectures
        • Best for introducing topics
        • Keep these under 30 min while highlighting core points
        • Summarize at beginning and the end
        • Great for guest speakers with a Q&A
      • Demonstrations
        • Works well when needing to show steps in a technical processes, or style and technique changes
        • Collateral may include a step by step, “Order of Operations” or a quick video tutorial
      • Round Table
        • Open up the training for active discussion
        • Resources may include questions for debate
        • Socratic method
      • Role playing
        • Engage reps in acting out scenarios in a simulated environment
        • Provide peer and leader feedback

4. Include evaluation: Evaluation should be a two way street to gauge the effectiveness of the training.

      • Are reps grasping the subject matter?
        • Consider having check-ins throughout the training session to gauge competency
      • Do reps value the content and style being presented?
      • Was the training relevant?

5. Timing: Timing is everything. From when you present, to how long your session lasts, and the frequency of subsequent training needs, timing should be included in your training plan.

Trying to decide what type of training is best for your organization’s needs? Check out this guest post I wrote for Hoopla.

Want to take part in a training with me? Join me as I present with Always Hired, Cold Calling Bootcamp!

Best,
SL

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24 Life Lessons

January 28, 2020

Regardless of your opinion of Kobe Bryant it is impossible to argue that the world lost an inspirational, larger than life, icon. Death is always hard, but there’s an unexpected reality and pain, when those we believe nearly immortal are taken early. It’s a too close reminder, and a reality check that life is brief, that all we encounter, everything we succeed and fail, all is temporary. That only one thing is certain, and there is no avoiding.

Death comes for everyone. And as easy as it would be to become sucked down into the abyss of fear, I choose to feel and embrace this lesson. I choose to honor a man I respected as a great leader, and I will honor his memory by choosing to live, and to chase the dream with the fire he carried in everything he did.

1. “Those times you stay up late and you work hard. Those times when you don’t feel like working. You’re too tired. You don’t want to push yourself, but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream.”

2. “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”

3. “I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.”

4. “I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose.”

5. “If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.”

6. “The topic of leadership is a touchy one. A lot of leaders fail because they don’t have the bravery to touch that nerve or strike that chord. Throughout my years, I haven’t had that fear.”

7. “These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess.”

8. “If you want to be great at something, there’s a choice you have to make. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Family time, hanging out with friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be.”

9. “Trust me, setting things up right from the beginning will avoid a ton of tears and heartache…”

10. “The most important thing is you must put everybody on notice that you’re here and you are for real.”

11. “We can always kind of be average and do what’s normal. I’m not in this to do what’s normal.”

12. “Haters are a good problem to have. Nobody hates the good ones. They hate the great ones.”

13. “I create my own path. It was straight and narrow. I looked at it this way: you were either in my way, or out of it.”

14. “Once you know what failure feels like, determination chases success.”

15. “The beauty in being blessed with talent is rising above doubters to create a beautiful moment.”

16. “I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’ We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.”

17. “Dedication sees dreams come true.”

18. “Either way, I refuse to change what I am. A lion has to eat. Run with me or run from me.”

19. “Losers visualize the penalties of failure. Winners visualize the rewards of success”

20. “Be willing to sacrifice anything, but compromise nothing in your quest to be your best.”

21. “We don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer.”

22. “Use misery to create mastery.”

23. “It’s the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you—or don’t. So don’t take it lightly. If you do it right, your game will live on in others. You’ll be imitated and emulated by those you played with, those you played against and those who never saw you play at all. So leave everything on the court. Leave the game better than you found it. And when it comes time for you to leave, leave a legend.”

24. “I’ve pretty much done all I can here and, you know, God will carry me the rest of the way, so I’m pretty comfortable with that.”

May we all live life as fully present, as whole heartedly, and without regret for the days we chose to make great.

Best,
SL

Looking for how and when to motivate your team? Check out this guest post blog on Hoopla:
Pleasure and Pain. The “Carrot” and the “Stick.”

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