Sensitivity Training

CRM adoption is a real issue. One reason that clients bring me in is because they have challenges getting sales people to regularly input data or even perform consistent pipeline updates in CRM.  I want to share some insights I have gained from addressing this dilemma, because I find that the real reason for this issue is not well understood.

In my experience, the CRM adoption problem typically is framed as sales people versus management. On one hand, sales people feel that CRM is a management tool used to micromanage their activities. The other side of the coin is management’s perception of sales people not being accountable, lacking discipline, and the expectation that CRM input is a “job responsibility”. In other words, the sales team must be pressured to do something that management believes they won’t do voluntarily.

Now this is pressure!

The reality is that the problem is deeper than sales people’s perceptions of a conspiracy to handcuff them into doing management’s bidding.   Instead of using a push strategy, managers should consider changing their perceptions about how sales people actually benefit from effective CRM adoption. I believe that at the heart of good sales management practices is the simple idea that Managers should communicate positively to  motivate team members.

It’s time for sensitivity training.

Continue reading “Sensitivity Training”


Are you a Connector or Collector?

Some time ago, I wrote a post about how start-up businesses always seem to look for “Connectors” to help their business find sales prospects. As I ramp up my consulting practice at Acorn Growth Partners, I have returned to networking with current and past colleagues, as well as prospective clients. Suddenly, I am receiving LinkedIn connection requests from people whom I haven’t heard from in years, or from people whom I have never met! I hope that’s a good thing but it’s something I am concerned about. Why?

Because being “connected” on LinkedIn is not being a “Connector”.

Continue reading “Are you a Connector or Collector?”

How to Create a Sales Dialogue

Perhaps the most important aspect of sales messaging is the ability of the sales person to take that messaging and apply it to customer dialogue.  Otherwise, all the social media, blogging, website development and other messaging channels are a waste of time.   In other posts, I have focused on why integrating the sales message with marketing dialogue is critical.  To see an example, take a look at my e-paper “Operationalizing Social Media”, where I describe the integration of sales and messaging content.

In this post, I am going to focus on the mechanics to illustrate the process.  To do this, I am going to borrow a little bit of knowledge I acquired from my colleague, Frank Visgatis.  Frank is a renowned sales trainer and is the co-author of the book “CustomerCentric Selling“.  I am a big “CCS” fan and have used several CCS techniques in my own selling efforts. I encourage you to explore CCS and to consider Frank’s training classes. Continue reading “How to Create a Sales Dialogue”

“Pull” Demand

In today’s business environment, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to gain the attention of potential customers. I read more blogs, articles and white papers about the customer acquisition process and demand generation than just about any other topic. The common theme of these articles is about tactical execution: sending e-mails, building websites, doing blogs, creating fan pages, tweeting,  and getting SEO right.

I’m not suggesting these tactics aren’t important, but I think that marketing organizations often view their mission as being tactical execution. What is missing is the appropriate fundamental messaging. That is what enabling “pull” demand is all about. Continue reading ““Pull” Demand”

Overcoming the Maytag Effect

The most common question I hear in my “pundit-like” capacity is,

Why does my sales cycle take so long?

It’s really good question… Most of the time there is an obvious answer.

It’s because you decided it took that long!

It’s fun to be a pundit… as an outside observer, you frequently can see things that the management team often can’t see for themselves.  Even really good sales managers sometimes overlook obvious opportunities for sales improvement.

Let’s talk about the “Maytag Effect”.

What’s the Maytag Effect?  Look around your home, you’ll find there are few things that have been there longer than your clothes washer and dryer.  At my house, after a lifetime of marriage and 3 kids that are now grown-ups, I have gone through exactly 2 washers and 2 dryers!  They don’t break and you just don’t have to buy them that often.
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