Virtual Sales Manager

Rob Robertson, one of our sales coaches, has been working with a client with sales people located in various parts of the world. This “virtual sales manager” scenario is working well and getting results.

Through Portfolio, ProFormance have established the sales process, provided sales leadership and sales skills through supporting and coaching the sales team via regular skype calls and webinars. Below is a sample clip of a sales training webinar focusing on making the shift to “Trusted Advisor”.

“We were looking to fill a vacancy for Global Sales and Service Manager, but were concerned that the skill set required was very wide. After several discussions with ProFormance we were able to have the required functions covered by a team of people. ProFormance provided sales training, coaching and mentoring with regular calls to all in our sales teams in Asia/Pacific, North America, UK and Europe. It has proven to be an efficient and cost effective strategy which has increased the skills within our organisation.” – CEO, PowerShield

See our Portfolio page for more information on how ProFormance can help develop your sales process and sales team, whether they are based in New Zealand or further afield.

Make a Friend, not Foe, of Your Boss!

Difficult working relationships can really get you down, especially when we spend so many hours at work. This Herald article has some handy tips how to improve your working relationship with your boss. One effective strategy is personality based profiling, to help you understand each other better. DISC profiling is a hugely insightful tool. ProFormance offer a “business partners” paired report to help you build a constructive working relationship

click here for full article 

3 Steps to Sales Success

When sales results are not as great as you want, it is natural to look to the sales team and question their skill level and what they are doing. Approaching training providers for a quick fix in sales skills training will result in disappointment unless the real cause of the under-performance is identified.

In 20 years of working with clients to understand why sales results are lacking, we know that sales skill is only part of the problem. Skill is also tied into sales process and sales leadership.

Successful sales results come from a combination of all three elements:

Working closely with key stakeholders in the business (GM’s, SM’s, S&M’s, HR) we can identify what is in place that is working, but also what is lacking or needs improving.

Sales process – Has the business clearly defined the steps it takes to achieve a sale in their market? Is this sales process documented and shared with all sales and marketing staff within the business? Is it tracked and monitored?

This can be done with or without a CRM system. If there is a CRM system, is it capturing the right data and reporting meaningful information to assist the sales function to operate efficiently and effectively.

Sales leadership – Does the business have the right leadership structure to drive, track and performance manage sales achievement?

Regardless of the role, job title or size of company, the sales leadership responsibilities need to be identified, allocated to staff and actioned.

Sales skill – What are the specific set of sales skills that lead to sales success in your market? Once identified, how do your current sales staff measure up against this?

By identifying any skill gaps, relevant training solutions can be designed that do make a difference to behaviour and ultimately the sales results.

The great news is that these three sales components are not rocket science. Any business can evaluate their current sales system and identify how to improve it so they can achieve fantastic sales results. How rewarding is that for the staff and business?

To book a FREE evaluation of your sales systems contact Jo Hyland on 021 380 488 or send us an email.

Why offboard people – they’ve already decided to leave?

Most companies understand how important onboarding is as new team members are introduced to your organisation, but many companies understand the value in offboarding as well.  You might think “why bother” but it’s a great opportunity to gather information that can be easily missed and can allow you to make modifications / improvements if need be to your employment proposition and brand.

What sort of insights might they have and why is it important to get their feedback before they leave?  They can give you their feedback both good and bad, they know your business and industry, they have the ability to share their thoughts with their network, they may return to your company in the future, they might be a good resource as a referral and they could be a customer in the future.

There is a great, simple, and effective tool to make offboarding a breeze – where candidates can share their thoughts in a confidential manner and then that feedback can be shared with you, with action points prioritized.  What becomes very compelling is the information gathered from off boarding and any trends that start emerging.

This article was submitted by Jenny Peploe, HR Consultant – click here for more information on how ProFormance can support your business HR needs.

To Review or Not To Review?

The simple words “performance reviews’ can put absolute dread into many managers and staff members alike. Considering why this is, it can surely only be based on past experiences or hearsay of colleagues experiences.

Started in the Industrial Revolution when many of the roles were production based, a review was a simple measure of performance criteria i.e. number of widgets coming off the machine. Now in the knowledge wave, the question is, are they still relevant and meaningful?

Research indicates that performance reviews are not effective at improving performance and this is one of the reasons some companies are giving up on them.

It doesn’t help an employee move forward if a manager tells them what they did well and did badly last year. I am a real advocate that if a manager needs to give someone feedback, they should do that in the moment — not months later. Therein lies the issue.

If we were having meaningful conversations with our staff daily and weekly about performance against measurable, clearly communicated and agreed business goals, with honest, on point, two way feedback – then the reviews may not be required. But that is a lot of criteria to fulfill, to be able to have the confidence to ditch the reviews.

In consulting to small, medium and large size businesses over a couple of decades I would have to say the majority of managers are not having those regular feedback conversations.

The sole purpose of looking back in the review meeting is to improve the future. So, if we need to implement a process to encourage us to do that, then what business would not want to do that. The question is the process that a business chooses to adopt and how well its employees manage that process.

A business will do what feels right for them and this inherently comes from the top. Are the senior leaders engaging with their direct reports on strategy and metrics, frequently, openly and honestly? Are they enabling their managers to share clear direction and expectations to staff, with regular dialogue that is meaningful, two-way and genuinely looking for improvements? How it is tracked and documented is almost irrelevant, as long as there is some method.

Success of the process comes down to the skill of the leaders and managers. Not all can naturally conduct a performance conversation in a motivational and engaging manner. But done well – that’s what they are – motivational and engaging. Interpersonal skills can be learned and improved – some coaching is of value here. No one has it sorted.

You will note there has been no mention of pay review – that is a totally separate conversation.


Supporting Future Researchers of NZ

Each year the University of Auckland runs a two day Research Induction Course which also includes a half day workshop on presentation skills, facilitated this week by Suzanne Wilson on behalf of ProFormance.

This course is designed specifically for new post graduate research students from the faculty of Medical and Health Sciences to give an intensive introduction to essential research skills and to help them have the most efficient start to their period of research.

The Presentation Skills workshop covered key elements such as:

  • Interpersonal skills for effective presentations
  • Planning & structure of the presentation
  • Maximising the use of visual Aids
  • Involving the Audience

With over 50 students in attendance, Suzanne had her hands full but with the help of a “runner” on the day it was a great success and provided fantastic support to the future researchers of New Zealand.

70:20:10 Learning

Last week I participated in a webinar presented by the well renowned Charles Jennings of the 70:20:10 Institute. At ProFormance we follow the principle that only 10% of our learning comes from formal learning interventions and that 70% actually comes form on the job learning and 20% from informal learning/significant others like coaches and mentors. We work with our clients to ensure we deliver on this.

Charles Jennings presented plenty of research to back this up. He believes that high performing organisations understand that agility and adaptability are the key drivers for success. What organisations are struggling with is how to create environments where we “learn from our work” not “learn how to work”. This statement really resonated with me. As learning and development providers we need to create innovative solutions for our clients, that enable them to provide learning as close to the “coalface” as possible. When staff are involved in on the job learning, researcher found that staff engagement went up 250%! Imagine that. For many of our clients gaining staff engagement is the end goal.

Research suggests that managers who are focused and effective at creating development opportunities, and provide opportunities for feedback and reflection, lead teams that outperform others by up to 27%. That’s an extra day’s work from everyone every week!

It does require a mindshift to be able to be able to provide opportunities that train on the job and not as a separate intervention. HR providers do have a place in this. Charles outlines new performance roles in this changed model of learning.

There are two more opportunities to hear Charles Jennings speak in NZ – at a breakfast meeting and a workshop, both in March. If you are serious about lifting performance in your organization, then either is a worthwhile meeting.


Building a Need to Reduce Crime!

Here is a great example of sales people seeing a customer’s problem that their solution can fix! In sales training we talk about “building the need”. How big was the need here? Criminals were getting off prosecution because of a paper jam! Great implications and consequences if the the problem was not fixed. The Xerox reps took the glory for that one…

Xerox have made a bold claim. Photo / AP