Monthly Archives: September 2016

Some Tips For Leaders to Set Smart Sales

Sales leaders around the world will have already made plans to set more effective goals for 2017. But this year, instead of going through the motions again and later expressing frustration when things don’t go as planned, here’s a thought:

Perhaps those sales leaders — maybe you, too — should devote some time to thinking about your team’s 2017 goals in earnest, and learn how to use them to improve performance and increase engagement.

Here are six tips that could help you do that.

1. Understand the psychology behind goal-setting.
Many sales leaders begin their task of setting goals because they’ve been told to do so, either by a superior or cultural forces at large. Yet they haven’t thought seriously about what that means psychologically. That’s crazy, because in every other sales operation, leaders carefully scrutinize the psychological factors that play a role in actions and outcomes.

They know why certain phrases during a sales call have a particular effect with clients, or the reasons why personalized emails resonate with prospects; yet, with goals, they’re content to outline them with only vague reasoning.

Yet knowing why goals are important helps you set more effective milestones. Goal-setting actually changes the chemistry of our brains, and studies have shown that that activity can increase motivation and boost achievement levels by approximately 30 percent. Because the very action of creating goals has such a strong impact on brain activity, it’s crucial to take the process seriously and stick to your decisions.

2. Recognize that sales goals are like any other type of goals.
One of the most illuminating results of breaking down the sales process is the opportunity to learn that the sales function is just another form of relationship management.

This is comforting, because you likely already know how to successfully manage personal relationships (even if you don’t excel at it), and you can translate many of those same principles into your sales strategy.

Similarly, you’ll understand what goes into setting strong personal goals. You probably know that they need to be specific, practical and consistently tracked. And sales goals are no different, which is why it’s important to think about these principles when you’re planning your goals, in order to keep your process on track.

3. Encourage regular feedback.
Even when you put a lot of thought and effort into your goals, they’re never going to be perfect. And even when you get them mostly right, they will still need to evolve from time to time.

That’s why you need to have frequent feedback sessions with others who have a stake in the goal-setting process, and encourage constructive criticism, as well as celebrate their achievements. Your salespeople will likely have many thoughts about the goals they’re expected to meet.

Meanwhile, when it comes to your goals for yourself, scheduling a feedback session with a mentor or fellow colleague can help you take stock of the effectiveness of your own personal effort.

4. Focus on what you and your team can control.
We hear constantly about creating goals that are “actionable,” but usually the concept is expressed in abstract terms. Instead, leaders should instill a process that delivers “action-oriented” goals, and let the rest follow from there.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t control how much people buy. What you can control are the actions that typically encourage buying behavior. This will help you and your team internalize the notion that you are directly responsible for achieving your desired results.

5. Give your salespeople some autonomy with their goal-tracking.
We all know that taking the time to create goals is useless unless you also invest the effort in tracking those goals’ progress.

For some managers, this means being in control of the tracking software and calling in employees to discuss results at set intervals. Many salespeople aren’t even aware of their progress until they arrive at this meeting.

Instead, try giving your sales professionals the responsibility of tracking their own goal progress, and sending the results to you at specified times. This will help them feel more invested in the process, and high-achievers will be eager to share the results they have worked so hard to attain.

6. Have a plan for bouncing back.
An inevitable consequence of maintaining an effective system for creating goals is knowing that you won’t always reach them.

Failure is an important part of life both personally and professionally, but it’s important to not let these setbacks derail your strategy. Instead, use them as an opportunity to learn how you can adjust your game plan for the future.

Were your goals too ambitious? Is there some aspect of your time-management process that could be modified so that you can increase your performance?

Know Some Characteristics of Successful Remote Employees

Remote working. Telecommuting. Working from home: It’s extremely popular, no matter what you call it. Millions of Americans now classify themselves as remote workers, and both employers and employees are benefiting from these relationships.

But not everyone is cut out to be a remote worker. So, if you’re looking at this potential scenario from an employer’s perspective, know what to look for when you hire a remote employee.

The current state of working remotely
According to a recent Gallup poll, 37 percent of U.S. workers say they have telecommuted. That number is up from 30 percent in the last decade and is more than four times greater than the 9 percent who worked remotely in 1995.

This increase in remote workers has a lot to do with improvements in technology. However, that’s not the only factor: Employers actually identify a number of benefits they reap as a result of employing remote workers. Here are several:

Increased productivity. Believe it or not, remote workers are actually more productive than their office-bound counterparts. According to one recent survey, 53 percent of the remote workers who responded said they were more likely to work overtime, compared to just 28 percent of in-office employees surveyed. Remote workers also said they faced fewer distractions from coworkers, which has an impact on daily output.
Saves money. When employees work remotely, everyone saves money. Businesses save an average of $10,000 per year in real estate costs, whereas the employees themselves save roughly $5,240 in expenses. That’s enough to make everyone pretty happy.
Less turnover. Employee turnover is costly and frustrating. It takes away from an employer’s ability to focus on revenue-producing tasks and can hurt a company’s reputation among candidates. Thankfully, 95 percent of employers surveyed said telecommuting has a positive impact on retention rates.
The reason why remote working is so popular is clear. It benefits both the employer and the employee, making it a mutually beneficial setup that’s good for everyone involved.

Look for these characteristics.
Once you realize the high returns that telecommuting can bring to your organization, you may feel the urge to immediately start reassigning your employees and hiring new people to fill remote positions.
But slow down and consider what you’re doing here. Not everyone is cut out for remote working. It takes a special individual to succeed. Specifically, that individual should be:

1. Self-motivated
While you may find it relatively simple to motivate in-office employees, it’s much more challenging to stay on top of remote workers. That’s why it’s so important for remote workers to be self-motivated and independent. They should be able to stay on task and take action without being prodded or told what to do.

2. Disciplined
While remote workers may not have to deal with distractions related to coworkers and office drama, they’re still exposed to their own set of unique diversions. This is especially true for people who work from home. That’s why discipline is such an important characteristic. Remote workers must be able to get enough sleep, set deadlines and follow through on them, and avoid handling personal responsibilities during the middle of the workday.
Because remote employees don’t spend much time in the office, they have to be good communicators. They need to be proficient with both email and phone, understanding how to relay results in a clear and concise manner. You can usually tell if someone is a strong communicator by how he or she handles the application and interview process.

4. Already experienced in working remotely
While not a requirement, remote experience is usually a good credential to look for when hiring people who will be working remotely for you This will ensure you aren’t the guinea pig: Your candidates already have a basic understanding of what it looks like to work independently.

5. Highly responsive
You can’t afford to spend your day chasing down your remote workers when you need information or answers. That’s why, in addition to being good communicators, remote workers need to be highly responsive. They should always be reachable during the workday, and within minutes, whether that’s through phone or email.

6. Tech-savvy
Finally, remote workers have to be tech savvy. They’ll be spending the majority of their time working on computers and other devices. Therefore, they need to understand how to use software and important programs as efficiently as possible. The last thing you can afford is for your remote employees to constantly be tying up your IT team with simple problems that shouldn’t be an issue.

Know Information About 6 Myths of Entrepreneurship

The entrepreneurial world has always been about challenging the status quo and questioning conventional wisdom in search of new and better ways of doing things. That’s what gave rise, in one way or another, to every great American company. After all, if you’re just going to follow the pack and do what everyone else is doing, you may as well just go out and get a job working for someone else.

Today, however, there’s a pervasive and nearly deafening mantra insisting that each and every one of you should quit your job and become an entrepreneur. The social collective says that every day you wait brings you closer to a life of poverty and regret.

But that’s simply not true. The idea that you can’t have a fulfilling career, be remarkably happy, and even get rich working for someone else is perhaps the most ludicrous, disingenuous, and irresponsible myth I’ve ever heard.

Don’t get me wrong: Entrepreneurship can be incredibly rewarding. Starting your own business may be the best decision you ever make—but it’s not for everyone. There’s a lot to consider before you take the plunge, starting with a few myths that are very much in need of exposure.

Myth 1: Entrepreneurship is the only way to get rich.
This is a complete fabrication. Granted, the richest people in America are mostly entrepreneurs or members of entrepreneurial families, and half of America’s millionaires are self-employed. But that doesn’t mean they were always self-employed. Many of them worked for companies before striking out on their own.

Then there’s the other half of America’s millionaires who are not self-employed. Hundreds of companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Google, Apple, and Facebook created hundreds of thousands of millionaires. The truth is, there’s no data or logic to support the premise that any given person has a better chance of making more money or getting rich by being self-employed. And the notion that it’s a simple either-or proposition is a fallacy. You can do both.

Myth 2: Follow your passion or a cause, not the money.
This is another myth born of oversimplification. Some people discover what they love to do, make a living at it, and find fulfillment. Others do what they’re good at and achieve financial success, and that frees them to pursue their passion. Still others pursue a passion or a cause with no market, go broke, and wind up having to do work they don’t enjoy to make ends meet.

While you’ll probably have a better chance of being happy and successful if you enjoy what you do for a living, there are lots of other factors that determine whether you can pull it off. Passion alone won’t pay the bills. Passion and money are both important. You shouldn’t choose one or the other.

Myth 3: Entrepreneurship is more fulfilling and will make you happier.
Just about everyone enjoys doing great work they can be proud of. And you can do that working for a big company, a small company, or your own company. Fulfillment has absolutely nothing to do with business ownership. If you want to manage, lead, or run a business, you’re better off learning the ropes in a good company before starting your own.

And the last time I checked, the question of what makes a person happy is pretty subjective. Most people are actually happier without the headaches, risks, burdens, hurdles, and uncertainty of having their own company. A lot of people worry too much about what the popular crowd says they should be doing. I think that’s what’s making everyone feel guilty and less happy … but it shouldn’t.

Myth 4: Entrepreneurs have more freedom, less stress, and no bosses.
If you run your own business, there’s a good chance you work 24/7 and wear all sorts of hats you’re not necessarily comfortable with. Work often becomes your life, and the financial burden can be enormous. There’s nothing wrong with that, but not everyone feels more freedom and control and less stress that way. Many have the opposite response.

Besides, everyone has bosses. Depending on the size and type of company, entrepreneurs may have to answer to a board of directors, customers, and investors, not to mention federal, state, and municipal regulators and bureaucrats. Trust me, they can all be pretty bossy.

Myth 5: Corporate America is evil.
Every corporation — even giants like Apple and Walmart — began as somebody’s startup or small business. That’s right, a ginormous corporate behemoth is really just a small business that did really well. So why is entrepreneurship cool, while corporate America is evil?

I remember one of the mantras of the Occupy Wall Street movement was, “Corporations are not people.” Oh, yes, they are. They are run and staffed entirely by people. Every action they take and decision they make is by and for people. Their investors and customers are all people or companies that are themselves made up entirely of people. There is no distinction. Period.

As for companies, organizations, and governments that behave badly, it’s their leadership that’s the problem—the people running the show. So if you want to blame someone, blame the people not “corporate America.”

Myth 6: Technology destroyed all the jobs.
Ever since the Industrial Revolution we’ve worried about machines taking our jobs and technology taking over our lives. While outsourcing, offshoring, and technology have without a doubt changed the job market — particularly with respect to manufacturing — the popular mantra that there are no jobs is simply untrue.

If technology is destroying jobs, how do we explain the most lucrative and fastest-growing industry on the planet, technology? If people can’t find a job, chances are they lack in-demand skills and education. If anything, I think our families and educational system have done a poor job of keeping up with the changing market.

There’s also little doubt that the two big post-millennial recessions had a major impact on a growing gap between productivity and employment and the decline of median household income in the U.S. But that time frame also coincides with the advent of Web 2.0 and the distressingly low labor participation rate among Millennials.

Contrary to popular belief, technology is not destroying jobs. That’s a convenient excuse for a sluggish economy and a government that’s anything but business-friendly. But the more we behave like drones in a digital hive, the poorer we become. And that’s entirely by individual choice.

Don’t buy into popular myths. What you do with your career is your own business. Do what’s right for you, when it’s right for you. Follow your own path. Everything will work out fine.