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About: Michael

Recent Posts by Michael

Sales Career Accelerators

There are some companies, managers, and leaders that can and will accelerate your career.

But how will you ever get in front of them? Do your resume and LinkedIn profile convey the value YOU bring to an opportunity and speak that value in terms THEY understand and will appreciate?

In this video, I’m going to explain the process you need to follow to convert your experience into accomplishments. This process is easy, and yet, only a rare few sales resumes and LI profiles that I come across actually convey this value properly. Those who do follow these steps will stand out in a great way!

Here’s the info on how to build an accomplishment for your resume and LinkedIn profile:

How to Measure & Document Achievements at Work

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-measure-document-achievements-work-michael-cox

All the best!

Michael

 

 

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Sales Leadership: Avoid the Career Stall

Over the past several months, I have had countless career calls, cold calls, meetings, and frank discussions with Sales VPs, RVPs, Directors, and Sales Managers. These conversations have been shedding light on the issues those at the top of a sales organization are experiencing.

Who Are They

The not-so-scientifically gathered demographics of the people I have spoken with recently have several very striking similarities.

All came up through sales and spent 3 to 5 years in Sales Team Management prior to jumping from managing individual contributors into managing managers then senior leadership.

They all relied upon new learning to succeed in new roles. Throughout their careers, they’ve had a certain level of understanding that the skillset they have today would not suffice to get them to the next level.

Where They Work

The majority of the Sales Leadership Executives I’ve spoken with are working at companies of a similar size:

  • Approximately 50% lead sales departments at companies with between 500 and 2000 total employees.
  • Approximately 25% lead sales departments at companies with between 50 and 300 total employees.
  • Approximately 25% lead sales departments at companies with between 300 and 500 total employees.

 

Similar Short & Long Term Goals

Each of the individual sales leaders I’ve spoken with is intensely focused on accomplishing their mandated goals for 2020 and understand the importance of consistently over-delivering against plan. Exceeding targets is the vehicle they’ve used to arrive at their current level of career success and it is the tactic they will continue to leverage to continue leveling up their careers.

Similar Frustrations

Similarities between Sales Leadership continued when asked about factors that continuously frustrate their efforts to achieve greater levels of sales and career success.

I want to be clear, without fail, all of the VP’s and sales leadership professionals I spoke with were keenly aware that their success is always reliant upon the teams they lead.

Problem #1 – High sales rep turnover & low tenure – Current US Sales rep turnover is reported to be from as low as 27% (HBR) to as high as 34.7% (Bridge Group). That is over twice the rate in the overall labor force. The AVERAGE sales rep tenure is just under 2 years. Although some attrition is good (low producing reps quit or are terminated), not all turnover happens at the lowest rungs of the sales performance ladder. Furthermore, only 69% of companies are able to achieve the “ideal” attrition rate of 15% or less.

Problem #2 – Poor Selection – Finding truly talented business development professionals is challenging. Over-reliance upon internal and even external recruiters that either do not possess a deep understanding of the sales vocation or have never worked in Enterprise Sales for an extended period of time will continue to dilute the ability of sales teams to achieve their annual targets. This will also put long-term career goals at risk.

Problem #3 – Open Territories – Sales Managers, Directors, and VPs are watching the weeks and months roll by and have too many open sales roles and each month that ticks by is 1/12th of that total quota gone like tears in the rain. AND quotas are never adjusted DOWN to account for unmanned territories

As these problems persist, career stagnation and oodles of stress remain on the horizon. US unemployment remaining below 4% for the past 2 full years makes it more difficult to find, approach, entice, assess, and hire the talent needed to execute against their goals.

Who Are You?

Are you the VP of Sales who wants to take a step into that next level in your career, or an RVP that wants to climb into that VP spot, or the Sales Manager eager to start managing managers?

The solution to either kick-starting a stalled sales leadership career and/or avoiding a stall entirely will continue to be investing in yourself first (learning new skills & self-development) and hiring the best talent possible every time you’re given the opportunity.

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Phone Screen: Identifying High Performing Sales Executives

If you take Simon Sinek’s advice and ignore past success and developed skills in favor of a great attitude you will fill your B2B sales team with a friendly and fired up sales force that has never sold a damn thing! This hiring “strategy” gives you nothing to indicate future success. Let me know how that works out for you and your sales leadership career.

At Zag Worx, we chose to focus on past performance as the leading indicator of future success.

We start to identify high performing sales executives far in advance of any job order from a client, and our verification of the characteristics of high performing sales executives begins in a brief 30-minute initial phone conversation.

The top sales professionals we are working to engage for the benefit of their careers and the growth of our clients are not too difficult to identify.

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Don’t Sell the Wrong Opportunity to the Right Person!

 

So you’ve got a candidate to phone screen? Now you need to sell them on the opportunity, right? WRONG!

 

Just like in sales, you can’t sell until you’ve conducted a proper client needs/solution fit analysis. You must first seek to understand the candidate. Over the course of a quick and very focused conversation, you will determine the right title/opportunity within your sales organization that this person might fit into. You may have a great Major or Enterprise Account Executive in front of you and you’re preemptive pitch of an inside sales role may ruin your chances of landing the candidate.

Only when you’ve determined which opportunity makes the most sense for this prospective candidate can you start selling said opportunity. Here is a basic pie chart outlining the WIIFM sections you’ll need to cover to initially sell an opportunity.

 

Don’t sell the wrong opportunity to the right person!

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Hiring Sales Executives with a 7 Habits Mindset

As a Sales Recruiter much of my success and failure is determined by the quality of the candidate that we find, engage, present to our clients, and guide through the interview process. To maximize our efficiency and efficacy throughout this process we employ a few habits we’ve all heard of and that we’ve modified for the recruiting we do.

Be Proactive

Remaining focused on ONLY Sales Recruiting allows us to concentrate all efforts and resources on engaging ONLY sales professionals. Developing professional relationships with like-minded sales executives and sales leaders in our marketplaces creates efficiencies in our ability to proactively nurture value-based relationships with more individuals.

Begin with the End in Mind

We do not believe that the end is the date of hire, 30-days after hire, or when the candidate clears his/her guarantee period. The End we have in mind is 1 year after the candidate has started and both the candidate and the hiring manager agree that it was a good career move/great hire.

Put First Things First

We focus our search efforts to surface the candidates with experience in the most important imperatives of the role. Successful experience in those activities and accomplishments which the client organization deems most important and most urgent are what we seek in our candidates. A firm grasp of these key responsibilities are the foundation of our interviewing/screening.

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Ever Wonder How A Recruiter Reviews Your Resume?

I’ve been in recruiting for over 15 years now, and if there’s one thing that shocks and upsets people more than anything else about what I do it’s how much time I spend reviewing a resume. My resume review process may take me between 15 to 30 seconds to sort a resume into one of two categories… Fit or No Fit, with the rare “Not sure/review again later.” This simple fact tends to elicit some emotionally charged reactions that are understandable… to a point.

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4% Unemployment Rate & You’re Still Playing Hard to Get?

Low unemployment rates mean that companies need to move fast to hire the talent their goals demand.

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