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Thursday, 26 January 2012

Is there a Generation Problem in Sales?


As a Sales Consultant I get to work with Salespeople of all ages.


3 gen men

And, I love the diversity.

Gen Y

Gen X

Baby Boomer









Go the extra Mile








Influencing Factors




Ninja Turtles






NYC twin towers





This is my list, how I see ‘difference’.

Personally I love them all, but that’s because I’m a Baby Boomer. Two parents, male and female, two brothers and loads of girl cousins, stay at home Mom and working Dad. Encouraged, but not forced, to study. Stand for the national anthem and honour the flag. I have 5 kids from 42 thru 26, and an 18 year old grand-daughter so I have some insights.

The thing is; there is a clear difference between GenX and GenY which is causing them problems in Selling together. In fact, in my experience, it’s easier for GenY to sell WITH (not always to) a Baby-boomer. It’s got to do with their views about (or their attitude to) Independence-Interdependence.

Baby -Boomers and GenY are comfortable with ‘inter-dependence’ in one case its small community ‘Family’ in the other its bigger community ‘Friends’. And in both cases it extends to both Friends and Family.

If you don’t believe me compare 20 of each BB, GenY, GenX on Facebook for both ‘community’ type, size and activity. However, GenX limits themselves to close friends, few family and the acquaintances who may be ‘useful’ to them.

How does this effect Sales? Quite a lot!


As the Baby-boomers
are leaving Sales, GenX isn’t too happy with their new GenY colleagues and subordinates.


GenX find GenY “NEEDY!”

The GenY Subordinates and Colleagues find their GenX Bosses and Colleagues Distant and Cold.
GenY preferred the warmer and more involved Baby Boomers!

I am seeing ‘step-overs’ happening more and more. GenY’s are going directly to their Baby Boomer CEO or other ‘B-B’ C suite contact for support. ‘B-B’ CEO’s are more comfortable in the community of GenY Sales people than the individualist GenX Sales Manager!

How are we going to cope?

    • VALUE Diversity! Strive for an inclusive mixture,
      be part of a broad Community

    • DON’T rush the Baby-boomers out the door.

    • STOP trying to make the GenY’s in your image.

Have a look in the mirror, YOU are not as young as you were,
and you will be the previous generation soon enough.
GenY isn’t going to put up with your demands,
they have their own way of doing things.

Looking at some Sales Centres of Excellence in Big IT,
I couldn’t help but notice how well GenY and the Baby Boomers ‘got on’,
and that the GenX’s were sometimes a resentful minority!


“Coaching and Counselling” is easier between Grandchildren and Grandparents than it ever was between Parents and Children.
Perhaps its natural, when you ‘rebel’ against a Parent, you become more like your Grandparent!

Baby-boomers have been slow to Sales Social Media because they didn’t know HOW,
but GenX are being slow because they don’t see WHY,
and GenY simply live there!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

In Sales how can you ‘lose’ a sure thing or ‘win’ a no hoper?


Measuring and ‘predicting’ customer loyalty is a fascinating field.

This blog is inspired by the work and research of Burke Inc.


The usual triangle to calculate Customer Loyalty (repeat purchase) is:

1. Current Satisfaction

2. Willingness to buy again

3. Recommending the product to others



This Security Triangle is often thought of as 3 separate aspects;

Sales are often targeted on Customer Satisfaction,

but NOT Repeat purchase or Recommendations to third parties!


Sure Thing or “likelihood to buy” is the product of all three factors.

Let’s look at some scores


For example:

An account has a 7/10 score for all three areas

Current Satisfaction = 7/10

Willingness to buy again = 7/10

Recommend the product to others = 7/10

7/10 x 7/10 x 7/10 =343 /1000 or 34.3% or a poor score,

I wouldn’t bet my House or my Pension on you winning the business!

What happens if its 8/10’s?

8 x8 x8 = 512/1000 or 51% better that 50/50; a good bet but YOU NEED 8/10 in all three boxes!

What happens if its 9/10’s?

9 x9 x9 = 729/1000 or 72.9% you may well win 3 out of 4 times!

NOW you know why Account Management
(not Relationship Management)
is so important.


The sure thing is 10/10 in all three areas and nobody gets that!


So, there is no such thing in selling as a “sure thing” or a “lost cause!”

This rule applies to our competitors too.


You need 8/10 in all three boxes for a fighting chance


You have to SELL to Customer Satisfaction

You have to SELL to Customer Willingness to buy

You have to SELL to Customer Recommendations


There is no such thing in Selling
as: a Sure Thing or a Lost Cause!

Run a Customer Engagement Workshop and hear what your Customers really think!

Monday, 16 January 2012

The Secrets of a Sales Expert


Familiarity does not mean understanding.


Making “familiar” things intelligible to others is very difficult.


Understanding the things that you are very familiar with is also very difficult.

baby-talkWe are all familiar with learning to talk; almost all of us did it! Both as Parents and family members we have seen infants develop from smiling mutes into talking machines.

We expect it to happen;
we worry when it doesn’t happen.
We become anxious when,
in our opinion, it happens too slowly.

We feel inordinate pride when it happens quickly;
we associate the speed of learning to talk with “clever”.

“Isn’t she clever, only 18 months
and just listen to her talk and talk and talk!”




Yet, with all of the “familiarity” we have with learning to talk,

the process by which it occurs is unintelligible to most of us.




A few, a very few, researchers have some understanding but far less than complete.

How many of us would claim to be Speech ‘experts’?

How many of us would ask for the title
“Trainer” in helping infants to learn to speak?


sales trainerYet, in Selling, any ‘familiarity’ with Sales is a claimed qualification to be a “Sales Trainer”. We even have the ludicrous situation where self-appointed bodies, who at best have “familiarity” with selling claim a right (By Charter, God given or simply self proclaimed) to accredit Salespeople and Sales Trainers. In medicine such people would be dismissed as QUACKS, yet in Selling they abound.

LinkedIn, has given us all a tool to look at people differently. We only see what the person uploads but it is more the absence than the presence that impresses me. “SALES EXPERT” have a look at their history, where was the point where they earned this title?   Nowhere?

“Many years in selling”, often not there. And we know from research that “Tenure in Sales” doesn’t equal
understanding Selling’ nor does it ‘predict’ sales success.



There are a growing number of “Sales Gurus”,
who have never been in Sales,
who have little or have no understanding of Sales and
instead substitute pseudo-sales knowledge of “Marketing”,
“Software” or “Social Media” as their qualification and justification.

But, how if you have no intelligible grasp of a familiar process,

can you claim ‘expertise’ in it through
a familiarity with an ancillary process?

Speech Therapists, work with the ancillary processes of:

phonation, producing sounds;

resonance, use of vocal chords;

intonation, pitch changes; and

voice, the use of diaphragm Breathing for the ‘mechanics’ of speech

Yet, the actual Brain Process of Speech remains unintelligible.


BMAC Consultants focus on understanding the actual Process of Selling.

You can benefit from our 20 years of research into the Selling Process
as well as 20 years worth of knowledge and practice
helping Adults learn how to sell.

We scan Evidence Based Sales Research
looking for new insights to bring to light for you.

You can avoid dysfunctional Sales Behaviours

(the curse of current Sales Training)
from our Training and Coaching because we make every effort to exclude them.

We believe that the Research into the Buying and Selling process over the last 10 years has negated much of the myth and nonsense trained to unsuspecting sales people for the last 40 years.
However even a casual look at current Sales Training Content and Sales Trainers shows a woeful amount of Myth, Magic and Folklore still being sold
as “Magic Bullets”.



If you wish to discuss evidence Based Sales development contact

Friday, 13 January 2012

Does Sales Training increase Top Line Revenue?


a) What is the effect of Sales Training on Revenue?

b) Is there any evidence that Sales Training impacts on Revenue?




Evidence Based Sales Training, when completed by Sales Coaching, can change the Sales Behaviours of the Salesperson. There is ample evidence based information (e.g. SPIN(r) and The Challenger Sale) to show that SOME Sales Behaviours are more effective than others.

Also, we can show from an evidence basis that some Sales Behaviours are Ineffective (waste of time) and finally that some Sales Behaviours are counterproductive (Dysfunctional).





By reducing or eliminating ‘Dysfunctional’ and ‘ineffective’ Sales behaviours
and by increasing the use of Effective Sales Behaviours
the following “effects” can be measured.




a) Increased Pipeline (more opportunities)

b) Better Qualification (eliminating no hope-opportunities)

c) Improved win rate

d) Shorter Sales Cycle (from Lead to Close)

e) Increased Revenue

f) Improved Margins


In 2013, all of this and much more “real time” data can be pulled off of your CRM or SFA, quite easily.

When writing my MBA Dissertation “Performance Measurement and Management of a Sales force” (1999)
I found that there is always difficulty of proving ‘cause and effect’,
especially when using ‘Proxy Measures’ and ‘Success Indicators’.

Instead, we often have to use factors “associated with success
to plough our narrow furrow!

Evidence Based Sales Training has the following Flow:

a) Identify Behaviours associated with Sales Success and Failure

b) Measure the presence or absence of these Behaviours in the Sales force

c) Complete a Training Needs Analysis (PDP at the individual level)

d) Design the Behaviour Based Sales Training Program

e) Run the Training and the associated Coaching to modify their Sales Behaviour

f) Internal Validation – Did the Salespeople LEARN the new Behaviour?

g) External Validation – Are the Salespeople USING the New Sales Behaviour?

h) Evaluation – is the new behaviour producing the expected results?

You could read more about this in Leslie Rae’s Book

Or by using the Kirkpatrick Model

All of BMAC Consultants’ research, and the measured outcomes,
is bound by non-disclosure agreements with Clients.

But, from experience and exchanged anecdotes from other Evidence Based Sales Trainers
the expected Group or Line of Business Revenue result during the year of Sales Training
is between +15% to +30% improvement to Top Line Revenue.

At the individual salesperson level, a fully trained and competent (Evidence Based) Salesperson
after 3 years of planned curriculum (at an 80% Competence) can be expected
to perform at +200% to +300% more Revenue Performance
above the “average untrained” Salesperson.


How can we “prove” that
Evidence Based Sales Training
delivers Revenue Improvement?

Personally, when asked to do so,
I ask for 6 “stuck” deals from the current pipeline and
then I DEMONSTRATE the capability of the Sales Skills
to UN-stick or Close the Deals.

If you will settle for two anecdotes [not sourced] :

a) A deal worth £17M in Revenue and £4M in Margin had been “stuck”
or more accurately “lost” for
370 days at ‘Proposal made – Decision pending’.
I reframed, we constructed and wrote a new Value Proposition
(reducing it from 103 pages to 4 pages),
presented the new Value Proposition and Closed the deal all in 10 days.

b) A €4M Revenue Renewal Negotiation “stuck” by the Customer’s demand
for a 30% discount to match a Competitor’s offer”,
it was rated as a “Lost” deal in the pipeline!
I met with the Decision Maker, we reframed the deal increasing its Value to €7M,
and then we discounted by 12% against a Delegation of Discount Authority maximum of 15%.
From meeting the Account Manager, Planning the Call and Agreeing the Deal - 180 minutes!

This fits because People just want the success secret;
they just want the recipe to imitate success.


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Coaching Challenger Sales Performance

The TCS authors wrote an article on ‘WHO to Coach’ Published in the Harvard Business Review:

I want to express my complete agreement with THE key point:

Don’t waste time Coaching Sales Poor Performers!

“You would think that coaching the lowest performers would pay off
  because they have nowhere to go but up. 
  Actually, that's often not true, particularly for the bottom 10%.”

This time of the Sales year, most of the team are just getting started,
no or low scores above the doors,
so it’s hard to identify performers.

Look at last year!

Just before you waste loads of time on poor performers, DON’T, it doesn’t work! You can’t coach a Sales Poor Performer to Perform.

You can “Direct” them
and they can “Learn” but “Coaching” is the WRONG Sales Leadership
or Management style for poor performers!


Read more on:

“Likewise, star-performing reps show virtually
  no performance improvement due to coaching.”


I want to take issue with this point.

Hunter Mahan Sean Foley TOUR Championship XGt02IKHJxPl

Hunter Mahan and his Golf Coach Sean Foley

If you can’t improve a Sales Star Performer by Coaching
then you are just NOT doing the ‘Coaching’ properly!

Recognise that Coaching Sales Top Performers IS DIFFERENT.

When you are Coaching “Average” salespeople or TCS Core Performers
you are moving between
Directing’ them “This is what I want you to do!” and
‘Coaching’ them “Let’s see how you are doing it?”

However, Sales Top Performers
need a different “style” of Coaching.

You will be moving from “Supporting” them with Recognition, Praise and Feed back
to “Coaching” in areas where you BOTH think there MAY be a problem.

Golf Coach

Luke Donald  hits a putt as his coach Pat Goss looks on.

Coaching is the best investment in Improving Sales Performance.

Coaching gives the highest ROI for Sales Manager’s Time and Money.

Do it right and do it with the right people

And, 2013 can be your best Sales year ever.