• This Blog Is Inactive!

    On of May 8, 2009, I moved my blog over to a new domain: DaveSteinsBlog.ESResearch.com

    I will no longer be posting on this URL. Comments will not be moderated. More information.

  • ESR’s STVG

    Here is ESR's highly acclaimed Sales Training Vendor Guide, Third Edition.

I’ve Moved!

To My Loyal and Valued Followers:

Effective immediately, I’ve moved my blog over to a new domain:  ESResearch.com/blog.  I will no longer be posting on this URL.

Please take a moment to update your RSS feedreader.   Any of you with email subscriptions will automatically be transferred.

As I continue blogging, I’ll continue to provide you with the best that I have to give.  I need to ask a favor or two in return:

  • If you’re a blogger, update your blogroll with my new URL.
  • Help me get the word out.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Groups.  You’ve got your own list.  I know I’m going to have a setback in my meager blog ranking, but would like to minimize it.

If you are interested in an independent view of sales training companies and sales training programs, visit ESR’s website.

Five Minutes With Gerhard

Here is today’s featured video on SellingPower.com.

Gerhard Gschwandtner interviewed me before one of his sales leadership conferences.  If you click on the link (or the photo) you’ll have access to other videos as well, featuring Howard Stevens, Jim Dickie, and a other thought leaders in the area of sales performance.

Note:  I understand the upcoming Sales 2.0 Conference in Boston is sold out.  If you happen to be attending, please say hello.

Incorporating Twitter Into My Media Mix

can2I’ve been seeing more and more business contacts coming up on Twitter.  They’re following me.  Nice.  I follow them.  No question this is a fast-moving phenonemon—like Susan Boyle (with, as of today: 52,532,400 views on YouTube) and YouTube’s parent, Google itself, during its first few years of growth.

I presented today on a webinar sponsored by Genius.com.  The TAS Group hosted the event.  I shared the results of ESR’s survey on the use of social media in B2B sales.  Few of the 400 B2B salesreps surveyed say Twitter has directly contributed to them winning business.

An interesting question was posed by an audience member about pushback with the new social media, such as we had with faxes and email.  So that prompted this post, with a few observations.  Understand, I’m no Twitter guru.  I don’t have a million followers, or even a thousand.  I’m still figuring out how best to use it, gaining and providing value.

Some observations:

  • People find me and follow me.  I get an email. I click on their profile.  More make strange bedfellows than not.  I don’t understand why they’d want to follow me.  It takes time to do that.  A minute?  Often, from a selfish perspective, it’s wasted time.  Is this spam?
  • @writingroads who is a writer who lives here on Martha’s Vineyard taught me that it’s not all about just tweeting about your business.  Julie found me and got hired for an ESR project because of other interests that we shared.  Her tweets cover a wide variety of subjects.  She tells me that that’s how to use Twitter.  Tweet about what interests you.  You will find people with similar interests and others will find you.  Doing business with those comes naturally, if there is business to be done.  That works great for someone like Julie.  It wouldn’t work for a salesrep of a large company for many reasons.  At least I don’t think so.
  • Tom Pick wrote a post today on How to Use Twitter For Business.  He cites Whole Foods, Comcast, Starbucks and Ford as companies who leverage Twitter.  I looked at their recent tweets. Good article.  Thanks, Tom.
  • I don’t get people who block their updates.  Why do that?  It defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?  Maybe I don’t get it.
  • I un-follow hardcore self-promoters.  I did that twice yesterday.  People I know pretty well.  I found one sales trainer in the Middle East.  Began to follow.  What came next were dozens of tweets each day just promoting courses he was giving.  Ugh.  Bye.  If I do that, someone let me know.
  • I love people who provide real value. @DavidABrock is one.  @LouisColumbus is another. @SteveKayser and @CharlesHGreen, too.  Then there is John Caddell (@jmcaddell).  There are many more.  I try to use them as a model, but I have a long way to go.
  • It’s nice to have someone RT (retweet) one of your tweets.  Again, I do that when it’s appropriate.  I need to more of that.  Some of the people I follow are really smart.
  • When I’m really busy with work, I don’t have the time or inclination to use Twitter.  Am I not fully committed to Twitter as a medium?  Or is that reasonable behavior?
  • Those of you who read this blog know I’m concerned about B2B salespeople who spend too much time on Twitter rather than what has been proven to work in selling.  Some salespeople will look for any shortcut or trick to avoid the ongoing learning and hard work required for sales success.

What do you think?

Photo credit: © Alex Staroseltsev – Fotolia.com

Selling Through The Slump: An eBook

I was asked by my friend Charlie Green representing The Customer Collective to contribute to an e-book that was just published. I recommend that you download it, read it and use it.

Selling Through A Slump: An Industry-by-Industry Playbook

A Guide by Salespeople for Salespeople on How to Sell Your Way to Recovery

Download this Free eBook

Selling in a recession is tough. And simply doing more of the same is not the way to survive, much less thrive, in a recession. There are important dos and don’ts in times like these. This eBook is your industry-specific roadmap out of the economic slump.

Selling through a Slump: An Industry-by-Industry Playbook brings together sales strategies and best practices from 11 top sales experts from 11 distinct vertical market sectors, ranging from retail to health care to telecom—because one size doesn’t always fit all. The practical tips and experience-based wisdom here aren’t just limited to any single industry, though. Regardless of your market sector, you’re bound to find value in this arsenal of great sales ideas.

Get access to exclusive tips on how to sell in a recessionary market, from renowned
sales experts like Jill Konrath, Charles Green, and Dave Stein. We know you’ve
got questions—this eBook was created to give you answers.

Click here for valuable sales strategies from experts in every industry:

Charles Green, Founder and CEO, Trusted Advisor Associates
Selling for Accountants and Consultants

Mike Wise, VP, Insurance Technologies, IdeaStar Incorporated
Selling for Insurance Agent

John Caddell, Caddell Insight Group

Selling in Telecommunications Markets

Skip Anderson, Founder, Selling to Consumers Sales Training

Selling for Retailers

Mike Kujawski, Founder,

Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing

Selling to Public Sector Clients

Matt Homann, Founder, LexThink LLC

Selling for Lawyers

Anne Miller, Founder, Chiron Associates Selling Media

Dave Brock, President and CEO,

Partners in EXCELLENCE
Selling to Manufacturers

Jill Konrath, Author, Selling to Big Companies

Selling in Services

Anneke Seley, Founder and CEO, PhoneWorks LLC
Selling in Health Care

Click Here to Download

(A simple registration is required)

Brought to you by The Customer Collective and Oracle CRM. Welcome to the conversation.

Ireland Knows How To Support Growing Companies

Four workshops down, one to go here in Ireland. No sign of Swine Flu anywhere!

I continue to be amazed by Enterprise Ireland—Ireland’s Department of Commerce.  The support they provide start-ups and high-potential Irish companies is something we can all learn a lot from.  EI provides funding, programs, advisors, resources, introductions to key decision makers, market research, competitive intelligence, advice on market entry strategies, partnering and acquisition strategies, and what appears to be endless support.  They’ve got offices in 31 countries with support in an additional 39.

During the past two weeks I’ve heard story after story from CEOs about how they’ve been helped by Enterprise Ireland.  In fact, they’re subsidizing the program for which I am a facilitator.

Although Ireland is suffering through the same recession as we are in the U.S., Enterprise Ireland continues to invest.  That investment in many hundreds of companies run by smart, hardworking, and determined CEOs will continue to leave Ireland in the best possible now and coming out of the recession.

There is no question that all this costs a lot of money.  We don’t have the stomach for this degree of federal spending in the U.S.  Our needs aren’t the same.  Ireland depends on exporting its goods and services.  Evidently this country of only 4 million considers the significant ongoing investment in Enterprise Ireland, coming out of the pockets of the Irish people, worthwhile.

Photo credit:  This blogger, trying on his Swine Flu mask anticipating the Dublin to Boston flight home on Saturday.

Hiring The Right Salespeople: Try This

I’ve written a lot about hiring sales people and sales managers on this blog.   ESR knows that the epidemic of ineffective hiring is one of the reasons that sales performance has been so dismal over the years, even before the current economic situation.

The best sales methodology, training, tools, technology, coaching, and reinforcement doesn’t have much impact if the people in the sales jobs don’t have the foundation for selling effectively.  It drains the enthusiasm and motivation of the team, wastes money, and forces sales management to spend time selling for the misfits rather than supporting and leading the rest of the team.

I’m in Ireland for two weeks facilitating a series of workshops with Irish CEOs and sales executives.  Hiring is a big issue here.  The record among Irish companies in this area hasn’t been good.

Here’s a refresher.  ESR recommends:

  • Build or buy (then customize) a profile-based, structured hiring process;
  • Use psychometric and predictive tests as well as income verification and background checks;
  • Train hiring teams on the skills required for effective employment of the process, including interviewing and reference checking;
  • Don’t by-pass the process under any circumstances;
  • Understand that a key to successful hiring is objectivity.  Hiring salespeople on gut feel, the old-fashioned way, doesn’t work.

Consider adding a subjective measure or two where appropriate:

  • Walk the sales candidate to their car and do a quick appraisal.  Clean inside and outside, or junk strewn about?  Untreated rust spots?  What about those bumper stickers?  How would your customers react?
  • Invite the candidate and their significant other to a social evening along with you and yours.  Dinner in a nice restaurant gets the job done, especially if part of their job is entertaining prospects and customers.  Observe how they and their partner communicate for a hint of how they build and maintain relationships.

The definition of A, B and C players differs from sales vp to sales vp.  My take is you can’t make C players into B’s, because, by my definition, C’s don’t have the requisite traits.  And you can’t train someone to improve what’s in their DNA.

If you follow that logic, you’ll want to never hire a C player again.

Photo credit: © Dmitri MIkitenko – Fotolia.com