5 Tips For Managing in a Social Selling Environment

5 Tips For Managing in a Social Selling Environment
by Justin Gurney – April 2015

Does this sound familiar?

“Great job Brandon! You made 150 calls today, those will be sure to turn into sales, so keep it up.”

“Ryan, wow you set 10 appointments this week leading the way.”

“Mark, you were on the phone for 200 minutes today, way to dig in with your prospects!”


Whether you are a sales manager or sales rep, it probably does. It’s how most sales managers in sports manage. In fact, I did this same thing and even copied my CMO and VP of Sales on this e-mail every day so they could chime in and reinforce the point.

How did my top reps respond to this?

  • I had to write up the top performing rep in the entire company for faking calls and even fire a couple of talented ones.
  • One of the most talented Inside Sales reps I ever had went to Enterprise Rent-A-Car rather than accepting a promotion to Group Sales.
  • Rep burnout –
    • What they say: “I want to manage one day.” What they mean: : “I want to manage so I don’t have to deal with these annoying Hustle Metrics.”
    • What they say: “I want to ultimately get into marketing.” What they mean: “I can’t see myself doing this much longer.”
    • What they don’t say: “I want to be a career sales person!”

Do you want to be a manager?

When I asked one of the top performing sales reps at Linkedin if she wants to manage one day she responded by saying…

“Absolutely NOT, who would want to deal with all that comes with managing when I can control my own paycheck, have total autonomy, and be challenged by working with different businesses every day.”

Note: This particular sales professional was recruited to Linkedin from a world of “pounding the phones” because she discovered how to use Social Selling to become more efficient.

My reaction? “WOW!”

In three years working in the NBA’s Team Marketing and Business Operations Department, meeting with hundreds of sellers at various levels, I don’t think I’ve heard one sales rep, at any level, say something like that to me.

I could site a number of different research projects that show that this kind of sales environment is BAD – regardless of the source–because we know sales rep tenure drives business growth and rep turnover costs a lot.

So how do we solve this?

There is one finding, above all, that I learned directly from a Linkedin study of 100,000 business professionals that inspired me to study and understand social selling:

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”550px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Sales professionals with a high “Social Selling Index” feel more inspired at work.[/dropshadowbox]

So, what are Linkedin managers doing differently to attract top performing sales reps that are grinding out hundreds of calls/day and turning them into inspired sales professionals?

My co-workers at TMBO and I recently took a field trip to the Linkedin office at the Empire State Building for a “Managing in a Social Selling World” training session. Here are the 5 keys to success for managers:

1. Become The Expert

Social selling is here to stay and sales managers have to master it in order to manage it. This will take time, effort, energy and intellectual curiosity. I’ve been studying this now for over a year and I learn something new every day. If we aren’t willing to to take the time to master this than #2-#5 aren’t possible.

2. Train, Train, Train

Did you know that sales reps forget 87% of sales training after a month and 70% of it within a week?[ref]Download the report from Qvidian [/ref] Once we become the expert, we must reinforce how to weave social selling into the sales process. Don’t flip a switch or pile more work on top of the 100 call minimum. Share success stories on how to build a proper profile, how to use Advanced Search, how to ask for a warm introduction or referral, how to write a proper connection request or inMail, and how to maximize groups.

3. Practice What We Preach

Be active on Linkedin. Connect with your reps’ top clients. Post sharable content. Do everything top performing reps are doing. Pull up profiles in your one-on-ones. Coach your reps on how they can use Linkedin to find a warm introduction or engage with insights. This is way better in one-on-ones than reinforcing that reps are not making enough calls.

4. Use Social Selling Index as a Primary Measurement tool

Click Here to Understand the New Formula For Calculating Social Selling Index. Caution for control freaks out there, you are going to have to learn to let go – but your reps will be more inspired and love the autonomy.

5. Reverse Pipeline Management

Rather than focusing on how many calls are made or appointments are set, first focus on sales! Sales reps gravitate to what we measure and recognize. If we continue rewarding quantity in the first stage of the sales pipeline, regardless of quality, we will continue to have high rep burnout and fake phone calls.

On the flip side, recognizing and rewarding sales performance along the pipeline, regardless of whether it was through e-mail, text, in-mail, networking events, in arena activity, etc. will lead to more inspired sales professionals. In fact, you may want to remove the term “Hustle Metrics” altogether.

 

Four Key Strategies to Make Your Sports Career Flourish

Four Key Strategies to Make Your Sports Career Flourish
by Deno Anagnost – April 2015

Is your career in ticket sales just starting to catch fire? Or, are you a seasoned veteran or manager feeling as though your career development is becoming stagnant?

Either way, I have four strategies which can take your career and personal brand to the next level. I have been very fortunate in my career to work alongside and meet with some of the best sales executives in professional sports. These individuals use these strategies to make a positive impact on their organizations and community. This kind of approach is worth imitation and will be noticed and contagious to those around you.

Focus on who (not what) you want to become

People dance with mediocrity because they focus solely on what they want to become. Their career goals are all about titles, money, and what they think is “success.” The short term, fast track mindset is strictly measured by timelines and dollar figures: “I need to be a manager in two years and making six figures in three years.”

Effective sales executives focus on (1) who they want to become and why, and (2) not on what they want to become and when. When you focus on who you want to become, attention shifts to what you can control. Create positive habits driven by who you are and want to be. Start thinking about others more. Establish what you stand for as a professional and why. Become a better version of yourself than yesterday. The right position will find you if you focus on being the very best at the position you have, whether it’s a student, an intern, a sales rep, or in management. The end reward isn’t the money, position or awards. It is what you now possess to give and contribute.

Lead with an abundance mindset

An abundance mindset believes an ample amount of success and resources exist to share with others.

Sales executives at every level can have a scarcity mindset. In a ticket sales environment, this means you believe there is a limited amount of success and sales to be made. Leaders with this mindset feel the need to hoard knowledge and resources. This scarcity mindset creates unnecessary competition that promotes negativity and leads to needless conflict between colleagues and departments.

When you have an abundance mindset, you congratulate and learn from others’ successes. When you have a scarcity mindset you look for ways to justify why they had success and you did not. This distracts focus from the functions of your job which leads to poor results. Someone with an abundance mindset will be consistently generous with their time, praise, information and resources. A sales executive with a scarcity mindset is highly jealous, and will shield information for fear someone else will have more success with it then they will.

An abundance mindset does incredible things for your personal brand. Your actions will show you have the big picture in mind. You will be viewed as someone who is selfless, and in return, you will become someone who receives more information, more responsibility, and more praise. Ask yourself: “Am I contributing to the greater good of the sales department? Or am I taking all that I can so I can win?”

Be present

Some of the best sales executives I have ever been around possess a piercing ability to focus. They become increasingly more accomplished than peers. How?

  1. They are professional students of time management.
  2. They work efficiently without making mistakes on the small details without getting distracted.
  3. They regulate their environments and remove potential distractions from line of sight.
  4. They aren’t on work phones while also texting on cell phones, typing emails or browsing websites.
  5. They are active listeners. When they ask you a question they are genuinely interested in connecting to uncover a way to help you.
  6. In meetings, their computer screens and cell phones are turned off to eliminate distractions.
  7. They give all of their attention to you and the task at hand; they aren’t just “checking the box.”

This approach carries into their personal lives. They aren’t texting or sending emails at the dinner table. When they spend time with friends and family, that’s what they are doing. They engage in conversations and activities that build healthy relationships. The core of this strategy is to focus on being present in all areas of your life. Put tremendous work into being present and you will have deeper, more fruitful relationships.

Don’t give or take excuses

Our biggest problem as sales professionals is when we can’t even see  we have a problem.

Every time I make an excuse I tell a little lie to myself that I end up believing. Doing this blinds us. We lose our self-awareness. These little lies exaggerate the faults of others and inflate our own egos. We quickly see the world through this negative view no matter how big or small the excuse is.

When we take action to do the tough things best for the long term we build grit within ourselves. This makes us more prepared for the next tough challenge ahead in our lives. In contrast, each time we rationalize or excuse we become more mentally weak. We become less confident. We fold when even easier obstacles arise.

Don’t let external situations control your internal attitude. Giving excuses is one thing. Taking them is another. Nothing defines a sales culture more than the excuses leadership accepts. Excuses are excuses. We all use them. What we don’t see is that excuses focus on things outside of our control. Do these sound familiar?

  • I’d sell more if I had better seats to sell.
  • If I had a different title I could get to decision makers easier.
  • I didn’t hit my goal because the team stinks.
  • This lead list is weak.
  • I don’t have enough time.

Sales leaders who accept these excuses can expect mediocre results or worse. Instead, look for ways to coach reps to identify when they are making excuses. Create habits and a sales culture built around professional, personal, and revenue development.

Conclusion

I wish I could tell you these strategies are easy to implement. These are not quick fixes. Over time, these strategies will change your approach to this business. People can try to fake this approach, but then words and actions won’t align. However, when habits and words do align with these strategies, people will see you as someone with courage, someone who can stomach the cost of leadership, and someone to admire. Who do you want to be?

Network NOW with Sports Business Professionals in your City!

Network NOW with Sports Business Professionals in your City!
by Russell Scibetti – April 2015

#SBWeek is this week

Networking events are taking place around the world throughout the week of April 13th.  This is a great opportunity to come out and network with other sports business professionals that work or live in your area. All backgrounds are welcome, from those just starting out to industry veterans. The format of the evening is very casual – 2-3 hours of open networking over drinks with your industry peers. All of our events are listed on our Eventbrite page at thebusinessofsports.eventbrite.com, and each city will have its own direct link below.

JimmyVlogo-300x89Tickets for these events are $5 in advance or $10 at the door with 100% of this money being donated to The V Foundation for cancer research. We want to make it clear that we are not looking to make any money from these events. The goal is the same as it has always been – to help fellow members of the sports business community connect with one another. However, one of the best parts about working in this industry is how charitable it is and how sports can be used to support the community.

Here is the full list of participating cities, with links to each registration page (some still in progress).

U.S. Cities

International Cities

– See more at: http://www.thebusinessofsports.com/2015/02/12/sbweek-2015/#sthash.6cmi4U73.dpuf

How Academia is Working to Meet the Demand for Sales Talent

How Academia is Working to Meet the Demand for Sales Talent
by David Pierce – April 2015

Sport management professors often hear from the industry that we aren’t doing enough to identify and cultivate sales talent. I’ve talked to many frustrated sales managers who are disappointed in the ability of sport management programs to deliver sales talent. While we are still behind where we need to be, there is a critical mass of faculty taking a proactive approach to solving the problem.

Six things academia is doing to meet the need for quality sales professionals

Adding classes

Laura Miller
Laura Miller

Sport management program directors recognize the need for sales in the curriculum. In the early 2000’s, only a handful of programs offered a sales class. By 2010, 20% offered a sales class, and many programs have added one since. Dr. Laura Miller, Program Director at California University of Pennsylvania, recently spearheaded the addition of a sales class.

“We want our curriculum to meet the needs and demands of the sport industry and the area of sport sales remains at the forefront. No matter what direction our students take following graduation, having experience and a skill set in sales will ultimately set them up for success.”

Adding hands-on sales projects

Sales is an applied skill. Unless you’ve actually gotten on the phone and talked with people you don’t know, you haven’t really sold yet. Several of the universities that have added a sales class also include a hands-on project where students sell tickets or sponsorship for local sport organizations.

Delivering real-life sales training

Sam Caucci
Sam Caucci

Adding a class and a project doesn’t mean much if students aren’t trained on how to sell. In addition to traditional lectures, role plays, and mock calls, faculty are integrating a new product called The Sales Game, created by Sales Huddle Group (@SalesHuddle). CEO Sam Caucci shared,

“With the average millennial growing up in an environment where they have played over 10,000 hours on a gaming platform before 21 years old, the Sales Game platform utilizes gaming mechanics to give students the necessary experiences that will better prepare them for the situations they will be in when they begin their sales career.”

Creating talent-rich events

Jim Kad
Jim Kadlecek

Events such as the Mount Union Sport Sales Workshop and Job Fair, organized by Dr. James Kadlecek (@kadlecjc), bring together aspiring sales professionals and sales managers for training, performance, assessment, and interviews. “The students are getting trained by industry professionals that are training them the same way they train their own staff,” said Dr. Kadlecek.

Conducting research

As part of their job duties, sport management professors must conduct research. While sport sales research is just in its beginning stages, consider contacting a professor in your region to determine how you can collect data that may help you determine who to hire and how to best evaluate talent.

Identifying Talent

Those faculty who have invested heavily in a sales infrastructure are passionate about identifying talent and communicating it with sales managers who are interested. If you haven’t done so, reach out to the sport management programs in your region and find out who is spearheading sales initiatives. They will be more than willing to establish internship, externship, practicum, and job shadow opportunities for the students that performed well in sales courses.

Eric Sudol’s 3 Lessons From a Career in Sports Sales

Eric Sudol’s 3 Lessons From a Career in Sports Sales
by Brooks Byers – April 2015

S3 Board Member Spotlight: Eric Sudol, Dallas Cowboys

Eric Sudol, the Dallas Cowboys’ Senior Director of Corporate Partnership Sales & Service, has worked for the Cowboys organization for eight seasons. Mr. Sudol completed his undergraduate work at Cornell College, before earning joint masters degrees from Ohio University in Business Administration (MBA) and Sports Administration.  After starting his career in corporate partnership sales for the Memphis Grizzlies, Mr. Sudol came to Dallas intrigued by the opportunity to sell suites for the new AT&T Stadium in 2007.  Since joining the Cowboys, he has been promoted five times, moving from suite sales to Manager of Premium Sales, Director of Sales, Director of Sponsorship Sales, to his current position as Senior Director.  As a member of the Baylor S3 Advisory Board, he enjoys sharing his experience and advice with students.   Some of his key takeaways from his years in Memphis and Dallas include:

1.       Discipline is the key to sales.

  “The job is daunting. If you bat .300, then you’re in the Sales Hall of Fame,” says Mr. Sudol.  “It’s tough to do this job if you’re not very disciplined in your approach.”

2.       Sales and business acumen go hand-in-hand.

“You can’t go wrong with a first job in sales; if you want to be a leader in your company, then you have to understand what it takes to make money.”  Mr. Sudol came to Dallas to learn a different aspect of his industry.  He believes that his experience selling suites made him a better leader and manager because all areas of revenue generation are important and related.

3.      Selling sponsorships lends itself to creativity.

“You can allow your entrepreneurial spirit to run in sponsorship.  We’re always looking to innovate and create new ways to generate revenue.  We want to be at the forefront and look to invent the next sponsorship category,” says Mr. Sudol.

Mr. Sudol is proud to be a part of the S3 program because its curriculum recognizes the importance of sales as an entry point to the sports industry and gives students hands-on experience in call centers to prepare them to excel in their careers.

How to get started using Big Data in sports

How to get started using Big Data in sports
by Aaron LeValley – April 2015

Big data requires strategy

“Big data” is no longer just a buzz phrase or a passing fad. According to a W.P. Carey School of Business study at Arizona State University, the amount of data accessible for businesses is growing exponentially, with the amount of data doubling every 1.2 years.  Having a plan for this amount of data is no longer a way to generate a competitive advantage, it’s a necessity.

Bobby-Whitson-Headshot
Bobby Whitson

Bobby Whitson, Partner at SSB Consulting Group, summed it up nicely when I chatted with him recently about the growth of big data in sports. “Without an effective data warehouse and management strategy, sports teams will continue to struggle to manage data efficiently, and more importantly, make data actionable.  Big data should be a focus of every team; from generating revenue to creating better fan understanding and engagement.”

charlie
Charlie Sung Shin

It may seem overwhelming when approaching this project, but with a few steps, you can help your organization step in to the future. According to Charlie Sung Shin, Senior Director, Strategic Planning – CRM & Analytics at Major League Soccer, “Developing a big data strategy is a journey and it’s not just about implementing new technology or integrating a customer database. The strategy needs to support and continuously be aligned with your organization’s overall goal.”

How teams can get started with big data

So where do you begin? Here are a few steps which may help you and your organization adopt a big data project.

  1. Establish Objectives.
    1. Meet with your constituents to address short, mid and long-term goals.
    2. Example Goals
      1. Short-Term: How can I use this data to grow revenue for a ticket promotion?
      2. Mid-Term: How can I create a better profile of my customer through all of the data feeds we have?
      3. Long-term: How can we use the data to identify trends to generate more revenue or increase efficiency is aspects of our business?
  2. Identify key data sources.
    1. What are all the sources of data you have, transactional & non-transactional?
    2. Which of these data sources are most important for your objectives?
      • Don’t be afraid to not incorporate some data sources from the start. It’s a process and can be taken in steps.
    3. Data source examples include: Ticketing, Email, Social Media, Website, Surveys, Loyalty, Merchandise, Concessions
  3. Analytical Models / Dashboard.
    1. Aggregating the data alone doesn’t get your team anywhere. Remember (or figure out how) to identify what types of dashboards or statistical models are needed to reach your goals/objectives.
    2. Models/Dashboards examples include: Projecting Single Game Sales, Lead Scoring, Retention Risk Modeling
  4. Identify a partner.
    1. Many sports teams and organizations don’t have the staffing to do this on their own. Make sure you find the partner that fits your needs, be it strategic, technical or other.
    2. Some partners may include: SSB, Teradata, Hadoop, AXS, or SAS

The work doesn’t end there, but if you start with these 4 steps, you’ll be well on your way to bringing your organization to a new level.

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