Is it time to update your CRM system?

Is it time to update your CRM system?
by Chase Kanaly – May 2015

How Do You Know it’s Time?

Answering these five questions can help you know if it’s time to update your CRM system.

  1. Are we fully utilizing our current CRM system?
  2. Have we researched new systems?
  3. Do we have the budget?
  4. Is the new system easy to train?
  5. Can we upgrade the system and minimize interruptions in sales?

Preparation

After conducting research and testing software trials, your team has finally come to the conclusion to upgrade your CRM software. From a technology and marketing standpoint, the decision is clear you are taking the correct step forward. Now comes the most important task: making the switch. The departments that relied so heavily upon the outdated software are now going to be thrust into this new system with no training and no concept of what changes are in order. Unless you do something first.

A few months ago, we faced this exact situation as we transitioned from Microsoft CRM Dynamics 2011 to Microsoft CRM Dynamics 2013. We researched, read relevant blogs[ref]Here’s a good one outlining changes from MS Dynamics CRM 2011 to 2013[/ref], and worked together in our Business Strategy and Analytics Team to sell the sales and sponsorship departments on the new system. Note: Department heads look for key words and evidence of  “sales efficiency” and “improved data quality” when hearing the pitch to switch to an upgraded CRM system.

Deployment

Our CRM developer guided us through the process on the IT and deployment side. Based on our experience, these five tips can help make the transition as smooth as possible:

  1. Focus on preparing, anticipating, and responding to questions from the other departments.
  2. Select CRM power users from each department or area to help champion the new CRM system.
  3. Meet with each power user one-on-one to let them beta test the new system and navigate through the changes.
  4. Schedule times during individual weekly department meetings to present and train on the updated system features.
  5. Focus on gaining the trust and cooperation of all departments by searching for more opportunities and ideas to increase efficiency & effectiveness in each department.

Upgrading

After you complete the steps above, it’s time to upgrade the system. It is imperative to find a weekend in which you can shut down your team’s use of CRM in order for the upgrade to be successful.  We were fortunate enough to upgrade during a three day weekend. This gave us plenty of time to test and ensure the system would be ready for all users prior to launching Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. Before any representatives access the new system, the system administrator should test out the new system.During the next several weeks, it is vital that the system administrator provide follow up training and consistent on-the-floor support.

Keys to Your Upgrade

  1. Make a plan – Set up a timeline that announces and clearly identifies the necessary steps needed for the upgrade. Consider all parties affected: the end users, your team’s IT department, and your CRM developer.
  2. Identify specific users from the various departments that will champion the new system. (Power Users)
  3. Create transparency with all parties affected by the upgraded CRM system.
  4. Develop a training manual that explains how to properly use the CRM system.
  5. Keep training short and simple.
  6. Follow up with individuals meetings with all end users when necessary.

If you have other helpful tips on how you have managed CRM system changes and upgrades, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below or contact me directly.

10 tips to shape your ticket sales career

10 tips to shape your ticket sales career
by Stephen Gray – May 2015

Many of the tips I’m about to share I received in the classrooms at Baylor as a student. Others I learned during my time at Spurs Sports and Entertainment.  They helped me grow into management. I hope they help you with your career. Some may seem obvious; but sometimes the most obvious advice is the most overlooked. 

  1. Win! Regardless of what else you do, the most important thing at the end of the season is: Did you take home the gold?  “It doesn’t matter whether you win by an inch or a mile. Winning is winning,” – Dominic Toretto from The Fast and the Furious.  If you are working next to others that have been with the team about as long as you, then make sure you come out on top of the sales board.  Or, surprise everyone by beating out a veteran.  A great place to start winning is in a sales contest.  Winning a few sales contests to start off my career at SS&E helped get my name out there to the entire sales floor.  I started receiving nicknames like “Stone Cold Steve Gray” and won multiple trips.  I know it’s not possible for everyone to win,  but what is always possible is to hate to lose. 
  1. Trips with teammates, whether for fun or business, are always company trips. Congrats! You’ve won the sales contest and are on your way to a free vacation with your teammates.  This will very likely happen at some point early in your career, so it’s important to understand that what happens on these trips DOES come back to the office with you.  Be sure to have fun, but be responsible.  Managers want staff members they can depend on.  If you want to make a great impression, be the responsible one of the group that is looking out for your teammates.
  1. The days of sales calls are not over. Thanks to the S3 program, I came out of school knowing I needed to hit the phones harder than my peers to be successful.  As a hiring manager, I now know how truly rare that mindset is.  Many candidates say they’re ready and know it’s a big part of the job, but saying and doing are completely different things.  If you land a sale job, focus on making as many quality calls and face-to-face meetings as possible.  Never make calls just to hit the numbers your manager gives you.  Your goal for every call is to move that lead further in the sales funnel. Every person you speak to should receive your full attention.  Have effective, open-ended questions ready to go. Most importantly: Listen.  Learn what they are passionate about and this will open longer conversations and higher close rates. 
  1. Take bullets and give accolades. To be a leader everyone can trust and depend on, you must be able to take responsibility, even for things not fully in your control. Attendance may be down and your manager jumps on the team.  Take ownership: We (I) should have done a better job selling & we (I) will make up for it the next time.  Make sure you do make it up.  Next, don’t wait or ask for praise.  Instead, give it out as much as possible.  This is one of the best tips I’ve received for building a positive culture in the office.
  1. Always under-promise and over-deliver. Before unloading all of the great benefits and gifts available to a buyer, stop to think about which ones to save to add value later. Especially do this when putting together proposals and contracts.  Hold some of the good stuff back that isn’t essential to getting the deal closed.  That is how you go from a salesperson to a hero in your client’s eyes.
  1. Find a mentor. Find an in-office mentor (who holds the position you seek one day) and an outside mentor.   Meet with the inside mentor every other week to discuss those matters s/he is most familiar with.  Visit with the outside mentor each month to gain a broader perspective.  Always bring a note pad. Always take notes.  This shows respect, indicates you are listening, and demonstrates that you plan on using what you learn.
  1. Limit wasting time during work hours. Are you tempted to browse ESPN, Facebook, or fantasy sports at work? Instead, when you need a break, pick up a book or listen to an audio book for professional improvement.  This goes over a lot better when your manager sees you not making phone calls or sending e-mails.
  1. When you succeed, share it. Nothing makes a worse teammate than making a sale and not sharing anything about it.  Share how you found the lead, how you approached it, and how you closed the deal.  These stories fuel sales teams to keep going and close more deals.  Become a mentor to others.  Find a college student or new teammate that appreciates advice and wants to learn.  Help them find their way and it will often lead to you developing as well.
  1. If a teammate needs a boost, call a meeting–regardless of title. One of the most impressive things a sales representative can do is call a meeting with teammates to get them fired up about calls, season ticket campaigns, or the upcoming theme night. Sales managers can be motivational, but sometimes they need help from the leaders on their teams.  When a sales representative calls a meeting, it is typically much more effective in motivating the team than the manager calling a second or third meeting that week.  The leader of the meeting doesn’t always have to be the veteran.  You just have to be passionate about what you are saying and remind them that as a team you can accomplish the task at hand.
  1. Think outside the box. To separate yourself from your peers, you must think for yourself and come up with new ideas and strategies. Once, I met with the principal from a San Antonio ISD elementary school to present why her school should participate in our annual School Day game.  Afterwards, she said what I had heard before: “We don’t have a field trip budget.”  How could we get these lower-income schools on board? In the corner of the principal’s office was a brand new Xbox 360 and a bicycle.  I asked, “I’m just curious, what are those for?”  She said, “Our school bought those to use as an attendance incentive with funds provided by the state for this purpose. Students with perfect attendance are entered into a drawing for a big prize each month.”  I asked, “So eight students win prizes throughout the year?  What if we made our School Day game the attendance incentive next year?  That way every kid with perfect attendance will win a prize.”  The principal loved it and bought over 300 tickets for the game.  We used this model for all of the lower-income schools I met with and my School Day sales numbers quadrupled.  Soon, I was teaching my teammates and other sales teams on how to sell the game to schools without field trip budgets.

Whether these tips are obvious or not, you would be amazed by the number of people that don’t follow through on most of them.  Without these tips, I don’t know if I would’ve made it this far in sales.  It can be tough at times, but the thrill of winning, sharing, and helping others develop in their own careers has made every minute worth it.  The next step for anyone that wants to be a leader, mentor, or just a good teammate is to take note of the best advice you’ve ever received and be sure to share it with your peers.

What Do You Want To Be Known For?

What Do You Want To Be Known For?
by Dawn Turner – May 2015

Is there a difference in work ethic across generations?

Some say that work ethic has decreased from Gen X to Gen Y. Others say that it varies by individual and their upbringing. Millennials need to be aware of potential generational biases and even seek to overcompensate in order to prove such theories do not apply to them.

To combat this type of thinking–whether you are a Baby Boomer, Gen X, Y or Z–ask yourself: What do I want to be known for?  A hard worker? A leader? Someone loyal and willing to do whatever the job requires? Next, think about what you don’t want to be known for: lazy, not being a team player, dishonest, disloyal, or a bridge burner.

Burning bridges

burning-bridgeAt a recent sports industry meeting, two people on the same day separately voiced similar complaints about the need to teach today’s young adults about how burning bridges early in their careers can come back to bite them. This got me to thinking about the generational attributes I have been reading about and what we can do to help educate future generations.

The first story I heard was about a young worker who moved from organization A to organization B. After being in the new position for six weeks, the worker received a call from organization A and decided to move back. This turned out to be a rather abrupt move that left organization B in a lurch. The second story I heard was about a recent graduate hired by an organization that they really wanted to work for. This person did a great job and was promoted after just a few weeks, only to decide to depart for a job with an external client.

In both situations the organizations put their faith and resources in these young workers, but were left in the lurch. Even though organizations move on, they will never forget how these two young workers handled these situations. The industry is so small, it is virtually certain word travels around to others. In any case, future interviews will be difficult because hiring managers routinely contact previous employers.

Short term vs. Long term

In the short-term these situations may not seem that crucial. But, it could come back to haunt them in the long-term. Let’s play this out hypothetically using the first example. Once the worker went back to organization A, they stayed there for five years until they got tired of the winter weather.  During that time the president of organization B decided to move to California and run organization C. Since the worker was seeking employment in a warmer climate they applied for a job with organization C. The new president of organization C saw their name come through and remembered how they handled things five years prior. They told their hiring managers not to bother interviewing this candidate and also told their friends at organizations D, E and F (also in California) that they would not recommend this worker. Organizations D, E and F shared this information with their friends at organizations G, H and I who then pass the information to organizations J, K and L. At this point it is very difficult for the worker to get an interview in the industry, let alone in their preferred state of California.

Here’s another real life example. A professional sports organization hired a college student for an internship. The intern turned out not to be very reliable and folks in the organization decided this person was not cut out for full-time employment. A few years later the former intern realized they were not mature enough to handle the work while they were an intern and called to apologize. When they called they explained how they have matured and are ready to take things seriously. Do you think the organization hired them for a full-time opening? No way! This is very unfortunate, because even though people may change, they already made negative impressions.

Who are you?

In my nearly 20-year career I have seen a variety of scenarios similar to these play out, not many of which are positive. The time to take personal responsibility for who we are and what we want to be know for starts now.  Am I a team player? Am I clear about my goals and aspirations? Am I easy to work with? Will my coworkers and managers give me a good review and 100% recommendation?

We should all ask ourselves these questions. If we present ourselves in the best way possible, it really doesn’t matter what the studies say about generations. What matters is who I am and how others see me.

Treating others how we expect to be treated should be toward the top of everyone’s list. As long as we always remember this, we won’t need to worry about making poor decisions that have negative repercussions down the line.


Cover table source: http://www.fdu.edu/newspubs/magazine/05ws/generations.htm

 

 

Making CRM training tolerable: The 10 Commandments

Making CRM training tolerable: The 10 Commandments
by Chris Zeppenfeld – May 2015

One of my favorite sales reps said this to me coming out of a CRM training session a few years ago.  I think it’s the best analogy I’ve ever heard about CRM training.

“Going to CRM training is like going to the dentist….no one really looks forward to going, but when you are done, you’re usually glad you went.”

Let’s face it, CRM training isn’t sexy.   Click here, do that, fill this fill field in, make sure you do that first, blah blah blah.   However, user training (and user adoption) is the most critical element of CRM implementation.  Here are 10 axioms to follow as you set up your user training for CRM.

1. Thou shalt not have 5 hour marathon training sessions.
I’ve probably conducted somewhere between 2,000-3,000 software trainings in my life.   If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you can’t possibly hold a sales rep’s attention for longer than 45-60 minutes.  Maybe less.  An Indiana University study says that the average attention span of students is actually around 15-20 minutes.  Yikes! Make this a hardline rule right now:  Training sessions cannot be longer than 60 minutes.  The moment you hit 60 minutes…close up and stop training. Trust me, they’ve already stopped listening.

2. Thou shalt not cram all of the CRM training into 1-2 days.
We have a “CRM Boot Camp” that stretches across 10 (yes, 10!) days.    Why so long?  Repetition!   Repetition is the key in software user training.  I’d much rather have 10 shorter training sessions over a span of two weeks than to try to cram 2 marathon training sessions over a day or two. I purposely want my reps to go through the training, then go do something else not CRM related (aka forget about things)….and then come back the next day and see what they recall.   Remember, your reps need to know how to use CRM properly every day…not just this one time.   You’ll get much better rep recall when they run repetitive “sprint” sessions rather than “marathons.”

3. Thou shall not have “all staff” training sessions.
This one is brutal.  I cringe when I hear a VP/President instruct the CRM Manager to “grab everyone in a conference room and go through the whole CRM thing.”  Think back to the last time you had an all-staff meeting. How many people were fiddling with smartphones not paying attention to the speaker?  I did a quick survey with my own staff last time we had a non-CRM related all-staff meeting: 78% of my reps admitted playing with smartphones during a portion of the meeting. When the classroom size gets too large, it’s extremely challenging to make sure everyone is following along with you.

4. Thou shalt not intermingle departments.
There are two parts to training sessions: “This is HOW you do it.” and “This is WHY you are doing it.”  The first deals with compliance.   The second deals with buy-in and understanding.   How much you decide to dive in on the second part is the key.   With newbie Inside Sales reps, it’s often best to focus on the “click here, do this” part. They are still trying to comprehend the sales scripts they just spent 7 hours learning in role-playing. So, it might be information overload to start going into the intricacies of 1:N relationships in CRM.   My goal is to get newbie sales reps to do X correctly. For more experienced reps in Premium Sales, however, give them insight into why a certain form or process is being done the way it is.  Get buy-in and understanding from senior sales reps who have a far greater influence on the sales staff.  Sure, it might be “easier” on you to shove all of the departments into one training session.  However, the way you’re going to teach a “compliance” session is going to be much different than teaching an “understanding” session.

5. Thou shalt not have the CRM Manager move the mouse.
Think back to your teenage days learning how to drive a car.   Did you learn more from the passenger or driver’s seat?  Reps will learn far better if they are the ones behind the wheel. There is no prize in showing how quickly YOU can navigate CRM. It only matters how well they can navigate CRM. Have reps login as themselves on training PCs to mimic “real” experience in CRM. They see their My To Do List, their leads, their dashboards, etc.  Even in a group setting with multiple reps, always have the rep move the mouse on the screen. If they don’t do it, they won’t remember it.

6. Thou shalt make sure the rep’s boss is in the first few training sessions.
Nothing undermines CRM  quite like when the rep’s boss doesn’t show up for the first training session.   The typical dialogue between the rep and sales manager usually goes something like this, “Go see (insert CRM Guru here), s/he will run you through that CRM stuff.”   Remember, the reps report to Sales Managers, not CRM Managers.   When sales managers don’t show up for CRM training at least early on, it undermines the importance of CRM in their jobs. A special note to sales managers who don’t show:

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”450px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]What you are telling the rep is that while you say CRM training is “important,” it’s apparently not important enough for you to stay in this room and make sure the rep is paying attention.[/dropshadowbox]

7. Thou shalt not worry about anything else in CRM other than completing a phone call on the first day.
Everything the reps do in CRM falls into two buckets:  1) things they do about 100 times a day   2) things they do maybe once a day.  Guess which singular activity they do 100 times a day….phone calls!   The most important thing the reps have to do (correctly) in CRM is completing the phone call screen the way you want them to do it.  Don’t worry about anything else in CRM until you are 100% satisfied that they can complete a phone call correctly without you standing over them to monitor it.  Sometimes, you might get reps that will try to skip forward (how do I search this?  where do I go to do that?). Tell these over-achievers that you are purposely putting blinders on them and you’ll get to that training later in boot camp.

8. Thou shalt tailor the training to the type of rep in the room.
Especially when you are doing new sales reps onboarding with CRM, you tend to encounter three very different types of reps. It’s important that you identify which types of reps you have in your training room.

  1. “Soldiers” are the majority of your sales reps.   Soldiers come in with a “tell me what to click on, and I’ll do it” type attitude towards CRM.
  2. “Old Guard” are the minority of your sales reps.  Old Guards tend to be skeptical that what you are about to show them in CRM is going to be better than their “tried and true” methods.
  3. “Questioners” are the rarest of your sales reps.  Questioners want to know WHY something is the way that it is in CRM – and may not comply until they are satisfied with your explanation.

The people you should most be concerned with are the Questioners.   They are often the most influential about CRM to their sales rep brethren (positively or negatively). For more on this, check out my past S3 article that explains this in greater detail.

9. Thou shalt have mini-training sessions periodically with each department if you roll out a new feature.
Let’s say you roll out a new feature that can help them in CRM.   Maybe it’s a new view that organizes info better for them.   Maybe it’s a new process you’ve built in CRM that allows them to make appointments quicker.   Quick!   Grab the reps and huddle them together.   These mini-sessions don’t need to be elaborately planned.   It can be impromptu at their desks – or even better in a nearby conference room.   Your sales reps and managers might actually welcome it…it gives them a quick 10-15 minute breather from making calls.  I recommend doing these mini-sessions twice a month to refresh them on cool features they may have forgotten about and/or teach them new features that can help them do their job better.

10. Thou shalt make sure everyone can see the screen and read the text.
I know this one sounds really obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times this gets overlooked.   CRM from a UI perspective has a ton of small icons, menus, and fonts.  Even if you have a decent sized display for your CRM trainings (projector, large TV screen, etc.), it might still be difficult to read the text in CRM.   Remember, your software training deals with more than just icon and shape recognition….much of your training will involve the rep reading text and making an appropriate user interaction in CRM.  As you read this article now, take 10 steps back from your monitor/screen.   Can you still read this text?  If you can’t read the text, then your reps are too far away in your training room.

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.