Hiring Horror Stories for Halloween

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Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a hiring horror story.

TheLadders.com took the time to assemble 13 hiring horror stories on this All Hallow’s Eve. The article is most entertaining, especially since none of these events happened to you!

This particular story from the article is unreal:

10. Mid-interview I thought I had the perfect candidate for the position. As I was about to extend the job offer, he began to sweat profusely. I offered water, turned the air conditioner to a lower temperature as he began to mumble. I thought “Oh No, I’ve got a medical emergency on my hands.” He excused himself to go to the restroom but didn’t return after 15 minutes. I asked a male staff member to enter the men’s restroom to check on him. The door was somehow locked and barricaded. The applicant wouldn’t answer our calls to open the door but began rambling aloud. I called the fire department and after another 20 minutes the applicant emerged totally intoxicated (empty bottle in hand) and possibly under the influence of “something” else. The next day his wife called me requesting to know when his start date would be… no job offer was extended to this candidate!

Things could always be worse.

How will your sales team address VUCA?

One of our long standing CRO Executive RoundTable companies has developed a compelling video about the new world of sales addressing VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity).  OppSource is working with sales teams on a global basis to implement the next level of skills and tools needed to survive and grow.  How well will your sales team perform going up against this level of competition?

Avoiding The Self-Inflicted Failure Trap

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After decades of working with highly successful companies, I have observed one failure trap that is still alive and well in today’s business climate.

It is avoidable but the more success a company achieves, the more likely it is to experience a “pivot” (great word for surviving a FUBAR catastrophe!) in order to continue. 

Companies typically become successful by doing something new that the market wants, accepts, and is willing to embrace.  Some examples could be electric cars, artificial intelligence for repetitive type functions, real time 24x7 communication etc.

Success ultimately stimulates internal growth and at some point, the organization has very precise roles with crafted job descriptions, KPI’s, compensation ranges etc.  The creativity that launched the company evolves into “structure” with clearly defined roles and expectations.  People are measured and rewarded by how well they execute their assigned micro tasks.

The result is creativity doesn’t flourish in structure.  Real creativity is unscheduled, amorphous, unpredictable and essential for addressing today’s business disruption.  Leadership teams own the disruption challenge - How much of your day is spent nurturing the creativity core needed in your business to succeed?

So What?

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We often write about Differentiating Value (i.e. DV) as it is fundamental to any strong selling system. You will hear it called value proposition, unique selling proposition, differentiation, and son on. We have an entire process to help companies define and refine their DV which will affect the entire selling process.

But let’s talk about a quick, simple approach you can use on your own to start refining your DV. Take a look at your present DV and ask yourself, “So what?”

The approach sounds indignant, but it works. The goal is to refine, or distill, your DV down to its essence because that is the point where it has the most power.

Existing DV: “We provide excellent service to our customers.”

So what?

“Our customers know we will take care of them if they have a problem.”

So what?

“If our equipment breaks down in the middle of a production run, we will have techs on-site fast.”

So what?

“We provide the fasted response times in our industry which allows our customers to know they will hit their production goals.”

Once you distill the topic down to the point where asking “So what?” sounds flippant, you have reached the essence of that particular DV. Now, you might find that it is not a compelling DV which may lead you to constructing a new DV all together.

Try this exercise as you work on your next DV messaging. As frustrating as it may get, in the end you will have a tight, impactful message. If you need assistance, we can help.

Our New Sponsor-SkillFitness

We are excited to announce that SkillFitness has become a corporate sponsor for CRO Executive RoundTable.  SkillFitness is a mobile, video-based skills mastery platform that transforms how teams perform at a higher level to deliver business outcomes.  The SkillFitness app will also be the host platform for our new CRO Coach program.  All RoundTable members are automatically enrolled in CRO Coach which offers continuous access to all RoundTable revenue topics, tutorials, and videos.

The End-of-Year Race

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The annual end-of-year race is about to commence right after Labor Day.  The finish line resides somewhere within the holiday season.  This period represents the closing of the revenue year and will determine success (or something short of that).

The importance of this time period is clear.  Do you have all of your tools aligned to make the final revenue push?  If we may be so bold, here are a trio of recommendations for all CROs heading into the race.

Bankable Forecast - this is the most important aspect of the race. Can you take your forecast to the bank?  If not, you need your team to perform a real-world purge of the forecast for the remainder of the year.  You must know what is closing in the time period to make the right adjustments to your game plan.

Bench Strength - your team may be facing some unexpected turnover.  The economy is roaring and salespeople are confident in finding new opportunities.  When is a popular time to make a change?  Many salespeople will make a move right before the holiday season to leverage time off with family and friends.  Others will wait until early in Q1 to cash in their variable compensation (commissions, bonuses, etc.).  Either way, you need to have a plan for building a strong bench in case turnover occurs in your team.

Results-Driven Incentive Plans - next year's compensation plans will be on your list during the race.  You have to recognize effort and reward results with a plan that drives the behaviors you need in each role.  The mix of salary, commission, bonuses, spiffs and more needs to be designed for a Jan. 1 launch date.

Clearly, there are other topics for all CROs this time of year, but these 3 tasks will cover a good portion of your 2019 foundation.  If you need help on any of these topics, we are here to help.

20 Traits of a Leader

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We worked through this topic at our recent RoundTable meetings and I thought the off-the-cuff list we compiled was fairly thorough.

Here is the list we developed:

1. Hiring skills

2. Vision

3. Integrity

4. Trustworthy

5. Confidence

6. OK with tough questions

7. Has your interests in mind

8. Cares about people

9. Delegation

10. Great Thinker

11. Good Communicator

12. Values Contribution

13. Good Team

14. Influential

15. Lead by Example

16. Strategic

17. Stable

18. Positive

19. Practices the Platinum Rule (treat others how they want to be treated)

20. Values you

DV Week Part 4-The Emotional Customer

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We close out the DV week with a final delineation of the real prospect who will value your DV.  The person who will respond to it is the Emotional Customer.  Unfortunately, most salespeople hunt down the Logical Customer and end up in a sales black hole.

Terry Slattery, an expert on DV, walked us through this important aspect of leveraging your DV while prospecting.

Let's first define the Logical Customer:

  • Easy to find but hard to close
  • Price Sensitive
  • Limited performance metrics
  • May have a vested interest in not changing
  • Often isolated from the consequences of delay or undervaluing your DV

The Logical Customer can be lurking anywhere inside of an organization, but some common locations are purchasing, IT, HR among others.  These contacts fit the above description and will work hard to "commoditize" your Differentiating Value.  If your salesperson ends up stuck in this area, you have to guide them out of that hole.

Let's focus on where your salesperson should be focusing - the Emotional Customer:

  • Has zero interest in your stuff
  • Feels the pain and consequences of not having your DV
  • Gets the bill for the pain
  • Easy to close
  • Usually can tell the Logical Customer what to do

See the difference?  The question is how do you find them?

Qualifying.

Your team has to know what their DV is, have it translated into the prospect's world and then have to ask the right questions to find the Emotional Customer.

If you need help implementing Revenue as a System, we can help.

DV Week Part 3-DV Depth and Premium Pricing

 Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Let's review CRO Success Rule #5:

The breadth and depth of your Differentiating Value platform determines the amount of traction your product or service has in target market segments. It also determines the level of premium pricing you can achieve.  If you have zero Differentiating Value, it means you are selling only on price.

Did you catch that?  No DV means no premium pricing.  Actually, it means your salespeople are probably in a discounting war with far too many (all?) prospects.  You understand when we say DV is the foundation of all successful selling, this is why.

Now that your are into your DV process, it is crucial to refine and translate your DV.  You need to boil it down to its essence to make it powerful.  Think of this fact, it takes 10 GALLONS of maple sap to make 1 QUART of maple syrup.  It takes hours of boiling to reduce the sap (depending on sugar content).  You get the point - it is an arduous process that yields a valuable end product.  DV creation is analogous to the maple syrup process.

These DV questions must be addressed to make sure you get paid what you are worth:

  • What value do you bring to your customers? (Real value - no fluff)
  • How does the absence of your value show up in the prospect's world?
  • Where does it show up?
  • Who does it affect?

When your DV successfully answers these 4 questions, you are well on your way to handling these 2 sales objectives:

Bridging the communication gap with the prospect's world

Doing it in a way that will shorten the overall sales cycle

If you need help with any of these processes, we are always welcome to assist you.

DV Week Part 2-Direct Your DV Towards the Emotional Decision Maker

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We all make decisions emotionally and later justify them intellectually.  This is a fact of human nature.  We look to our emotional decision making to finalize our purchases.  Granted, few people need to access this area of their brain to buy a gallon of milk.  However, think of a significant purchase you recently made.  You decided based on how the item or service made you feel.  Later, you used the logic centers of your brain to rationalize/support why it was a good decision.  If your salespeople are aware of this distinction, they have a distinct advantage over your competition.

The emotional decision maker is the person who suffers the consequences of life without your solution.  They pay a price for not having your DV, whether it be slower times to market, higher failure rates, lower productivity, missed ship dates...it could be almost any painful outcome.

Here is the advantage for your salespeople:  Emotional decision makers are usually harder to find, easier to close, not as price sensitive, and can typically tell the technical buyer what to do.

Now that you know this, you must direct your DV messages towards the emotional decision maker.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Define what matters to the customer - There is no point in highlighting benefits a customer doesn't care about.
  • Be unique and demonstrably better - If the competition offers the same item, whatever that feature/service/product is, then that item is not your competitive advantage.
  • Be specific and measurable - If you can't be specific and/or measurable, you sound like every other competitor.  Get rid of the fluff.

If you need assistance in defining and directing your Differentiating Value, we are here to help.