How To Use Act! for Your Sales Training #ActCRM

Act! Insider Business CardsCharisma, a strong network, blind luck, or skills: what explains great sales results? Like any complex activity, it’s easy to throw your hands up in frustration and say all of the above. That’s defeatist thinking. How can you make your sales training give you the best returns on your investment?

Use Act! as a support system to track, report and encourage your staff to implement what they learn.

1) Check Your Beliefs About Sales Training

“All business skills are learnable.” – Brian Tracy, sales expert

In her bestselling book Mindset, Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck defines two mindsets that shape results. The fixed mindset believes that skills and capabilities do not significantly change: a weak sales professional isn’t likely to change. In contrast, the growth mindset emphasises change and development. This is a critical distinction if you are going to improve in sales training. With a fixed mindset, you’re more likely to give up before you develop proficiency in new skills. The growth mindset, you believe you can grow and research finds you are more likely to persist and succeed in learning.

Adopting a growth mindset will help you get the highest value out of sales training.

Attitude matters – skip it at your peril!

Action Step: Take the quiz on the Mindset Assessment to see which mindset you have. If you have the fixed mindset, ask yourself if that perspective is helping you to reach your goals.

2) Complete A Sales Training Program And Track Followup Afterwards

Truth be told, there are multiple sales training methods that work.

Buying a sales training program, attending a sales seminar or using online training all have the potential to work. For sales professionals in the B2B environment, two popular options include SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham and The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. Once you choose a sales training program, how do you ensure you get results?

If you get the opportunity, see if you can get the opportunity to attend an inspirational presentation by one of Act!’s co-founders, Mike Muhney.

Often people are excited and galvanised by a sales training course but, unfortunately, these effects can wear off without regular maintenance and monitoring.

Set up a tracking process to reinforce the principles and processes of the training for a set period. For example, schedule a weekly 30-minute meeting for three months to review the key points you learned. You might focus on prospecting, managing stakeholders or the art of landing large sales with Act!. Many traditional professionals like accountants, lawyers and doctors are required to take training regularly to keep their skills sharp. Why not apply that idea to the sales world?

Action Step: Select and attend a sales training program if you have not taken one in the past 12 months. Next, set up series of weekly meetings to track whether you practice the principles.

3) Set Sales Lead Indicators In Act!

You want closed sales at the end of the month, quarter or year. How can you increase the odds of hitting that goal?

The answer lies in tracking lead indicators for sales - measures that tend to predict the future. For example, a few common leading measures in sales include: number of meetings held, number of proposals sent and number of prospecting actions per day.

To train your sales staff in how and why to use lead indicators to close more sales, ask them to identify the best lead indicator for your sales process. For example, your sales process may look like this:

  1. Call 1: you introduce yourself to a prospect by phone.
  2. Initial Meeting. If the call goes well, you arrange a meeting with the prospect by phone or in person.
  3. Needs Assessment. Determining the client requirements and scope of the project.
  4. Proposal Presentation. If the previous steps go well, you are invited back to present a proposal.
  5. Negotiation. Sorting out the final details and payment.
  6. Close. You ask for the order and get a YES!
  7. Sales Fulfilment. Payment Received. Your CFO sees cash in the bank and you can supply goods/services.

Steps 1-4 are promising candidates for lead measures. I recommend focusing on steps 4 because it will ensure prior steps are carried out with quality. If you choose steps 1 or 2 as your lead indicator, quality may suffer.

To aid you in tracking this measure in Act!, choose a lead indicator involving calls, emails or in-person meetings. Those interactions are almost always a requirement to win business and Act! is well set up to track those activities. In the past, sales professionals used notebooks to track this kind of information. That works but it is a lot of effort to keep up.

Sales Training OpportunityCreate Opportunities for your sales in Act! and link the activities to those Opportunities. Then use Act! Insight, Dashboards, or some reports to make the measuring and monitoring a simple task.

Action Step: Meet with your sales representatives to choose a lead measure that you can track in Act! and which predicts ultimate sales success.

Resource: For more insights on using lead indicators to accomplish your sales goals, read “The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals" by Chris McChesney, Jim Huling, and Sean Covey.

4) Sales Managers: Monitor for Success in Act!

Sales Training InsightSales managers: this step is for you. Choose a schedule – weekly and monthly are good options – and monitor your staff’s performance at each stage of the sales process. Recognize who wins in terms of lead indicators and sales!

Action Step: Speak to your Act! consultant to help you in customising Act! and generating reports on the metrics you need to track this data.

Want to improve your sales efficiency with Act!? Contact me today for a free consultation.