Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader. Dave Kurlan’s Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for 9 consecutive years. You can find Dave’s blog articles here.

  • You Can't Lose Customers or Salespeople - 2 Secrets to Their Retention
    by Dave Kurlan on July 6, 2022 at 3:43 pm

    As we wade deeper into recession, you will certainly agree that there are two things you must not lose: Customers/Clients Good/Great Salespeople I conducted a Google search for "why salespeople quit their jobs" and was surprised to find more than 6 million results for that query!  The first page of results was filled with self-serving articles from companies like Gong (artificial intelligence for digital prospecting), Hubspot (marketing platform) and more urging you to leverage their platforms so that you don't have to rely on salespeople. I also found a similar pattern as I did when I searched for "top sales blogs" last month as part of my research for the article, The Top 12 Sales Blogs of 2022 That Make You Think and Sell More.  There were lots of articles that had the top 5, 7, 10, 12, and 15 reasons why salespeople leave or quit their jobs.  Most of those lists were simply subsets of other lists and the reasons included things like compensation, morale, workload, changing quotas, culture, toxic management, the job was misrepresented, too much pressure and lack of growth opportunity. While there were no surprises to these lists of reasons, I think there is a more pervasive reason that is not represented on the lists created by marketers and recruiters:

  • Understanding Competency Based Assessments - What Ditch Diggers and Salespeople Have in Common!
    by Dave Kurlan on June 24, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    I use a tool called Zapier to create zaps that automate some of the tasks that I do.  Zapier's newsletter had an article on 11 tech tools you need during economic uncertainty or in other words, during a recession. I clicked on the article and the first tool recommendation was written by Linda Scorzo, CEO of Hiring Indicators on the topic of competency based assessment technology. She wrote the following:

  • Selling and the Need for Speed
    by Dave Kurlan on June 8, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    We had Chinese for dinner and my fortune said, "Speed is not as important as accuracy." When you think of speed what are the first things that come to mind? Fighter Jets? The 10 fastest in the world reach speeds of up to Mach 6.70 (5,140 MPH) Racing Cars? The 6 fastest in the world reach speeds of up to 304 MPH. Motorcycles? The 10 fastest in the world reach speeds of up to 273 MPH. Power Boats?  The 10 fastest in the world reach speeds of up to 317 MPH. Light travels at 186,270 miles per second! And salespeople.  What?  That's right, salespeople speed.  Let me explain.

  • The Recession is Here - How to Take Advantage and Prepare Your Sales Team
    by Dave Kurlan on May 31, 2022 at 11:32 am

    You boarded your plane, got seated, the plane pulled away from the gate and you fell asleep.  Later, a hard landing woke you and you wondered, "Are we already there?"  Yes you are and you slept through the entire flight. The same thing is happening with the economy.  While you were sleeping, distracted by Russia invading Ukraine, baby formula shortages, off-the-chart gas prices, a migrant surge across the southern border, mass shootings, supply-chain shortages, and runaway inflation, the recession crash-landed and it's here.    The two biggest tell-tale signs are new home sales were 100,000 or so units below expectations for April, and the first of many interest rate hikes have been enacted. And the biggest sign is that government officials continue to tell us that there is nothing to see here, the economy is booming and there will be a soft landing from inflation.  Sure. While I'm citing events in the United States, there is no doubt that this will be a global recession. So what must you do to prepare your sales team and how can you leverage the effects of a recession?

  • Top 12 Sales Blogs of 2022 That Make You Think and Sell More
    by Dave Kurlan on May 20, 2022 at 4:56 pm

    I conducted a Google search for the Top Sales Blogs and it showed 616,000 results.  I can work with that!  Not.  I started browsing page by page and I found approximately 50 different lists of top sales blogs on the first 6 pages.  My Blog was named on many of those lists but it got me wondering, why so many lists, why are so many different Blogs listed, what are the criteria, and which Blogs should you really be following for the best sales advice?

  • 5 Steps to Grow Sales by 33% in 12 Months
    by Dave Kurlan on May 11, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    I'm a baseball guy and a die hard Boston Red Sox fan but I can't bear to watch them right now.  They are playing the worst baseball since I was 10 years old so that's going back 55 years!  It's not hard to understand why they are so bad because the data tells the story.  Their stats show that as of May 9, 2022 their bullpen has 9 blown saves.  Bullpens rarely blow 9 saves over a full season never mind over five weeks but if you look deeper, they wouldn't be in so many close games if their offense was producing.  Only three guys (JD Martinez, Xander Boegarts and Rafael Devers), are hitting!   Coaches will review game video and hitters will take extra batting practice to work on their mechanics and timing. Sales teams go through periods like this too but sales leaders rarely seek out the data that would immediately point to the real problem.  They tend to hope things will improve and go from there. However, there are several levels of data to be reviewed so let's take a look.

  • Do You Know the Accurate Reason Why a Salesperson Is Not Performing?
    by Dave Kurlan on April 20, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    How quickly can you determine why a salesperson is failing?  Dinger loves to play catch with his ball.  He has seven of them but loves his white ball the most.  When we're out playing catch and I point to a ball and say, "there it is" or "right there" or "get it" he just can't seem to find it!  Dinger has good listening skills but his ability to see the obvious isn't very good. Such was the case earlier this week when a surprised client wanted an explanation for why one of their salespeople, who does not perform very well, scored well on his evaluation.  "How can someone who is not my top performer score better than someone who is my top performer?" That sounded like a challenge so I said, "Let's go!" Objective Management Group's (OMG's) evaluations are very accurate so I always assume the evaluation is correct and simply ask questions to determine whether something needs explaining, or they might not be looking at the best data to determine whether a salesperson is truly a top producer or an under performer.  The most common pushback occurs when someone they have inappropriately labeled as a top performer does not evaluate very well.  In almost every case, it's because the salesperson manages more revenue than anyone else, but isn't the one who sold those accounts.  A good account manager, but not a producer.  In the case of this evaluation, the salesperson was simply not performing as well as his peers so I assumed there was a good explanation. I'll share what I found.

  • The Philosophy of a Pitching Coach Will Improve Your Sales Team
    by Dave Kurlan on April 4, 2022 at 11:30 am

    I find ideas and material for this Blog everywhere, especially when I'm not looking for them. Yesterday I received a daily email from a Paul Reddick, a baseball coach who was drumming up some business for his baseball institute. It resonated - not for its baseball coaching - but as sales coaching.  Here's what it said: If your coach is talking about any of the pitching flaws that you see listed above… Run… Run Fast! That Coach is working on “flaws” that will have no impact on your pitching.  He is working on symptoms… not the illness!  He is trying to fix things that are happening as a byproduct of incorrect movement early in your delivery. If you get the first second of your delivery right, almost all of these flaws get fixed instantly.  Do you know how this applies to sales?  I'll explain exactly how it applies and I promise you will be surprised!  Click here to read last year's fun article comparing pitcher's fielding practice (PFP) to role-playing in sales.

  • Top 10 Sales Videos and Rants From Dave Kurlan
    by Dave Kurlan on March 21, 2022 at 11:30 am

    From time to time I record impromptu unscripted rants as well as some that are more well thought-out videos.  From among the collection presented below, most are rants so the rants are much more popular.  The most-watched (I have added to the list so there are more than 10 now!) videos are shown below in order of popularity and while I like all of them, I indicated my personal favorites with an asterisk.  All but three of the videos are three-minutes or less, one is six-minutes, one is ten-minutes and one is eight-minutes.  Topics include: 1. Revenue Sensitivity - a rant on the lack of correlation between top salespeople and revenue 2. On Sales Process and Methodology - the difference between popular sales processes and methodologies 3. Why Your Prospects Won't Talk with You and What to Do About it - a rant 4. On Attracting Salespeople When Recruiting - a rant on the Two Keys to Attracting More of the Right Sales Candidates 5. Transactional versus Consultative Selling - a rant 6. Why Forecasts are Always So Inaccurate - a rant on why it's not the forecast! 7. Dinger's Listening Skills - how my Dog's Listening Skills are better than those of most salespeople 8. Protect Your References - a rant on why you shouldn't give out references unless it's the perfect time 9. Why People Should Consider a Career in Sales 10. On Cold Calls - a Rant More...

  • Great Sales Managers are Like Great Baseball Coaches Without the Screaming
    by Dave Kurlan on March 15, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    So there will be Major League Baseball in 2022.  Suddenly the bitching and moaning about the owners has stopped and everyone is just happy that baseball is back. Speaking of baseball and bringing sales into the discussion, let's talk about coaching.  First the baseball. When my son was home for winter break, I asked him to rank all of his baseball coaches, an exercise that he found quite interesting.  Starting with Little League, through travel teams, all-star teams, tournament teams, High School teams and finally College, he has had 18 coaches not including me. He played 4 years for his #1 ranked coach.  For the first two years he was afraid of this coach and for a very good reason.  The coach screamed at him, embarrassed him, and made an example out of him every chance he had.  At the very same time the coach pushed him, challenged him and brought out the best in him.  From the coach's perspective, he knew Michael could take it, saw his potential, and knew he could play even better than he did.  Some of Michael's best games and clutch performances were played under this coach.  The coach didn't scream at everyone.  Other players who disappointed the coach were simply ignored. He didn't want to waste his time screaming at them because he knew it wouldn't change anything and the players would repeat their mistakes. I was not surprised over the coaches that Michael ranked 14-18.  They weren't very good at coaching, didn't add much value, and their teams didn't win anything.  The nicest coach Michael ever played for, the one who we, as parents liked the most, and the one Michael loved the most, didn't make the top 5.  They loved each other but didn't win anything together and the coach didn't bring out the best in Michael.  He was simply way too chill. So let's pivot back to sales. The biggest difference between great sales managers and crappy sales managers is how effectively they coach up their salespeople to make them better.  There are two parts to this: