In this episode, I talked with Jim Ninivaggi, Chief Readiness Officer at Brainshark. Our topic was about how first line sales managers can avoid extinction.
We started by talking about what the first line sales manager role entails. Jim said it was actually 5 roles:
Leader, Coach, Trainer, Recruiter, and Manager
Which of these roles do you see managers doing well today? Where are they lacking?
Most sales managers really play one role – manager of the forecast and pipeline. The aggregate and interpret the data that reps report to them, they massage the numbers before they push them up to the Chief Sales Officer or VP of Sales. While this is important, the missed opportunities are the coaching, training, recruiting and leading teams that the role also requires.
Even from a coaching point of view, many sales managers simply assume the role of “super rep” – they join calls not to coach – but to be the hero – which makes them just another rep. This remains a pervasive problem as reps are promoted into the role often with very little, if any, training to help them be successful in their new position. Lacking training in how to manage and lead their teams, they default to what they know - closing the deal.
Our title starts with the words “avoiding extinction” – how are managers at risk for extinction?
Artificial Intelligence certainly puts sales managers at risk. Think about it. If their primary role is to gather and communicate the forecast and pipeline information, with artificial intelligence the forecast will no longer come from the field but from data.
Without that need for “human interpretation”, that role of keeper of the forecast goes away. And if that is the only role that differentiates a manager from a rep – the role is no longer needed.
So how do managers avoid becoming extinct?
Expand their role and develop their skills as coach and trainer to their teams. What gets in the way of these things happening, according to Jim is that these things are not expected, not inspected and managers often lack the ability.
To address these managers need both strategic coaching and performance coaching to be effective in their role.
Since I'm a believer in "learn 2 earn", and I would suggest that if sales managers are not getting the training that they need to be successful, they should be accountable for investing in themselves.
Technology, including AI, can help in these roles with things like:
Leveraging video coaching technology to allow for asynchronous coaching.
Using AI to help guide managers to where they need to focus on coaching.
Using AI to create “sales simulators” in the same vein as “flight simulators” – allow a rep to simulate a call – and the rep and manager review their performance together.
Delivering “training in a box” digitally to help managers deliver learning to their reps during regular sales meetings.
There was a lot of meat in this discussion, so please enjoy the interview!
Jim Ninivaggi, Chief Readiness Officer at Brainshark. Formerly an analyst, Jim led the sales enablement research practice at SiriusDecisions – helping, in many ways, to define the space, and working at the research firm for 10 years, while publishing 200+ research reports and briefs. He has more than 30 years of experience driving sales productivity and great tips, anecdotes and best practices to share.
In this episode, I talk with Josh Miller, CEO of Deciding Edge and certainly the youngest CEO I have ever had the pleasure of interviewing. I have always been a believer that we should NOT box people in with our generational biases. I believe we can learn from anyone, anywhere and at any age.
During this segment, Josh and I discuss his Gen Z research in partnership with XYZ University. The study was conducted with over 1,000 Gen Z'ers, and the findings will likely surprise you, as they did me. And, like me, I think you will be inspired by Josh's passion and enthusiasm for the work that he does.
While Millennials remain a focus given the fact that they will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020, Gen Z is coming right up behind them and it is NOT too early to get ready.
I started by asking Josh what inspired him to become an entrepreneur at 16 years old.
Josh nails down the definition of Generation Z.
We discussed the research and studies Josh has been doing on the topic.
Josh shared some of the biggest insights that came out of his recently published white-paper. I found some of the research very surprising!
We talked about effective sales strategies to use for Gen Z members of your team.
Finally, I closed by asking Josh about his goals for 2018.
Download your copy of the research report here.
Connect on LinkedIn
Josh Miller is a 16-year-old student, entrepreneur, and thought leader on Gen Z. He currently serves as the CEO of Deciding Edge and Director of Gen Z Studies at XYZ University. He has spoken in front of some of the powerful leaders in the business world, been mentored by top executives, and discussed marketing strategy with Fortune 500 companies.
His work has been featured in prominent national publications. Equipped with a passion around leadership, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy, Miller founded Deciding Edge with the mission of creating a platform for organizations to better understand how to recruit, retain, and sell to Generation Z. As a regular 16-year-old, he enjoys playing basketball, tennis, and spending time with friends and family. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In this episode, I talked with Ken Lundin. Ken is hosting the B2B Sales Summit, which we discussed in the interview. He was gracious enough to collect 28 of the top speakers to supercharge your sales activities by bringing you the whole experience free of charge. No pitches just pure content - it's an irresistible opportunity. Remember, learners are earners so take advantage of this incredible chance to jumpstart your B2B Sales Success. REGISTER NOW.
Here is what you will learn about in my interview with Ken.
For most listeners, their sales year has just kicked off, and for those listeners who are half-way through their sales year, Ken's nuggets of advice apply to you too.
Ken started off by sharing his actionable advice about the steps that salespeople both individual contributors and their managers do to set themselves up for success.
For anyone looking to fill their pipeline with more qualified sales opportunities, Ken shares his thoughts on the top priorities to focus on to get you there.
The sales cycle is often misunderstood, and Ken and I talked about the most misunderstood aspect of the selling process.
Learn what a salesperson or their sales manager can do today to improve their sales in the coming year.
Hear from Ken about why he decided to create The B2B Sales Summit kicking off on February 6, 2018.
Ken told me what surprised him most when interviewing some of the top sales influencers around the world.
Enjoy the interview AND REGISTER NOW for the B2B Sales Summit for FREE!!
Event Dates: February 6, 2018, to February 14, 2018
About Ken Lundin:
Ken made his sales bones by delivering $26,000,000 in contracts in under 9 months and being a part of a management team recognized as 1 of INC 500 Magazine’s fastest growing companies for 3 years in a row driving sales from under #2 million to $77 million in just 4 years. Today, he is a consultant for Span the Chasm, helping deliver sustainable sales growth for companies under $100 million in revenue and the Host of The B2B Sales Summit.
As 2018 kicks off, what is your process for achieving your sales goals? If you don't follow a process, you going to find it tough to meet your sales objectives. And, that's the topic for today's episode with Jim Brown of Salestuners.
Jim and I discussed:
If you don't have your process nailed down, do it now before you find yourself staring at an empty funnel.
Enjoy the interview!
Jim Brown has led two companies from $1 million to more than $10 million, and one from $1 million to $0. He now trains entrepreneurs who don’t realize they’re the VP of Sales and individual salespeople how to 10X their revenue using a step-by-step sales formula.
Previously, Jim’s sales performance led Slingshot SEO from $1.2 million to $11 million in revenue within two years. He was then recruited to Compendium to build and lead the sales function, which he took from $2 million in sales to an eight-figure acquisition by Oracle. After the Oracle acquisition, Jim left the well paying job and comfort of success that he’d known and raised $1 million for a B2C app startup. They had some initial traction but failed to execute the vision. This resulted in a 100% loss for himself and the investors.
Today, Jim hosts the SalesTuners podcast where he talks with world-class sales performers about the techniques, behaviors, and attitudes that listeners can use to close more deals and make more money.