Yesterday one of our sales reps, Julienne (Jules) Colon, attended the UT Dallas Sales Leadership Summit. In this guest post, Jules shares her key takeaways.
I’ve attended many sales conferences over the years, but the Sales Leadership Summit was different. If I could sum it up in just a few words, they would be “top-notch, rich content.” So much so, the event could have spanned three full days.
First off, kudos to Dr. Howard Dover, Director at the Center for Professional Sales for organizing and hosting. The quality of talent coming out of the UTD Professional Sales program is something to be proud of and gives me great confidence for the future of our sales profession.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Make the time for coaching: Rob Jeppsen, CEO of Xvoyant, kicked off the event, setting the stage by reminding us how critical it is to prioritize coaching. While many things get in the way of a sales leaders day-to-day role, finding time to deliver quality coaching and staying true to your coaching process is the best way to serve the people who make up the heart of your team. Looking forward to plugging into his Sales Leadership podcast.
- Tech-enable your team: Kurt Shaver, a digital sales expert, taught us that the wave towards digitally-enabling sales teams is absolutely here and you have to equip them with the technology needed to support growth. If you're not social selling now, you've missed the boat! It reminded me of a recent article I read on AI where it claimed the battle isn’t between sellers and AI, it’s between those sellers that embrace AI to gain a competitive advantage and those that do not.
- Stay authentic and think outside of the spreadsheet: Juliana Stancampiano, another EQ-focused leader gave a "psychological safety" talk where she emphasized that if we continue to only be bottom line and spreadsheet focused, we will destroy the people who make up our teams. How do we stay authentic is a digitized world? Get to know your people and understand their energies. Support them emotionally and be a strong resource. We certainly need more leaders like this as we continue to grow and transform in this digital world.
- Humanize sales challenges through enablement: Scott Santucci challenged us to have the difficult conversations around Sales Enablement. He quoted Forrester sharing, "There is a huge gap in listening and understanding between buyers and sellers,” and talked through the need to humanize the sales process and flip the focus to the customer. Scott is disrupting the way think about sales, and leading the way we should think about sales support.
- The art and science of selling: I loved this session with Spencer Wixom, Director of Sales Enablement & Marketing at Challenger, because it compared each stage of the sales process as an orchestra and shed light on the need to flow and maneuver to the buyer’s style as we move through the sales journey. He addressed buyer's remorse by saying, "The harder it is for a buyer to understand what it is they're buying from us, the greater their chance that they'll have regret buying from us.” We need to make it very simple for buyers to understand what they are buying and give them a good experience in the process by introducing a new idea that they may not have thought of before.
- Reduce the complexity. Quality of activities is key: Too often sales reps are measured based on quantity of sales activities, when outcomes should be the ultimately gauge. This comes up a lot at Olono when we help our customers realize that AI is more than just time savings. It in fact can improve both efficiency and effectiveness when you apply real-time coaching. During lunch, David Brock and Dr. Howard Dover led a Fireside Chat where David spoke candidly about being "pissed off" at the confusing sales complexity that we have created. He believes that quantity over quality is killing the sales profession today and we should slow down to speed up if we really want to be successful in sales. Lots of great wisdom here!
- Put the customer first: Ashley Welch of Somersault Innovation presented on a new and creative way to capture prospects attention. She encouraged the group to move away from mass emails and put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What do they want? How personalized can you make it so they see you're human and want to connect with you? We engaged in an incredible exercise that encouraged "design thinking" which actually reveals customer motives and drives revenue.
- Reinforcement of training is critical to success: Have you heard about Adobe’s World Class Sales Academy? We got a deep dive from Jake Reni and I have to say, it’s one of the most robust programs I’ve seen in a sales organization. I loved this quote, "Without reinforcement, each hour of training material requires 40-50 minutes of relearning." Adobe does a wonderful job providing an "Interactive blended learning environment" where they combine Slack, white boards, Video Certifications, and Interactive Digital Playbooks to reinforce materials.
Congrats again to Dr. Howard Dover and the UT Dallas Sales Leadership program for a wonderful, content-rich event.Connect with Jules on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliennecolon/.