Sales Wolf Blog

What the Best Salespeople Have In Common With Carson Wentz

Posted by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Apr 28, 2016 8:00:00 PM

Today is a proud day for my fellow North Dakotan's and North Dakota State University Alumni (Go Bison!).

Carson Wentz just became the number two 2016 NFL draft pick.

Congratulations to my fellow Bismarck, North Dakota native, Carson Wentz for being drafted to the Philadelphia Eagles!

Carson Wentz has the makings to be not just a fantastic quarterback, but also an epic role model.

As a precursor to reading my article, I highly-recommend checking out Carson Wentz's, "How We Play Football In North Dakota".  In it, he shared essential traits that I believe are essential to winning the game of sales.


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Topics: Sales Culture

The Fourth Challenge With Challenger Selling

Posted by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Apr 19, 2016 8:18:56 PM

If you have not read The Challenger Sale, you need to.

If you have yet to read Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, I highly-recommend you put this powerful sales book on your reading short list. 

For a tight, 15-page summary, download the Best Sales Book Summary from Hubspot.

For an even tighter summary, following is an excerpt from The Challenger Sale book listing:

Based on an exhaustive study of thousands of sales reps across multiple industries and geographies,The Challenger Sale argues that classic relationship building is a losing approach, especially when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions. The authors' study found that every sales rep in the world falls into one of five distinct profiles, and while all of these types of reps can deliver average sales performance, only one-the Challenger- delivers consistently high performance.

Instead of bludgeoning customers with endless facts and features about their company and products, Challengers approach customers with unique insights about how they can save or make money. They tailor their sales message to the customer's specific needs and objectives. Rather than acquiescing to the customer's every demand or objection, they are assertive, pushing back when necessary and taking control of the sale.

The things that make Challengers unique are replicable and teachable to the average sales rep. Once you understand how to identify the Challengers in your organization, you can model their approach and embed it throughout your sales force. The authors explain how almost any average-performing rep, once equipped with the right tools, can successfully reframe customers' expectations and deliver a distinctive purchase experience that drives higher levels of customer loyalty and, ultimately, greater growth.


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Topics: Sales Strategy

Which Is More Important in Sales - Talent or Tenacity?

Posted by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Mar 24, 2016 6:00:00 AM

Bob was my third and worst hire ever.

In 2000 I was responsible for building the sales team for an online learning start-up.

Bob was my third hire. He was a referral from a trusted and respected friend. Bob interviewed well, said all the right things, and had glowing references.

As we grew the business over the first six months, Bob did absolutely everything I asked of him and more. 

Everyone loved Bob.  

There was just one problem. Bob could not sell online training software. He had the same sales training and far, far more coaching than the rest of the sales team. 

Bob had tenacity in spades but lacked talent. He was not credible with key decision-makers.

Unfortunately, I hired Bob before I discovered the power of multi-science sales personality testing. In fact, my failure in hiring Bob is one of the reasons why I began my quest to identify the best sales personality testing available to improve the sales hiring process.

I know you are wondering... If Bob had just hung on a little longer, would he have redeemed himself.The truth is if Bob continued to try to sell online training software for the next 100 years, he would never ever catch those that actually could.  

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Topics: Sales Hiring

Hail Mary Cold Calling Is Dead

Posted by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Mar 1, 2016 5:45:00 PM

"May I speak with the business owner?"

The number on my cell phone screen suggested the call was local. When I answered I was met by a long period of silence. Just as I was about to hang up I heard, "May I speak with the business owner?" 

The call was definitely not local.


I was so gone. The cold caller had no chance to respond. They didn't deserve my time. Every ounce of my being was behind my pointer finger as I immediately hung up.

I thought to myself how sad as a salesperson it must be to have a:

  • Sales job that allows this kind of mindless approach to prospecting.
  • Sales manager who does not care to or does not have the skills to provide better script coaching.

Perhaps I should have allowed the call to continue long enough to ask the caller if they have access to LinkedIn in their country.

I wondered how disappointing a sales manager must feel if they are unable find the kind of salespeople capable of thinking beyond such a futile cold calling script.


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Topics: Sales Culture

The HBR Advice You Need Your Competitors to Follow

Posted by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Feb 4, 2016 9:00:00 PM

Astonishingly mediocre advice.

In their February 1, 2016 article on HBR - Hiring Star Salespeople Isn't the Best Way to Grow, Frank V. Cespedes and Jacco van der Kooj argued:

"You see Pareto’s Principle applied to sales all the time — the top 20% of a sales force produces 80% of a company’s revenues and margins — and it’s applicable in a variety of sectors. In B2B contexts, for example, rep performance in similar territories often varies by 300% between top and bottom quintiles, and in retail stores selling productivity typically varies by a factor of three to four.  So it’s no surprise that a company’s usual response to stalled growth is to hire more stars. 

There are a few problems with the hire-stars approach, however. First, there are only so many stars to go around since everyone is fighting over the same candidates.  Second, even if you do manage to hire stars, their unique skill sets may not be easily portable."

Rather than focus on finding and hiring top sales stars who are few and far between and may not work out anyways, the authors suggest, "If companies want to scale, they need to improve their sales processes.

That, my friends, is mediocre advice. This is sound advice for average companies who accept second place.

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Topics: Sales Hiring

No More Half Measures

Posted by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Jan 27, 2016 12:00:00 PM

I binge-watched the hell out of Breaking Bad.

I stayed up way too late during the Christmas break when I shouldn't have.

Now I am sometimes find myself muttering, "Yo, yo, yo."

It's my colleague Joe's fault. 

Like Joe, I dislike wasting time. I am "that guy" who powers up Netflix and watches one or two episodes of a series and then bails.

Prior to experiencing Breaking Bad, I considered the program to be a knuckle-dragging series about someone selling Meth. I was wrong on so many levels. 

Vince Gilligan is a story-telling genius. Every Breaking Bad character is carefully woven into the story for a purpose. Blink an eye and you will miss something essential. Despite the characters making a drug that destroys so many lives, I found myself rooting for Walt, his family, Jesse, and Mike.

The 32nd episode in particular, "Half Measures", struck a nerve with me.

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Topics: Sales Management

The Ugly Truth: The Real Costs of a Bad Sales Hire

Posted by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Jan 19, 2016 4:00:00 PM

Hiring costs are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Ask most people about what a bad sales hire costs and they immediately fixate on the hiring costs including recruitment, training, and onboarding compensation. 

Most CEOs and those in sales management will quickly spout hiring costs and stop there.

While certainly expensive, for the most part hiring costs are fixed. They are "one and done".

Those who are data-driven understand that a bad sales hire represents far, far more than one-time sunk hiring costs.

A bad sales hire represents a permanently-damaged future revenue stream.

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Topics: Sales Hiring

Your Company Has a Prospecting Problem

Posted by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Jan 14, 2016 4:00:00 PM

How many of your salespeople are really order-takers?

Recently a Client requested sales personality assessment codes to assess sales candidates. In our conversation they shared that they had recently lost a long-term salesperson who left for "greener pastures". He didn't sound particularly upset so I pulled up the departed salesperson's assessment results to see what caliber of sales talent they were. The departing salesperson did them a favor.

I immediately said, "They didn't prospect much did they?"

"Ah. Nope. Sorry to see them go though. They sure knew a lot of people," replied the sales manager.

That is code talk for "They really didn't sell much."

I replied, "But they didn't prospect did they?"

"Not much at all."

If the salesperson wasn't prospecting by adding value to existing Customers and seeking new ones then they were order-taking. Order-takers are sales posers. They look like a real salesperson from a distance. Real salespeople prospect.

Order-takers are very expensive because they soak up a salesperson's base compensation and they miss opportunities to add value to existing and new Customers.

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Topics: Sales Management

The ROI of Hiring Only the Best Salespeople

Posted by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Jan 7, 2016 11:00:00 AM

If you replicated your best salespeople, how much would you increase sales?

Chances are the sales increase would be significant. What are you waiting for?

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? The 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. 

Twenty percent of all salespeople reap eighty percent of all sales results.  

In fact, the top 20th percentile of all salespeople typically outsell a MULTIPLE of that of the rest of the sales team. We often see 20th percentile salespeople produce 10-20 TIMES that of an average salesperson. 


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Topics: Sales Hiring

It's Too Late To Dramatically Improve Sales In 2016

Posted by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Dec 29, 2015 5:15:00 PM

Now is the time to shape 2017.

Unless you have already made significant ongoing improvements to your sales talent, systems, and culture, there is little you can do to measurably move the sales revenue needle for 2016.

The sales "train" has already left the station. 2016 is largely baked in.

What is destined to happen in 2016 was put into motion 12 to 24 months ago.

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Topics: Sales Performance

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