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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Public Sector Sales

Three Reasons why most Great Sales People struggle to Sell to the Government (and what to do about it)

Do you ever wonder why some very good sales people struggle to hack the government sales regardless of how hard they work? There are many causes but, these three account for over 70% of why you missed out on the last opportunity.  The reasons are lack of essential knowledge, lack of critical competencies and wrong mindset on selling to the government.

1.       Lack of Essential Knowledge
Many sales people are ignorant about how public organizations buy. They lack essential knowledge about who buys, what are the buying motivations, the context in which the buying decision are made and the buyer influences involved in the various buying situations. As a consequence majority of sales people seeking to sell to public institutions grope in the dark hoping to hold on something or someone who will help get some form of success. As they do so they miss some obvious opportunities while engaging in wild goose chase of opportunities they are more likely to lose than win.

Knowledge is power is a famous line and those who seek to sell to public institutions should be reciting it every day of their working life.  You should seek knowledge in and about every public institution you would like to sell to.

Once you have gathered this knowledge you should be able to break it into critical knowledge, the good to know and the useless knowledge.

Those who have critical knowledge of a particular sales situation will always beat those who do not.

2.       Lack of Public Sector Competencies
The essential sales competencies that are required in public sector sales are different from the ones required in selling to private firms and the NGOs.  However many sales people assume they are the same. Many of them have never been able to pick out the competencies that make some seemingly mediocre sales people excel in selling to public institutions while they are doing well in the private sector struggle. They imagine that the public sector is a more bureaucratic private institution. It is not!

3.       The Wrong Mindset

There are too many myths about selling to public institutions. As a consequence many sales people are either held hostage by these myths or plan and execute their sales strategy on these myths. One such myth is that the procurement officers and managers are the most important people in public procurement. That is why all sales people seem to spend all their selling time in the organization focusing on the procurement office. While they may experience some low level successes they will continuously miss out on big successes.

If your business sells to public sector then you need to address these causes otherwise, your business will continue to struggle. To learn how you can be more effective in Public Sector Sales plan to attend The Selling to the Government Seminar.

The Selling to Government training is designed to equip you with the essential knowledge, skills and mindset shift so as you can make become proficient in this critical competency  every corporate sales professional need to master.

The course is delivered by experts who fully understand the inner workings of how government institutions buy. They will help you appreciate the written and the unwritten rules of selling to public institutions.

Next course taking place on March 2nd - 3rd at The Nairobi Safari Club. Contact  for more details. Or call 020 8012627/ 0711671843

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Do not be fooled by a Sales Impostor Again

The world is full of sales impostors seeking to fill sales positions. These impostors carry with them experience, education and tales of success to persuade any manager they come across that they are sales super stars. Most managers and business owners have fallen for the smooth talk and trickery of these sales impostors.  

Good Intentions, Bad Choices
Why do these, well intentioned and highly experienced, business leaders end up hiring these sales impostors? There are various reasons which are all tied to the conventional approach to hiring.

The conventional approach depends on resume, interviewing skills of the candidate, past record, employer references and how likability of the candidate. This approach may get you a great candidate but mainly it is inspite of the approach rather than because of the approach.
The general assumptions behind the conventional sales recruitment approach is that a candidates past performance elsewhere will be replicated in your organization. The other assumption is that candidates resume attractiveness is an indicator of the candidates greatness in the game of selling. The third assumption is that if the candidate performs well in an interviewing session they will perform equally well in a sales situation. 

These assumptions have been proven wrong over and over in every industry unfortunately for lack of better alternative many managers and business owners have stuck with the conventional recruitment approach.

From Analogue to Analogue
Those that have decided to do it differently generally opt for the poaching from the competitors approach as well as hiring on basis on references by other parties such as recruitment agencies, friends, customers and suppliers. The main assumption behind this approach is that other people know better than us how to hire great sales people. There have been successes with this approach though in many cases it has been to do with luck rather than the soundness of the approach. Studies have shown that there are minimal differences in the quality of candidates you get between this approach and the conventional hiring approach.

……………. And Finally to Digital  
The hiring approach that we recommend is the strategic recruitment approach, which is the definitive approach for selecting and engaging top sales talent. The basic assumptions of this approach are:
·         No two sales organizations require similar sales talent and therefore you have to be clear on what kind of a salesperson to look for as the starting point

·         Use of scientific and objectives tools to determine a candidates sales aptitude are better than the subjective judgment of the interviewer 

·         Great recruitment goes beyond the interviewing session.

The Strategic Recruitment Approach is the methodology that Growth Partners uses to recruit for its clients. This approach is highly successful with new candidates hired outperforming existing sales people as well as getting sales stars who would rarely make it to an interviewing panel due to inferior resume or lack of industry experience.

This is the approach we would like to offer to you. You can arrange for a presentation session. In the meantime calculate what it costs to make one wrong sales hiring mistake here

Growth Partners Specializes in helping organizations build highly effective sales teams through sales recruitment and sales training services.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Sales Drive

You are doomed in sales if you don’t have this quality.
Sam Kariuki
In recent wedding of a friend, I was asked what one quality that the top 20% sales producers that the rest don’t. As a sales recruiter this is a question that is always top of my mind when sourcing, screening and selecting sales people. To answer this question I need to know the product being sold and the profile of the target customer. These two make the jig saw puzzle that is then completed by the ideal sales person.
But I needed to give the answer to the questioner within the shortest time possible, as we were on the food queue. The answer is Sales Drive. In the next few minutes I added the following few points regarding sales drive.

Sales drive is a blend of desire to win, initiative to get things started, discipline to follow through a task to completion and belief that positive results are more likely than not. When these traits come together you have a sales person who cannot be easily defeated. You have a man or woman who is only satisfied with winning. 

Many people can fake sales drive even in the most rigorous interview session and those who may impress might be highly deficient in it. Some of those who don’t appear to have it might be loaded with it. Why? Because sales drive can be best be seen in the results it delivers rather than being explained or described in an oral interview.

Some people confuse extroversion with drive. Extroverted people can have the drive but being extroverted doesn’t mean you have it. There are many people who introverts and have a lot of sales drive.

There are managers who think that older people or those with long work experience have more drive than the young and inexperienced. While experience may help refine certain job competencies it does not necessarily improve sales drive- the opposite could be the truth.

How do you tell whether a person has the drive? There is one way checking out the person results over time or using various psychometric tools that are designed to measure the drive.
Our conversation abruptly cut short and I look forward to catching up with the questioner soon to talk more about how we go about measuring the drive.

Growth Partners offers Sales Psychometric Testing solutions. Our most popular tools are Sales Aptitude Test and Sales Personality Profiling Test. Email for details.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Great Leaders, Ineffective Managers Syndrome

By Sam Kariuki

As a trainer I come across a lot of discussion trying to distinguish Leadership from Management. I
have read many books that focus on this subject. If you listen to a lot of talk over and over again you are likely to conclude management is evil, leadership is holy; management is useless, leadership is everything; management is common, leadership is rare; management is about efficiency, leadership is about effectiveness; our problems are leadership issues, not management problems, management is boring, leadership is cool. I have a contrarian view.

Leadership and management are two key organs of the same animal- Whether you call it manager or leader is up to you.

 You can call leadership liver and management the heart. Leadership the head and management the hands. Leadership the eyes, management the legs. Leadership the brain, management the lungs. When you have this view then you will see it is ridiculous to talk of one as being more important than the other. Idolizing leadership and demonizing management.

Based on my interactions with many organizations as a strategist, consultant and trainer I have found as much failure in leadership as in management. In fact, most problems that hurt organizations today in Kenya are management problems – not leadership problems.

Effective management get things done the right way to deliver the right quality and quantity of results. It is about making the right decisions, prioritizing initiatives and getting the highest results from available resources.

The pattern I have seen among the SME's having an turnover of over Kshs 50Million is a business having a highly entrepreneurial leader with great people skills and great vision on where the organization is supposed to be.However this entrepreneur struggles to execute this vision. This is due to her ineffective management skills or lack of people in the organization with these skills.

Many so called managers in SME's are super employees. Loyal and great performers in their own right. People of good intentions and honest in their actions. But highly incompetent as managers. While a position and title is essential the skills to perform as an effective  manager cannot be acquired together with the title. Having people report to you doesn’t mean you are effective manager. Being a manager is not a reward for good performance. It is an important responsibility to get the right things done the right way.

The appreciation of your role as a manager and the know-how to execute on each of these roles is an art that one needs to learn and master. It is a journey laden with ups and downs. It is a commitment that has a price.  You could have been born a leader but you cannot be born a manager. You have to learn how to be one.

To be a great leader you need to be a great manager or you need to surround yourself with great managers. You need to be conscious of the fact that you are a leader manager or manger leader. You need to be aware of the fact that being great on one doesn’t compensate weakness in another.
My last word is beware of the great leader, an ineffective manager syndrome that is hindering so many businesses from realizing their full potential.