Getting The Most Out of Your Sales Team

It’s not just one department in your company that defines whether it’s going to be successful or not. Everyone plays a role. If all of your employees are working at full capacity, then the business is going to do well! However, it’s also true that not all areas of your business have equal weight. It’s much better for the sales team to be performing at their peak capacity, rather than the HR team. If your sales staff are delivering the goods, the company can afford some blows in other departments. As such, you’ll want to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your sales team, that they have everything they need to perform well. But how do you do this? We take a look at some tried and tested tips below.

Source: Pexels.com

Assemble The Right Team

It all begins with your hiring process. If you’ve taken the time to develop a process that brings in the best candidates, and weeds out the duds at the earliest opportunity, then you’ll find that everything becomes much easier. When it comes to hiring employees, be sure to know what you’re looking for. It’s not just about their background or resume; it’s about how they fit in with your overall company culture. You’ll get a feel for this side of the potential employee by chatting, not their resume. If you do this with all of your hires, you’ll have a team who can work as individuals and together.

Train Well

It’s important to remember, however, that simply hiring a talented employee isn’t enough. You need to make sure you’re training them well. Don’t think of your hire as the finished article; they’re not. Instead, they’re simply potential. They’ll have all the ingredients that are needed to do great things for your business, but you’re the one who needs to water those seeds. Give them all the information they need about the company, the best practices, and so on — and make it an ongoing process, too. Even a superstar employee can make more sales if they’re taught how!

Strong Leaders

Every team needs a captain. Take a look back at the greatest sports teams in history, and you’ll notice something — while they all had talented individuals, there was one standout star, the captain, the leader, who propelled the team forward. If your team is going to deliver their best, then there needs to be a manager who is excellent at their job. This will be a manager who has done the job before, is approachable, can offer advice, and — perhaps most importantly — works just as hard as anyone on the team. It’ll be much better for everything to come together if there’s a leader at the front of the pack, keeping everyone on course.

The Right Tools

You want your sales staff to be in the business of doing only one thing — selling. Your staff wants that too! Alas, all too often, they’re spending their time doing things that, when it comes to sales, simply waste time. They’re looking for contacts, or filling in data, or waiting around for prospects to get back to them. This isn’t what you hired them to do, and it’s not they want to do, either. As such, it’s important that you’re providing them with the tools they need to get on with their job, such as the Spiro sales automation CRM. If you provide the right frameworks and structures for your team, they’ll be off the leash, not tied to annoying, time-consuming tasks.

Acknowledge and Reward

It’s a rare person who is truly self-motivated. Indeed, it’s these people who usually set up their own company. For everyone else, it’s important that you find something to inspire and motivate. This can involve recognizing them within the company for a job well done, to rewarding them with gifts and other bonuses. A team that feels valued is going to carry on doing their best for your business — don’t take their hard work for granted!

Treat as Individuals

Your sales team aren’t just a collection of your sales employees. They’re also individuals. As such, it’s important that you’re treating your employees as not only a member of the team, but as their own person, too. Taking some time to get to know them on a personal basis can only lead to good things, especially as it opens up the door for better communication. If they’ve got an issue, they’ll be more likely to come to your door and share it, if you’ve already developed some rapport.

Using The Right Safety Devices For Your Manufacturing Facility

Manufacturing is the part where your ideas come to life. Your business success hinges on the fact that everything runs smoothly in your facility. This of course should also include making sure that you are not polluting and sticking to the various environmental safety guidelines and laws. The thing is, if you do become negligent whether on purpose or by accident, the authorities can actually stop production until you have fixed the problem improper safety devices. So it’s in your interest to make sure that your facility has all the right practical means to achieve this. Usually however, where the best prevention techniques are put in place you will need the best devices. Proper practice goes hand in hand with state of the art devices.

Safety doors or fire exit doors are needed in every manufacturing facility. This is enforced by the law as safety inspectors will first come and see the exit doors for themselves in order to approve production. Using modern safety doors, you can monitor when and who uses them using modern CCTV and video capture. The sensors on the doors can also detect when their handles are pressed. Nobody should be playing around with the door, or using it as shortcut. It’s wise to hook your alarm system to the exit door system. This is so that when the building needs to be cleared, the managers can activate the alarm while opening and holding the door open for everyone to get out safely.

A cold waste

If your business is in a colder climate such as in Canada, Alaska or Greenland for example, you environmental pollution safety has to be changed. The colder climate makes liquids freeze or stick together, making it difficult to differentiate what is safe and what isn’t. Using Stainless Steel Extended Valves for an oil and water separator, whatever kind of waste you’re pumping out of the facility will catch the oil molecules. Waste water is often created by the use of tools, which need gas to run. However water is often used for cooling purposes so the two can get mixed together. When leaving the facility the oil should be separated so as to not pollute the water.

Fire detectors

In a manufacturing facility, it’s very common for all kinds of gases to be in the air. Steam is very common as tool and indeed products are heated and then cooled. However, smoke is also normal sometimes such as during welding. This is to be expected but fires are not. A modern fire detecting system can determine all three and only go off when flame is detected in the air. They also cannot be fooled so easily such as putting a lit match in front of the sensor. They can also be hooked to a sprinkler system if you wish.

Manufacturing is incredibly complex but exciting. You will be dealing with a lot of hazards along the way. Making sure you are adhering to a oil pollution prevention scheme is paramount to obeying the law. However, proper exit doors are also something to take seriously for everyone’s safety.

Great Teams Created Here

When you’ve reached capacity in your daily workload, you know it’s time to start the recruitment process but as a solopreneur this is brand new territory. How can you make sure that the hires you make are going to work out and not leave you stuck with employees that fall far short of the mark?

Here we take a look at what you can do to create a team that ticks every box and helps take your business from a one-person effort to a fully-fledged empire.

Review your own job

What is it that you’re doing that you need to drop and have someone else pick up? What are you concentrating on that takes you away from your core goals? Whether that’s too many admin tasks, managing stock or keeping track of your accounts, the time you spend on them is taking you away from generating sales and leads through your marketing plan.

Once you’ve decided what you need to hand over, it’s time to create a job specification. You may find that one job role isn’t going to cut it and instead you need to hire in several people to make this really work. It’s a big decision, when previously you’ve only ever worked for yourself and can feel a little daunting. After all, being responsible for other staff was not something you’d factored in when you set up on your own.

However, a growing business is a healthy business so this need for extra staff is a good sign in the long run.

Image from Pixabay

Job specification

Not really much more than a list of tasks that you expect your hire to carry out but make them as specific as possible. Rather than just admin tasks, think what that person will be doing day-to-day. If chasing up and generating invoices is part of that, make it clear. The more specific you are, the more chance you have of finding someone who has those specific skills.

Then you’ll need to think about the kind of person you want in the role. How much experience and education do they need as a minimum to work for you? What soft skills should they bring to the table? You might be looking for someone who can communicate specifically with clients or someone who can organise your other team members, either way make this clear in your online advertisement.

The interviewing process

This can be just as daunting for the interviewer as the interviewee, but don’t let that put you off. You will find your candidates are a little nervous but that’s fine. Your role is not only to find out as much about them as possible but also to see how they perform under pressure.

As a rule of thumb, for every skill you’ve advertised tease out from your candidate an example of a  time when they’ve used that skill and what outcomes it produced. Everything else, including their ability to do the day to day tasks you specified, should be clear in their resume.

Whether you’re a Truck Accident Lawyer or a clothes designer, you need to have staff around you who you gel with. Listen to your instinct when interviewing people. If you find it hard to communicate and connect with one of your interviewees, try and figure out why. Great qualifications don’t necessarily mean they’re the right fit so keep an open mind during the interview process.

Finally, when you’ve made your decision bring your candidate back in to discuss and negotiate salary and any other benefits you might be offering.  Until that contract is signed, the ball is very much in your court so if you do have a change of heart it’s not too late.

Work a six-month probationary period into the contract giving both parties the option of walking away after the period with no hard feelings or complicated legal mechanisms.

Working for yourself means you take on the role of so many other jobs in your organisation as well as the job you originally planned on doing day-to-day.

It’s not easy to create a team but when you do find that winning formula of a hard-working team who you get along well with and who support your goals and objectives, you’ve struck gold.

Take your time in the recruitment process. Getting it wrong can mean a frustrating and fruitless six months spent trying to figure out why it’s not working and what you can do about it. Find your people and your business will go from walking to soaring.

Business Shortcuts to Make Life Easier

Picture link

As a business owner, you have many plates that you need to keep spinning. It’s incredibly difficult- you work long hours and put in all the effort you have to make things a success. Finding ways to take shortcuts without compromising on quality is essential for getting things done quickly and efficiently, and can also stop you from burning out from taking on too much. Here are some ideas for going about it.

Hire an accountant

In the beginning, you might have sorted your accounting yourself with the help of some software. When your company is smaller, it’s fairly simple to be able to keep track of things fill in forms for tax and provide the right information. However, the bigger you get the more complex it becomes. You have more expenses that you want to claim back, there are different rules for VAT, more employees to pay and much more. Hire a professional accounting firm like https://www.qdosaccounting.com/ to do the job for you, it’s something you need to get right since there are so many legal implications in getting your business finances wrong.

Utilise freelancers for blog content

In business there are so many different areas to keep running and get right, it’s easy to overlook seemingly smaller jobs like a business blog. However, when it comes to blogging for business there are so many benefits that you simply can’t afford to miss out on. Integrating a blog onto your website can improve search rankings and domain authority, not to mention makes you look more trustworthy as a brand. It’s another way to market and promote yourself, and can help you to stand out from your competitors. However, creating relevant, interesting and informative content can take time. One way to get around this is to hire a blogger or content writer to create it for you. They will be experienced and know what your audience is looking for, and how to add the best keywords so your content will rank as high as possible when people are searching for businesses like yours. You don’t have to hire another employee, or ask any your existing employees to take on the role. Take a shortcut and hire a freelancer, there are plenty of talented individuals on freelancing sites ready to get started

Have bespoke software created

Business software is no longer a shortcut, but absolutely essential if you want success. Old, manual methods are out- since all of your competitors will be using business software, you need to as well to be able to keep up. However, you can go one step further and actually have software custom designed for your business. It allows all departments to link together seamlessly, and while the initial costs will be expensive it can save you time and money overall. Good software enables you to completely automate some areas of your business saving you labour costs and making everything as efficient as possible. If you’ve been in business for a while and are noticing issues with the different softwares you use, approach a software engineer and have them create something custom for you.

Is Your Business Safe?

It’s National Ladder Safety Month which makes it a very appropriate time to talk about safety at work. Some companies are really aware of this and make health and safety a big priority. But to everybody does. And sometimes, that can just be down to a lack of knowledge. Yet keeping your business safe and secure is important if you want it to keep running. So let’s take a look at the key areas you need to cover off when working on health and safety.

1. Premises Security

The very first area that you’re going to want to cover off is the physical security of your office or business space. So, do you have locks n place? Are you keeping your equipment safe? It may even be the case that you need to get CCTV as a backup too.

2. Online Security

In this day and age, every business should be aware of online security. Hackers and fraudsters are everywhere and always looking for an opportunity to encroach on your business. So make sure that you have firewalls in place and maybe even an IT team to look after your interests too.

3. Physical Safety

And, of course, there’s then also the physical safety of people in your business too. Now, this could be down to manual handling and maneuvering with ladders, as covered off in the infographic below. But it’s to just that. You’ll want to have a health and safety policy in place even if you’re in an office with no obvious risks, just to keep your company and its staff protected.


Infographic Design By Ceiling Outfitters

Why I get people to write their own letters of reference

If you’ve subscribed or followed my blogs, you know by now about my concept of antimimeticisomorphism – Doing out-of-the-ordinary things to create extra-ordinary results with the least amount of effort and lowest cost.

Early in my career, a mentor got me to write my own letter of reference. He explained that as the requestor and benefactor, it was up to me to do the “heavy lifting”. I was quite taken aback, but what he said next made a lot of sense. Since he hired and worked with a lot of people, if he acquiesced to all the people who made the request, he would spend dozens and maybe even hundreds of hours a year… Doing people “a favour”.

Instead, he cut back the letters to +/- half and spent that time saved to edit and personalise the ones that were submitted to him to a much greater level of detail and relevance.

I have followed this wise approach in my 30+ year-long career realising that there are other benefits. First, I too have found half of the people won’t come back with a letter to be edited. Second, their self-perception of what they think they did can be quite shockingly distorted or pleasantly insightful and revealing. In the former instance, it can be quite awkward (but necessary) to make the edits and in the former I can further highlight those elements that I would otherwise not have considered.

Letters of reference are not worth much since we all know we get them from people who like and appreciate what we did for or with them. There is some credence to accumulating them in large numbers since the volume of positive references is, by itself testimony to excellence and consistency. Someone who can convince 10, 20 or 30 people to provide a letter of reference has to be better than one who cannot or has not had the initiative or forethought to do so.

Of course, when the first draft comes to you, it’s your responsibility to edit it, re-write and edit it in your own voice and style – ensuring it is both accurate and representative of the person you are attaching to your name and reputation.

Yes, sometimes I have refused to write a letter – even for someone who did an “OK” job because for me, “OK” is not good enough for me to associate myself with that person.

One last comment worthy to note – some people will take offence to this approach. You need to “own this approach” to overcome that response. My view is anyone who takes offence has made that choice and as such doesn’t understand what I have explained above. Explaining why is absolutely necessary.

What is also necessary is to no accept the guilt trip many people will try to bestow on you. The most common comments include:

  • “But I worked for you for X years and it’s the least you could do.”
  • “It will only take you 10 minutes…”
  • “Everyone else I asked did it for me, why won’t you?”
  • “I wouldn’t know where to start and I am not comfortable blowing my one trumpet.”
  • “You know me better than I know myself and you’re written more references letters than I have.”
Admittedly, sticking to this “principle” is not easy – but I believe it’s necessary if you want to elevate your relationships to a higher level of character and integrity – especially in this superficial world of false friendships and the proliferation of fake “testimonials and reviews”.
Of course I match the person’s contribution with my own. I once had someone submit a one-liner, which I edited and sent back as a one-liner…!
As a referrer, you’re either part of the problem (perpetuating it with a quick, worthless letter) or part of the solution with a well-developed and meaningful assessment that transcends the standard letter of reference. Something the reader will acknowledge is “different”.
But please let be known, I am biased. I have seen the differences in my 30+ year career. The longest letters I created were for people who are still friends or acquaintances and anecdotally they’ve been considerably more ‘successful’ in their careers. Part of it might be their flexibility to adapt to new situations and circumstances, like this one.

Are There Advantages of Hiring Freelancers and Contractors over Full Time Employees?

More than ever today’s workforce is shifting away from the standard nine to five and becoming much more flexible. Through the use of the internet it has made many more businesses more easily become global, as they can work with people all around the world at the touch of a button. And as a result, it makes it easier than ever to save month through the people that you work with, as you don’t have to have as many full-time employees when you can hire contractors or freelancers to work there for you. Basically, if your business needs experts but it is lacking the resources required for a full-time employee, freelancers and contractors could be your way to go.

So with all of that in mind, here are some of the reasons why it makes great sense to use freelancers and contractors over full-time employees. Have you ever thought about this for your business before? It would be great to hear what you think.

Image from Pixabay, under creative commons license

Affordability

When you have an employee there can be a lot of associated costs, such as health insurance or a pension perhaps. Not to mention paid holiday and so on. A freelancer doesn’t need any of that kind of thing. If they are working from home they won’t have a lot of overhead costs, so their rate can be low in comparison, saving the business quite a bit of money.

Experts

When you have your own business you do play a lot of roles, and in some of them, you may not have much experience or expertise. But when you use a freelancer, whether that be a freelance accountant or roofing contractors for a client’s building project, it means that you get the people that know exactly how to do the thing you need, rather than you trying to muddle through and waste time. They know what to do and can be quite quick about doing it too, which is another selling point.

Flexibility

Because a freelancer or contractor doesn’t work the traditional hours that you might think, it means that they can work at all different times. If you need someone to be posting on your social media at certain times of the day or when something like the Superbowl is happening, out of traditional office hours, a freelancer can be the person that is able to do that. Plus, as they can work flexibly it means that they are more likely to meet deadlines as they can set their own hours and work through the night if need be, to get it done.

Innovation

As you are hiring experts in their field, they may come at a project or task from a completely different angle to you. They could offer new insight and innovation on how to get things done that you might not have thought about before. So it can be a great way to get new ideas; they want to impress you, and jaded employees can sometimes just do the bare minimum to get a job done.

What Is The Modern Way To MultiTask?

Image from Unsplash

During the working day, we battle with frequent interruptions, competing priorities, clashing deadlines and unexpected requests. Being able to deep dive and give all our undivided attention to one task is rare. So, despite a growing trend within business management towards monotasking, the reality is that most of us have to get good at juggling multiple things – and this is why a question about how you handle multi-tasking is pretty much a standard on most job interviews. However, there is definitely a difference between working effectively with a split focus and doing badly on multiple tasks. What is the best way to multi-task well? Could it be connected to that old truism about working harder, not smarter?

Plan Out Your Split Focus

Working on two or more things may be unavoidable, but you should at least plan out what those two things are going to be. Some tasks sit together easier than others – for example, you may be able to do some light admin like checking an expense report while on a conference call, but anything which requires more concentration is unlikely to go well. Take a moment to consider what tasks are on your to-do list and what will be compatible, then pair them up ahead of time instead of randomly working on different things.

Use Technology Effectively

Using technology can give a real boost to your efforts. Using a split screen app can help you to focus on two documents at the same time, or a document and a Web browser, for instance. Tools like Gmail CRM mean you don’t need to waste time hunting for contact details, can follow up on leads straight from your inbox and can project manage and collaborate with colleagues and reports easily without exiting the app. In addition, your smartphone can work a lot harder for you. Download SlideControl and you can switch apps, take shortcuts to your contacts and create custom one-swipe side bars with categories and launch them with a single gesture – or pair apps together to run simultaneously in a single split screen.

Keep On Top Of What Needs To Be Done

If you work in a busy environment with a lot going on, it’s all too easy for tasks to slip through the cracks. Avoid this happening by investing time in creating effective systems to process your work flow effectively. In these types of set ups, work tends to be mostly reactive and driven by the environment, rather than being internally driven. This means that whichever project or client shouts the loudest gets the most attention, and is not an effective long-term strategy. Combat this by working through a prioritisation matrix to ensure that each task occurs in the correct order – while still allowing time for a certain amount of unavoidable reactive work as well. Keep your to do list for each day well in sight to ensure that you don’t neglect things accidentally.

Use Quieter Periods To Process New Information

The main problem with continuous multitasking is that it can interfere with your ability to effectively process new information – and in a leadership position that is a real risk. The process of acquiring new information simply doesn’t sit will with multiple other tasks. You may often find that you get to the end of a meeting where you’ve been multi-tasking, only to find you can recall the name of that new client or what the solution decided on for a particular issue was! Deal with that by making sure you have quieter periods in the workday where you can take in new information without distraction. Read any new documents and do something to process the information – either summarising it in a memo or communicating it onto others works well to help you properly take in the information. This means you can use the rest of your working time to multitask without compromising your ability to solidify new incoming information.

Be Ruthless About Distractions

You may be trying to cover off multiple projects, but one thing you really don’t want to contend with is yet more distractions coming in. So become ruthless about getting rid of interruptions. This can be especially hard if you directly manage people, who will naturally want to come to you with queries about the things they’re working on. Set up a regular time where you have an open desk policy, even just an hour a day, and then make it clear that you won’t be able to be interrupted outside of that time. Likewise, try to batch process your emails rather than jumping to them everytime a new notification shows up on screen. Protect your time by rooting out unnecessary meetings as well – consider if you really need to be there or whether you could delegate and request a precis from whoever attends in your place- this can also be a great opportunity for others to stretch themselves and be exposed to higher level projects, so it can also be used to fulfill some staff development goals at the same time.

Get Your Outsourcing Right From The Start

Image

For many businesses around the world, outsourcing is a necessary and essential part of doing things right. In fact, the vast majority of businesses today will not be able to do very well without some kind of outsourcing or other, and this is something that is worth bearing in mind if you have a business of your own. There are many things that you might need to consider if you are going to outsource successfully, and it is absolutely something that you will need to think about as long and hard as you can in order to make sure that your outsourcing is going to be as successful as possible and provide for your business exactly what it needs. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways to make sure that you can get your outsourcing right from the very start.

What To Outsource

One of the first and hardest questions to be able to answer here is what you will actually want or need to outsource. You don’t want to just outsource randomly, neither do you want to overdo it, so it is vital to make sure that you have a clear understanding of why outsourcing is often necessary and therefore when you should use it appropriately. Generally, you will want to outsource anything which you don’t have the resources for, and which you probably never will, and anything which requires a particular skill which you and your colleagues don’t have. That is why marketing and IT are often outsourced, and those are two areas which you will almost certainly be outsourcing as well.

Procurement

In business terms, the act of procurement is simply the actual process of obtaining the services from the outsourced firm which you need. This process must be done in a manner which is as beneficial for your business as possible, and so that you know you are getting your money’s worth at all times too. Most businesses will find that they need a little help with this, which might come in the form of something like servicenow procurement or might be a matter of seeking professional advice elsewhere. Just make sure that you know how to procure and that you are doing it to the best of your ability from the word go.

When To Outsource

Finally, just as it is important to have a strong understanding of what to outsourcing, so too should you be able to say when it is wise to outsource and when it is not. That means knowing the difference between placing the work in the hands of more capable people at a time when you need the extra resources, and simply shuffling over anything that you don’t want to deal with at present. The sooner you manage to understand the difference here, the easier you will find it to know when to outsource and when to do the work in-house. This is just as important as knowing what to outsource, so make sure you look into it as soon as you can.

Incredible Benefits Of Being An Entitled Employee

Image

Bosses like to trash entitled employees because they’re hard to handle. It’s true that one small thing can set you off and lead to a showdown. And, you’ve got no problem with this because you like to stand up for yourself and others. Employers, on the other hand, prefer it when workers lie down and roll over. It makes their life as the leader a whole lot less stressful.

Don’t let managers and people in charge bully you into thinking being entitled is a bad thing. For one thing, it ensures you never take any BS off anyone. Here are four more reasons it’s an incredible trait to own.

You Always Get Paid

Employers aren’t one-hundred percent truthful one-hundred percent of the time. Some will take a mile if you give them an inch, and that often means you lose out financially. Even something as working overtime without being correctly compensated is a problem. While the majority of workers don’t want to rock the boat, you’re happy to raise your concerns. And, if you need to hire Turley Law Firm’s legal services to prove a point, you will. By putting pressure on the firm, it should result in them stumping up the cash. Plus, it will result in tighter rules and regulations in the future.

You Shoot For The Stars

Baby boomers were and are not like millennials and the Generation X types. They were happy with a middle managers position at General Motors or IBM. You are different because you don’t want to spend your life working for somebody else. As a result, shooting for the stars isn’t a pipedream; it’s a reality. Thanks to people like Zuckerberg and Spiegel, not to mention advancements in tech, you take risks to climb the career ladder. One day, it will mean you’re the boss and not an employee.

Image

You Learn

A direct knock-on effect of gambling is failing. Because it isn’t a sure thing, there’s a good chance it won’t work out in the beginning. But, entitled employees don’t care as they are happy to make mistakes. Like Thomas Edison famously wrote: “I have not failed – I’ve found 10,000 that won’t work.” Getting back up again after you fall is the only way to succeed as it’s a learning curve. Those that play it safe only learn one thing – how to stay out of harm’s way for their entire career.

You Don’t Value Loyalty

Although this sounds like a bad trait, it’s a positive from a worker’s viewpoint. For decades, businesses have used the idea of loyalty to prevent people from leaving. All the while, they were happy to terminate contracts when it helped their cause. Entitled employees understand the dynamic and are glad to trade blows. Fairy God Boss has a statistic that’s telling: almost 33% of young people leave their job early. Those who follow the same course get to use roles as stepping stones to better positions to improve their career chances.

As you can see, being entitled is a no-brainer from a worker’s perspective.