Fred Kessler, Founder of Sales Partnerships, Inc., is Chair of the final judging committee for the Sales Department Awards categories of the 2013 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (Finalists of the sales awards, contact center awards, and customer service awards will be notified on January 23 and winners of the 2013 edition will be announced at an awards banquet at Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on February 25, 2013. You can purchase tickets for the awards gala here.)
As the founder of a company specializing in sales outsourcing solutions, what top 3 tips would you give to organizations wanting to improve their sales?
- The “little numbers” create the big numbers. If you wait until after a quota period to react to sales performance, you will lose almost half of your opportunity to increase sales. Even when you team is above target, there is a temptation to assume everything is optimal when it likely isn’t. Review the stats that are key performance indicators for the creation of new deals and act on that data since it will ultimately generate your success or failure.
- Big personalities don’t equal sales. Research shows extraverts have no higher likelihood to succeed in sales than the average sales representative. The problem is, they are often the most promoted and well recognized. Assess new candidates based on what they have achieved historically that is analogous to your environment; and whether they have the ability to solve problems you present them with in real time.
- Check your ego. You may have designed the sales process you are currently using, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right one. Get trusted, independent advisors to review your data and ideas. Look at your sales force from an outside perspective, then ask: “Is this the right direction for us?”
What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
Daniel Pink’s new work on selling, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, uses data akin to those Rackham used a decade ago. It’s one of the first new looks at sales using metrics and data in a long time. It’s creating a buzz for good reason.
What is your favorite business app?
Google News and its variants.
If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
Teaching business courses. Less than 60 U.S. universities offer classes in sales, and of them, only about a dozen even offer a minor in sales. In the real world, however, it’s sales that determine the fate of a company—and it’s often the best incubator for future company leaders.
As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
What inspires me is helping our teams and individuals hit new records in overall sales. It’s exhilarating to see someone break a sales record or set a new bar for the team or the industry. Every day I ask: What am I doing to help our teams get ahead?
About Fred Kessler
Fred Kessler founded Sales Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) in 1997, with the addition of co-equity owner Aaron Kullman as VP of Operations early in 1998. The focus of the company was to change how the market sold products and services, and to create an environment for sales reps that showed respect and honor for what they did. Kessler built a company not only to help its clients but also to build the skill-sets of his own personnel and to give them better lives.
Kessler has been recognized as an innovator and pioneer in changing how the business of sales is done, both In his role as President of SPI and in his overall career in sales and sales management. He is a regular speaker at Industry events ranging from sales metrics through buyer motivation, and at Inc. Magazine’s Growth Conferences
About Sales Partnerships, Inc.:
Sales Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) employs over 100 sales representatives in 7 U.S. cities. The company aims to help its personnel succeed by investing in training and development in order for them to mature into the most talented individuals they can be. SPI leverages this focus on internal development to provide best-of-breed services for its clients.