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Would You Like to Be a Top Performing Organization?

“You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself” – Harvey S. Firestone

 Great Place to Work recently announced the 2016-2017 list for the UAE. Their study recognized and celebrated organizations which succeed in providing outstanding workplace cultures for their employees.
Global market leader DHL secured the number one position in the study or the fourth year running as the top company to work for in the UAE. DHL were once again commended for the nurturing, inclusive working environment they provide for staff members. Employee satisfaction is at the forefront of their business practices and they centre their attention around what their staff members have to say. This gives them the opportunity to vocalize positive and negative opinions and creates a fun and friendly atmosphere. Top companies like DHL acknowledge that nurturing those you employ leads to organizational success.

We spend most of our days working, a reality workers are increasingly internalizing and acknowledging in their lives. Thus, they want to feel valued and feel part of something they invest an immense amount of hours in, otherwise their motivation and engagement levels drastically fall. If an employee has a lack of interest in their role or their company, it will have impact on the productivity and output. How does one prevent this from happening and ensure staff members remain happy you may ask? Easy. You create an environment where they feel appreciated and enjoy their time. After all, if you do the best for your employees they will do their best for you. It works both ways!

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Image Courtesy of AZ Quotes

As a leader, you must ensure that you make your team members feel part of something. Our personal and professional lives and mindsets are so closely intertwined – if you are doing well at work, it has a positive impact on your self-esteem. Therefore, as a leader it is your responsibility to help your team progress in their careers and, overall, better themselves.

Implementing training and development programs are recognized for the heightened levels of success they bring to companies.

By advancing the skills and abilities of staff members, team leaders witness the transformation of their people and performance levels. If employees know that you are investing money and time into helping them improve, they will acknowledge that the company has interest in them and such nurturing will enhance how they work for you. Ultimately, it strengthens what they get out of work! In adopting a quality work-culture, and provide engaging opportunities for your employees, their performances will soar: a profitable transaction.

Investing in rewarding learning and development initiatives could see you up there with DHL, and companies alike, next year.

If you would like to discuss learning and development or require help with any business improvement initiatives, please do get in contact!

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Do You Want to Improve Your Sales and Service Performance?

01. Email Signature - Take the Sales and Service Study

Matt, you recently attended Miller Heiman Group’s 2017 ACTIVATE Global Sales Conference. How was it?

It was great! Being in California in February helped – the weather was lovely, but more importantly we got to see how the group is developing. We’ve come an awful long way in the last couple of years but for the first time I could really see how the five separate brands that came together now operate as a combined sales and service performance development organisations. What we can now offer, above and beyond our AchieveGlobal sales and service training, is actually quite astonishing.

What specifically did you learn?

Well, most of the two days were taken up with going through an internal training programme that taught us how we could utilise the wealth of data that our organisation now has on sales and sales performance, to help our customers become world-class sales organisations themselves.

Was there a keynote you found to be particularly interesting and relevant to AchieveGlobal Middle East?

The keynotes were fascinating and we heard from speakers as diverse as a behavioural scientist and a female fighter pilot, but I found the sessions that demonstrated – actually, proved – what even marginal improvements in sales can do to top and bottom lines the most interesting.

Data is vital in making insightful decisions. Did any of the speakers reflect on the current ways we now collect data and how organisations can better utilise it to improve their performance?

I noted down the well-known W Edwards Deming quote, where he said “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion”. I’ve known about CSO Insights – our research arm – since the group came together but I think it took until this conference for me to realise just what a powerful resource this can be; for my customers as well as me.

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Could you elaborate a bit more on CSO Insights?

Sure. CSO Insights is a Miller Heiman Group company that focuses on providing quality research so that our customers can make better, more informed decisions. Their benchmarking and advisory services can help improve recruiting and hiring, territory management, sales call management and any other area of sales and service where you need something more sophisticated than guesswork!

As CEO of our company, could you give one reason as to why sales professionals should take part in the study and briefly explain what they will gain?

Well, there are a few studies, but the main one is the Sales Best Practices Study. This study, like any other piece of research, relies on quality, up to date data and all of us across the group accept the shared responsibility to encourage as wide a participation in the study as possible. The more people involved, the more reliable the data and the better we’d be able to slice that data by region or industry if that’s what a particular client needed.

Where can our readers access and participate in the World-Class Sales and Service Practice Study?

They can access it online via this link: JOIN THE STUDY

And as a thank-you for completing the study, they can immediately download CSO Insights’ 2016 Sales Enablement Optimization Report. They will also get first-access to findings from the current research as well as exclusive invitations to previews of the results.

Responses will be held in confidence and will be used only to produce aggregated summaries that will not identify any individual or their company.

An Unparalleled Suite of Solutions

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With AchieveGlobal now housed within the Miller Heiman Group we are more and more able to offer separate insight and expertise in the areas of Sales & Service and Leadership & Management. The above diagram is a taste of what we can offer in terms of sales and service and we are similarly realigning our leadership and management offer too.

B2B selling has undoubtedly changed and evolved over the years, as has customer culture and activity. Customers carry out their own research, informing themselves on your products and services before they have even spoken to a sales professional. They know what they want and who has what to offer. All with the click of a mouse.

Leading and managing against this background is also becoming more demanding, requiring the highest levels of leadership ability and an ability to drive performance from a diverse range of people and teams.

This can be daunting for organizations. Especially when levels of competition are constantly and rapidly increasing, within every market.

Fortunately, these are all things we can help you with! Drawing on our separate brands of AchieveGlobal and Miller Heiman, we will make your organization stand out amongst the rest.

We will feature much more of the detail around all of this in future posts, but please do reach out to us directly if you have any immediate questions.

Training and Development: Strengthen your Service

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Image Courtesy of Google Images & Hok.com

When I first started to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia about six years ago, it was common place to be stuck at passport control / immigration in Jeddah, Riyadh or Dammam for as long as four hours (two on a good day), and when you tend to arrive on a flight after 10pm, that really didn’t set you up for the next day of client meetings.

Other than the seemingly endless queues, a traveller had to contend with staff at the airport who did little to ingratiate themselves, and generally made entry into the Kingdom a challenging experience.

Over the last 18 months I’ve seen huge changes in the attitude of the team at the airports of entry and the immigration clearing process. On my flight in from Doha last week, it was only 25 minutes from the plane doors opening to me walking out with my luggage: as good as anywhere I’ve travelled in the world.

I’ve made some enquiries as to what has driven this change and, maybe unsurprisingly it’s down to training, and the development of the people at the front end of immigration control. Not only that, but the Immigration’s team understanding of why they needed to change, how they could improve people’s first impression of the country and how they could measure their results.

I’m a great believer in having people take responsibility for their actions and the adage, ‘make people understand why, and they’ll figure out how’.

It would have been easy for them to attend the training program, get a certificate, put it on their wall, update their LinkedIn profile, and then go back to work and change nothing. The real step change has come about by ensuring delegates understand the why, and the change is clearly measurable.

It’s great to see training and development paying dividends like this, benefiting the individual, the organization and in this case the impression of the country for future first-time visitors.

At AchieveGlobal Middle East, we work to the same principals – getting buy in, having people take ownership and measuring results. If you’d like to discuss how we can assist you in developing improved outputs from your sales, service or leadership teams please contact me!

John

 

 

Let us reintroduce ourselves…

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We have some very exciting news to share with you all – AchieveGlobal Middle East is now part of the Miller Heiman Group!

The merge of six different organisations, with an average tenure of 40 years, has resulted in five beliefs which define our world of selling culture. They underpin how we can help you:

  1. The most important decision we make as sales people, managers and leaders is how to connect with our customers
  2. Talent is one thing, but a scalable, consistent selling methodology is everything
  3. Customers expect a perspective; not a sales pitch
  4. The best are always looking for ways to improve
  5. Those that prepare win more and win more consistently

We do this ourselves, so we know we can do it for you and going forward with Miller Heiman Group we can now do it even better!

Make sure you look out for further information, but please let one of us know if you have any immediate questions.

AchieveGlobal Middle East

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Regional Visit: Saudi and Bahrain

img_3537I recently visited Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, where I attended a trade mission hosted by the Training Gateway. Despite being greeted by pouring rain in Riyadh, the mission and overall trip proved to be a success.

During this trip, I met with high- profile businesses in the capital of Saudi and had quality meetings in and around Eastern Province. I later attended further meetings organised by the Department of International Trade in Bahrain.

The visit took place against a backdrop of low oil prices impacting on the Middle East economy. Nations across the Middle East largely produce oil, from which a lot of income is generated; it is a main source of government revenue and thus is a primary export good for most countries. However, the low prices of oil are impacting the economy. It is reported that GDP growth will slow further to around 2.5 per cent. Consequently, Saudi Arabia is looking to diversify so that they are not so reliant on the revenues generated by oil.
Despite the impact oil price reductions is having on the economy, I was exposed to a high volume of prospective clients interested in our world class training programs to benefit their businesses in such an unpredictable period.

The visit was rounded off on the 1st December with a Christmas lunch hosted by the Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain, Mr Simon Martin.

If you are available and would like to make an appointment with me, during my regional visits, please send an email and I will arrange with you a time and place 🙂

 John

Does Your Sales Team Have Performance Issues?

The most important decision we make as salespeople, managers, and leaders is how to connect with our customers. Are we effectively engaging with our clients? How your sales team performs in front of customers is crucial, since they (usually) only get one chance. Successful salespeople know the importance of preparing and strategizing before meeting with customers and prospects. Bypassing the warm-up and instead jumping right into the sales pitch can be a costly mistake for the inexperienced salesperson (e.g., “Here’s what our product can do, and here’s why it’s great. How many should I order?”).

Conversation Ready?

Being customer-focused is one of the critical factors that has helped organizations weather economic storms and endure even after decades in business. And being truly customer focused, as opposed to merely paying lip service, will be the same critical component that will help companies meet their growth plans this year and the years to come. As Nattalie Hoch, Executive Vice President of Sales Operations, put it in a previous Journal article, “Being customer-focused is a journey, not a destination. What satisfies in this environment today will not in the next few years as customers continue to evolve,” Hoch said. “Being customer-focused is not an item on a to-do list you can check off. We can’t say we’ve done it and we’re ready to move on to something else.” Being the very best at client services will result in long-term business relationships. That comes from research and preparation and, out of that, come the right questions to ask, as well as the ability to listen to and truly hear the responses. (While this sounds logical, for many salespeople, listening to the customer has become both an overlooked and underrated skill.) Each face-to-face interaction with potential clients should be managed to move an opportunity forward. Not knowing what to ask the customer is one reason why customers stop agreeing to schedule time, and opportunities are ultimately lost. An inability to engage in—and, indeed, initiate—customer conversations is a tell-tale sign of lack of commitment and preparation. It demonstrates a fundamental disregard for putting the customer at the core. Recognizing and owning up to ineffective attempts to engage with customers as being the reason the opportunity didn’t advance, instead of providing timeworn excuses (poor economic conditions, indecisive buyers, crossed signals, etc.), is a far more productive way to improve the next attempt. The ability to assess one’s weaknesses in addition to one’s own strengths in an objective, clearheaded way is in itself a strength that can result in improved performance moving forward—and is one you should be cultivating among your teams and yourself.

More Customer-Facing Time: Quantity vs. Quality

“All sales organizations are relentlessly searching for ways to remove administrative and other nonproductive activities from their salespeople to free more customer time,” says Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer at the Miller Heiman Group Research Institute. He goes on to point out, however, that for WorldClass Sales Performers, this means more than just increasing the frequency of customer interactions. Sales professionals must not only make the time to engage with their clients throughout the product life cycle, but they must also have compelling business reasons to meet. “The focused dialogues with the customer let them jointly evaluate the impact of their solutions on the customer’s business goals and objectives, as well as check customer satisfaction and detect signs of possible customer defection. These conversations then lead to new opportunities to cross-sell/upsell, introduce new products, or penetrate adjacent buying centers.” Such conversations can only occur when time has been invested to research before meeting with the client to be in the best possible position to understand the needs and challenges that the solution they ultimately propose will address and, ideally, solve for.

MHI sales best practice

The mark of success in any world-class organization is the ability to readily offer proven solutions and methodologies to clients and prospects that solve for customer needs and eliminate pain points or conversion hurdles. Our own research bears this out: 86 percent of World-Class Sales Performance organizations say they understand their customers’ issues before they propose a solution, compared to 51 percent of all others. These organizations recognize that for their solution to resonate with their customers, it must be connected to their issues. And, their salespeople have a solid understanding of their customers’ business needs, at a rate of 89 percent compared with 49 percent of all other organizations. Ultimately, sales professionals at these world-class organizations know they must earn the right to propose a solution by understanding the customers’ concepts.

It’s not about the quantity of conversations with the customer or prospect. It’s about the quality of those conversations and how much preparation has put in beforehand in order to engage with the customer in an informed, substantive way at every interaction. Don’t squander what may be the one opportunity in front of the only audience that matters—their customer. Performance matters.