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For the term "Product Development".

Challenges in New Product Development

Coming out with a new product requires focus, vision, guidance and working out even the minutest details. Let us understand the challenges faced by organizations in developing new products.

Getting New Ideas for Product Development

Generating new ideas is no rocket science but requires out of the box thinking and the passion to do things differently. The article discusses about how new ideas can be generated with the help of an example.

Creating A Framework For Productivity

Something that has sped the development of awesome web and desktop applications over the past 10+ years is the idea of a technology or set of technologies

The Silent Killers of Productivity and Profit

As we make our way out of the recent recession, it is clear that the business world has changed dramatically and there will be no going back to the way things were. Yet the training and development world remains largely stuck in dated thinking, practices, and programs that are increasingly ineffective and often irrelevant….

New Zealand: New subsidy to boost workplace productivity

(From The National Business Review) — The government has announced a fresh initiative to boost workplace productivity. The new ‘High Performance Working’ initiative will provide a pool of $1m per year to fund a network of specialist business consultants, who will work with businesses to promote more effective use of time and skills in the workplace. “Achieving greater employee engagement and developing sound workplace practices is crucial to growing a successful business,” Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said in a release today. It is expected that about 70 firms per year will receive between $10,000 – $15,000 in consultant services under the new scheme, which is designed to complement New Zealand Trade and Enterprises’s new training and development voucher programme. Read more.

Latest Research Finds Onboarding Improves New-Employee Engagement and Productivity

(From Online PR News) — According to a recent Aberdeen Group study sponsored in part by SilkRoad technology, inc., the leading provider of Talent Management solutions, 63 percent of organizations with a formal Onboarding process experienced employee performance improvements within the first year. Aberdeen interviewed 466 human resources professionals for the study, “Onboarding: The First Line of Engagement,” and concluded companies with a formal onboarding process (with a dedicated strategy and objectives) had a 60 percent greater year-over-year improvement in revenue and a 63 percent greater year-over-year improvement in customer satisfaction than those with an informal or ad-hoc onboarding process. The 466 executives identified the most important goal of onboarding as ensuring employees are engaged and assimilated into the company’s culture and to make them productive as quickly as possible. Out of the companies Aberdeen found to have “Best-in-Class” performance, 85 percent have a formal onboarding process in place. Of those top companies, 67 percent also supported onboarding processes with formal learning and development, and 66 percent evaluated its onboarding impact at least annually. Read the full release. For more information on onboarding, consider attending the session From Knowledge Hoarding to Collaboration: New Employees Lead the Wayat the ASTD 2010 International Conference and Exposition!

DDI Announces Development Program for Individual Contributors

As organizations look to the future of business, the performance of every employee will be critical for business growth. So global talent management expert Development Dimensions International (DDI) has created a development solution to help individual contributors boost the skills that will improve both individual and group effectiveness DDI’s program, Interaction Management: Exceptional Performers (IM: ExPSM), includes eight courses to build the skills of professionals and emerging leaders, from financial whizzes to engineering gurus. “Organizations can’t afford to ignore this group of professionals that aspire to be the technical experts as well as the next generation of leaders,” said Jim Davis, Vice President of Workforce and Service Development for DDI. IM: ExP uses interactive learning experiences to build skills that result in positive behavior changes in employees, resulting in a more productive and more engaged workforce. The course list includes: Communicating with Impact, Embracing Change, High-Impact Feedback and Listening, Networking for Enhanced Collaboration, Navigating beyond Conflict, Valuing Differences, and Working as a High-Performing Team. Read more.

Church’s Chicken Gets Cookin’ with Employee Development Using Learn.com Knowledge Platform

Sunrise, FL-July 22, 2010 – Learn.com, the Knowledge Platform company, announced today that Church’s Chicken, a major quick-service restaurant chain specializing in fried chicken, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, has selected the company’s knowledge platform technology to automate and standardize training for their employees in company-owned stores. Church’s main focus is restaurant operations training for team members. Utilizing the Learn.com platform in a phase-one rollout, Church’s can automate, standardize and track employee training across the enterprise with features such as built-in authoring tools to create and share content with employees and dashboard reports that align job requirements and competency for each role. In phase two, training will be extended to franchisees. “Learn.com, with its extensive quick-service restaurant experience and outstanding technology, understands the value of its products relative to our needs,” said Steve Heissner, Director of National Field Training. “We can track job and restaurant safety training while our employees take advantage of the on-demand 24/7 access of the Learn.com platform.” Read more.

Canada: Gov’t Invests in Skills Development and Workplace Safety

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – June 28, 2010) – Canadian manufacturing workers and businesses will benefit from a Government of Canada investment in a literacy and essential skills development project. The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour, together with Mr. Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Erindale, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. “Our government believes that working with partners to improve literacy and essential skills is a great way to help Canadians build better futures,” said Minister Raitt. “By identifying best practices and creating tools to help businesses incorporate these critical skills in their training programs, this project will ultimately help workers get the skills upgrading they need to stay safe and productive on the job.” Read more.

ASTD Study Shows Social Media has High Value for Learning and Development

Social media is a force and trend that should be embraced, according to new research from the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). A new research report, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity across Generations finds that regardless of generation, workers in the United States believe that social media tools have an important role to play in workplace learning and development. The study also finds that most companies have a long way to go when it comes to implementing social media tools for the learning function. While the vast majority of respondents used social media in their personal lives, only 24 percent said their informal learning at work included social media. However, more than 80 percent of survey respondents said social media tools would become an important part of the learning function within the next three years. The findings show very strong and significant correlations between high use of social media tools at work and respondents’ opinions that the tools help them get more and better work done, learn more truly useful things, and learn more in less time. The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity across Generations shows that social media tools have considerable value for the learning function. ASTD President and CEO Tony Bingham says, “Understanding the huge impact Web 2.0 technologies have on how the workforce learns is critical to engaging employees and customers, and ultimately, critical for an organization’s growth and success.” The topic of social media in the learning function will be addressed by Bingham at ASTD’s 2010 International Conference and Exposition on May 17. For more information on The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity across Generations visit www.store.astd.org.

ASTD Releases Salary and Compensation Study for Learning & Development Industry

With a median salary of $75,000, learning and development (L&D) professionals are paid relatively well compared to other HR professionals and the general workforce, but pay levels have not increased, on average, in the last four years. Also unchanged is the gender salary gap – men continue to earn more than women in the L&D profession. These are among many findings in the just-released Salary and Compensation Report from ASTD and the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). The report is the most comprehensive analysis of salary and compensation for L&D professionals and includes detailed analysis of practitioner demographics across industry, tenure, and gender. Based on responses from 1,997 U.S. employees, it includes findings from 40 compensation and benefit data points. ASTD’s last salary survey was conducted in 2007, before the onset of the global economic recession. The ASTD Learning and Development Industry Salary & Compensation Report, 2011 contains these key findings The ASTD Learning and Development Industry Salary & Compensation Report, 2011 is the definitive salary and compensation report for the L&D industry. A whitepaper about the research is free to ASTD members. The full report can be purchased from the ASTD Store.

Applied Performance Solutions: Layoff Survivors and Productivity

From Applied Performance Solutions, March 20, 2009 Contact: Grant Howard 415-945-9812 fastresearch@prodigy.net www.appliedperformancesolutions.com Layoff Survivors and Productivity A recent survey of workers who have survived corporate layoffs in the past six months finds that 74% feel their productivity has declined. In addition, 64% feel the same about their co-workers. The bottom line: They believe the quality of their company’s products or service has suffered because of layoffs. Diane Valenti, an expert in performance consulting, helps companies maximize their investment in human capital. “There is a whole segment of the population that I call layoff survivors,” she says. A simple process can help improve productivity: 1. Ensure the mission of each job is aligned with the company strategy. 2. Identify tasks that are essential and those that can be eliminated. 3. Confirm or develop specific, measurable quality standards. 4. Identify barriers to performance. 5. Improve morale by acknowledging the difficulties of layoff survivors. Bio: Diane Valenti has more than 20 years of experience as a performance consultant. She is president of Applied Performance Solutions, Inc., and her clients have included Genentech, Nike, and Starbucks Coffee Company. Diane is the author of “Training Budgets Step-by-Step.” She appeared in articles in Training Magazine, TD&J and Learning Circuits. In addition, she wrote a professional booklet for the American Society of Training & Development (ASTD).

Inspire a More Loyal and Productive Workplace With the Respect Effect

By investigating research from the field of neuroscience and engaging the perspectives of an organizational development practitioner, training can take on a new dimension as we investigate how brain science is helping to shape the work cultures of tomorrow. If an organization adopts the transnational power of respect, there will be improved business culture, productivity, and profitability. In this session, learn how to incorporate an environment of engagement and trust, which ignites the brain…

Rapid Video Development for Learning Certificate

Video is the new flipchart. Learning and development professionals are increasingly called on to create video content that extends learning beyond the classroom; as well as to introduce more learning resources into classroom training. This program teaches learning professionals how to use consumer-level equipment to create engaging video that looks professional and reinforces learning. Participants will learn all aspects of shooting professional-looking video, from planning and pre-production, to shooting and recording sound, to editing and deployment. At the end of this program, participants will be able to confidently produce quality video quickly and affordably.

Course Design and Development

Learners are busy and want results. This issue will show you how to focus on two key components of instructional systems developmentdesign and developmentso that your design clearly gives participants what they need to know, while focusing on learning transfer, and how your training ultimately impacts the organization. The competency-based approach offers advice on design basics, instructional strategies, and course descriptions, plus pointers on the basics of developing course materials. Editor: Cat Sharpe
Product SKU: 258905 ISBN: 978-1-56286-166-7
Pages: 16 pages Publisher: ASTD Press
Format: Booklet

Basics of Instructional Systems Development

Instructional systems development (ISD) can be a complicated business, and sometimes you just need an overview. Heres the Infoline for you. This issue provides an ISD overview along with a short profile of each component the simple design model known as ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation). You will find a detailed explanation of each element along with practical advice on building your next training session using the model. The issue includes a useful course design checklist to keep you on track. Author: Chuck Hodell
Product SKU: 259706 ISBN: 978-1-56286-213-8
Pages: 16 pages Publisher: ASTD Press
Format: Booklet

Basics of Career Systems Development

Creating a workforce development system that encourages and supports employee talents and motivation is difficult work without a systematic approach. This Infoline shows you how to accomplish this goal using a six-step process for creating and implementing a career system. Detailed background sections provides information on what these systems can do for an organization along with case studies to demonstrate how career systems have succeeded in other organizations and explains the components of a career development system. It outlines six steps for creating and implementing a career system. Authors: Stephen K. Merman and B.J. Chakiris
Product SKU: 259410 ISBN: 978-1-56286-195-7
Pages: 16 pages Publisher: ASTD Press
Format: Booklet

Rapid Video Development for Trainers

Rapid Video Development for Trainers meets the needs of companies and individuals who are thinking about or have dabbled in video production. Written specifically for trainers by a 20-year media industry veteran who has worked in Europe, America, and Asia, Rapid Video Development for Trainers explains in clear, nontechnical language everything you need to know to create exceptionally instructive, cost-effective video yourself.

Effective Product Design

Customer satisfaction is achieved through development of product and service, which have all attributes required by the customer. Lets discuss the features, stages and factors affecting the product design.

Product Leadership and Organizations

From an organizational perspective, companies like – Apple, Google, Microsoft etc, stand apart from the rest in their approach to product development which has enabled these organizations to become product leaders.

A Project Needs a Vision

Johanna Rothman at Managing Product Development talks about the importance of having a vision for a project. Especially a project with sub-projects, a visi

Guest Post: Smart Moves: Capitalize on Trigger Events and Careful Timing to Win More Sales

Note: This is a guest post from Michael Boyette from the Top Dog Sales Blog. Want to contribute your own guest post? Let us know! Trigger events are the silver bullets in sales, because they allow you to get in front of the right person at exactly the right time. Sales coach and author Craig Elias points to three types of trigger events. Each trigger signals a high probability that the company will eventually purchase new goods and services. Trigger #1: Executive moves Executives are typically hired to make a difference. And since top executive tenure tends to be short, they want to make their mark fast. They need to buy solutions and services in order to make that happen. And they need something new, because if the old stuff was working they wouldn’t be there. It’s also easier for new management to change suppliers. They can say that a previous vendor was a poor choice made by someone before them. Trigger #2: New funding Studies show that companies with new funding are up to eight times more likely to buy services than comparable companies that haven’t had a similar funding event. Funding is meant to drive growth, which means purchasing new solutions and services to help with sales, marketing, product development, operations, and so forth. It’s not just that they’re flush. Many times management is under pressure to spend new money quickly to show investors they’re doing everything possible to succeed. Trigger #3: Launches New products create demand for supporting products and services that fuel sales growth for the new product, such as marketing services, sales training, and e-commerce. New products often spawn the departure of personnel and other changes as people move on to newer projects. Product launches therefore create secondary trigger events, such as new funding and executive changes. Hitting the Trifecta Corporate acquisitions, by their very nature, involve changes in executive roles, which often ripple throughout the entire organization. They also involve changes in funding, with some groups doing better under the new regime and some doing worse. Like any other major organizational change, a merger creates multiple trigger events, each of which can be leveraged into a sales opportunity. How to Capitalize Use something as simple as Google Alerts to search for product launches or LinkedIn to follow changes in executive staffing. One Sales 2.0 application for this purpose is iSell, from OneSource, which informs you of the trigger event, and also provides context, such as information about the industry and the prospect’s competitors. The application provides you with enough information to have a relevant conversation the first time you talk to the prospect in response to the trigger. Michael Boyette is the managing editor of Selling Essentials newsletter and editor of the Top Sales Dog blog (http://rapidlearninginstitute.com/top-sales-dog). He’s also managed marketing/PR programs for DuPont, Tyco Electronics, and US Healthcare, among others. In addition, he’s authored ten books on a variety of subjects for such publishers as Simon & Schuster, Dutton and Holt. Contact Michael via email at topsalesdog@rapidlearninginstitute.com.

Relationship Marketing – Leveraging on Supplier Relationships

The need for keeping the cost low and make the business viable has thrown open several options for the companies as far as the product development and production goes. Lets understand the importance of relationship with the suppliers.

Social Network Feedback Analysis

Social Media Feedback Analysis is of immense value to Marketing, Advertising, Customer Service as well as the Research and Development Department and the Product development team.

Autodesk Fusion 360 Integrated CAD/CAM/CAE | Coursera

Autodesk Fusion 360 Integrated CAD/CAM/CAE from Autodesk. Design, engineering, and manufacturing are undergoing a digital transformation, and the need for a collaborative product development environment is becoming an ever-growing requirement. …

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Lifehack Digest for April 29

6 Ways For Maintaining High Energy Levels – Practical advice on personal development, productivity and GTD Experimented ways to stabilize our energy levels

The Benefit Is Mutuals: New Models of Public Service Delivery

Public managers around the world are exploring more personalized, proactive, entrepreneurial, and productive models of service delivery. They should study developments in the United Kingdom with interest. As governments around the world are searching for ways to square the circle of fiscal austerity, rising citizen demands, and the need to stimulate wider economic vitality, old organizational forms may offer new hope. In the United Kingdom, mutuals are enjoying a renaissance as the government opens up the provision of services to public servants. Mutuals are organizations owned by their employees or members and loosely encompass many forms, such as cooperatives and social enterprises.

ATD Research Examines Leaders as Teachers

In Leaders as Teachers: Engaging Employees in High-Performance Learning the Association for Talent Development and the Institute for Corporate Productivity partnered to identify and explore what high-performance organizations are doing to derive the greatest benefits from LAT programs.

Tony Karrer: SoCal CTO

In his blog, SoCal CTO, Karrer offers news and insights into the field of learning technologies and e-learning, focusing on startups and midlevel organizations. He also provides weekly updates on topics such as web  development and Minimum Viable Product.

The Best of the BEST

The 2015 BEST companies epitomize the essence of the BEST Awards: They have created a culture that uses learning as a strategic business tool; supports talent development as a critical need to acquire, retain, and engage employees; and increases productivity to reducing time to efficiency.

One to Watch: Amanda Marschall

Marschall designs and delivers training on a wide range of topics for contact center employees, including systems training, call handling, new product training, building customer rapport, and leadership development. While her days are mostly spent running training sessions, Marschall also is responsible for working with stakeholders to determine training needs several months in advance.

Workers Agree: Company Culture Matters

(From Business Wire) — As many companies continue to focus on recession management strategies such as cutting costs and increasing operational efficiencies, Randstad’s latest Work Watch survey reveals company culture is a critical driver of business success. In fact, two thirds of working adults (66 percent) believe that company culture is very important to the success of their organizations. The survey also found that employees believe company culture has the greatest impact on employee morale (35 percent), followed by employee productivity (22 percent). Twenty-three percent of younger workers, ages 18 to 34, say it plays the biggest role in building job satisfaction. While company culture may be the secret weapon companies need to retain workers and increase productivity and morale, it has suffered during the past two years. According to survey respondents, 59 percent believe that recent economic events have had a negative impact on company culture. With layoffs, reduced benefits and wages, morale has suffered and many workers are feeling disengaged from their employers. “Companies that will perform well will nurture the factors that make their employees feel happier and engaged at work, more connected to overall results, and more motivated to make a strong contribution,” said Eileen Habelow, PhD., Randstad’s senior vice president of organizational development. “Going forward, companies can’t ignore culture. Rather, it should be addressed as a critical component of their overall business strategy.” Read more.

What would you like to see in a Leadership Handbook?

Yesterday, we had a great meeting with Elaine Biech to start talking about a new project that we are planning for next year: a Leadership Handbook. Having worked on the ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professionals, I am excited to get the chance to expand that product into new areas (we are also working with Patti Phillips on a Handbook for measuring and evaluating, but I will talk more about that in another post where I will also introduce her forthcoming blog). Some of the ideas we tossed around in the meeting included at least three sections (development, characteristics/competencies, and tasks or roles of leadership). We came up with a huge list of potential contributors. We also thought about opening up the scope of the book to include chapters on leadership that focused on the military, politics, global politics, the ministry, as well as specific business sectors such as financial, healthcare, and so forth. As a bit of a news junky, the idea of opening up the scope like that sounds like big, juicy, exciting fun. (At least, until we get into the nitty gritty of editing, proofreading, managing the schedule, bugging the authors for answers to queries, and so forth!) At present, no outline exists, the topic list is wide open, and only a loose timeline is in place. Those of us who attended the meeting have been tasked with coming up with five to six contributor names or topics to give Elaine as fodder for her ideas, so I thought I would cheat a little and see if any of you have any thoughts on what you’d like to see covered in a Handbook on Leadership.

What Sales Teams Want

In order to determine what salespeople and sales managers want, we must first determine what they need to know. As markets, models, and buyer expectations have changed, so have the necessary knowledge and skills for the successful salesperson and sales manager. No longer are product knowledge, persuasiveness, and persistence enough. To truly understand what successful sales team members need to know and do, we asked them with our sales training research. ASTD Research surveyed 210 sales trainers and 179 salespeople during the summer. Overwhelmingly, respondents said that they value sales training and believe it to be very or extremely important. When asked about the skills required to be successful in their jobs, survey respondents indicated these top five: Respondents were also asked what kind of knowledge is required to be successful in their jobs. Valuable knowledge areas include: Accenture research found that although 146 of 244 executives from six countries said that the sales team plays the most prominent role in their company’s long- and short-term success, 41 percent of managers and executives from more than 2,500 sales organizations said that their salespeople are performing below expectations (Nightingale Conant/Andy Miller). This backs up our thought that we need a new approach, one in which the sales development and training needs of sales teams are viewed through a strategic and holistic lens. To be successful, this approach requires the alignment of all aspects of talent management, skills development, and sales process execution. Revenue goals must be aligned with business outcomes and business processes that are deliberately designed to allow salespeople to develop productive customer relationships and deliver appropriate solutions. Further, salespeople must be equipped and empowered to make decisions that benefit both the buying and selling organizations, and sales managers must be given both the time and the training to coach and develop their sales teams.

What Makes Successful Salespeople

What do sales coaches need to know in order to help their salespeople succeed? More importantly, what does a complete, well-rounded, super-star sales professional do anyway? Surely, if you cornered one of these high-performing sales professionals at a social event and asked them what they actually did as a sales professional, there would be more to it than “I help people.” What exactly is it that salespeople DO anyway? I’m talking about what they actually do, not what their company does or what their value proposition is, but what THEY DO day in and day out as a sales professional? To be a complete sales professional, their daily activities should be in support of creating customer satisfaction and loyalty. What are these daily activities? I have analyzed the outputs and deliverables of thousands of sales professionals. I found that these tasks can be grouped into eight key areas. The idea is to help them become highly competent (i.e. superstar) sales professional through helping them: 1. Manage Themselves – highly competent salespeople keep their personal life in check. They stay healthy. They set goals, they make plans for your future. They keep their finances in order. They find stress-reducers. 2. Manage the Sales Cycle — The highly competent sales professionals seek out continuous comprehensive training and education to support their sales process. You should also be able to initiate, plan, and execute a sales process in order for your product or service to be assimilated into the buying organization. There are many systems out there to choose from. 3. Manage Opportunities – Highly competent sales professionals understand how to identify, manage, develop, and close the right sales opportunities. To do this, they’re experts at opportunity planning, territory management, opportunity development, and closing. 4. Manage Relationships- Highly competent salespeople become a trusted advisor to the buyer only happens when the sales professional is successful at building relationships, communicating, distributing information, and influencing others ethically through collaborative dialogue. Building relationships within your own organization is just as critical. Make sure that you take the time to forge relationships with your support teams, delivery teams, management or any other party that is involved in your sales process. 5. Manage Expectations – Highly competent salespeople continue their relationship after the sale. Providing top-notch service to buyers ensures repeat business and a solid sales reputation. 6. Manage Priorities – Highly competent salespeople understand the crucial elements of managing personal time to achieve ones goals and objectives. Great sales professionals understand that they must define the right tasks for the day or month, prioritize them, schedule them and execute. 7. Manage Technology – Highly competent sales professionals utilize technology in order to maximize personal and organizational effectiveness. 8. Manage Communications – highly competent sales professionals understand their choices in selecting, delivering, and leveraging communications strategies and mediums in order to effectively get their message across. There are many people that wonder why sales professionals are “harried,” have short attention spans, are always too busy, or seem a “little flustered”. Perhaps by identifying and understanding these eight areas, you have a new found appreciation and an understanding of why? So the question is, does you sales coaching program help salespeople become better in each area? How can you help them understand which area they are the strongest in? Or which area they are the weakest? A well designed sales coaching program provided by a reputable organization can help sales managers and sales coaches build action steps and coaching programs that help salespeople improve in each area every single day.

What is the Definition of Sales 2.0

Have you heard of Web 2.0? What about “Sales 2.0”? There is new sales 2.0 conference that is owned by Selling Power Magazine — it remains to be seen what specific direction they will take it. Is Web 2.0 the same thing as sales 2.0? What is the current buzz surrounding sales 2.0.? There are two camps currently: Camp 1: Sales 2.0 is the use of web 2.0 technologies (and technology only) for sales or sales-related purposes. Camp 2: Sales 2.0 is the “Next Evolution” of Selling — where Selling is taken to the next level What do you think? Add Your comments? Recently, I asked the question to my LinkedIn Network… here is what some people said: View these answers on LinkedIn too ———— Aaron of Office Tools, LLC Says: Sounds to me like you have answered your own question, but it’s more than just using technology and resources like web portals and Blackberries. It’s also combining these technologies into your relationship with the prospect in a manner that is attuned to their comfort level as well, i.e. don’t make your customer a technology guinea pig every time a new tool is introduced. ——————— Martin B Success Coach, speaker, trainer and author. Known for his focused, rapid-results coaching. Says: Again to me it is about integrity, ethics and how they work with the customer for all the technology in the world can not replace that. I think sales 2.0 will include the sales person building an on-line quality reputation that will go with them over time. Of course I think being a CRSP ( Certified and Registered Sales Professional ) is very important as well. Quality relationships take time and SHOULD take time, technology can help but it still demands the basics. http://inquireonline.info/sales/sales-as-a-profession ———————– Nathan, a Director of Client Services Says: Interesting question and I hope this helps. I had been meeting with clients about a potential proposal for two months and doing a lot of work with them in between. They put on events as a part of their business model so I showed up to a happy hour one night to network and build rapport. They called the next day and wanted a proposal immediately. It was for a pretty big project so I got to work immediately. I sent the proposal to the principal and his VP of Advertising (two person show). I got the email from her (VP) Monday morning saying they were going with a different company. I did the customary follow up with an email asking why and didn’t hear back for several days. The VP of Ads is pretty into her myspace account and added me as a friend four days later (we got along well socially). I ended up following up with her on myspace, found out that it was a price point and we are currently renegotiating the terms of the proposal. ————- Brian a Life Sciences Training, Marketing and Branding specialist Says: Great question and one in which I view there being multiple answers to. These answers could be based on existing sales methodologies along with the technology stack, both current and planned, that will used within the sales organization. Sales 2.0 for us is evolving. Sure, we use standard SD processes and have a great CRM in place. Beyond this, what is sales 2.0? – Web advertising – Web networking – Blogs – White papers – SME webinars – Referral marketing – Tying it all together – Any so many others If I were to define sales 2.0 for the industry, I would state the following today. — Sales 2.0 is the sales approach where proven development methodologies are combined and blended with new communication & collection mediums where the client is empowered through the use of information to make well informed decisions — Yes, I said empowering the customer. As the web is now a central point in all communications, providing the information that your client’s seek is paramount to being viewed as a strong player in the service or product field that you serve while this also will help them in making better decisions. When structured property, Sales 2.0 approaches should increase contact to conversion ratios without all the (hub-bub) normally associated with sales development. I view a perfect sales world to be the day that a blinking super ball with your logo on it IS NOT required to impress a potential client, but a well formed and intuitive intake process does so without all the old school glitz. —————— Flyn P, The Inside Sales Guru Says: Sales 2.0 is the integration of all sales best practices as Web2.0 tools are now integrated for websites. I find many people stuck on one sales method over another when all of the methodologies have best practices that are probably applicable to most selling environments. The other half of this solution is that sellers have to learn to embed and incorporate best practices into their sales processes instead of placing the sales process on top of what they are doing. It is my belief that the most effective way to teach a sales best practice is from within the sales process for which you intend to use it. This means you must find the appropriate places and applications for the best practice and then customize it to fit your specific selling process. It is one thing to lean about “impact” questions it is another thing to apply them to your selling. Thus, you take the impact question and put it in the sales process for ABC Co. and make the question ABC’s. Impact Question: “What is the impact of the bottleneck in manufacturing on revenues?” ABC may not have such an issue in their selling — the key problem may be productivity of a widget in an adverse environment. The impact question that directly addresses that issue must be developed and made part of the selling process. The result is salespeople don’t need to figure out how or when to ask the question. That combined with the use of all sales methods and best practices would be Sales2.0. I hope that helps. Clarification added 5 days ago: I have noted that other addressed marketing issues and I would agree with these ideas — I kept my answer strictly to “Selling.” ———- Christian, an International CRM & e-Marketing Expert – Techno-Marketing Specialist Says: Dear Brian, More than a collection of technologies that help sales professionals personalize information for customers and interact with them rapidly, Sales 2.0 should be considered as the synthesis of new technologies, models, processes and mindsets. It is about leveraging people, process, technology, and knowledge to make significant gains. It means integrating the power of Web 2.0 and on-demand technologies with proven sales techniques to increase sales velocity and volume. It also relates to increased communication and collaboration between sellers and buyers and within the selling team, together with a proactive and visible integration of knowledge and measurement of the buying cycle into the sales cycle. It seems that Sales 2.0 truly merges sales and marketing into a seamless effort to target buyers more effectively using innovative and integrated tactics with an objective to bring in a lot more business at a lower cost. It is also about making anything and everything in the sales and marketing lifecycle measurable, so that you can take that information and resulting analysis to further optimise your sales process. More streamlined processes, together with the technologies to carry out smarter approaches, can immediately help organisations that are committed to moving their sales and marketing efforts to the next level of performance and dramatically accelerate their sales cycle. For further insight on this and related topics, please see http://www.saastream.com/my_weblog/2007/11/sales-20-taking.html#more —————– Joe G, a VP and Research Director, Sirius Decisions Says: Sales 2.0 is being trumpeted in the market place as the next wave of sales automation technology that will improve sales productivity, reduce cost of sales, increase customer loyalty and drive sales performance through the roof. Sound familiar?… think of SFA 1.0 promises. Sales 2.0 is – or should be – a focus on adapting customer engagement strategies to the rapidly changing environment that is dominated by the unrelenting evolution of the Internet. While leveraging technology should be a part of any approach, it is just an enabler to a broader sales readiness strategy. Obviously there are a variety of perspectives on what Sales 2.0 is, should or could be. I would suggest a visit to the blog at The Sales 2.0 Network website: http://sales20network.com/blog/ Duncan, A Business Development and Salesperson Says: To me Sales 2.0 is more about leading your customer to the best conclusion rather than ‘closing’ them through manipulation and hard sales tactics. i.e. you should strive to make sure that the product is a good fit for your customers and that your customers are a good fit for your company. The better the fit, the more repeat sales and referrals you will get. posted 5 days ago Nigel: CEO, Sales 2.0. Next Generation Sales Information, Telesales & Consulting Says: Hi Brian, Thanks for asking the question. I think it’s pretty clear from the answers that there is not yet one clear definition of sales 2.0 The way I came up with “sales 2.0” two years ago was through my personal frustration with a lot of the ways we have been selling. Added to that my realization that a lot of these techniques date back over 100 years to John Patterson at NCR. So I saw “sales 2.0” as a statement that we can “take sales to the NEXT level”. What happened after that is that some smart folks in Silicon Valley noted that the Internet is already creating change that we sales people can harness NOW to move our selling to the “next level”. Hence the emphasis on technology solutions in many current definitions of “sales 2.0” So for now we don’t have ONE solidified definition but the most popular one short-term is using Internet tools to boost sales performance. Long-term I hope the buzzword can stick around to really mean “taking the whole sales profession to the next level”. That’s my dream.

Watch Out! Your Customer is Evaluating YOU!

E valuating Customer Experiences To discuss and deliver a training program on “Evaluating the Customer Experience”, expect that your audience will give you highly charged feedback that is vocal, interactive, and filled with very personal testimony – positive and negative. Why? Depending on the customer service outcome, in any given shopping experience, organizational and human behavioral psychology are forced into one place – revenue gain or loss at the expense of an emotional consumer. Quantify Your Customers Buying Habits Managing the Sales Learning Function becomes an important factor here in successful training and development.With this in mind, it is even more critical now to watch carefully and evaluate the quarterly value proposition percentages and net revenues of a business against the customer experience. Sales and Customer Service Training Managers need to teach their teams the importance of learning to execute best practice behavior that ensures a positively outstanding customer relations experience. The result of not applying these behaviors at any random moment when interacting with a buyer or repeat customer can have dramatic negative results on a business brand that is trying to sustain a positive marketplace perception. The Customer is now a REAL Consumer Watchdog It is at this place, where the consumer has a lot of “power” over the company. Viral feedback, negative or positive, flies in the face of internet social economics where the consumer will post comments on Facebook and Twitter. Negative postings can severely handicap a brand, cash flow results and organizational effectiveness. It is extremely expensive to fix the perception of the customer. Negative customer feedback can derail the efforts of a well planned business strategy designed at increasing customer market share. The Customer is in Control Organizations are facing more intense customer service pressures, so Trainers need to make sure that soft skill competencies in customer, sales and service delivery are taught in ways that reflect positive business results. According to the Journal of Marketing Research, http://www.jstor.org/pss/3152082 “when a service failure occurs, the organizations response has the potential to either restore customer satisfaction and reinforce loyalty or complicate the situation and drive the customer to a competitor.” The ASTD Sales Training Drivers defines “evaluating the customer experience” as assessing the effectiveness and positive impact of solutions and then communicating the results to the stakeholders. Key actions include: identifying and using operational metrics that clearly express beneficial results that are understood and valued by solution stakeholders. (net promoter scores, total cost of ownership, return on investment (ROI) time to competence and productivity ratios.) Therefore, it is the Trainers responsibility to show how a total customer experience will influence customer perception, customer value, service quality and customer loyalty, as it relates to financially responsible business results.

Washington Press Corps Veteran Ilyse Veron Takes Helm of The Public Manager

The Public Manager, a quarterly journal about empowering government and developing leaders, announces an editorial change in the Spring 2011 issue. Washington press corps veteran Ilyse Veron will take over as editor, according to the journal’s publisher Carrie Blustin, while longtime editor Warren Master will assume a new role as Editor-at-Large. “For eleven years Warren Master kept readers on the leading-edge with innovative public management articles,” said Blustin. “We look forward to his continued contributions as Editor-at-Large, anchoring interviews for the journal’s new podcast series, sharing insights in his blog, Agile Bureaucracy, and presenting at our events.” “This change brings new opportunities to provide more timely content and perspective,” Ms. Blustin continued. “Ilyse Veron brings years of award-winning experience covering media, technology, and public affairs, including actions of every federal department and agendas of multiple presidents. And, she’s done it for CQ and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, among others.” Master’s final spring issue centers on public managers’ preparations for climate change. Ms. Veron’s first issue, due out in June, will offer a forum on 21st century government – its technology, performance, and talent management. The summer issue of the journal will launch Ms. Veron’s new column, Editorial Perspective, and other features. Ms. Veron joined The Public Manager after years of producing events, programs, and reports with MacNeil-Lehrer Productions, and she has already begun blogging and podcasting along with Mr. Master on management issues at www.thepublicmanager.org. Ms. Veron’s career began at The Brookings Institution, followed by years at Congressional Quarterly. In the mid-90s, she served as principal researcher on The System, a book by David Broder and Haynes Johnson. From 1995-2002 she reported for the NewsHour on national and business news, earning an Emmy award for coverage of the Justice Department’s case against Microsoft and recognition from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Since 2002 Ms. Veron has specialized in outreach and project management, working on citizen events and broadcasts such as PBS’ By the People and “Bernanke on the Record,” and she has developed content on various media platforms for nonpartisan nonprofits with a federal focus. Her freelance bylines have run on Scripps Howard Wire Service, Wired.com, Foxnews.com, and elsewhere, most recently in Education Week’s Digital Directions magazine. About The Public Manager The Public Manager is a unique, editorially independent quarterly journal about government leadership that works. Focused on empowering and developing leaders, it publishes ideas of experienced professionals about critical public management issues including budgeting and accountability, technology and innovation, and the people who make it happen. Additionally, with events and web postings, it fosters a community for current, former and future managers to share best practices and resources regarding federal challenges and professional development. The Public Manager allies with the Partnership for Public Service, GovLoop, Young Government Leaders, the Graduate School, the American Society for Public Administration, and others who serve career public servants. The Public Manager is published by The Bureaucrat, Inc., a nonprofit controlled affiliate of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). ASTD is the world’s largest association dedicated to the training and development field whose members work in thousands of public and private sector organizations. The Bureaucrat, Inc. maintains its own corporate officer and Board of Director structure to guide The Public Manager.

Want to be a great coach? This gem of a book tells you how.

Apologies to all our other authors, but no other ASTD Press author is quite as hip as Lisa Haneberg. Now, here’s a lady who tours country roads on her purple motorcycle Hazel; writes creative nonfiction essays about science, nature, traveling, and motorcycles; writes the popular blog Management Craft; and has a thriving organization development practice called MPI Consulting. Moreover, she is smart, has a great sense of humor, and plays well with others-all of which comes across loud and clear in her newest book Coaching Up and Down the Generations. This little gem of a book has two main themes: providing insight into and advice for effective coaching and understanding the generational differences that affect coaching conversations. She paints portraits of four generations that are in the workplace today-the Traditionalists (born 1900-1945), the Baby Boomers (born 1946-64), Generation X (born 1965-80), and the Millennials (born 1981-99)-enabling you to understand other peoples’ perspectives. Here’s just a small sample of one of those portraits that describes my generation (I have blanked out the generation name-can you guess which generation I belong to?): Because they are media savvy and well educated, the members of ______________ might seem to have advantage that would translate into personal happiness and fulfillment. Yet many of the ______________ who shared their experiences with me described a sense of alienation and skepticism. ______________ are, after all, a small generation squeezed between much larger ones on either side-a “baby bust.” Although they are now entering their peak earning and spending years, many suffer from economic anxiety about their own and their children’s futures. Some worry that they will be the first generation in American history to be significantly less well off than the one before. What Haneberg’s book boils down to is getting where another person is coming from and learning how to help him or her become more effective, more productive, and get more out of their work. Another key point she makes is that coaching doesn’t just go one way; each generation has valuable insights and knowledge to impart and to be effective as a coach, you have to be open to being coached yourself. Her well-written, entertaining, and insightful book helps you to do all that. To get a free sample chapter and have a taste of Haneberg’s smart and funny writing style, click here. For more books by Lisa Haneberg, click here.

The evolving culture of informal learning

I’m currently preparing a project for European funding aiming at the development of communities of practice as a structured way of fostering and deepening transfer and sharing of skills, knowledge and competency. Thanks to Jay Cross and others, we know that informal learning is ultimately much more productive of lasting effects than traditional formal learning, whether it be face to face, distance tutoring or the self-access variety of e-learning. (Should simulation be dealt with as a separate category? Clark and others will no doubt have an opinion, but that isn’t really what concerns me today). Communities of practice are part of the response to the need to encourage informal learning and perpetuate its results. But even before any formal organization of this type is undertaken, it occurs to me that the actual amount of informal learning has increased significantly over the past few years, though in a completely unstructured and anarchic way, thanks to the culture of the Web: discussion groups, blogs, etc. as well as the recently acquired habit for many people of googling. Which leads me to pose a question to everyone involved in these things: are there any studies or reports indicating a recent increase in informal learning attributable to the culture of the Web? It’s clear to me that the kinds of newly acquired habits we can see all around us in the use of the Internet must necessarily increase the opportunities for informal learning, but has their been any kind of identifiable trend or measurable effect that can be accounted for? All contributions to this debate are welcome (and will help me build my arguments for our project, for which I thank you in advance).

Talent Management Is a Top Priority for 2010

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) — With the economy cautiously turning the corner, senior leaders are focused on hiring and developing talent, according to a survey of more than 450 senior executives on LinkedIn by Right Management. 94 percent of executives said talent management is a top priority for 2010. Right Management is the talent and career management expert within Manpower, the global leader in employment services. The findings present good news for employees and job seekers. Employers are preparing themselves for growth opportunities as the economy rebounds and are looking for ways to enhance performance and productivity. One-third of the senior executive respondents will be hiring new talent in 2010, while 36 percent will focus on developing current talent. Twenty percent reported that increasing employee engagement is a top priority. Career development opportunities and efforts to increase engagement typically improve retention, which may explain why only 4 percent of senior leaders indicated they would be focusing efforts on retention. Read the full release.

Strategic Sales Training

It’s time for some new thinking in sales training. Clearly, there is a need for more comprehensive approaches to increasing individual competency and building sales capacity. The current approach just isn’t working. Let’s look at some of the newest trends in sales and sales management, and how they can help: Talent management. Studies have shown that a deliberate approach to talent management, including the recruitment, selection, orientation, engagement, and retention of top sales performers, results in annual sales force turnover of less than 10 percent (BPT Partners). Top sales organizations focus keenly on the proper identification and selection of new sales team members who have the best fit for building the sales team. That means they fit withing the sales culture, selling system, and types of products being sold. S kills development. Training is conducted with the purpose of helping salespeople increase their knowledge of the business and developing higher level skills, not just focusing on one element of the sales training mix such as product knowledge. Sales leaders coach and develop their team members. Sales process execution. Once equipped with the appropriate knowledge and skills, salespeople must be free to use them. They must be permitted – and expected – to take initiative, use good judgment, and make ethical decisions. Yet, 81 percent of sales organizations say that they don’t have a consultative sales process or are not following the one they have. Foundational selling skills. Skills such as presentation skills, speaking, closing, and follow-up – seem to be less important in today’s selling climate. Don’t get me wrong, salespeople do believe that addressing tough customer requirements, leveraging industry knowledge, and troubleshooting complex business problems provide the right customized experience for the buyer. Salespeople can provide value to buyers through a collaborative approach that co-creates a solution through a complex sales cycle. These approaches require salespeople to develop a wide variety of skills to keep pace with the increasing sophistication of the market and of their offerings. A competency model can help to define and guide that development. A competency model. A sales competency model can serve as an objective foundational starting point that can help to forecast and address knowledge and skills issues that arise due to the changes in markets and demographics. Consider the impact of a younger workforce: Will the only gap be one of turning knowledge into skill? How will companies turn the raw, undeveloped abilities of these younger players into consistently applied talent? What resources do we have for the bright, knowledgeable sales-team member who lacks the interpersonal skills to form lasting relationships with customers? And how will we address the loss of accumulated knowledge and years of experience when our most senior salespeople retire – many of them within the next five to ten years? If the experience of maturing workers is important to a company’s success, how can that experience and expertise be captured and transferred to younger, less experienced workers? Sales trainers, sales managers, and company executives must be more concerned with providing a holistic learning and development progression rather than relying on ad-hoc sales training activities. Furthermore, management must take a more proactive role in promoting the importance of this development and supplying adequate resources. Right now, many companies’ leaders are getting in the way of their sales teams’ success: In response to the ASTD survey, 44 percent said that there was a lack of management buy-in to sales training in their organizations, and 42 percent said that management’s short-sighted focus on results was an obstacle to successful sales training. To engineer world-class sales performance, sales team development must be holistic, all-encompassing, and proactive. There must be a paradigm shift in thinking, from “sales training” to “sales development and performance.” Sales training must quickly and deliberately evolve from a sometime activity by sales managers to an intentional, qualified effort that is directly tied to business strategy and measured according to business outcomes. Its practitioners must be knowledgeable, dedicated, and guided by a competency-based approach. A quantum shift to sales development and performance will bring sales team members together with professional sales trainers to create positive, progressive change by balancing human, ethical, technological, and operational considerations. A competency-based approach can help organizations attain business outcomes and results by focusing on sales-team member knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, and actions in relation to the workplace environment. For example, a competency-based approach allows sales development and performance professionals to work with a hiring manager to select new employees who demonstrate the agreed-upon competencies and expertise required to be successful in the position. These competencies then become part of the performance management system to monitor and evaluate the individual’s performance on the job. Finally, these competencies serve as the basis for guiding future development. A competency-based approach applied to the sales organization can provide a firm foundation by which sales team members can develop. With this approach, development efforts aimed at helping sales team members gain basic skills, technology skills, or even management skills are designed to be immediately applicable. Salespeople must continually develop new skills in order to contribute to the growth of their companies. The only way for companies to grow and compete in a rapidly changing global business environment is to have a skilled sales team that is innovative, understands the economic environment and marketplace, and is driven to excel within their industry. This requires the right people, with the right skills, at the right time. The tools and systems created by a competency-based approach to sales-team development can help organizations overcome many of the barriers cited here and maximize the potential of their sales force.

Strategic Procurement Training in San Diego

Link: http://www.astd.org/Publications/Magazines/The-Public-Manager/Archives/2010/01/Strategic-Procurement-Training-in-San-Diego.aspx Featured Article: Strategic Procurement Training in San Diego By Carrie Hoff In Strategic Procurement Training in San Diego, Carrie Hoff evaluates the strategic training process of the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency and how they evaluate contract proposals. Hoff uses the San Diego HHSA as a model, for other agencies to follow, when training for contract procurement and strategic plan development. Excerpt Taken Directly From Strategic Procurement Training in San Diego by Carrie Hoff Training Strategically at HHSA Using the contracting process to promote strategic outcomes is no different than Starbucks aligning its drinks, products, staff training, and marketing initiatives. This sort of cohesion has multiple benefits. The contracting process is a powerful tool for engaging community partners and expanding the impact of your agencys strategic goals. Recognizing this lost opportunity, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) has adopted a strategic approach to procuring services, evaluating proposals, and training staff in contracting techniques. HHSA is comprised of public, physical, and behavioral health services, as well as social and protective services. Typically, these services are provided through multiple HHSA divisions and regions via contracts with community-based vendors. HHSA maintains a portfolio of approximately 900 contracts totaling nearly $413 million annually. With such a large amount of services being provided by contractors, HHSA recognized the need to ensure that its strategic plan was guiding not just internal programs, but also contracted programs. As a result, HHSA developed a single, one-page strategic plan referred to as the HHSA Strategy Agenda to provide cohesion and highlight opportunities that integrate services from various disciplines for seamless delivery to shared clients.

Stepping Out: The Application Becomes the Platform

AJAX. Heard of it? You will. You’ve already seen it in action on the Web somewhere. How about Widgets? No, not for Mac (although that’s where they come from) – for Windows. I actually made on the other day. Heard about Google’s API’s being open? How about the Google sidebar? MSN revealing its APIs? America’s Army (the free game) now has a site touting its availability (the game’s) as a platform. How about the fact that the highly anticipated release of Civilization 4, the latest installment in one of the most profitable game franchises ever (and one frequently cited as educational), is being built from the ground up in way that will empower people to change the game in more ways than have ever been possible before? What is all this pointing to? Simply my new mantra – the application is becoming the platform. Wikis, blogs, podcasting – all part of the same dynamic. Call it what you will but things that we used to think of as “applications” – discrete programs used for specific purposes, a search engine, a game, are becoming platforms for development. The first browser was an application unti people started developing for the Web instead of the Net. eBay was an application, an auction site, until people started developing programs that were based on eBay – like automated auction programs. This isn’t exactly breakthrough thinking here but my question is really…where is this dynamic happening in the learning world? This is as much me actually asking the question and looking for answers as it is a rhetorical device. I want to know. Who are the folks creating “learning platforms” on which future learning applications will be able to be developed? If the answer here is silence or even a muted reply, then the next question must be why? Why, in the face of such staggering successes in other fields (computer gaming really took off with the release of the first DOOM in 1993 and that was largely due to two factors – they gave away the first three levels for free and it came with an editor – that’s right, from its release it was sold, marketed and exploded at least in part because it became a platform. So one final time and then I’ll be quiet – who is developing learning products which can both serve a primary function as a learning product but are also designed to act as development platforms – at little or no additional cost?

South Africa: Lack of Skills Hinders Mining Sector Growth

(From AllAfrica.com) Johannesburg – THE growth of SA’s mining sector could be hampered further by a serious lack of professional skills, according to a survey by executive recruitment firm Landelahni Business Leaders, released yesterday. The shortage of skills in the sector coincided with an upturn in the global economy and a recovery in world commodity prices, which meant that the South African mining sector could miss out on the full benefits of the recovery. The local mining industry is already battling higher production costs, and the strong rand during much of last year has seen most miners unable to optimise margins despite higher metals prices. Landelahni CEO Sandra Burmeister said what was even more worrying was that the local industry had lost much of its skills development capability. Read more.

Skillsoft Study Reveals CEOs in the UK Are Willing to Pay Extra for More Training in Less Time

Skillsoft recently announced the results of a study which reveals that in the current global economic climate, CEOs increasingly believe in the value of learning, with 93 percent of business leaders in the United Kingdom stating that they will either maintain or increase their training budget over the next 12 months. Only 13 percent listed cost as their most important consideration. The study, conducted by OpinionMatters on behalf of Skillsoft, surveyed 503 CEOs of businesses with more than 250 employees, across 13 business sectors, on topics that included recruitment, leadership, learning, succession-planning and staff turnover. Reflecting the time constraints in today’s competitive business marketplace, 42 percent of the CEOs interviewed for the study said the length of a course was a more important deciding factor than its content. They prefer shorter courses that require less time and allow for employees to remain productive while receiving necessary training. “This research shows that business leaders increasingly appreciate the value of learning,” said Kevin Young, managing director of Skillsoft EMEA. “However, while training budgets themselves are not being cut, the time businesses have available to undertake training sessions is clearly shrinking. Courses need to be more succinct and to-the-point than ever, delivered in highly relevant, bite-sized pieces. Cost may not be a priority for the CEO, but it will and should matter to the training and development team, and we work hard to set the standard in cost-effective learning with a measurable ROI,” Young added The study also found that measurable return on investment from training mattered most to only seven percent of respondents. Also, the format of delivery was largely irrelevant with only six percent listed this as an important factor in choosing training. But the study did show that innovative technologies are starting to impact the workplace, with 61 percent of CEOs responding that they have a mobile learning strategy in place, with 24 percent planning to embrace mobile learning in the near future. A detailed analysis of the research can be found in the latest Skillsoft whitepaper titled CEO perspectives on people: leadership, recruitment and skills which can be downloaded on http://www.skillsoft.com/emea/documents/Research_Whitepaper_A4.pdf

Selling Sleuth? The Secrets of Gathering Intelligence

Gathering Intelligence – An Insightful Sales Competency Business is an intelligent game and to win you have to gather intelligence about the marketplace. As a Sales Trainer, you will teach the sales team gathering intelligence as a sales competency. Your sales training program will present them how to define, analyze and learn about competitors, products, customers, distributors, industries, technologies and field research. Much of this teaching analysis should integrate and accentuate your sales management curriculum. It will also show how environmental and macroeconomic intelligence data is used to make financial decisions. Talent management and organizational development strategies are also linked to business intelligence when teaching sales strategies. According to Sales Training Drivers, once you acquire intelligence, you can: So, what do you do once you have gathered the intelligence and want to use it in the classroom? Keep your Competition Close In sales, gathering intelligence will be a big asset to assessing prospect problems. First you can isolate the data to come up with qualifying questions that give you answers to pain challenges and budget constraints. Use the data to create a behavioral question interview that will help you keep the prospect engaged in objective conversation to uncover weaknesses that you can solve with your product or service. Now, you are on a real fact finding mission with your prospect! Implement action oriented blended learning tools into your teach back that keeps the class motivated on isolating and organizing the business resources effectively. The best way to keep the class on their heels is to turn the learning function into a real world test role play! Establish ROI with all sales data points Another hard line sales management learning objective would be to use the intelligence to teach the class how to design an ROI analysis report that will sell a Decision Maker. That will always get the class up and moving! Focus on gathering business intelligence that is of interest to the decision makers you are calling on. For example, look at all the companies in your selling market that have had a sales decrease, but could really benefit from your product or service in terms of making or saving money. Why are they experiencing a sales decrease? Formulate a short ROI analysis outline using resourced intelligence to raise an eyebrow based on what you think you can do for that prospect to increase their revenue, productivity and performance.

Scotland: Contact Centres Resolve to Raise Employee Engagement

(From Business Wire) — The Customer Contact Association (CCA), the leading independent authority on contact centre strategies and operations, says a drive to boost employee engagement in contact centres will unlock greater productivity and lead to happier staff and customers. CCA’s thought leadership agenda supports organisations who employ some 30% of the one million people working in contact centres in the UK. CCA has completed an authoritative industry census in which it emerged that an overwhelming majority of organisations described their contact centre employees as mostly committed. However, it identified room for improvement to boost the proportion of employees described as ‘very committed’ from the current figure of 18%. CCA Census 2010-11, which canvassed the views of 246 respondents (the majority of whom work for organisations employing more than 1,500 people globally) found that 73% of organisations describe their staff as ‘often committed’ while a minority of 8% said staff are ‘rarely committed’. CCA Chief Executive Anne Marie Forsyth said: “Front line contact centre staff are living through taxing times, frequently bearing the brunt of customer concerns and complaints as well as worrying about job security. Despite these pressures, employee engagement is relatively high among our membership. CCA is leading a drive to help members raise the bar on engagement levels even higher in order to deliver consistent world class service.” Forsyth added: “We need a renewed emphasis on people issues to reflect the seismic change taking place in customer contact. Performance throughout the recession has been good – our census shows that 82% of our members have had ‘very active’ engagement with customers and 79% are committed to personal development of employees. We’re proud of what members have achieved in a cost-cutting environment and we’re collaborating on strategies designed to boost performance even further.” Read more.

Saudi: E-learning tackles workplace issues

(From arabnews.com) According to a report this year from Ambient Insight, the global market for self-paced e-learning reached $27.1 billion in 2009. “The Worldwide Market for Self-paced eLearning Products and Services: 2009-2014 Forecast and Analysis,” shows that global demand is growing by a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.8 percent and revenues will reach $49.6 billion by 2014. The report found that in the Middle East, the use of self-paced e-learning tools is growing as well, albeit at just eight percent. Reasons for this slower growth could be the lack of e-learning materials in Arabic, the continuing emphasis on traditional educational delivery channels, inadequate broadband infrastructure, high data costs and the lack of acceptance by employers of e-learning tools and certifications. Despite the many hurdles, this year at companies and government organizations across the Middle East, Dubai-Headquartered Knowledge Horizon introduced its “Work Ethics in Ramadan” e-learning program. From Saudi Arabia, Khalid Ali Alturki & Sons (Alturki), a leading family owned investment and development company, supported the program as a Silver Partner. The initiative was put forward by Knowledge Horizon and its partners to gently initiate discussion about behavior in the workplace during the holy month of Ramadan. The program focused on positive practices and included a section on how to best deal with co-workers who might not be fasting. Read more.

Sam Herring of Intrepid Learning Solutions Named Chair of the ASTD Board of Directors

Sam Herring, co-founder and executive vice president of Intrepid Learning Solutions, Inc., will serve as the 2011 Chair of the Board of Directors for the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). Herring joined ASTD’s board in 2008 as a director and served as chair-elect of the board in 2010. At Intrepid Learning Solutions, Mr. Herring leads the firm’s major client relationships as well as marketing and product management functions. He is recognized as a “Who’s Who” training industry thought leader by Training Industry Inc. He previously chaired ASTD’s selection committee, and served on the advisory committee for the ASTD TechKnowledge Conference & Exposition. “It’s an honor to assume this position,” said Mr. Herring. “ASTD plays a hugely important role guiding the future of the learning profession, which has never been more important. Coming out of a global recession, our world faces many challenges that leaders responsible for learning and development are uniquely positioned to solve. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board of directors to help ASTD set a vision for learning in the 21st century, and provide the resources to help organizations realize that vision.” Mr. Herring is a frequent speaker at universities and leading industry conferences and seminars, where he speaks on topics including designing effective corporate learning strategies, trends in learning technology, and best practices in vendor selection and outsourcing. He is a past director of New Futures, a Seattle-area children and family services agency, and holds a master’s degree from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University. In 2008, Mr. Herring was recognized as a top young business leader through the Puget Sound Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” awards.

Sales Moves by Jeffrey Gitomer: 12.5 predictions and challenges for a great 2012

PLEASE NOTE: These are not economic predictions. They are based on my personal observation and first-hand knowledge of sales forces across the United States their present situation, and their future hope based on market conditions and readiness. And please DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELVES. Rather ask yourselves: Am I ready to win more based on these predictions and challenges? 1. PREDICTION: More business will be available as the economy begins to surge and the elections become a reality.CHALLENGE: Are you ready for an increase in business, not just with product and inventory ability but with better attitude, mood, friendliness, and morale of the entire company? 2. PREDICITON: There will be pricing challenges even in the wake of greater business. CHALLENGE: Now is the time for PROFIT. You have left too much money on the table for the past two years. Create a better value proposition, and use it rather than having to justify (and perhaps lower) your price. 3. PREDICITON: There will be an emphasis on 3rd party purchasers and buying groups in order to leverage pricing. CHALLENGE: Build value-based relationships that the customer would lose out on if they joined the group. Get testimonials from customers that decided not to participate. 4. PREDICITION: Full participation in business social media is no longer an option for your company. CHALLENGE: Counsel your counsel and determine what you CAN do. Do that as fast as you can. Your plan must include all forms of business social media, and interaction with customers one-on-one. Need examples? There are plenty of them online right now. One of them may even be your competition. 5. PREDICITION: Full participation in business social media is no longer an option for you personally. CHALLENGE: Set up a business Facebook page where people can Like you and invite all your customers to begin to comment on your products, service, and impact of ownership or service provided. Your LinkedIn connections must exceed 501 and you must have at least 10 recommendations. This makes your image look powerful, structured, and reputable. Twitter must attract 500 followers, and you must tweet twice a day. Your YouTube channel must have at least 10 testimonial videos that use the most searchable words in your business category. Your blog is the real-world outlet for yourself and your customers make it valuable and interact with customers one-on-one. 6. PREDICITON: Your personal reputation and brand will play a greater role in getting a sales meeting and getting a favorable decision. CHALLENGE: Google yourself to establish your base in January. Then take WEEKLY actions to enhance your status. Get testimonials. Volunteer for charity. Speak in public. Post on your blog. Get others to praise you. And build your reputation one action item, and one good deed, at a time. 7. PREDICITION: You will need to be able to differentiate yourself from the competition (in the mind of your customer) to be greater than ever. CHALLENGE: Begin by asking yourself and your present customers what differentiates you from your competition. Then take actions to widen the gap. HINT: The ordinary things are a great start. Use Ace of Sales emails ( www.aceofsales.com) to begin the process. 8. PREDICTION: Your company will finally (after three years) begin to provide sales training. CHALLENGE: Is the training relevant? Is the training acceptable to your sales team? Is the trainer acceptable to your sales team? Does the training incorporate the voice of your customers? Is the training working? 9. PREDICITION: You will lose more than one sale to an inferior competitor. CHALLENGE: Find out why and fix it. HINT: It aint price! 10. PREDICITION: More face-to-face meetings will be necessary to build relationships, or you will become vulnerable to the competition. CHALLENGE: Double your existing face-to-face meetings from last year, and double your networking hours. 11. PREDICITION: Breakfast will be the new lunch. CHALLENGE: Your connections, relationships, and even your prospects are crunched for time. The two-hour lunch will wane. An early morning, 30-minute meeting over coffee will net more and better results. Set a goal of three breakfasts a week. 12. PREDICITION: Your sales plan/goal/quota/numbers will be much more attainable. CHALLENGE: The business is out there for you to earn. Your perceived value, your perceived difference, and your reputation will determine your numbers way more that your price. 12.5 PREDICITION: Your personal dedication or rededication to excellence will reach new heights. CHALLENGE: Allocate three hours a day to YOU. Allocate an hour for social media and personal branding. Allocate an hour for customer interaction. And allocate an hour for reading and study. You will have to allocate more time for personal development and training because the new challenges require new knowledge. If youre looking for a game plan, if youre looking for a success plan, Ive just given you one that will make 2012 more than you could hope for. All you have to do is WORK HARD. Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally: salesman@gitomer.com 2011 All Rights Reserved – Dont even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer . 704/333-1112

Rwanda: IFC to Boost Skills of SMEs

(From AllAfrica.com) Kigali – Based on a survey done last year to identify major constraints to business development, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has launched programs aimed at boosting skills of 70,000 Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SME’s). According to the IFC Senior Operations Officer, Ignace Bacyaha, the survey which was prepared by On The Frontier (OTF) clearly identified lack of skills as one of the major setbacks for the growth of these enterprises. “We believe that boosting the capacities of SME’s will accelerate economic development as it enhances the basis of the country’s taxation, hence growth of the gross domestic product,” Bucyaha said. “The report shows that these enterprises mainly lack skills, access to funding, have no knowledge about taxation and are faced by infrastructural and energy problems. Our initiative to boost skills is only a beginning as we intend to tackle every challenge step by step”. Read more.