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For the term "Product Development".

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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How Successful Are Virtual Project Teams?

The software development industry has migrated more and more to a virtual, telecommuting industry. But recent headlines have solidified the battle lines regarding virtual teams. Are they good or bad for employee morale and productivity?

How Successful Are Virtual Project Teams?

The software development industry has migrated more and more to a virtual, telecommuting industry. But recent headlines have solidified the battle lines regarding virtual teams. Are they good or bad for employee morale and productivity?

When Estimates Go Wrong

Custom software development is notoriously difficult to estimate. We start with vague ideas of what we want, expecting to fill in the details later. We’re usually doing something a little different than what we’ve done before, or completely different. How can we act more productively?

Big Delivery in Small Packages Through Agile

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects are notorious for running late and over budget. This article discusses how adopting agile processes can help ERP projects stay on budget and on schedule. In doing so, it details how a consultancy specializing in ERP solutions used agile techniques and best practices on its projects to make them more productive. It then notes how ERP systems make it easier for an organization to control structured and optimized workflows and allow a real-time view on an organization in terms of key performance indicators (KPIs) using the benefit of a single source of data. It reports the results of the 2012 ERP Report, published by Panorama Consulting Solutions, reporting that 56 percent of ERP implementations went over budget.

Then, it examines reasons for the overrun. In addition, the article identifies how agile techniques can benefit ERP implementations and details the benefits. Next, it reveals some of the tactical barriers that teams members often struggle with in common agile practices, including that agile was originally intended for use on software-development projects.

The article concludes by identifying ways to mitigate risk for ERP implementation projects. Accompanying the article is a sidebar discussing how to sell executives on agile ERP.

Managing Micromanagers

Most employees would agree that micromanagers create an unhealthy work environment, stifle productivity, become roadblocks to employee’s growth and development, and fail to empower associates to make decisions and be effective in their role. But how do you deal with one?

The Problems with Pacesetters on Agile Teams (Part 1)

As a manger or coach, if you don’t change a pacesetter’s behavior you run a high risk of being held hostage by one person’s abilities–and pay a cost in team productivity. This article is about a pacesetter as a team member on an agile software development team. We will explain what a pacesetter is, why it’s a problem and the effect that a pacesetter has on agile software development.

Misleading Metrics

Most software development metrics are misleading and counterproductive. So what can you do about it?

IT Project Management: The Role of Lean

Scenario: A particular software development project is underway, but progress is slow, even with the required resources on board. Technical issues are compounded by changing requirements, and planning is complicated by development resources getting pulled into support work on existing products. Quality has been compromised. The problem described above is an example of what we view as a work process issue. This is in contrast to what we have called, in a companion paper (“IT Project Management: The Role of Governance”), a governance issue.

Bored or Board: The Importance of Whiteboard Presentations

PowerPoint presentations are all the rage, yet the simple whiteboard has helped us come a long way in how we encourage development and collaborative breakthroughs. It is through its continued use that new products and ideas will be created.

Understanding the PM’s Role During and After a Transition to Scrum (Part 1)

In a pure Scrum environment, the project manager’s responsibilities are reallocated to the newly introduced roles of Development Team, ScrumMaster and Product Owner. In a hybrid Scrum environment, the project manager role may still exist–but likely in a significantly altered form. PMs need to take the impact of this change on their role and responsibilities into consideration…and plan accordingly.

Agile Adoption: Changing Behavior by Asking the Right Questions

Successful agile development requires that people collaborate in self-organizing their own work. Being told how to do that is counterproductive, yet waiting for them to discover agile practices that work can take a very long time, perhaps forever. What’s a manager to do?

Meeting the Needs of Software Developers

Using extreme PM tips and techniques will only be successful if you know how to effectively and consistently manage the human element. This is particularly difficult when dealing with creative types. The key ingredient of software development leadership success can be represented as a balance of planning, process and people leadership in order to produce quality products.

Full-Circle Estimating

While creating estimates is a fundamental step toward improving productivity on software development projects, it is not enough. Here is a full-circle model that organizations can apply to track actual performance against estimates, reforecast when significant changes occur, and then continually refine the process through post-mortem assessment.

Full-Circle Estimating

While creating estimates is a fundamental step toward improving productivity on software development projects, it is not enough. Here is a full-circle model that organizations can apply to track actual performance against estimates, reforecast when significant changes occur, and then continually refine the process through post-mortem assessment.

Full-Circle Estimating

While creating estimates is a fundamental step toward improving productivity on software development projects, it is not enough. Here is a full-circle model that organizations can apply to track actual performance against estimates, reforecast when significant changes occur, and then continually refine the process through post-mortem assessment.

Project Communication: Caught in the Middle

It would be simple for a development team to use agile software development practices to improve their development process, likely reducing the injection of defects and possibly increasing their productivity. But what happens if they don’t? A lesson in communication and human behavior may help.

Eliminating Scrum Scum

In the highly competitive world, getting products to market quickly while being both flexible and adaptive to change is critical. The answer to this challenge is Scrum, an iterative, incremental methodology for project management often seen in agile software development. Here we look at recommendations for proper implementation of this unique and useful process.

Agile Testing for Rapid Feedback

Development organizations are often attracted to agile development practices with the promise of increased test automation to help their teams deliver higher quality faster. It’s not just any tests though: We look to automate the kinds of tests that provide rapid feedback to tell us if we have built the product right. But which tests do we automate, and when?

The History, Evolution and Emergence of Agile PM Frameworks (Part 1)

What is agile project management, and what are its origins? And don’t agile methods address the challenges of 21st century systems, like high-risk, time-sensitive, R&D-oriented, new product and service development projects? One expert takes a look back at the history of this rapidly growing method.

Topic Teasers Vol. 14: Disruptive Innovation

Question: I work for a successful, established organization. However, management wants my team to suggest innovative new products and services. We already have our current excellent products, so feature-laden that they are very expensive. How is a project team expected to know how to find the next new breakthrough revenue producer?

A. Suggest to your manager that this is the work of the marketing department and the management team. The people on your team only have the skills to develop items envisioned by someone else.

B. The keywords in your question show that your organization is looking for more revenue. Brainstorm with your team to see if you can squeeze additional costs out of your existing products.

C. Look to your competitors. What innovative ideas are they introducing? If your team can plan production of similar products, you can piggyback on their advertising and not need to spend money on research and development.

D. Look beyond adding more features to designing a less expensive item with fewer features that will appeal to a different consumer marketplace. The profit per item will be lower, but the market share will be larger.

The Status Quo Problem

If you have always done something a certain way, no growth or development has occurred in capability. This is called stagnation, which breeds complacency, which often yields discontent. This in turn causes an increase in the errors associated with that activity. This is anything but productive.

The Problems with Pacesetters on Agile Teams (Part 2)

As a manger or coach, if you don’t change a pacesetter’s behavior you run a high risk of being held hostage by one person’s abilities–and pay a cost in team productivity. This article is about a pacesetter as a team member on an agile software development team. In this installment, we discuss useful approaches to dealing with these sometimes problematic people.

Setting Requirements Priorities

As a project manager, you must be able to determine ahead of time which features must make it in your product for the customer to accept it, and which can be delivered in the next release. If your development schedule is aggressive, you’re inevitably going to cut some features. The question is, are you cutting features that will cost you a sale?

Operational Requirements

On development projects, operational issues should be factored into the requirements or you could end up with a product that meets all the business requirements but is too costly to maintain and support in the real world. To avoid this, consider adding a seat at the table for operations to participate in the requirements gathering stage.

Agile Study Confirms Benefits

An ongoing study is exploring the impact of agile development practices on productivity, cost and quality. Early results are exceeding expectations and bode well for adopters of Agile methods.

Application Lifecycle Resourcing?

Should your development teams stay with a product from birth to retirement, or should there be “expert” teams for the different needs of each stage of the lifecycle? Here we look at the advantages of both–and the real world factors that you also need to consider.

Changing the Rules

Speed up the pace of business changes with new rules-based development products from IBM and Versata.

Developing Project Value for Business

How can mature project business management practices and processes add value to the enterprise’s operations? While the answer may vary, one example lies in how project management roles and methods can improve the chances of successful development of products or services by an organization.

Where’s My Security Blanket?

While not appropriate for all projects, an iterative and incremental development approach will reduce risks, improve schedule time and lead to a better end product. Words you’ve heard before, no doubt. Here, we put the spotlight back on the iterative approach to help managers identify when it is applicable, explain why it works and at the same time discuss the role that key members of the team can play in an iterative methodology.

Topic Teasers Vol. 94: Clearing Confusing Priorities

Question: Whether I’m working on an agile or a waterfall project, we always get an overload of features or activities to complete. In theory, it sounds easy to prioritize them; but in practice, that’s where most of our projects bog down. Defining the order becomes a politely disguised free-for-all. At the end, while we may be able to set up the project, I’m still not convinced that we have made the best long-term choices for the company in our selection of which items we have elected to implement. Is there a fresh way to handle these decisions?

A. The manager or product owner who pays for the project always has the final vote. Even if you know he or she is missing important viewpoints, you should accept those decisions and work your hardest to make them deliverable. If it goes astray, it’s not your problem.

B. A business analysis tool, the Purpose Alignment Model, may be a fresh insight for your management and your team into which items on a Scrum Backlog or a project management plan should be prioritized and which should be done with a minimal amount of cost and effort. Try this fresh approach for a new view of your project work.

C. Rapid application development (RAD), which uses fourth-generation languages and frameworks such as low-code development web applications, is a technique one can use across all industries and on all types of projects. Get a clearer look about the value of each product feature by switching to RAD.

D. Some purposeful activities in modern corporations are not appropriate for project management techniques. Only governmental and not-for-profit entities can gain value by their use, since the need to get a profit or any return on investment is limited in these types of organizational structures.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Topic Teasers Vol. 72: Agile Customer Support

Question: We’re totally committed to agile as a methodology, and we think that is partially why we have now grown so big that we need to open a customer call center. However, my expertise is not in planning contact centers, so what is the current wisdom of how these need to function to satisfy customers?

A. Customer inquiries are best served by FAQ sites: online and well-written website summations of the products you offer and the way they function. Spend your money in this type of development, which is probably more comfortable for you anyway.

B. Most staff members are reluctant to move into customer support functions, so you will first need to make sure there are enough competent people who know about your offerings available for hire. Prepare hands-on tests to screen out those who do not already know your merchandise or service products.

C. Call centers are the most cost efficient way to deal with customer issues, but you should outsource this function as creating your own may be beyond the skill set you possess. Third-party providers are uniformly cheaper than an internal system.

D. First, determine if it’s in your organization’s best interest to create a call center or a contact center. They are two different things and have different pluses and minuses. Then consider a management style for the center based on the agile philosophy.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Rise Above the Competition: The Rhythm of Business Success Through Cultivated Project Management

To rise above the competition requires tenacity, veracity and intangibles that organizations need to respect, comprehend and practice. Business success is cultivated through sound project management practices, which include business rhythm, organizational intangibles, organizational development, project production, project delivery and a project management team. These key ingredients, when working together, guarantee project success.

In Search of the Perfect Project Management Tool

The market for project management tools, specifically those targeted at the software development industry, is in a very peculiar state nowadays. Every available solution is either lacking some rather critical features, or is cumbersome to use, or both. Basically this means that any newcomer that addresses all of the shortcomings of the existing products can easily grab a huge market share from the competitors.

Be Careful Not to Break Something While Being Agile

Agile is all about managing change, but every organization has a different rate of change. We generally think about agile as removing impediments to accelerate development and keep up with change. It also has an important role to play in placing constraints on change so that it doesn’t spin out of control. This article is a case study of how too much change can lower quality and lead to products that completely miss the mark.

Scope Changes Within the Agile/Scrum Framework

The approach to scope changes used within the agile/Scrum framework provides a stable environment so the development team can focus on getting work “done.” Frequent feedback about the product allows for less upfront planning and means the Scrum team can quickly adapt to changes. Delivering business value early and often results in increased customer satisfaction.

A Novel Approach

A forthcoming book from publisher McGraw-Hill will explore the facets of OPM3, and you can help contribute to its development in the context of peer-production or user-developed content. What questions do you want the book to answer? What topics should be explored? Would you like to be featured in the book, and if so, what is your own success story using OPM3? Click here to find out how you can help.

It Takes Two

Skeptics remain, but pair programming has stood the test of time, and countless Agile-based software development teams regard it as a fundamental technique. From greater productivity to fewer bugs and better designs, pair programming can provide several advantages to the “lone-wolf” programmer.

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.

Robert Todd Joins ASTD Board of Directors

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) announces that Robert Todd, ?What If! Technology Director, is joining the Society’s Board of Directors for a three-year term, 2012-2014. Mr. Todd is passionate about applying the latest innovations in information technology to enable innovation capability in the business, nonprofit, and academic sectors. He has more than 15 years’ experience in learning content and technology development. Prior to joining ?What If!, Mr. Todd served as the Director of Technology Enabled Learning at McKinsey & Company where he built the organization’s e-learning capabilities. Before that role, Mr. Todd was the Practice Lead for Convergys Corporation, a global outsourcing company, where he was responsible for product definition and market strategy for the company’s learning outsourcing business. He also served as director of product management and director of course development for DigitalThink. Mr. Todd played a leadership role in the development of e-learning standards and served on the board of directors for the IMS Global Learning Consortium. He was the director of technology for the San Francisco Multimedia Institute from 1996-2000 and has lectured and written instructional texts on multimedia and technology enabled learning.

Research Shows All Generations Agree: Social Media for Learning Underused in Organizations

Most workers, regardless of generation, think social media is not used enough for learning activities in their organizations, according to research by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). The report, Social Media: The Millennial Perspective, finds that while workers across generations say more social media should be used for learning, it is the millennial generation (those born after 1981) that is clamoring for adoption of new technologies. Millennials are expected to make up almost 50 percent of the workforce within five years, according to statistics from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Findings from this latest ASTD report show that Millennials see great value in social media technologies and use them as productivity-enhancing tools. The report’s findings indicate that companies who want to attract the best new talent need to move toward adoption of new technologies. Other key findings include: Social Media: The Millennial Perspective also contains recommendations for organizations that wish to implement the use of social media more effectively. Top recommendations include: For more information about Social Media: The Millennial Perspective contact Kristen Fyfe at kfyfe@astd.org. This research report is available for sale at www.store.astd.org.

Personality Type and Talent Acquisition

Justin Arneson is a research scientist at CPP, Inc. where he plans, directs, implements, and promotes the research and development for assessment products. Prior to joining CPP, Justin served as a research scientist at HumRRO, and as Talent Insights Manager at Target.

New Book Explores Overlooked Keys to Executive Success

July 22, 2010 – Greensboro, NC – How do talented managers develop into effective senior leaders? And what can organizations do to ensure this growth? Extraordinary Leadership: Addressing the Gaps in Senior Executive Development proposes some groundbreaking answers, providing strategies and tools to round out leadership skills and create a steady pipeline of top executives. A joint publication of The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and Jossey-Bass, the book is edited by executive leadership experts Kerry A. Bunker, Douglas T. Hall, and Kathy E. Kram. It collects views on the often invisible elements of intrapersonal, relational, organizational, and contextual development from more than 20 leading thinkers in the field. “The chapters in this book address the subtle yet powerful forces that combine to differentiate outstanding leaders from also-rans,” Bunker, Hall and Kram say in the book’s introduction. “The end product is a comprehensive guide for leader development, a resource for executive coaches, human resource professionals, mentors, corporate officers, and aspiring senior leaders themselves.” The 321-page book provides techniques and strategies based on real-world examples, helping executives, mid-level managers and emerging leaders identify the issues that contribute to these leadership gaps. Such issues include the accelerated career advancement of high potential managers, the rapid pace of technology and globalization, and the importance of accountability and emotional intelligence. Leaders must now be as approachable as they are inspirational, according to the editors. To fill the gaps present in the workplace, they must demonstrate authenticity, integrity, emotional competence, and the ability to inspire leadership with and through others. In Views from the C-Suite, a chapter on intrapersonal development, former CCL Board member Naomi Marrow explains that self- assessment helps executives gain clear insight into the impact they have on others. In The How-to-Be Leader: A Conversation with Frances Hesselbein, Kathy Kram explores what it means to lead with authenticity. Other chapters with contributions from CCL include The Learning Premise: A Conversation with Peter B. Vaill by Kerry A. Bunker and CCL faculty member Laura Curnutt Santana; Developing Leaders with Cultural Intelligence: Exploring the Cultural Dimension of Leadership by Santana, Mira las Heras, and Jina Maol; Leading Inclusively: Mind-Sets, Skills, and Actions for a Diverse, Complex World by CCL Board member Ilene C. Wasserman and Stacey Blake-Beard; and a final chapter entitled Looking Forward: Creating Conditions for Extraordinary Leadership, where editors Kram, Hall, and Bunker integrate the perspectives shared throughout the book. Bunker, founder and president of executive development firm Mangrove Leadership Solutions, is a former CCL senior fellow. Kram, a professor of organizational behavior at the Boston University School of Management, is a former member of CCL’s Board of Governors. Hall, a professor of management at the Boston University School of Management, is a former H. Smith Richardson Jr. Visiting Fellow at CCL. About the Center for Creative Leadership The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) is a top-ranked, global provider of executive education that accelerates strategy and business results by unlocking individual and organizational leadership potential. Founded in 1970 as a nonprofit, educational institution, CCL helps clients worldwide align business and leadership strategy, develop the organizational environment and prepare individuals to be more effective leaders. Each year, through its proven, innovative and highly personal approach, CCL inspires and supports more than 23,000 leaders in 3,000 organizations around the world. Through an array of programs, products and services, CCL and its world-class faculty, coaches and researchers deliver unparalleled leadership development, education and research in more than 120 countries. Ranked by clients as No.3 worldwide in the 2010 Financial Times annual executive education survey and among the world’s top providers of executive education by BusinessWeek, CCL operates out of eight locations around the world. Headquartered in Greensboro, NC, CCL’s additional locations include, Colorado Springs, CO, San Diego, CA, Brussels, Belgium, Moscow, Russia, India, Africa and Singapore.

New ATD Research Examines a New Age of Learning through Instructional Design

The failure of senior leaders to grasp the importance of instructional design is a big stumbling block for organizational learning and development efforts, according to a new study from the Association for Talent Development (ATD), formerly ASTD. Instructional design (ID) is critical to effective organizational learning and today the field is navigating an abundance of new tools, technologies, and evolving learning delivery methods. Organizations that want their employees to engage in learning initiatives that enhance performance on every level, must value the essential role instructional design plays. In the report, Instructional Design Now: A New Age of Learning and Beyond, ATD teamed with the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) to gather insight from instructional designers and learning professionals worldwide to assess the current and anticipated future states of ID and its contribution to business success. When ATD and i4cp collaborated for the 2010 report, Instructional Systems Design: Today and in the Future, the main focus was instability in organizational learning, complicated by ongoing technological advances and globalization. Today, those factors still exist, however, the new research indicates that ID professionals must become faster, more strategic, global, and tech-savvy. The research also indicates that buy-in from senior leaders has remained low due to the lack of competencies, which has led to low funding. Key findings from the Instructional Design Now: A New Age of Learning and Beyond include: Instructional Design Now: A New Age of Learning and Beyond, is available on the ATD store. Visit Instructional-Design-Now.

Moving Forward with Agility Selling

Please join us onThursday, July 21st at 1:00 pm ESTfor ourwebinar, Driving Sales Team Success: Helping Sellers Harness the Chaos with Agility Selling, with Tim Ohai and Brian Lambert, co-authors of Sales Chaos. As we all know, selling to customers is getting more complex with each passing day. We keep hearing that buyers are getting smarter through the use of technology. Sales people are urged to become trusted advisors to their customers and align the sales cycle to their buying cycle. With these and other changes, it is becoming increasingly difficult to follow the linear sales processes that managers and sales trainers push on their sales professionals. So, how do we move forward? I’d like to suggest Agility Selling. In their new book, Sales Chaos, Tim Ohai and Brian Lambert introduce us to “a new paradigm that applies the latest research and the scientific principles of chaos theory to the challenges facing today’s sales professionals”. So, how did selling become so complex? It all boils down to 3 forces: the Force of the Non-Linear, the Force of Full Value, and the Force of Community. You see, customers have shifted from a single decision maker to decision by committee (Community) requiring them ot be fluid in their discussions (Non-Linear). On top of that, once the purchase is made, they want the sales rep to stick around to ensure that their every expectation is met for the life of the product/service (Full Value). How do we, as sales trainers and leaders, handle this? By adapting our sales learning and development efforts to embrace the two rules and four habits of agile sellers. What are these rules and habits? I’ll give you a sneak peek then encourage you to join Tim Ohai and Brian Lambertas they discusses Agility Selling in our upcoming July webinar. Let’s begin with the rules. First, focus on selling skills instead of the sales process when training your sales reps. Second, encourage your sales teams to meet the customer’s expectation of full value rather than simply push a product or service. Already doing this in your training efforts? Then let’s take a look at the habits. The authors start with influencing others via relationships. They then move on to using insight to gain an understanding of that which is not obvious. Next they move on to executing your sales plan to provide the full value. Finally, they wrap it up with building credibility. Now, how many of you sales leaders and trainers can say that your learning and development programs cover all of these? Some may say they do and I commend you. Have you seen positive results? For those that don’t cover these can I ask “Why not?”. Regardless of your situation I encourage you to take some time to join us for our upcoming webinar where Tim and Brian will provide you some further insights.

MindLeaders Expands Course Library with 70 New Courses

MindLeaders, a learning and talent development company based in Dublin, Ohio, has released new courses to add to their award-winning catalog of over 4,000 elearning titles. The new additions focus on using and gaining certifications in Adobe and Microsoft products. The new courses are in the following series titles: * Dreamweaver CS4 * Flash CS4 * Internet Explorer 8 * Microsoft.NET 3.5 ASP.NET Apps MCPD 70-564 * Microsoft.NET 3.5 Enterprise Apps MCPD 70-565 * Microsoft.NET 3.5 Forms Development MCTS 70-505 * Photoshop CS4 * Windows 7 Configuration MCTS 70-680 * Windows 7 Upgrade * Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Admin MCITP 70-647 * Windows Server 2008 Server Admin MCITP 70-646 All MindLeaders clients who hold subscriptions to course packages will have these courses available to them now. Detailed information about these courses can be found in the MindLeaders catalog at http://www.mindleaders.com/catalog. Visit mindleaders.com.

Marcus Buckingham to Discuss New Strengths Research at ASTD 2011

New York Times best-selling author and employee engagement expert Marcus Buckingham will discuss new research behind his forthcoming book and strengths assessment, Stand Out, at ASTD’s International Conference & Exposition being held May 22-25 in Orlando, Florida. Buckingham, who will deliver the conference’s opening keynote address on May 23, will give conference attendees an exclusive look at the groundbreaking research that helps people identify their competitive edge and provides practical tips on how to become more powerful contributors, managers, and leaders. ASTD is partnering with The Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC) to provide workplace learning and development professionals attending the international conference exclusive access to this new research and content. In addition to Buckingham’s keynote speech, advance copies of Stand Out: Find your edge, win at work, will be available at the ASTD 2011 bookstore, months before it is available to the general public. TMBC will also exhibit in the EXPO, giving conference attendees additional opportunities to learn more about the new research behind Stand Out. The ASTD International Conference & Exposition is the premier event for workplace learning and development professionals. Attendees have access to more than 270 educational and networking sessions and a world-class EXPO filled with cutting edge products and services.

Learning Tree International Awarded Pan-European Training Contract by NATO CIS Services Agency

LONDON and RESTON, VA (July 20, 2010) Learning Tree International (NASDAQ NGM: LTRE), a leading global training provider, announced that they have been awarded a contract by NATO CIS Services Agency (NCSA) for delivering Project Management, ITIL Certification, Technical, Management and Business Skills training to NATO staff throughout Europe. NATO selected Learning Tree International after a six month review process, evaluating providers on consistency, quality and cost effectiveness. Under the contract, Learning Tree International will provide commercial training services to an estimated one thousand delegates a year across NATO and NCSA bases in Europe. The training will be delivered through a mixture of on-site courses run at NATO and NCSA sites, local open enrolment courses and through Learning Tree International’s fully engaged, live online instructor-led training solution – Learning Tree AnyWare. Utilising AnyWare, NATO employees will connect to an actual classroom where they’ll participate online in a live, instructor-led training course being held at a NATO or Learning Tree International facility. AnyWare delegates join from wherever they are stationed, saving the time and expense of travel, and receiving the same training, with the same benefits as their in-class counterparts. AnyWare allows NATO staff from disparate bases and sectors to attend the same training course and fully interact with the instructor, their NATO colleagues and complete all of the course’s hands-on exercises. Richard Chappell, Managing Director, Learning Tree International UK, said, “We have been working with NATO for more than 10 years, giving us an unparalleled understanding of their environment and an appreciation of their need for flexible, timely and robust solutions. Learning Tree International is uniquely equipped to meet NATO’s training requirements thanks to our wealth of experience in delivering onsite training throughout Europe, our ability to host a European open enrolment schedule, and through the use of our live online instructor-led offering – Learning Tree AnyWare.” About Learning Tree International Learning Tree International is a leading global provider of highly effective, hands-on training to managers and information technology professionals. Since 1974, over 65,000 organizations have relied on Learning Tree to enhance the professional skills of more than 2 million employees. Learning Tree develops, markets and delivers a broad, proprietary library of instructor-led courses focused on people and project management, leadership and business skills, Web development, operating systems, databases, networking, IT security, and software development. Courses are presented at Learning Tree Education Centers, located globally, on site at client facilities, and are available via Learning Tree AnyWare, the Company’s proprietary live, online instructor-led training delivery option, which connects online participants to the actual classroom. For more information about our products and services, call 1-888-THE-TREE (1-888-843-8733), visit www.learningtree.com, follow @LearningTree on Twitter or visit Learning Tree International’s Facebook fan page.

Intrepid Receives Five-year Contract from Boeing to Provide Training Delivery Services

Seattle, WA September 14 2010 – Intrepid Learning Solutions, Inc, a leading provider of learning and performance solutions, has been awarded a five-year agreement with The Boeing Company to provide training delivery, skill assessment and support services in support of Boeing’s Learning, Training and Development (LTD) enterprise requirements. The contract includes delivery of training solutions across a range of topics including environmental health and safety, industrial skills for new employees, industrial skills certifications and re-certifications, manufacturing engineering, production systems, as well as training required when an employee requests a transfer from one job to another. “We are very proud to receive this contract from The Boeing Company,” said Intrepid CEO Vikesh Mahendroo. “This contract is a testament to our long-term partnership, and our total commitment to providing Boeing with industry-leading, expert aerospace training services of the highest quality. We pride ourselves not only for our strong execution track record, but also our flexibility and service mindset. We appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve The Boeing Company.” In recognition of Intrepid’s high level of performance, earlier this year Intrepid received a 2009 Boeing Performance Excellence Award. The Boeing Company issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance in the delivery of mission-critical services and solutions. Intrepid maintained a minimum Silver composite performance rating for each month of the 12-month performance period from October 2008 through September 2009. This year, Boeing recognized 486 suppliers who achieved either Gold or a Silver level Boeing Performance Excellence Award. Intrepid is among 358 suppliers to receive the Silver level of recognition. Industry analysts recognize Boeing’s award as one of the most significant learning outsourcing contracts of the year, and one of the most strategic among active learning business process outsourcing partnerships between a client and a supplier. “Intrepid once again demonstrates that exceptional talent, learning expertise and trusted partnership keeps them at the forefront of the training industry,” said Doug Harward, learning industry analyst, Founder and CEO of TrainingIndustry.com. “The Boeing Company’s continued confidence in Intrepid is evidence to that trusted partnership and their impact on Boeing’s business performance. Boeing only works with the most respected and qualified business partners; making this a landmark relationship for the training industry.” About Intrepid Learning Solutions Intrepid Learning Solutions is a dedicated provider of award-winning learning solutions that drive business performance. Founded in 1999, Intrepid offers consulting, technology and managed learning services to companies worldwide. In addition, the company offers innovative learning solutions that leverage mobile, agile and virtual technologies to support individual learner preferences and broader business goals. For more information, visit http://www.intrepidls.com.

In India, Anxiety Over the Slow Pace of Innovation

(From the New York Times) – In the United States and Europe, people worry that their well-paying, high-skill jobs will be, in a word, “Bangalored” – shipped off to India. People here are also worried about the future. They fret that Bangalore, and India more broadly, will remain a low-cost satellite office of the West for the foreseeable future – more Scranton, Pa., in the American television series “The Office,” than Silicon Valley. Even as the rest of the world has come to admire, envy and fear India’s outsourcing business and its technological prowess, many Indians are disappointed that the country has not quickly moved up to more ambitious and lucrative work from answering phones or writing software. Why, they worry, hasn’t India produced a Google or an Apple? Innovation is hard to measure, but academics who study it say India has the potential to create trend-setting products but is not yet doing so. Indians are granted about half as many American patents for inventions as people and firms in Israel and China. The country’s corporate and government spending on research and development significantly lags behind that of other nations. And venture capitalists finance far fewer companies here than they do elsewhere. Read the full article.

How Can You Improve Sales?

The top 5 Issues Facing VPs of Sales Every year millions of dollars are spent investigating and pursuing ways to grow sales. Any business owner knows that sales are the life blood of the company. If there are no sales there is no company, it is that simple! A past study of 2,663 sales organizations by Think Training, Nightingale Conant, and Trainique uncovered five areas that shed light on what separates the best from the rest. Issue one – A poorly defined sales process. 82% of all CEO’s said their sales organization had a process that was poorly defined or a process that wasn’t being followed. A sales process is like a road map. If you pay attention it helps you determine if you are in heading in the right or wrong direction. A well defined sales process does the same thing. It should be consultative in nature, have defined steps that allow both parties to develop a better understanding of each other and a set of questions that help you qualify or disqualify. Issue two – Lack of essential skills. 42% of CEO’s said their salespeople lacked the essential basic skills needed to do their job properly-ouch. During the 70’s and 80’s it was common for large corporations to hire new sales recruits and put them through a 12- 18 month intensive sales development program. Those days are gone, leaving a huge skills gap! Odds are if you are younger then 40 you never received the type of training you really needed. Issue three – Failing to focus on the right kinds of activity. 90% of CEO’s said their salespeople focused on low payoff activities or called on the wrong people. It is a common mistake to confuse being busy with being productive. Top performers know what they are doing, why they are doing it and whom they are doing it with. Issue four – Allowing “self talk” to sabotage your efforts. 86% of CEO’s said their salespeople had negative thinking or self talk that was damaging their sales efforts. There are hundreds of examples but the most obvious has to do with discounts. Over and over again I hear salespeople say they have to be the lowest price to win the business. Every study I have ever read says that there are 4 – 6 other issues ahead of price but we have been “programmed” to think price is the issue. It is critical to understand how you have been programmed and how some of thoughts are working against you! Issue five – Sales management not developing their people enough. 67% of CEO’s said that their sales managers were not spending enough time coaching and developing their salespeople. The job of a sales manager is to coach their people just like in professional sports! Unfortunately if we don’t have a sales process, salespeople with undeveloped skills or the wrong people coaching becomes impossible. For salespeople taking responsibility for our own professional development is the key! Have a process, hone your skills, focus on the right kinds of activity, be aware of your thoughts, get some coaching, join a sales mastermind group, or join an association dedicated to your success. Good sales professionals realize their strengths and weaknesses and create a plan that addresses their abilities. Great sales professionals repeat this process over and over.

House Democrats want to play with WIA too!

As many of you know, one of ASTD’s top legislative priorities is the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). First passed in 1998, it’s long overdue to be reworked. Over the past 6 months, ASTD has been on Hill conducting meetings with staff of the Senate and House Republicans on this issue and offering our expertise and our members’ feedback on what changes should be made to the new bill. We have been with staff leaders on the House side who control, for the most part, the timing and the debate on this issue. Several of us did meet with House Democratic staff last week, and it was a very productive meeting. After introductions and “niceties”, we did get down to discussing some of the substantive issues about the bill and how we may be able to assist staff in ensuring that current best practices in training and performance are considered in the new bill. Our plan is to schedule a follow up meeting soon (probably after ICE) and continue our discussions with both the Senate and the House on this issue. Hopefully we will have some movement soon. For all of you who are coming to Chicago for ICE, please stop by one of our three policy sessions at ICE: The 411 on Grants: How to Access Public Funding for Your Organization Sunday, May 16, 1:45-3:00 p.m. This session will walk you through the necessary steps to understand how to identify grant opportunities, how to identify partners, and how to help your organization apply for and win funding. Building a Partnership with the Publicly Funded Workforce System Monday, May 17, 2:15-3:30 p.m. The session will explain how to develop partnerships with the workforce system at the local level, and how to influence state and local funding priorities. There will also be a review current federal legislation affecting the learning and development field. Show Me the Money Where to Find Public Funding and Resources for Training Programs Wednesday, May 19, 10:30-11:45 a.m. By understanding the funding streams and different programs that are available for workforce training, you may be able to tap into a new pool of resources. Join this panel of experts for a discussion about how their organizations engage in the public workforce system and tips for success to implement in your own organization. See you in Chicago!

Globalization Is Yet to Come to America

The United States is only just beginning to experience globalization, despite the economic power shift toward Asia, the current economic development in emerging markets, the overall digitalization of life, and the growing mobility of people and products.

Getting Started Creating the Mobile Learning Strategy

Well, alright. We have the rationale behind creating a strategy, we know what to avoid, and we understand what can happen when you fall of the tracks. What’s next you ask? It seems that it’s time to get started on the creation of the strategy! Creating the team As with any project, you’re going to need to assemble a team of experts that can assist you in the creation of the end product. In this case, the team needs to be dedicated, focused, and ready truly contribute. You don’t need experts in mobile, but you will need people with domain expertise in a wide variety of disciplines. Depending on your organization size and overall goals a typical team like this will be headed up by people from the following areas of your company: Each one of these individuals may have a number of people working under them to assist with surveying, research, and resource or information gathering. That said, I would recommend not having any more than this core group of individuals at any single group status meeting. Plan for a recurring status meeting during the course of this project, with you leading the meeting and providing the agenda to the core team. If follow-up or “off-line” discussion needs to be done with sub groups later in the week, that’s great, but always keep those meetings focused and make sure that the agendas are always hashed out in advance. You don’t want drive-by meetings or sightseers popping in to these meetings. Everyone there needs to have a purpose. If there are “to-dos” from any of these meetings, you will also be ultimately responsible for sending the recap of the meeting along with the results or findings from any previously resolved content. Setting goals With your team in place, the first conversations should be centered around framing what a successful effort looks like when completed. How will you, your team, and their managers know when you have hit the target? Each group is going to have distinct priorities and your major responsibility will be weighing these and prioritizing them in overall big picture. Make sure these goals are largely quantifiable and can be distilled into talking points when you are called on to report on your progress. Research You can’t create a strategy in a vacuum. You and your team will likely need to survey and * gasp* talk to people in order to learn more about where you need to go to achieve your goals. When framing up these discussions keep a few things in mind: 1. People are usually terrible at articulating the best solution, but are great at identifying their problems. Get people to talk about how certain aspects of their job are painful and you’re destined to find some great nuggets you can build on. 2. Keep implementation details off the table. People will inevitably start to say things like “We need an app for this,” or “How will IT get that information to us?”, but your job must be one of constant redirection. 3. Keep things positive. If you can’t keep people from referencing a botched attempt that everyone remembers the last time your company tried something like this, you may need to preface the conversation or survey with a bit of a change management effort first. Remember, here, you are the dreamer of dreams and the makers of music Not the harbingers of doom and gloom. 4. Always use your bigger picture goals as a foundation for the survey. People’s time is valuable, don’t waste their time or your time on a lot of “What-ifs” that are never going to happen. Remember from our prevous post that this strategy MUST BE IMPLEMENTABLE. If it’s not realistic that your IT department procure 1,500 iPhones for your entire company, don’t hinge your strategy on that. If you have no competency internally in Android development and have no intentions to train or hire your developers to build apps, then don’t propose that. Off to the races Here we are! Ready to get started? You have a solid team, have outlined your goals, and created a lot of great research, now it’s time to distill that information and make your pitch. You’ll need to find a way to weigh the pros and cons of what you’ve found and then turn it into something you can use. Don’t get hung up analyzing which “measuring stick” is the best, just line up some options, talk it over with your team, and then choose one and stick with it as you firm up for your results. Approach this step with confidence in knowing you’ve done your best work and always keep an eye towards establishing ROI and you’re bound to make a mark for yourself. It’s a big step, but you can do it! If you are looking for more information on how to build a mobile learning strategy, continue to read our posts at Floatlearning.com. We’re posting regularly on topics like this. – In closing, a note of thanks to the fine folks at Learning Circuits. It’s been great working with you over last few weeks.

Free Gift! – Take the ASTD Sales Survey!

Attn: ALL (Active) Sales Professionals: Take a 10 min Sales Survey and get a FREE Digital Sales Training Book (and other free stuff) from ASTD! Sales Training Drivers is committed to your success in sales.We want ALL of you to access the BEST strategies that show “how” to develop high performance selling skills. The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) is conducting a comprehensive study on sales effectiveness. This survey is intended for active sales professionals only. ALL SALES TRAINERS: Please FORWARD this survey link to sales professionals (including Managers) in your organization. http://survey.confirmit.com/wix4/p1221164556.aspx?vid=BL. All sales professionals and Managers – (excluding trainers)- who complete the full survey will receive: Confidentiality Statement: ASTD has an unblemished record of maintaining confidentiality of survey participants. Individual and organizational responses will remain confidential.The published report from this study is expected to be priced at $695 or ($395 for ASTD members). All respondents completing the survey will be eligible to receive a discount of the report. Thank you for your participation. We believe the findings will be productive and valuable for you and your organization. The survey link will remain open until June 1, 2010. The ASTD Sales Training Drivers Team

Free Coaching Seminar and Networking Opportunity for Federal Government!

The Federal Special Interest Group will be hosting a workshop: How Coaching Can Strengthen Employee Engagement In the Federal Workplace. If you supervise employees, your relationship is a primary factor in the degree to which they feel engaged. Find out how coaching skills can strengthen your relationships with employees and lead to increased productivity, and measurable development in individuals and teams. Lisa Nabors, a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and a Certified Professional Facilitator with over 20 years of experience will be the presenter of this seminar. Please join the discussion on Wednesday, September 30, 11:45 AM to 1:15 PM at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Postal Square Building, First Street entrance, lower level, conference facility. If taking metro, use First Street exit at Union Station red line Metro Station and walk across the street to the building. RSVP to Jack Malgeri, jrmalgeri@aim.com. Please also provide your organization’s name and office telephone number for building security entrance purposes. Feel free to contact me for more details. Happy Learning!

Excellence in Practice

Could partnering with your Senior VP of Sales allow you to see improvements in your sales team? Maybe hiring a professional training manager could provide you with a fresh perspective. How would your sales team improve if you found a more effective coaching platform? IBM, Knology, Inc., and MetLife have all developed award winning sales programs in the fields of (respectively) career development, workplace learning and performance, and workplace learning and development. Read how three winning programs of the Excellence in Practice award have helped these companies to find success as they seek to develop better sales teams. IBM Sales Learning Armonk, New York Class: Sales Eminence Over the last 100 years, IBM has transformed its workforce many times, often creating a leading workforce within the technology industry. Through its Sales Eminence partnership, the learning team joined with the senior vice president of sales to transform its sales force, increase client value by setting the agenda for client’s ever-changing needs, and ensuring IBM’s continued leadership in the market. The partnership focuses on enhancing the skills and expertise of sales professionals and a sales career model that simplifies jobs into three career paths: industry, solution, and technical. Knology, Inc. West Point, Georgia Class: Call Center Frontline Leadership Development At Knology’s customer care centers, frontline supervisors often gained their positions through superior technical capabilities, but they were frequently ineffectual due to a lack of leadership skills. Recognizing this developmental gap, the executive director hired a professional training manager who created a four-stage program addressing the vital areas of essentials of leadership, effective team building, performance management, and coaching for top performance. Training focused on classroom academics, between-class activities, and manager coaching interventions. Subsequently, frontline performance has significantly improved, both representatives and supervisors exhibit more positive attitudes, and everyone is working more effectively and efficiently – directly increasing the bottom line. Metlife El Segundo, California Class: Sales Coaching Excellence Program The Sales Coaching Excellence Program was developed to provide a comprehensive, consistent, and effective coaching platform for MetLife’s Annuity Product Wholesaling Sales Desk and Field Development function. The goal of the program is to offer sales coaching strategies, tactics, and tools to the Sales Desk Managers to improve the performance of all inside sales reps. Managers are trained on conducting high-impact sales meetings, conducting monthly goal-setting meetings, delivering performance feedback, and conducting sit-along coaching. Direct results of implementation have been impressive. In less than eight months the program has had a direct impact on the company’s sales results, employee productivity, and business growth. So, what are you doing to improve your sales training programs? Are your learning and performance solutions worthy of recognition? If you think you have an award winning program, submit here.

Evolution of E-Learning

I feel a need to chime in. I think the whole e-learning space has gone through an evolution in the last 4-5 years, and we’ve created a four-stage taxonomy to describe it (www.bersin.com/stages). In stage 1 ( Getting Started) organizations adopt e-learning to save money. And yes, e-learning does reduce the cost per delivery of instructional hour. But we now have data to prove that in reality e-learning does not save money, it increase reach and range. Costs which were variable (instructors) become fixed (LMS and infrastructure), allowing greater reach – but total costs dont go down. Most organizations spend a year or two in this phase and they often start with catalog programs. In stage 2 ( Expansion) organizations expand, they build lots of custom programs (beyond the typical catalog content) and start implementing blended programs. They realize they need an LMS, so they bite the bullet and implement something. Yes, the LMS market is evolving and LMS systems do not do everything, but they do manage learning programs well. Here they find that the demand for online content far outweighs capacity and organizations start to realize that much of what they build is not being consumed. This leads to stage 3: ( Integrate and Align). In this stage the organization now realizes they have so much content available that it has grown out of hand, and they spend time on competency-based learning, more focused job-related content, integration with the performance management process, and perhaps the implementation of an enterprise-wide LMS. This is the toughest stage, and I think most mature organizations are here today. At this stage organizations realize that their e-learning programs are more than programs, they are “content” which can be reused and repurposed for many uses. They also realize that the traditional concept of an online course must be complemented by communities of practice, coaching, and other forms of online support. We call Stage 4 Learning on Demand. This is the stage which vendors like to write about but few organizations have yet reached. At this stage companies have to build or buy a true content management system and they develop standards for content development. These standards enable searchable learning and the deployment of small pieces of content, rather than complete courses. The problem most organizations have today is that they are locked in stage 2 or 3 and find that it will take 2-3 years to “unlock” their content to get to stage 4. Nevertheless I believe this is inevitable, and we talk with many organizations working hard right now to implement an on-demand learning model. Throughout these stages, vendors tend to try to fit their products and solutions. Some vendors try to stay true to the market they serve, others try to create visions of reaching across all four stages. For each stage there are challenges and opportunities, and frankly I have not found any organization that can jump from Stage 1 to Stage 4 in less than 3-4 years. I recommend anyone trying to understand all these trends to read our report, it is designed simply to help people understand this complex space and form a basis for making decisions.

Enter the New Generation of Workers: Generation C

(From Human Resource Executive) — As a new generation emerges that is connected socially and technologically like never before, organizations must adapt their talent-management strategies in order to engage with these workers on their terms and leverage their next-generation skills and know-how. As each new generation enters the workforce, organizations have learned to adapt their recruiting, hiring and development strategies to account for the newest additions to the candidate pool. Just when companies think they have mastered talent-management techniques for the latest generation, a new classification of worker, such as the latest known as Generation C, emerges. Unlike previous generations, such as Generation X and Y, this new generation encompasses more than just a new batch of college graduates. It is also a psychographic group comprised of people of different ages who are more connected, both socially and technologically, than ever before. Although there may be some talent-management challenges for this new group, hiring them is integral to the success of any organization. To prepare for the impending mass retirement of baby boomers, Generation C will have to be brought on to fill the ensuing talent gaps and eventually take over key management positions. While hiring Generation C will be a necessity in the future, companies that can engage and recruit this group in the present will benefit from the strengths they offer. When brought on board, a member of Generation C isn’t just contributing their own individual skills and experience. They also bring along the value of their networks, to which they are constantly connected, resulting in real-time productivity through collaboration. Read more.