A series of surprises inspired this series.
It started in 2010, soon after I left Procter & Gamble. I had worked at P&G for 35 years as a salesperson and then a sales executive. My plan was to retire, but stay busy by starting a consulting business focused on sales capability.
- The first surprise happened as soon as I announced my consulting business. Calls started coming in. Quickly. They were from former P&G sales executives.
- The second surprise was that they all had the same problem: they’d ended up managing sales teams at other companies, and they were finding it difficult. They recognized that their sales teams didn’t have basic selling frameworks or a common selling language. Every sale was a one-time wonder. And there was a heavy reliance on price and product — not understanding customer needs and providing value-based solutions. These former P&Gers had been spoiled by how consistent and performant their P&G sales teams were. They wanted to get their new teams to perform like that.
- The third surprise was my behind-the-scenes look at what was happening on these sales teams. Managers were sometimes taking over at meetings, or getting on the phone with customers that weren’t closing. Individual Contributors couldn’t sell or solve problems on their own.
- And my fourth and final surprise was… there was talent at all these companies! These sales organizations were filled with capable, competent sales people. But there was something missing.
Wow — what was going on here?
The missing ingredient was “P&G-like” training. Everyone in the P&G sales organization shared a powerful selling approach that made selling faster, more efficient, and more effective. The rituals had been refined for years by the time I got to P&G. I was steeped in that.
Luckily for the people who were calling me, it IS possible to make this training accessible to more sales teams beyond P&G. It wasn’t possible immediately — we had to make major additions and changes to what we learned at P&G. But now it’s working, and getting results.
In these last 13 years, our company successfully passed on this training to over 12,000 salespeople in 86 countries in 6 languages at over 3 dozen companies, including over a dozen Fortune 100 companies. I’m now dedicated to making this training even better, and I’ve been sharing it using a digital platform using MasterClass-quality videos and live virtual coaching.
This series will be my first attempt to share some of these experiences in writing. This is mostly geared toward sales managers. I hope this helps non-P&G sales managers by providing new ideas and frameworks that can help drive better results. And I hope everyone enjoys the stories!
Feedback is a gift. If you have questions or comments about any of these stories, please leave them in the comments below each one. And be sure to Follow or Subscribe so you never miss a story.
Now, without further ado, please enjoy Part 1: Uncovering Problems.