Michael Dell has opened up on how he fires up his sales staff, admitting that his former tactic of encouraging staff to wear camouflage gear has been retired.
In a blog post on LinkedIn, Dell's eponymous leader doled out the secrets behind his firm's sales success on the back of its global sales kick-off events which were held recently.
"The first of February marked the beginning of a new fiscal year at Dell, which means it's time to rally and align our global salesforce," he said. "We do that at our annual Field Readiness Seminars (FRS) in February and March. [It] sounds kind of boring when you spell it out like that, but it's not. We pack a lot of fun, networking and training into a few short days in Las Vegas, Singapore and Copenhagen.
"We've been at this for 30-plus years now, and our approach to sales enablement has certainly evolved. Back in the 80s, we wore camouflage – appropriate attire for the ongoing war with our then-rival Compaq. Though our tactics have changed through the years (no more camo), we basically adhere to the same four principles we always have for enabling our sales team."
He said that taking time to celebrate staff success at events such as FRS is an important part of motivating employees and added that the company handed out 150 awards at the events to deserving staff.
But he said that when things don't go so well, it is important to own up.
"In business, not every year is a slam dunk," he said. "I've learned that being transparent about the challenges – past, present and future – is the only way to be with your team. You simply cannot expect people to go out and sell with confidence if they aren't armed with the truth. The best salespeople I know are competitive and unafraid of a little adversity, so be honest and have faith in the team you've built."
Giving sales staff time to form and develop relationships with customers was another top tip dished out by Dell, but he concluded that getting the products spot on is the main way to boost sales.
"[Selling] stuff customers really want... is the number-one way to enable a sales team" he said. "Listen to your customers and build a portfolio of products and services to address their needs.
"Engaging with customers is in Dell's DNA. We have about two billion customer interactions a year, and we use those insights to direct our strategy, investments and R&D. Nothing helps a salesperson close a deal faster than superior products and services that solve a real problem or drive better results for the customer."
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