APS conferences focus on sales performance and talent

Tony Boniface, Ecommerce Desk Sales Manager at Royal Mail speaks to delegates. Next to him is conference host, Penny Haslam

Thursday 16 May 2019

Thanks to everyone who attended our morning and afternoon conferences held in the magnificent Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Westminster, London.

In case you missed the events, here’s a summary of the speakers and subject areas.

Our morning session offered strategic insights and best practices to drive improved sales performance. In the afternoon we put the focus on developing sales talent.

Our speakers were a mix of sales management and leadership experts and as ever there was the opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues.

Nicci Take, the CEO of m62 | vincis spoke in both the morning and afternoon session, when she introduced herself as the T in LGBT. “I used to be a boy, but I’m okay now,” she said.

Nicci has spent 25 years as a deal coach, and Vincis is Latin for “you win”. Nicci stands by the name and boasts a win rate of up to 85 percent. Her clients from every sector and every geography also claim similarly high rates – on average more than 75 percent. When she’s not coaching sales teams, Nicci is a stand-up-comic and has had sell-out fringe shows in Edinburgh.

Nicci Take, the CEO of m62

Her approach to sales is clear: “It is not a process. If you deploy it as a process, you will fail. If you chase everything, you don’t do anything smart or clever.”

In the afternoon during the session about developing sales talent Nicci focused on the importance of an inclusive, diverse workplace. What she calls “a strength and a competitive advantage”.

“Women,” she said “collaborate and nurture. They make great managers. If all the people you look at, look the same, you’re not doing your job. My win rates now are 85% because I’m working in a more feminine, more collaborative way. It’s about encouraging the conversation with everyone. If your win rate is falling you have a bunch of men who are focused on winning; it should be a collaboration. We should all work together so it’s a win-win situation.”

Tony Boniface, Ecommerce Desk Sales Manager at Royal Mail kicked off the event by talking about how, in a world of social media, online reviews and one-click service, the importance of your customer-facing salespeople is more important than ever. In a world of digital revolution it was important to update the voice and culture of an established sales team to keep the focus on the customer, he said. Tony leads the Bristol sales centre for Royal Mail, which delivers 1.6 billion parcels a year – the UK’s most trusted letters and parcels delivery company. But Tony said: “We don’t talk parcels, we talk delivery. It’s about people buying things and delivering customer experience; that’s what matters”

Tony Boniface, Ecommerce Desk Sales Manager at Royal Mail

Cathy Ward, the Global Chief Operating Officer, SAP Innovation Services, asked delegates to close their eyes and think about the future. “Imagine it is the year 2030, just over 10 years from now. What do you see?” she asked. “Beach and retirement!” shouted one delegate to laughs from Cathy and the conference floor. “We’re really getting into this,” she joked.

In a session called “The Futures Sales Manager” Cathy looked at the pressures faced by sales leaders. She said: “We need to make the number and build for the future with a pipeline to create a sustainable business and we need to manage the team.” But she commented that with fast-paced technologies, we can often feel stuck in a “Vuca” world, one that is “volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous”. Vuca is a concept that originated with students during US Army training to describe the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of the world after the Cold War.

Cathy imagined a time machine to help resolve the challenges of technology, the future of work, and keeping your customers happy and engaged.

“We want to perform and maximise our performance, but stress over the long term is not a good a good indicator of driving high performance.

“At SAP we’ve built up a very strong mindfulness practice, and I would encourage people to explore what that means. How to engage in that, for yourself, to get your energy right, to get your headspace there, but also for your team, as well.”

Conference delegates take the microphone to ask questions

Also speaking during the afternoon conference were Richard Simpson, VP Sales, Poq who focused on the art, science or hunch of recruiting key sales people.

Rachael Satchwell, UK Head of Sales, Domino Printing has accumulated 20-years experience in sales, starting out with a local, inkjet-cartridge manufacturer. Her presentation “The Journey of the New Sales Person” described the progression at Domino over the last 5 years, developing new starters to contribute more quickly and effectively to the overall sales target.

Nick Holbrook, European Sales Training Manager at Toshiba TEC, has spent the past 15 years building and delivering sales training and sales leadership workshops in Europe, the US and South America and included tips on improving the best sales talent

In a session called Comfort Zone or Trouble Zone, Adrian Barnwell, IBM Services Sales coaching leader for Europe, MEA and Latin America told the conference that winning-salespeople and sales organisations, like winning-sportspeople and teams, consistently do basic things better than their competitors. Adrian’s coaching experience started in sport and transferred to business and his session examined how good coaching creates a winning mentality. Adrian gave tips on a structured approach to coaching to create a valuable coaching culture.

Lance Mortimer, Director Sales Training and Ben White, Senior Manager Sales Training, GTT spoke about the changing landscape of learning and talent development in organisations and what this means for salespeople. They discussed how to use data to help salespeople on a path of self-development and to identify, retain and develop sales talent in order to achieve objectives.

Adrian Barnwell, IBM Services Sales Coaching Leader for Europe, MEA and Latin America

Enrico Bonatti, is now Senior Vice President Strategy and Sales Operations at Tata Communications. Before that he gained 20-years experience at Microsoft with several sales and marketing roles. Enrico discussed how managing the present will create a strong future by nurturing the identify of your sales teams.

The presentations from both morning and afternoon conferences will be available to APS members through your Client Share account. We will send you details when the videos are uploaded.

The APS morning and afternoon conferences: Driving Sales Performance and Developing Sales Talent were held at The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, One Birdcage Walk, London, SW1H 9JJ on Thursday 16 May 2019

About the APS:
The Association of Professional Sales is the leading authority for salespeople, a not-for-profit organisation reinvesting in the sales profession to build standards, trust and education. The APS is engaged with MPs to promote ethical, professional selling across UK businesses and has worked with the government, business leaders and academics to establish sales apprenticeships up to degree and master’s level. We are also campaigning for chartered status to give skilled, ethical salespeople the same recognition as other professions like accountants, architects, and engineers.

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