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“Salespeople who can create trust and gain respect from buyers will be incredibly valuable going forward. No amount of technology or automation can replace that.”

Braveheart Sales Performance is a sales consulting firm focused on middle-market companies and small businesses. Customized solutions are focused on execution as opposed to theoretical strategies, and take a holistic approach to a company’s sales effectiveness and results, including employees, culture, processes and procedures.

Braveheart is led by Gretchen Gordon – a veteran sales expert with nearly a quarter-century of experience in the trenches as a powerhouse salesperson and sales manager. She personally designs all training and coaching curriculum and sets the course for the business



BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about the process of creating a truly transformational learning system designed to meet the needs of small- and medium-sized businesses?

Gretchen: The basis of a transformational learning system is that there must be multiple touch points and modes of communicating the information to participants. While one-day “edutainment” type of seminars may be entertaining, they do not produce lasting results. Only consistent, repeated interaction really enables adult learners to absorb new material and apply it to their business lives for improved success. The system must also fit within a middle-market or small business budget. Therefore we use a truly blended approach including live interaction, both in person and via webinar. We utilize technology as much as is feasible and accepted by the client, to keep costs manageable.

BusinessInterviews.com: What advice would you give to someone contemplating creating their first webinar?

Gretchen: Remember that the webinar technology is merely an enabling agent to allow a wider audience to benefit from your message. When creating your first webinar, prepare and practice so that you feel comfortable. Print out a version of the material to be shown ahead of time as a reference to see where you are headed during the webinar. Practice on the system in advance. Make sure to break from speaking frequently to solicit feedback and questions. Use your video camera to engage more intimately with the audience. If you struggle with certain technology blips, don’t panic, just be yourself.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you tell us a bit about your Salesperson Evaluation and what the process entails?

Gretchen: At Braveheart we utilize the Objective Management Group battery of assessments and evaluations which have been rated the #1 Sales Assessment Tool by Top Sales Leader the last three years. The process is nearly effortless for clients. Sales team members are simply asked to answer a questionnaire about how they are currently executing their job. The tools we use are completely objective and evaluate not only the individual’s effectiveness, but also the effectiveness of the processes and systems being used, the quality of the pipeline and the impact that management is having. We use this information to create a pinpointed action plan so that we focus on the right areas. We can then calculate the upside potential (how much more this team can sell) and calculate an ROI on any action steps which are recommended based on this analysis.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are some emerging trends that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?

Gretchen: It is not a secret that buyers are engaging much later with sellers than they ever did before, mainly because there is so much information available. The good news for the right kind of salesperson is that a much higher value is placed on trustworthiness and buyers expect their salespeople to be advisory for many types of products and services. So those salespeople who can create trust and gain respect from buyers will be incredibly valuable going forward. No amount of technology or automation can replace that.

Another trend is the notion that not all effective salespeople are necessarily money driven. I started noticing this trend when using our evaluation tools with salespeople over the past few years, following the recession. More often than not, the salespeople would be highly motivated but they would be intrinsically motivated as opposed to extrinsically motivated. Meaning they are motivated by doing a good job, executing their role well, winning the business, or for the appreciation of their client as opposed to being motivated by money or public recognition. Business owners should be paying attention to what actually motivates their salespeople as opposed to assuming that all salespeople are money motivated. But be careful, if you ask them, they may tell you they are money motivated because they think they are supposed to be. It is a trend worth noticing because it has impact on compensation plans and the effectiveness of how plans incent the right behavior to generate the most sales.

BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired you to start providing outsourced sales management services to your clients?

Gretchen: We initially began providing outsourced sales management services at the request of our clients, but have found that there is a much more wide-spread need to alleviate sales management burdens from CEOs and small business owners. The small business segment, which outsourced sales management is designed for, is a fairly underserved market as it pertains to cost effective sales training and development programs. Frequently their sales teams underperform because they are not getting adequate guidance and aren’t held accountable. CEOs or owners feel guilty about not spending enough time with the sales team so they don’t eliminate poor performers quickly enough and the company’s sales growth lags. Braveheart’s new outsourced sales management service can stop that vicious cycle while taking a significant burden off of the CEO, producing faster sales growth, helping the company expand and enabling the eventual hiring of a full-time dedicated sales manager.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are some common mistakes you see sales managers making that can be easily avoided or corrected?

Gretchen: The common mistakes that sales managers make are: not spending enough time coaching their salespeople; a reluctance to hold salespeople accountable to agreed to activities; a need to rescue salespeople during a joint sales call; and not knowing (or caring) what motivates a salesperson. Those are just a few and I wouldn’t necessarily say the are easily avoided, but if a sales manager is interested in having tremendous positive impact on the sales team he or she will focus energy on these items.

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