Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Difference Between Sympathy and Empathy. How to Experience Empathy.

Know thyself to know others. Listen to yourself in order to listen to others. Appreciate yourself to appreciate those around you. Understand who you are to assist others in knowing who they are.

It is a process that implies that gaining greater awareness about what you are thinking and feeling leads to greater skill in being able to read and interpret what is going on around you. And the more adept you are at sensing what others are thinking and feeling, the better equipped you will become at knowing what messages to send to people who work for you, and how to frame them. The skill involved in this process is called empathy.

Defining Empathy

Empathy is defined simply as:

“The capacity to understand and respond effectively to the unique experience of another.”

Given this definition, it is evident that empathy includes three main components: understanding, responding effectively, and a focus on the unique circumstances of people and situations. Let’s look at each of these three components separately.

Certainly managers are required to have solid understanding about a number of things regarding the people who work for them. They need to understand, for example, the basics: the essentials of the jobs that report to them, the requirements for performing these jobs, what superior performance looks like, how the job gets done extremely well, and much more. But these types of technical understandings only scratch the surface about what a manager needs to know and appreciate. It is at least, if not more important, for managers to understand:
§  How each staff member adds value to the enterprise, and to the satisfaction of the enterprise’s customers.
§  What each individual staff member’s training and development needs are.
§  How each individual staff member can maximize his or her full potential.
What motivates each direct report, and how each of these individuals is likely to respond to varying motivational techniques.
Do you see the difference between the more superficial, “content-oriented” technical understandings (job specifications) versus the more interpersonal, “process-oriented” understandings that characterize the skill of empathy? Obviously, there are an almost infinite number of additional “understandings” upon which a manager can focus. But the crucial point is that, as is the case in the process of self-examination, there are deeper and richer understandings about people that help connect a leader to his or her team. The effort to create or achieve the more interpersonal “process”-oriented understandings at work is at the core of empathic supervisory practice.
Responding effectively to situations that present themselves at work is also an essential component of managing others. Judgment about which response to employ in different situations is a crucial part of managing people with empathy. Armed with understanding, a manager can tailor a response that fits the person and the situation. Empathic responses to situations imply an effort to “read” the situation and select the correct response accordingly. Management should never be “one size fits all.”
The skill of empathy then adds another dimension to the ability to understand and respond to people in work circumstances. Empathy focuses on communicating with others in a way that makes them feel uniquely understood. It involves an ability to assess the unique circumstances of people—what seems to be going on inside them in the here and now, what they are feeling, how they are showing it with body language and affect, what type of core personality they have, what values drive them, and much more. Empathy is sparked by a natural curiosity about people. Managers need to nurture and develop that sense of curiosity about what people are experiencing, in order to focus in on their unique circumstances.

The Difference Between “Sympathy” and “Empathy”

It is important to have an appreciation for how the terms sympathy and empathy relate to each other. The distinction between these two seemingly analogous terms lies in the difference between “feeling for” someone (sympathy) versus “feeling with” someone (empathy). The sympathetic response feels for someone out of an orientation to one’s own experience. The empathic response feels with the person, based upon an orientation to the other person’s unique circumstances. Sympathy is a form of agreement, rather than an exploration of feeling—it is emotionally distant. Empathy, on the other hand, is emotionally connecting. Empathic listeners feel others’ pain, joy, grief, and frustration. Sympathy leaves the other person in the interaction feeling supported but not uniquely understood.

Experiencing Empathy

To understand what empathy is and its importance to human relationships of all kinds, consider your own experience with it. Think about an interaction or series of interactions with another person in your life, when you felt:
§  As if your words had been listened to completely, and therefore truly understood.
§  Engaged, rather than simply heard, in a conversation.
§  Pleased that the interaction took place, because it created a feeling of connection to the other person.
§  A wish to have additional opportunities for such interactions with this person.
The interaction you chose may have been part of a loving relationship or friendship. Obviously, empathy is a key component of intimacy with others, because of empathy’s power in connecting people to one another.
The interaction you chose also may have been a professional one. Teachers, academic supervisors, mentors, clergy, or medical/psychological caregivers are common examples of the types of individuals who can model empathy in professional relationships. They listen in order to be of service, to help in meeting different types of educational, professional, spiritual, or medical needs. When we receive an empathic response, we feel as though our problems matter, as though our growth or development is important to someone else, and that we are unique and also uniquely understood.

The author of the aboved writing: Stephen E. Kohn


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

4 Layers of the Revenue Roadmap - Connecting Your Sales Strategy and Compensation.

The Four Layers of the Revenue Roadmap: Connecting Your Sales Strategy and Compensation

When thinking about sales strategy and sales compensation, it’s critical to have a framework.
The Revenue Roadmap identifies four major layers, or competency areas, and 16 related disciplines that must connect for the organization to grow profitably.

LAYER 1 - Insight

The first layer of the Revenue Roadmap, Insight, informs the organization about customers, the market, competitors and how the business is performing. Insight is the highest level competency. It involves understanding the voice of the customer, the macro market, competitor moves and performance, and the performance of the business. That understanding will drive certain decisions to the next downstream level, which is Sales Strategy.
Listening to the voice of the customer is a critical starting point. Sales leaders must understand the needs and expectations of their customers and their own performance relative to those expectations. That insight allows leaders to see any gaps and determine where they can improve value proposition, sales coverage, and the sales process.
Sales leaders also need to consider what’s going on in the macro market environment, especially as it relates to their industry. Certain shifts in the economic environment can, over the long term, drive decisions about the sales strategy and how they might plan for where the market is going, as opposed to where they are right now.
In addition, it’s essential to know how competitors are performing from a growth and financial perspective. Sales leaders also have to understand their competitors’ offers to the market and how competitors are positioning their products and services.
Finally, sales leaders should look at the company’s historic and projected revenue and profit performance. This evaluation should consider whether growth has come through the retention of current customer revenue, the penetration of customers through increased usage or additional products, or the acquisition of new customers. By understanding the business performance, they can see where they’ve been strong and where they’ve been weak, and they can adjust their sales strategy accordingly.

LAYER 2 - Sales Strategy

The second layer, Sales Strategy, defines the sales organization’s action plan to achieve its goal. The sales strategy will drive decisions concerning product and service focus, concentration on certain markets (i.e., segmentation and targeting), value propositions, and the resulting approach to market.
First and foremost to the strategy, it’s critical to define the core and strategic products and services the business provides. In many companies, these are developed based on the needs of certain customer segments. Too often, however, products and services are internally driven and may not align naturally with customer needs, requiring a significant change in the offer or value proposition.
The organization determines how it will organize and prioritize customers and prospects through its segmentation and targeting. The most effective segmentation and targeting considers characteristics such as customer industry, sales potential, profitability, common needs, and overall fit with the sales organization’s business. It’s important that segmentation and targeting flow into a plan that’s actionable by the sales organization. Simply defining the segment at a high level is not going to answer the sales rep’s question: “Who do I go see on Monday morning?”
The value proposition goes beyond what the sales organization communicates to customers and articulates the organization’s understanding of the customer’s business and issues, what the organization can accomplish for the customer, and how the organization differentiates itself from the competition. The highest level value proposition is usually communicated at a company level. To be effective for sales, however, the organization must convert its value proposition to sales messages that can be communicated at the segment level, customer level, and deal level to adapt to changing situations and customer needs.
Finally, when developing the approach to market, sales leaders should incorporate decisions about products, services, target segments, value propositions, and potential sales resources into a plan that can be executed by the sales organization. The Customer Coverage layer converts that plan into action.

LAYER 3 - Customer Coverage

Customer Coverage, the third layer, identifies how the organization will use its channels, roles, processes, and resources to go to market.
Sales channels outline the overall routes to market, whether they’re third party companies such as resellers, referral partners, or retailers, or whether they’re part of the company sales force, which could include a range of sales jobs. Sales leaders need to base the selection of their sales channel mix on factors like how the customer prefers to buy, how channel partners might improve the overall product offer, their ability to reach customers in different markets, and the financial efficiency of using lower cost channels to reach certain customers or conduct certain types of sales or service transactions.
Within sales roles and structure, sales leaders must consider the types of sales and support jobs they’re going to use and how the organization is structured around those jobs. Sales jobs typically align to customer segments and can range from global account management to field sales to inside sales. The structure may be developed around key segments—for example, the telecommunications industry or major accounts. It may also be defined around certain geographies, functional roles, or some combination.
Sales channels and sales roles integrate with the processes for working with customers. In fact, the best customer coverage models are built from the customer’s buying process with a sales process and roles that reflect how the customer prefers to work. Sales processes lay out the common approaches for how the sales team identifies prospects, qualifies opportunities, develops solutions, manages the momentum, closes the sale, and implements the product or service for the customer. While sales processes vary widely even within a single sales organization, it’s important to define the optimal or preferred sales process as a foundational point for the organization to manage and optimize performance.
Sales deployment maps the feet on the street and the level of sales resources needed for each of the sales roles by geographies, segments, or other forms of account assignment. Deployment is typically guided by a combination of sales capacity (available sales time and workload) to manage current accounts or sell to new accounts, sales role and customer alignments, and logistical factors like geography and travel patterns.

LAYER 4 - Enablement

Enablement, the final layer of the Revenue Roadmap, supports all of the upstream disciplines within Insight, Customer Coverage, and Sales Strategy. Enablement includes areas such as incentive compensation and quotas, which aligns sellers to the sales strategy. It also includes recruiting and retention, which define the current inventory of talent and determine how the organization is going to attract and retain the right talent for the long term. Training and development builds the capabilities of the organization for people currently in their jobs and for those in junior roles who will progress into key sales roles. Tools and technology provide leverage by enhancing the effectiveness of gaining Insight and implementing the organization’s decisions around Sales Strategy, Customer Coverage, and Enablement.
Jeff Connor, chief growth officer for ARAMARK—a global provider of food services, facilities management, and uniforms—is involved in the sales compensation process. He says:
People confuse incentives with alignment, and they jump to incentives as the answer, as opposed to the hard work of alignment. When you look at the Revenue Roadmap, sales and incentive compensation is at the bottom. In my experience, when you talk sales compensation, everybody wants to just take big business objectives and assign incentives, as if the salespeople will go after anything where there’s a buck.
In reality, anybody who’s ever worked on sales comp knows it doesn’t operate like that. The alignment work—getting the correct insight, aligning it to the sales strategy—has to happen first. The last thing you do at the end of the day is work on the incentive plan. Confusing incentives for alignment happens all the time. People just go right to the ideas without understanding context. I think this idea of alignment is really important.
The Revenue Roadmap helps a company to align its strengths and ensure that everyone is firing on all cylinders. While it begins with Insight, all 16 disciplines in the Roadmap are connected, and the decisions and actions flow from one to the next. When looking at sales compensation, it helps to know where it fits within the overall framework, downstream from Sales Strategy and Customer Coverage. That’s why issues in the upstream disciplines show up as symptoms in the sales compensation plan.
Sales compensation is inextricably connected to the other disciplines. For example, think about the document imaging business—copier companies. Over the past several years, they’ve gone through a major technological change, transitioning from analog equipment (copiers that make black and white copies) to digital networked equipment (machines that are connected to IT networks). That fundamental shift in technology has created a shift in the industry’s business model, which has created a shift in its sales model.
In the days of analog copiers, Joe the copier sales rep would typically sell a copier to the office manager. That sales process was pretty transactional. He’d canvass office parks trying to get past the receptionist to find the buyer. He’d usually close the sale in a week or two, most likely by dropping the price of the hardware. His company would make it up later, selling supplies like toner and services over the term of the contract.
But Joe can no longer do that with a digital copier. Now he needs help explaining how the copier will integrate with the company’s IT system. He’s also not going to sell to the office manager anymore. Joe now will sell to the IT manager or perhaps the owner of the business. Or, Joe may sell to a team that’s been put together to develop a request for proposal (RFP) on a document imaging system. In addition, he needs to elevate his value proposition and make the business case for why the customer should make a sizable investment with his company and how the customer will see a return on its investment.
That fundamental shift in technology has changed Joe’s sales role. It also changed the sales strategy, because the buying process is extended out further. Joe no longer goes in and makes a sale in a week. It may take him three months. It’s a much bigger sale, but it’s going to take a lot longer. The sales compensation plan needs to fit.
In this situation, looking at the Revenue Roadmap, the offer to the market has changed the Sales Strategy. The value proposition has to shift as well as the approach. The Customer Coverage also changes. The sales roles likely evolve; Joe now has a systems engineer to work with him because the engineer understands the specifics of the technology that didn’t exist before. But having a systems engineer isn’t enough. The organization must evaluate its current inventory of sales talent as well, including Joe, to determine if these people have the skills required in their new sales roles and if they need to be trained, coached, or replaced.
As the organization makes those changes, the sales compensation plan starts to pop like a circuit breaker. If this company has a compensation issue—perhaps people weren’t hitting their quotas or people weren’t earning as much or as quickly as they used to—it’s likely because the plan was designed for a different sales model.
The incentive plan for the analog world was a fast cycle compensation plan that supported a quick sale. Because Joe could make a sale in a week in the analog world, he probably had an aggressive commission-based plan with a lot of pay at risk. That plan promoted aggressive selling behaviors. But now Joe meets with a customer and tries to sell a complex networked product that requires the evaluation of an entire customer sales team and may take three to six months to sell. If Joe’s rhythm is geared to a one-week sales cycle because he’s motivated by a very aggressive commission plan, guess what will happen? The sale will break down, and he’s probably going to lose it.
These are the kinds of inconsistencies to look for as the upstream and downstream alignments shift. We see this situation play out over and over in different industries, from technology to manufacturing to business services. Where the business evolves, sales evolves as well, and sales compensation must evolve to support that change.

The author of the aboved writing: Mark Donnolo


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