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Archive for October, 2011

Sales Pipeline: Fact or Fiction

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 27, 2011 NO COMMENTS

As salespeople know, the pipeline is a vital part of the sales process. But what is the usual definition of a sales pipeline? It may be a list of prospects at various points in the sales cycle, from leads to those ready to close. At times, a sales pipeline could be a set of leads and nothing more. In order to maximize the sales process, the sales pipeline must be a well-planned management cycle with specific components. In this view, today’s sales pipelines are not quite fact, but not quite fiction, either. Let’s find out how to upgrade that sales pipeline into a true sales cycle management system.

The first component of sales cycle management is opportunity management. In short terms, opportunity management is the act of focusing on the most promising sales possibilities. When you manage opportunity, you are expending energy and time on probable sales instead of the “maybe’s”. But how do you go about managing opportunities? First, you must identify them. Which possible sales are moving forward? Which ones, based on forecasting, will be more likely to close?

Next, prioritize the list based on expected income generation, time to close, and expense. Finally, allocate resources to those opportunities. Sales people can also maintain their list in “top ten” or “top five” format, that is, focus on the top opportunities and update them constantly as the sale moves forward.

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Engaging Participants 6: Development

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 24, 2011 NO COMMENTS

Engaging participants in each training program is very important, but you should always be aware of how to engage them in the way that each program fits into the overall curriculum – and the employee’s career path. You can create engagement by having efficient and solid curricula, career paths, coaching and mentoring programs, and leadership training. All of the information about the development program should be transparent, as well.

A well-developed curriculum for each job, job group, or division goes a long way to engage participants in training. To begin with, when a participant knows that he or she is working toward a goal or an end, engagement comes easier. In fact, consider offering certificates of completion for associates who finish their assigned curriculum or curricula. Some organizations go a step further, together with HR and the department or division, to offer salary or position increases for the completion of training curricula. If you can’t go this far yet, get HR and managers involved in congratulating those associates who finish curriculum programs.

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University Trading Challenge December 9, 2011

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 19, 2011 NO COMMENTS


University Trading Challenge:  A Competition for Finance, Economic and Math Students

The University Trading Challenge (UTC) is open to full-time students in Finance, Economics, Math and Business programs at any university. The competition has three main components: Long-Term Portfolio, Short-Term Trading, and Case-Study Presentation. The live portion of the competition (Short-Term Trading and Case-Study Presentations) will take place December 9, 2011 at the Wasserman Trading Floor at Baruch College in New York.

Participants experience an incomparable simulation of real-world trading while demonstrating their abilities to analyze, strategize, make decisions, and give presentations. They get an invaluable glimpse into the real world of the capital markets as well as true insight into themselves and their suitability to a finance career.

The UTC lets finance students compete in intense, interactive competitions.

GET NOTICED: The University Trading Challenge is supported and attended by the who’s who of the industry. You’ll meet the leaders of the finance world, who are there looking for you. You are the young talent they want to employ. The UTC is your opportunity to show them you’re ready by demonstrating your trading abilities and showcase your potential to the right people.

LEARN BY DOING: Classroom study is the core of any education, but we learn best by doing. Students who compete in the University Trading Challenge, a simulated real-market competition, gain intense insight into the real world of commodities trading—and their own talents and abilities.

TAKE FLIGHT: You and your fellow student participants are tomorrow’s finance leaders. After taking part in the UTC, you will hit the ground running, thanks to everything you’ve learned and experienced, and all the influential people you’ve met.

For More Information, please visit www.UniversityTradingChallenge.com


Engaging Participants 5: Training Materials

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 17, 2011 NO COMMENTS

Training materials can make a big impact on participant engagement, whether they are being used in the classroom or outside of it. Within the classroom, materials should leave a “mental mark” on the participant, that is, he or she should be able to recall important information the next time the materials are open. Outside of the classroom, training materials must serve as a real-time reference that may help participants on the job.

One of the most obvious types of training materials are user and classroom manuals. For a long time, we felt like classroom participants had to have something to hang on to while they were in class. But if your classroom training has evolved into a series of job experiences, you may not need manuals or user guides. On the other hand, if you are providing education on technical or operational processes, you may want participants to follow along in a manual – and take the manual with them when they leave. If this is the case, manuals should be self-explanatory and at least contain an index where participants can quickly reference material.

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Engaging Participants 4: Virtual Engagement

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 12, 2011 NO COMMENTS

Most organizations have turned to various forms of online and virtual training because it is cost effective, it reaches a wide audience, and it serves many generations of learners. But we can’t forget that virtual training is not simply there to take the pressure off of the classroom staff. Virtual training, in all of its forms, must be engaging, just as if the content was being delivered in a classroom.

First, self-paced online content, such as courses and tutorials, must engage learners from multiple perspectives. For visual learners, graphics should be appropriate to the content and to the target audience. Just as in development for the classroom, graphics should not be placed for the sake of taking up space or creating color; they must say something and leave the learner with retained knowledge. For kinesthetic learners, though, there needs to be some interaction in online courses, such as a “click here for more information” or activities of other types. And for audio learners, the option of hearing a voice is always a good one.

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Engaging Participants 3: Classroom Engagement

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On October 5, 2011 NO COMMENTS

Most organizations still offer classroom training – it is effective, provides interaction, and provides a network for participants. But today’s learners are much different, not only because generations have changed but also because the environment is much harsher. As we know, today’s newest corporate learners don’t remember a time without computers or cell phones. But even the most seasoned corporate learners are users of technology, linked to laptops and cell phones and social media as part of their jobs. In addition, if a group of learners comes to a classroom in today’s environment, they are probably concerned about how they are going to catch up on their already-heavy workload. For these reasons, we have to work even harder to engage these learners – and maintain that engagement through the classroom learning process. Let’s look at some ways to engage learners in a traditional classroom.

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