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Make It Happen-Now!

April 21st, 2014

Make It Happen-Now!

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog about “Life Enrichment: a mantra “, I wrote it regarding a more personal approach to building a better life, I had a lot of reaction to that blog, but several people asked me about writing a blog based upon a more professional perspective vs a personal view.

In thinking through that issue, I think as sales leaders the title of this blog has it right! Make it Happen-Now!

Sense of urgency and creating momentum are critical to the success of any sales organization, I like to suggest to my clients that asking the sales teams “What can you do today, To create an order? Should be your daily mantra. Many sales teams wait for situations to occur to eventually close an order, great sales teams create situations that cause orders to occur. Sometimes these maybe chaos, a well-planned series of events, others are developed with skill of a brain surgeon during discovery and others are just plain salesmanship.

A good friend of mine, Jeb Blount from Sales Gravy (www.salesgravy.com) likes to use these questions with his clients:

• Are your prospects listening to you?

• Do they trust you?

• Do they like you?

• Are you making them feel important?

• What is the impact you will have on their business?

Making sales happen requires you can answer these questions correctly; these critical issues are missing in many sales management one-on-one sales opportunity discussions.

High performance salespeople are creative and are constantly re-thinking their sales strategies and competitive re-positioning, (have you touched all the bases?) Are you challenging the strategy of your thinking? Are you thinking about what else can I do to win this sales opportunity=ALL the TIME? Who else can I talk with or bring into this opportunity?

If you want a copy of the Acumen Sales Strategy Guide, let me know, Ken@AcumengMgmt.com

Make it happen-Now! And you will celebrate all through the summer. Spring Board into summer!

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Ken’s latest book is “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”.

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Ken@AcumenMgmt.com www.AcumenManagement.com,

www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

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Life Enrichment: Satisfaction

April 9th, 2014

Life Enrichment: Satisfaction

Some might think that Life Enrichment is all about satisfaction and while that is the ultimate outcome, what I like to explore is how you get there.

Gaining satisfaction is the challenge, understanding satisfaction maybe even harder. For an example, just the other evening at a conference where I was speaking the next day, I met an individual I had known for some time and while we shared a beverage he told me a remarkable story. James (not his real name) a very successful entrepreneur and I discussed his business, the industry he is in and a variety of topics including his sales team. He was excited as his first quarter was a blow out and he was extremely pleased. Then he dropped it on me.

James said: you know what made me the most excited?

Ken said: Obviously I don’t?

James said: last month one of the administrative staff came into my office in tears.

He went on to discuss how she thanked him for giving her a job, selecting her over three other applicants and that she had saved enough money to buy her first house! He got a huge hug. James got misty eyed just telling the story. I am sure it made up for the day to day challenges all business people face.

In my keynote program I tell a few stories that support my #1 step for Building a Gourmet Life and that has to deal with IMPACT. Impacting the lives of others and how focusing on that objective will improve the Life Enrichment of your life. James did it and he felt it.

Tell me your story, how have you felt Satisfaction?

Ken Thoreson, President of Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” business and sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, his consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout the world. Ken’s latest book is “Leading High Performance Sales Teams

He was recently ranked for the second year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2013.

You can reach Ken at Ken@AcumenMgmt.com, www.AcumenManagement.com and his award winning blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Life Enrichment: Develop your Mantra

April 2nd, 2014

Life Enrichment: Develop your Mantra

Think about it. What is the basis for your personal life? How do you lead your life, how do you make the decisions that impact your personal or professional life? This topic is very important as I have found that people who are successful tend to have a personal and professional balance in their lives

In building a Gourmet Life, I like to suggest you create a personal mantra or motto to help you or guide you in your life’s decisions. During my keynote programs I share several reasons why this is important and I also share several of my own mantras or I call them Thoreson Theorem’s.

The basic need for a personal philosophy is provide you a foundation on which to make decisions, offer assistance and to give others a few of who you are and what you care about. My challenge for you is to let others know what your belief’s are and to share with others what your mantra is, it will help not only you lead teams, but others will know how to better work with you or interact with you on a daily basis. Let me share several examples.

After 9/11 I felt many of my friends and clients were taken back and American felt shaken, I added the following mantra to help me and others move forward: Stay Positive, Take Action! Obviously it meant not to be negative and not to let the actions of a few cause me to stop or delay moving my life forward.

From a business point of view I use the following three rules:

1. I work to enhance the relationship between myself and my clients

2. I want to ensure any relationship is profitable for all parties

3. I want to make sure I have fun

As I work to build my business and my personal life I can use these three tenets to help me make a decision on any variety of topics. How are you living your life? What are your life mantras?

Remember: You can’t change the way you live your life, but you can change the way you LIVE your life!

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 14 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Ken’s latest book is: Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams”. www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Ken@AcumenMgmt.com www.AcumenManagement.com

 

EDGY Conversations

March 26th, 2014

EDGY Conversations

How Ordinary People can Achieve Outrageous Success

A book review

This week’s blog covers an interesting new book written by Dan Waldschmidt, I found that the book certainly has a message that everyone needs to hear! In my keynote programs I sometimes state that “we can’t change the way we have lived our lives, but we can change the way we live our lives”. Dan’s book makes a similar point but his style and stories make this book an unusual but powerful read.

His message: Get beyond the nonsense in your life and do what really matters hits you between the eyes almost on every page. Dan starts with a glimpse of his personal life and throughout the book he brings additional life stories of real people and how they overcame a variety of challenges to succeed in life. These stories support his thinking and his life style. As I read the book, I felt almost a poetic rhythm as his sentence structure is short, spacing open and many red bullets to help stamp in your mind the points Dan is making. Some examples:

You Win more when you fight more

Your future is about the decisions you make, not the ideas you have

• Being different makes the difference

Giving becomes transformational when you invest yourself in the effort

The entire book is full of motivational thoughts with easy to follow action plans that will make a difference in your life. I circled/underlined 100+ phases or sentences that jumped out at me as I read through this book. Just skimming the table of contents you will see why you need to buy this book:

1. Extreme Behavior

2. Disciplined Activity

3. Giving Mindset

4. Human Strategy

5. Chose to be Extraordinary

If you need a personal lift or want to motivate your sales teams, buy this book. IDEA: buy this book for your entire sales team and discuss one chapter a week during your next sales meetings, you will see a difference in your team both professionally and personally.

Get EDGY Conversations by Dan Waldschmidt, from Hydra Publishing

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world. Ken’s latest book is “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”.

 

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Ken@AcumenMgmt.com www.AcumenManagement.com

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Business Enrichment: Creating High Performance

March 18th, 2014

Business Enrichment: Creating High Performance

 For the past 10+ years I have focused on improving the performance of organizations focusing on their business strategy and sales leadership function, as a result I believe we have also improved their individual professional and personal performance as well, the end result is creating a high performance culture throughout the organization.

In preparation for a keynote program I tried to identify what high performing organizations look like; one, their leadership team communicates openly, two, they seem to have their personal and professional lives in balance. I have written often of my Personal/Professional Pizza analogy so I won’t bother you with that, but if you have not taken my Pizza test send me a request : Ken@Acumenmgmt.com

I have summarized below the six (6) characteristics of what it takes to create a high performance culture. Obviously there are more details within each major category, but simply evaluate your company, your department, your team and determine what you need to work on to increase performance. You might use a 1-5 ranking (5 is high) and score each category or even have your management team individually score each category and discuss it at your management team meeting.

• They are on a Clear Course

– Purpose, Vision, Mission, Strategies, Priorities with Action Plans

• Character Defines Qualities & Values of the Team

– Guided by clearly articulated guiding behaviors

• Commitment is Unwavering

– People are committed to clear roles, responsibilities and aligned to the organization

• Collaboration Throughout

– Teams openly support other teams

• Change is Accepted

– The team quickly adapts to new environment

• Coaching Improves Effectiveness

– Leaders are excellent performance coaches, role models-giving/receiving feedback

How did you come out? How close to 30 did you get? Keep working… :)

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout the world. Ken’s latest book is: “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”.

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Ken@AcumenMgmt.com www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Second Quarter Plan

March 10th, 2014

Second Quarter Plan

Amazing, it’s the middle of March-are you ready for the second quarter?

With many of my clients we have the each member of the sales team prepare a six month Business Plan and then a shorter Quarterly Action Plan is created and as I was preparing a client audit today I realized it was time to begin to have this client’s sales team evaluate their performance.

The six month Sales Business Plan is much more than a simple sales forecast but a tool designed to help the salesperson set goals and objectives in a variety of areas.

The Quarterly Action Plan is a more tactical plan to execute on key actions to achieve their goals from their Business Plan.

There are several aspects to this systematic approach to coaching a team:

• First, the team must prepare and believe in the plan/document they are using, this normally does not always happen until the first formal review period when they see results or lack of results vs their plan.

• Second, monthly the Sales Manager must discuss with each salesperson as to their actual performance vs the plan.

• Third, the plan must include the necessary actions to improve overall performance

• Fourth, the two plans, must be designed to work together and not conflict

In building either plan consider these key elements:

• What training and development programs are important to reinforce

• What prospecting and activity goals are important to manage

• What revenue/margin goals that need a focus

• What account or territory intelligence and relationship building is important

What are you using to build a more systematic approach to hitting your objectives?

What did I miss?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Ken@AcumenMgmt.com www.AcumenManagement.com

 

Life Enrichment: Personal Performance

March 3rd, 2014

Life Enrichment: Personal Performance

Since I have been on the topic of Life Enrichment lately, one more topic came into perspective; personal performance. Specifically creating a more enriched life with high levels of personal performance.

There are many key elements in achieving high levels of personal performance and without counting them; I would estimate there are thousands of books written on the topic. I have written often regarding a favorite keynote that I give on Gourmet Living so I don’t want to be redundant in this blog. However, I do want to cover one word today that is a critical lynchpin in Life Enrichment and that word is: DISCLIPINE.

It is a form of personal performance that breaks the levels of success achievement-either up or down. Where in my own personal life I had the discipline to do the right thing-everything was positive, when I failed; I lacked the discipline to achieve and accepted less than success.

In sales leadership it means focusing on a host of actions:

• Creating an atmosphere of trust, fun and achievement

• Ensuring training is occurring

• Building a systematic approach to achieving quotas

• Increasing the level of quality execution at all levels

In life it means a focus on:

• Health and diet

• Creating a community of friends and enjoyment

• Helping others increase their life quality

• Appreciating the positives the world provides

Discipline means there is a special focus in your life to feel more, enjoy more and experience more. Are you?

Let me know what you are doing to increase your Life Enrichment?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

His latest book is: Leading High Performance Sales Teams. Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Life Enrichment: what does it mean?

February 9th, 2014

Life Enrichment: what does it mean?

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog on “Life Enrichment is Yours?” I received a variety of comments regarding the topic, one however was quite interesting. This particular person liked the blog and liked the topic but she had never thought about the combination of words: Life Enrichment, that comment leads me to this week’s blog topic.

• The first question is how did the words come about? Obviously I did not invent them, but as a professional speaker, people always ask me what do I speak about and without trying to give anyone a 10 minute or even two sentence explanation, I came up with the idea that what I speak about it is Life Enrichment. (hoping they would then ask me to give them the 10 minute version ?) In thinking through how to answer that question I went back to listen to various recordings of my keynote program and came up with Life Enrichment. The primary basis for my keynote program is a title I have discussed before: Gourmet Living, building a menu for your life. If you have not watched the video’s on my website-enjoy! www.AcumenManagement.com

• With that background and the individual’s comment, I decided to post on my Facebook page the question: Life Enrichment: what does it mean to you? Just to see the kinds of responses I would get-always a great way to gain some non-scientific but amazingly accurate data points.

Interestingly only people I did not know very well provided their insights, others emailed me directly their answers to ensure perhaps that others wouldn’t see their personal comments. A summary of the comments were:

A Commitment to Life-Long Learning

Exploring or Creating New Experiences

A Personal Focus Outside of Work

Impacting the Lives of Others

Expanding Ones Contentment

Not Feeling Cheated in Life

 

All good comments. Recently I heard a person interviewed on TV, regarding his recent book about people living to 100 years of life and beyond, during his research he video recorded every interview, they played several of them on TV that day. They were amazing people and had a zest for life and as each shared their “secret”, it became obvious that staying active, interested in life, and working were all common themes. Their lives seemed to be enriched.

So my questions to you this week is: How are you enriching your life? What does Life Enrichment mean to you?

BTW: My 4th, 5th, 6th books from the Sales Management Guru series will be published this year, keep an eye out. These will only be in E-book formats.

About the Author

Ken Thoreson, President of Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” business and sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, his consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world. Ken’s latest book is “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”. He was recently ranked for the second year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2013.

You can reach Ken at Ken@AcumenMgmt.com, www.AcumenManagement.com and his award winning blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com.

 

 

 

2014: How will you standout in the marketplace?

January 27th, 2014

2014: How will you stand out in the marketplace?

In reflecting on the past year it seems our program at WPC 2013 set the pace for many client projects. Our Master the Cloud Business Builder series we built for Microsoft provided a prescriptive approach to accelerating revenues as partners built Cloud/Mobility practices. Embedded as one of the key components in the marketing segment was building a vertical market using Cloud solutions to increase sales velocity, one of the sub-elements was using Thought Leadership Marketing to help you stand out in the marketplace. Another aspect of the Cloud Builder marketing program was ensuring your messaging/value proposition was clear, concise and unique. Effective messaging is the number two biggest challenge facing Microsoft partners.

Since our breakout session at WPC 2013 last July in Houston, we have received an enormous number of emails and business opportunities from partner organizations that wanted to learn more about “separating themselves” from their competition. If you weren’t able to make it to the session, you can still see it on WPC Connect it was rated in the top 20 of ALL events at WPC in 2013.

What is Thought Leadership? This quote from Fast Company: Golden Rules of Thought Leadership set the stage for our program at WPC: Dominate your market: learn how thought-leadership marketing will impact your vertical market presence.

You can achieve this in a variety of ways, and in my session at WPC I shared 10 actual examples and other marketing ideas.  One great example would be scheduling and sponsor an event each month at the same date/time, same locations(s) that features an industry expert covering a pertinent vertical market issue or a panel of customers discussing their company’s problems and how they solved them (HINT: using your solutions). Inviting high level executives such as CIO’s to these on-going events will help build up your company as a thought leader.

From a sales perspective, we also stress that your sales team is trained to execute more effectively within a Thought Leadership philosophy. In our Cloud Business Builder program we stressed Acumen’s Business Guidance sales training program. In this format we use existing sales methodologies and add a key component where the salesperson can become a true consultant to the prospect by offering advice or suggestions that reach beyond the technology solution.

By combining better messaging, adding thought leadership marketing and Business Guidance selling techniques your entire organization can prepare to make 2014 your best year ever!  Let me know if you would further information on this topic??

About the Author

Ken Thoreson, President of Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” business and sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, his consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout the world. Ken’s latest book is “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”. This was his 10th year speaking at WPC.

He was recently ranked for the second year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2013.

 

You can reach Ken at Ken@AcumenMgmt.com, www.AcumenManagement.com and his award winning blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com.

 

Life Enrichment: Keeping Your Body/Mind Active

January 21st, 2014

Life Enrichment: Keeping Your Body and Mind Active

While the concept of life balance is important and much has been written and spoken about it, as sales leaders and people in any walk of life it is critical. To enhance life performance a person must focus on life enrichment. In a new year everyone seems to have the normal commitments to achieve a better life; weight loss, meet friends more often, etc. While it is important for people to reflect and set new goals, I think they must be set in balance.

During my keynote when I discuss the “personal and professional” pizza where attendees actually evaluate their life balance, where actually cover 16 points of evaluation, it believe it can be more simple for most everyone, just consider both your body and your mind.

While I won’t give you the magic potion I can recommend what you should consider, for example:

• Trapped in my hotel in a blizzard this evening, I will take out my Yoga: 12 step Sun Salutations guide and work through multiple repetitions

• On this Sunday, flying to my client’s office, I actually purchased an escape book (David Baldacci, “The Innocent” and read 500 pages to enjoy the day-normally I might have worked the 2 hour flight and into the Sunday evening. My mind needed to relax.

• Last Saturday I actually baked cookies, two kinds of food dishes, cleaned the kitchen (and my cave) and watched a basketball game-and don’t forget the 30 minute TreadClimber workout Saturday morning-after coffee and reading the morning paper.

I am not suggesting these are right for you; but after an intense year, the beginning of a new year with a lot of client work demands and the start of extensive travel, pressures of running my business-moving into my 17th year, I have found that to maximize performance I have to listen to my body/mind and also push them as well.

O yes, tomorrow 7:30pm flight, home around 11 pm and then 9am meetings (after driving an hour) all day with my client’s management team to finalize 2014 business plans! It doesn’t end, but I love it.

Off to work on my next keynote program that comes up early February and look for two new e-books coming out early second quarter.

What are you doing to ensure your life is enriched and in balance. One big secret: have fun-no matter what you do! Let me know how to balance it all?

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 16 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout the world. Keep an eye out for our next two books being released soon!

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Ken@AcumenMgmt.com www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

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