Welcome!

Slammed! Sales Management Book Camp

January 9th, 2017

KEN: Normally I do not use this blog to promote, but I have had many readers inquire about out training programs and I wanted to let everyone know about this special opportunity.

Slammed! The New Sales Manager Boot Camp

We hear these comments all the time:

  • Revenues are flat
  • We have too much to do, we don’t have time to build a sales organization
  • I am frustrated with my sales team, do I have the right team?
  • I have a problem growing sales profitably
  • My pipeline is full, but nothing is closing
  • I don’t think my compensation plan is working
  • I am unsure what metrics to use to measure sales effectiveness
  • We seem to react to every opportunity

If you relate to any of these comments then SLAMMED! Sales Management Boot Camp maybe for you.  We start 2-24-17

To Learn More    http://ow.ly/VRmV307IMB5

Sales management is one of the most rewarding jobs in business when you know what to do and how to do it. This is what New Sales Manager Bootcamp is all about. Taught by sales management guru Ken Thoreson (one of the world’s foremost sales leadership coaches),  you will get everything you need to crush it in your new role.

You will attend eight live, virtual sessions with Ken in a small group setting (all sessions are recorded), in addition, you’ll have access to:

  • More than thirty self-directed video learning modules
  • Discussion forums where you can share best practices with Ken and other participants
  • Live chat room where you can interact with Ken
  • Ken will also be available for limited one to one coaching
  • Plus you’ll get all four books in Ken’s Sales Management Guru series including Slammed! For the New Sales Manager

In the course you’ll learn:

  • Important time management strategies for sales leaders
  • How to recruit, interview, and hire top talent
  • How to motivate your sales team
  • How to build and lead a high-performance sales culture
  • Compensation and incentive strategies
  • Coaching and training strategies for improving performance
  • How to effectively onboard new sales reps
  • How to evaluate your team and plan for the future
  • Pipeline strategies
  • Business planning strategies
  • How to build and create accountability
  • How to monitor leading indicators
  • How to manage and leverage sales dashboards
  • How to use Salesperson Business Plans to lead a self-managed team
  • And continued access to all training material in the program for twelve full months

If you are new to sales leadership  or never attended a sales management course this is a opportunity you must not miss. It is a rare opportunity to learn from one to the greatest sales management minds of all time. To ensure that participants get full attention class size is limited to 12 participants.

Enroll now to get instant access to pre-work and initial training videos. For questions please give us a call at 1-844-447-3737

To Learn More    http://ow.ly/VRmV307IMB5

 

 

Why 2017 Can Be Your Best Year Ever!

January 2nd, 2017

Life Enrichment: Why 2017 Can Be Your Best Year Ever!

Individually, at parties and in the news,  questions of New Year’s Resolutions are one of the major topics, recently I posted the following notes on my Facebook page, the post received many “likes and comments’ from a variety of connected friends:

May everyone and I mean everyone, enjoy the new year, enjoy your friends, make new ones, enjoy your experiences, create new and different ones, and as I was trained as a Boy Scout, always leave the campsite better than when you arrived…Life Enrichment should be our focus, living together with harmony, not divide our purpose. Vow to help someone else have a better life.

In a short post I tried to highlight specific actions that as a society and specifically individuals we can all do to “heal” our society but just importantly to ensure you enjoy a better life as well.  In many of my keynote programs I focus on Life Enrichment as a theme. Simply this means by taking positives actions a person can more fully enjoy both their Personal Lives as well as their Professional Lives. This balance of professional/personal life brings a better sense of success that leads to a better life, I call this Gourmet Living.

First, in my post I encouraged everyone to enjoy the year, drop the anger or craziness of the election, it’s bad for your health, tough on your friends and will bring a negative atmosphere to your life. Learn to enjoy the time you have with your friends, laugh, make time for a breakfast/lunch just to talk and develop deeper relationships.

Second, make new friends, expand your network of business/friends and enhance your contact with old friends.  Recently because of two boy hood friends and their current professional lives, I was in a position to help a younger women move forward in her life with a goal of impacting five new lives.  New people may bring you different experiences and perspectives that may broaden your life.  Reach out to open a dialogue at any chance you have;  yesterday at the Lady VOLs basketball game I had an ongoing conversation about the game with the Usher, it was fun and his insights to the team made the game more interesting.  (They won too!)

Third, leave your campsite in better shape, this has become a major mantra for me, perhaps as I reach my current age I have reflected more on life, but I would like to believe it’s a mantra I have attempted to always promote. Work on improving your local community, your church/organizations that impact others, take care of the environment, and mentor a younger person, whatever-volunteer.  I recently read it will make you live longer, make you more healthy, and happy.

A friend of my recently wrote a blog on the “One Person That Impacted My Life in 2016” I think it was a fabulous idea, today is a good day for you to reflect on that thought, name that person and thank them, make them aware of your feelings and then go make 2017 Your Best Year Ever!

A few simple thoughts at the start of our new year I hope you enjoy.

BTW: In February we will launch “SLAMMED! For the first time Sales Manager, this 8 week online boot camp is based upon my last book. We will cover all the aspects of sales leadership, from recruiting, compensation,  leadership, training/coaching, management systems, etc.…I will be using our online video training series, workbooks, discussions and personalized dialogue. If you wish to learn more, send me an email

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

Ken

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2016. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

1st Quarter 2017, Are you set up for success?

December 20th, 2016

First Quarter 2017

Are You Set Up for Success?

Ken, are you crazy?  I have not finished the fourth quarter yet!  But as budget planning begins and business strategies begin to be set, it is your responsibility to be ready for 2017.  What do you need to have on your to-do list for the next 60 days? I have listed the top 10; let me know what I have missed or what is on your list?

  1. What are your revenue objectives by each quarter for 2017?
  2. Review your existing teams carefully, analyze each person’s strengths, weakness, rank the following on a scale of 1-5, (5=great), are they good enough to stay on your team for 2017?
    1. Sales skills
    2. Product/industry knowledge
    3. Operational knowledge
    4. Sales planning
  3. How many new people do you need to recruit? When do you need them fully up and trained? Hint: hire them NOW. Check out our book on how to Hire Top Performers.
  4. Review your marketing/sales operational teams. Do they really understand your market, your customers, and the benefits you bring to them?  What do you need to do to improve their business knowledge?
  5. Is your compensation plan effective? Did it achieve the results you wanted? Have your business objectives changed and therefore your 2017 compensation plans may need to be altered. (Take our free sales compensation assessment on our web site: www.AcumenMmgt.com)
  6. Re-assess your CRM/Sales Metric Dashboards for the entire year, what trends can you find or what activities need to be enhanced? Hold an individual salesperson review meeting to assess performance.
  7. What will be your “theme” for 2017? Define what the top 3 objectives that you need to focus on during each of the 1st and 2nd quarters?
  8. Schedule a “personal self-assessment” meeting, either with your manager or your peer team or even perform a confidential 360 analysis by using your sales team to comment on what you are doing well and what needs to be improved.
  9. What new elements within your sales training plans for 2017 do you need to plan for? Outside training? A book club? More role playing?  What do you need to do to improve the professionalism of your team?
  10. When is your 2017 Sales Kick-Off Meeting? Where will be held? What will you announce and how will you energize your team with vision, fun, and direction?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Ten 2017 Sales Kick-Off Meeting Ideas

December 12th, 2016

Ten 2017 Sales Kick-off Meeting Ideas

 

While working with a client last week it became obvious that we are moving into the time to finalize 2017 budgets, compensation plans and something most sales managers don’t take enough in developing their 2017 Sales Kick Off meeting.

Already many larger organizations are booking their sales conferences for the first quarter where they will invite their sales teams, vendors, resellers/partners to hear plans to make 2017 the “best year ever”.  Keynote speakers, breakout sessions, new marketing plans and product demonstrations will all be coordinated to increase enthusiasm, salesperson belief and excitement that the New Year will bring.  I know this because I am already booked for five events already.  However just because larger organizations are planning their formal conferences, it doesn’t mean a smaller sales organization shouldn’t plan a Kick-Off event.

A New Year sales kick-off meeting can be organized as an off-site/overnight 2 day program or as simply as a ¾ to a ½ day event.  You should schedule them no later than mid-February and many firms will hold a mid-year event as well. However the basics of any sales kickoff event should include the following planning ideas. These idea’s are not in order of priority.

  1. A theme for the New Year. This should be a positive statement of your major objectives and something that can be reinforced throughout the year. “Be Brilliant on the Basics”, The Best and Brightest! Are only two examples.  You should then determine how you will reinforce whatever theme your chose with a gift, a banner but make sure every speaker comments on the theme.

 

  1. Include time for sales training on sales skills and hand out a sales training book that will be your first quarter “must read”. You can use the book for extended sales training during your meetings. (Jill Konrath’ s new book is hot: More Sales, Less Time ) HINT: Roll out your first quarter sales training plans at the same time.

 

  1. Announce a first quarter sales contest to help you get off to a fast start. (see previous blogs for ideas)

 

  1. Announce a 2017 yearly sales contest, this should be a big prize for exceeding the salesperson’s quota. Examples include: a trip to a resort, a cruise or a trip to an island.  Remember these kinds of incentive programs are not expenses but paid out of incremental revenues/profits. Your announcement should include pictures of the location, etc. Again, you can tag other contests to this and reinforcement is important.  These kinds of games will increase your sales culture and drive performance. See my book: Creating High Performance Sales Compensation Plans, for idea’s on sales contests. www.AcumenManagement.com

 

  1. Describe and show your marketing plans for the first six months-at least. This will show the salespeople how your organization is planning to support the sales team.

 

  1. Schedule the President of your company to give a short message on his/her philosophy on sales and the culture of your organization. Keep management involved in the meeting both during the meeting and afterwards during a social time.

 

  1. You may or may not announce your new compensation plan at this event, it all depends upon the degree of change you are making. With minor changes, it’s a great time, with major changes schedule a separate meeting. HINT: Do not roll out the new compensation plan as the last topic of the meeting, schedule it early in the afternoon, if your event is a full day meeting. In my book: Creating High Performance Sales Compensation Plans I cover an entire chapter on how to successful “roll out” a new plan.

 

  1. Make sure you make the meeting fun! As the sales leader work on activities, games, ideas that create the right culture and teamwork.  You can find many ideas online.

 

  1. Spend time having each salesperson presents their “Business Plans” for the first half of the year. Based upon the number of salespeople this can be done by breakouts into regions, smaller groups or as a single group. These business plans include not only forecasts but personal commitments to activity levels and professional growth. If you need an idea of what a Salesperson’s Business Plan, send me an email; Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

 

  1. Bring in an outside speaker. This could include a customer telling their satisfaction with your firm, a sales trainer or one with a motivational message that propels your team to excellence. Whoever speaks must reinforce your objectives, your theme and be relevant to your team.

This is your time to bring a coordinated program that set’s the tone for the New Year. Make sure you take the time to do it right.

What additional ideas do you have to make your sales kick-off meeting special?  Let’s share.

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 18 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2016.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Sales Compensation Planning for 2017

November 28th, 2016

Creating a Sales Compensation Plan for 2017

When it comes to how businesses pay their salespeople, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. That’s especially true for many companies with diverse products and services that include: a mix of products and services. Some pay commission based on sales, while others only pay on margin; still others blend both with incentives and special bonus plans.

Your sales management team must understand your company’s overall goals and structure compensation to align with them. In short, sales compensation should be not just a tactical focus for your organization, but a strategic one as well.

Sizing It Up

Compensation plans shouldn’t be developed in a vacuum. You’ll need to factor in variables such as new product launches and major promotions, as well as consider your personnel structure.

You should also address these questions: Is your company a start-up or an established business? What are sales goals? How long are your delivery cycles? What are your objectives: to secure new clients, incr. ave order size, add margin? Do you want to open a vertical market, new products? Each answer will help you design a compensation plan tailored to your company’s specific needs.

Understanding Cost of Sales Of course, you can reduce selling costs and enhance profits by capping sales compensation, but in the long run you get what you pay for. If you hire good salespeople and compensate them poorly, expect high turnover, which comes with costs of its own. A sales plan that compensates strong performance will allow you to attract the best salespeople — and retain them as well.

Calculating the cost of sales (CoS) is an important part of planning a compensation package. For a quick CoS ratio, simply take an individual’s salary plus commissions earned at 100 percent of quota and potential bonus opportunities, then divide by that person’s revenues to obtain the percentage. A more sophisticated approach adds in marketing expenses, corporate overhead, direct expenses paid to the salesperson and expenses related to sales support costs. CoS will vary from industry to industry. 

 

Examining the Options Compensation plans vary widely, but all should include “accelerators,” that is, increased commission rates for employees who achieve target levels.

  • Profit-Based: Commission rates change as margin levels increase. These plans are generally based on invoice, product or monthly averages of margin generation.
  • Revenue/Quota: Compensation is based on sheer volume achieved over the previous sales period or on a percentage of a quota achievement.
  • Balanced: Compensation is based on margin, revenue and a third component, such as quota attainment.
  • Team: Bonuses go to all team members when quarter-to-date (QTD) sales goals are achieved.

There are many variations and we recommend multiple combinations based upon the objectives of the organization.

Tailoring Tips Here are a few final considerations to keep in mind as you customize your compensation plan:

  • In new organizations focused on expanding within existing markets, the compensation plan will differ dramatically from that of an established company in the same industry. A mature, market-dominant company that receives a large percentage of its revenues from a small, loyal customer base can offer lower commissions and, perhaps, lower overall salaries. But a newcomer to an existing market probably needs to offer higher compensation to attract top-performing salespeople who can build a strong customer base.
  • New organizations in new markets need compensation plans reflecting the volatile environment, usually with higher-than- average base pay.
  • Companies in transition or undergoing a turnaround typically experience a higher CoS ratio; they may be best served by flexible plans incorporating morale- and team-building components.
  • Organizations positioned for high growth should develop plans covering brief, six-month periods. This will let management test theories and change direction while allowing the sales team to adjust accordingly.

Take a sales compensation assessment to evaluate your current plan: www.AcumenManagement.com

No question about it: Creating an effective sales compensation plan is hard work, but the effort typically pays off in both improved sales performance and achievement of your corporate goals.

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

 

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

 

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Build Your 2017 Pipeline NOW!

November 21st, 2016

Now is the Time to Build Your Pipeline for 2017

At this time of year it is not unusual for salespeople and sales managers to simply focused on closing business to achieve their yearly objectives, maximize their compensation plans and unfortunately drain their pipelines.  January can be a good month with leftover sales opportunities but many sales teams face a weak February/March. Because of this  I wanted to share an easy sales driven prospecting system that can ensure your sales pipeline does not shrink-ever!

HINT:  This marketing campaign idea could incorporate messaging from your vendors utilizing their marketing materials, email campaigns, telephone scripts and partner involvement, if their marketing website allows you to download quality tools.

Action steps include:

1) Refine their prospect database to reflect the A, B, C Ideal client profile concept.  (See previous blogs that define what an ideal client profile is or send me an email for details.

2) Download and review a direct mail letter/postcards/email tools provided by your vendors or develop your own and create two pieces for two campaigns that will be used; these can be personalized with your logo, etc.  These should include two different messages based upon your products/services that must excite a net new prospect.

3)  Create multiple batches of 20 suspects by salesperson, divided into groups of A, B, C, D, etc.

4)  Execute on the following tactical plan:

Week One:      Each salesperson sends email/ postcards # 1 to 20 different suspects in Group A

Week Two:      Each Salesperson sends email/postcards #2 to the same Group A 20 suspects

Each Salesperson sends email/postcards #1 to another set of 20 suspects in Group B

Week Three:    Each salesperson begins to call Group A and set an appointment or invite them to an Executive Forum run by the partner

Each salesperson sends emails/ postcards # 2 to the 20 suspects in Group B

Each salesperson sends email/ postcard #1 to 20 suspects in a new Group C

Week Four:     Each Salesperson begins to call all non-contacted member of Group A

Each Salesperson begins to call all suspects in Group B

Each Salesperson sends emails/postcards #2 to the suspects in Group C

This program continues in this manner. As the activity level and pipeline grows, the only change in this marketing and activity plan will be the number of emails letters sent per week, it could drop to 10. The reason we recommend 20 or less names is to keep the contact focus low enough to ensure the salesperson can attempt multiple contacting calls within the third week.

It is recommended that an on-going “Executive Forum” or workshop event is scheduled for the same time/same day each month i.e. the third Thursday at 8am. The purpose of the event is to provide a “call to action” and provide a reason for the telephone call follow up.

HINT: Sales Management must monitor this program carefully to ensure 1) salespeople are contacting the prospects, 2) the messages within the marketing pieces are working or not and 3) what call/contact ratios are effective.

Let me know how this idea is working for you or what other ideas you are using to drive you sales pipelines.

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Sales Management End of Year Checklist

November 7th, 2016

Sales Management End of Year Checklist

 

While I was working on ideas for the next few blogs it occurred to prepare a series based upon the end of the year and the start to 2017. Depending upon the person and the conditions in their sales organization each article may or may not be pertinent. I decided to start with a Sales Management End of Year Checklist.  The following checklist is not in any priority format, but simply a quick read list and a set of recommended actions for any executive or sales leader as they plan for 2017. I have attempted to provide a list of resources, downloads or offers to assist in providing value and support for all of our readers. If you have other ideas or suggestions please comment within the blog so that all of our readers can benefit.

?       Evaluate your sales team.  What does each salesperson need to enhance their productivity in 2017?  Who are keepers, who are laggards?  I like to recommend that Sales Managers create a Personal Development Plan for each person, if you need a template Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

?       Is your compensation plan working?  Did it achieve your goals for 2016? In 2017 are the strategic goals of the company changing? Do I have to alter the sales compensation plan to help achieve the new goals? Take our online Sales Compensation Audit   to determine any weak points or check out our blog for new ideas and select Sales Compensation category.

?       Is your 2017 overall Business Planning in progress?  Assess your entire business and develop a score by department using our online Business Assessment.

?       Need to prepare a 2017 Sales Business Plan? Ask me for a template Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

?       Concerned about 2016’s tendency to not achieve quota each month or your inability to Predict Revenues? Download our List of the Top 40 Actions Sales Managers must activate to build a high performance sales team.

?       How many new salespeople do you need to hire during 2017?  Do you have a recruiting marketing plan in place? How strong is your interviewing process and skills?  Watch a video on recruiting and interviewing to help improve your organization.

?       If you are hiring, then you must tighten up your new hire on-boarding process, this must be a priority for any sales organization, you can find a template on our Sales Managers Tool Kit. There are over 40 robust tools located in the tool kit.

?       Time to plan your 2017 Sales Kick Off event; you need to have a theme for the year, make it fun, motivational and educational.  Set the tone for your team at your kick off meeting, my blog has many ideas for this kind of event or ask for ideas or speakers for the meeting, select Sales Kick Off Ideas category

?       Does your sales team need new formal sales training? Check out two sites for an online video training courses that offer low cost, mobile access and adult training methodology. www.ChannelEQ.co or Sales Gravy University

?       HINT: at your 2017 Sales Kick Off Meeting you should have your entire Quarterly Sales Training Plan ready to hand out, topics must include: Sales Training, Product/Services Training and Sales Operations.

If you have questions on any if these ideas let me know.

This is the time of the year to evaluate your successes, determine what issues must be changed or improved, and finish planning for the new year and also by the way…… exceed your 2016 quotas!

Have fun and go sell something!

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

 

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Sprint to the Finish-it’s that time of year…

October 24th, 2016

Sprint to the Finish—–It’s that time of year…

by Ken Thoreson

 

An upcoming election . . .  Roller-coaster days on Wall Street . . .  Middle East issues . . .  Competitors taking what appears to be drastic measures . . .   There are many distractions.

With that economic domino effect affecting us all as 2016 begins to wind down, ending the year on a high note will be more challenging than ever.  Here are some ideas and strategies for you to consider:

Keep it in perspective.  Focus on your technology-based products and services – it is the best place to be in challenging economic times.  You sell what is especially in demand by your customers right now – solutions that can increase efficiency, cut costs and enhance customer relationships.

  • Stay optimistic.  Remember that clients and prospects are seeking help and you’re in a position to both reassure and assist them.
  • Work harder.   (Sorry, but that’s what’s needed.)   Try to stretch yourself both in terms of attracting new customers and better serving existing ones.  Sell professionally; execute brilliantly.

Meanwhile, the standard end-of-year scenario still applies.  As always, this is when accelerated compensation programs kick in.  More importantly, it’s when many management bonus systems take effect, rewarding executives for driving certain levels of pretax income to the bottom line or attaining their revenue targets.  And it’s no wonder that, just like every year at this time, sales teams feel like they’re in the last 100 yards of a big race.

Here are 5 sales strategies to help you stay out in front as you approach the 2016 finish line:

  1. Count the days.  In the same way that consumers track holiday shopping days, know how long you’ve got left to sell this year.  Doing the countdown adds urgency to the process for you and your prospects.  (Hint:  How can you use one more hour a day to boost business?  “One more call before I break for lunch; one more call before I leave for the day.”  That’s two additional calls per day, 5 days per week, number of days – you do the math!)
  2. Leverage all your resources.  Can you turn to colleagues to strategize about opportunities and develop winning tactics?  How about conducting site visits?  Can an existing client, vendor contact, or strategic partner help create credibility with prospects?
  3. Plot-closing strategies.  Focus on why prospects need your solution and exactly how they’ll benefit from implementing it, whether it’s generating revenues, improving productivity or better serving customers.  Then develop a reason for them to act now. You may have a sense of urgency driven by end-of-year deadlines for quotas or bonuses, but you need to show prospects how moving forward at this point will benefit them.
  4. Make contact twice weekly.  Never let a week slip by between meetings with prospects.   If you see them on Tuesday, see them again on Thursday.  Stop by at a convenient time-but always have a valuable reason to visit, such as providing an implementation plan or a reference letter.
  5. Keep prospecting.  Sales organizations often drain their pipelines by the end of December.  January may be strong with leftover business, but February, March and April typically lag.  It’s important to ensure that marketing and prospecting levels remain constantly focused on future pipeline development.  Now is the time to develop your Prospecting Parthenon for the first half of next year.

One last tip for coping with today’s economy:

In the downturn following the 2008 market collapse, I developed a short personal motto that successfully reinforced the need to keep moving forward.  It was: “Take action. Stay positive.”  I suggest that you develop a similar slogan to help you close out 2016 with a strong finish and begin 2017 with consistent sales results.  Having a strong foundation can make all the difference in how you end the year and position yourself for 2017.

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

3 Secrets to Success from John Wooden

October 3rd, 2016

Three Secrets to Success from John Wooden

 

Last week I was in Chicago keynoting an international association’s sales conference, in preparation I had been making notes and clipping interesting ideas from a variety of sources, one of them was Success magazine.  The specific article covered a young coach, Dale Brown meeting with John Wooden, the Hall of Fame UCLA basketball.

After a full day of discussing a wide variety of topics around becoming a major college head basketball coach John Wooden said at the very end of day that Dale could have saved LSU a lot of money in travel expenses because there are just only three secrets. John went on; the three things that I am going to tell you are fairly simple if you want to be successful. Anyone that has read any articles or books by John Wooden, as I have, would have to read the balance of the article as his ideas are golden.

As a Sales Leader or Executive these 3 secrets will also help propel your sales organization to the next level.  In Chicago I took each bullet and discussed the specific actions sales management must implement to execute on each element.

First: make certain you always have better players than anybody you play. This is pretty obvious to readers of this blog or have purchased my book “Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams”. One of my recommendations is to analyze each of your salespeople, are they Deadwood, Learners, Good for Now, High Achievers.  Decide who to keep, who not to and build a recruiting process that ensures higher quality people. HINT: for every one person you hire, you need to interview five.

Second: make certain those better players put the team above themselves. This was the majority of my program that I called the Effect of Emotional Leadership, Sales Leaders must build a culture of team, of belief in the company/products/services and a focus on team accountability.  This action can start with sales games, hearing customer success stories, sales compensation plans as well as genuine conversations.  Top performing sales managers have the ability to communicate with positive vision, personal awareness and openness.

Third: don’t be a coaching genus, don’t give your players too much information, always practice simplicity with constant repetition. This secret I thought was very interesting as most sales managers either don’t train enough or train very poorly on sales skills, sales operations or product/industry information. The balance of Sales Managers probably train too much early in the salesperson’s life and then fail to reinforce effectively. What I stressed in Chicago is what I think Mr. Wooden meant-figure out what needs to be done during the sales process/sales call, effectively map it, describe it as to why it should be done and how it should be done and then focus your training on those actions and then practice often.

Just this weekend the University of Tennessee won a football game against the University of Georgia during the last 4 seconds of the game with a Hail Mary play. (A Hail Mary play is when you have 3 receivers run to one spot in the end zone and the Quarterback throws the ball hoping someone catches it, this week it was for 43 yards!) Tennessee’s coach Butch Jones was quoted after the game that they have practiced that play every week for three years and this was the first time he has used it! It worked when then needed it.

John Wooden is a legend in basketball, he was a master teacher and mentor to many. If you have not read his book I highly recommend it.

Build your sales organization around these rules and perhaps you will become a legend as well. If you have further questions or want to discuss other concepts from the Chicago presentation please reach out.  Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

The Perfect Close

September 26th, 2016

The Perfect Close

-A book review-

The quality of new sales related books coming out is amazing and The Perfect Close by James Muir is another high quality book to add to your library. James writing style along with his content makes his book contemporary and a complete book to take an average performer to the next level. You can find it on Amazon.

He caught my attention when he thanked Mahan Khalsa for his initial introduction into sales.  For anyone that has not read Mahan’s books, you are missing a legend.

I especially enjoyed how James takes the reader from sharing  information on his personal sales background (helps everyone relate to the challenges in selling)  to  research on High Value Selling vs Lower Value Selling and how the closing process and the sales process must change with high value offerings with levels of success up to 42% . And then quickly even on page 32 the author brings further research on developing the proper mindset for selling and closing by discussing several psychologists and their work on changing the minds individuals. Having mental toughness is important but understanding the internal workings of individual’s minds gives the superior salesperson the edge.

James then takes the reader through the tactics that must be executed to build to The Perfect Close.  This book is a must investment for every salesperson simply because the author gives the reader:  Questions, Planning Concepts, Tactics and Methodology to execute the sales process at a higher level.

Are you working the right opportunity-4 Questions to Test the Deal

Do you have a Plan?-A Checklist to Validate it

Are you building value-Why Should a Prospect See You?

Readers of this blog know I am a firm believer in the art of discovery and James hit this out of the ballpark-a chapter that can’t be missed.

What makes this book dance is Chapter 12 when James gives you the two questions that gives the reader the perfect close-they are simply brilliant.  What make it better is he then provides potential scenarios, examples and test situations where any salesperson can relate to their current list of prospects. Buy this book for this chapter alone-it will increase the velocity of your sales cycle.

In his next chapter James then put’s it all together summarizing the entire book.  Make this book one of your Acumen Book Club sales training sessions going into the fourth quarter and watch your quota numbers get crunched.

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com