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Should Salespeople Prospect Anymore?

September 29th, 2014

Should Salespeople Prospect Anymore?

Last week during a client’s sales meeting we got into a discussion regarding pipeline values, needless to say the number of prospects and dollar values were insufficient to achieve the overall corporate revenue objectives. Several of the salespeople blamed marketing for not generating enough quality leads (ever hear that before?)  and as the discussion of “territory development” evolved several of the salespeople simply didn’t feel it was their responsibility to prospect because of the futility of cold calling/phone calling and event marketing.

In many organizations marketing is expected to develop leads via a well messaged nurturing campaign with a quality data base with an objective to set-up the salesperson with a highly qualified opportunity. In this format there maybe a series of marketing campaigns, tele-sales people and a well-designed CRM reporting system. In other organizations there is limited marketing of this nature with an expectation that sales will build relationships that lead to additional business opportunities. The question is, as a sales manager how should you structure your sales team’s expectations around prospecting?

First, it depends. What is your sales process? Are you selling large accounts with a complex sales cycle or are you more transactional with short sales cycles selling to small business?  Are you territory based or open territories? Your business type will alter what works.

Second, it is my belief that salespeople need to prospect continually, the real question is how.

I have listed below a few ideas with a brief description simply because of space, if you have questions on the specifics just ask!

  • Networking: every salesperson should attend one event a month, this is not negotiable
  • Circles of Influence: develop a list of individuals who can influence your sales opportunities or they can refer business to you. Depending upon your business these could CPA’s, Commercial Real Estate brokers, contractors, architects, etc. Each of these individuals need to be contacted at least once a quarter
  • LinkedIn: read my blog on Acumen Power Networking or ask me for it: Ken@AcumenMgmt.com
  • 20/20 plan: each salesperson sends two (2) distinct direct mail pieces referring to your products/services to 20 suspects; 20 pieces one week, 20 the next week. The third week the salesperson calls the 20 suspects. This process is repeated each week.
  • Thought Leadership events: schedule one breakfast event a month with a topic based upon thought leadership marketing. This event is driven by marketing, but the salesperson is responsible to call/invite individuals to the meeting. This gives the salesperson a reason and message to communicate to their prospects/suspects.
  • Referral: the salesperson should ask their customers for referrals twice a year
  • Bus-ecosystem: each salesperson should develop relationships with 3-5 other salespeople who sell non-competitive, but related products/services into common marketplace.
  • Who you know list: each salesperson should create a list of everyone they know, friends, business associates, professionals. This is a good sales meeting idea to come up with “titles” of individuals your sales team might know. Then make sure they know what you do and what problems you solve using a personal letter.
  • Review calendars: Good thing for this time of year to; review your calendars for the past 12 months, you might find someone you had forgotten to follow up on.

That’s a good starter list, what prospecting ideas are you using-that are working? Care to share? Let’s build up a comprehensive list so that everyone can finish the year strong and be positions to make 2015 your best year ever.

Ken Thoreson “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 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 2014.

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.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Sales Leadership: 5 Steps to Exceed 2015 Quota

September 22nd, 2014

Sales Leadership: How to Ensure You Exceed Your 2015 Quota

 

The end of the year is rapidly closing in and while everyone in your organization is focused on achieving their targets; as a sales leader it is crucial you are also focused on the new year. At this time of year I am working with each of my clients to begin to position them for success. I have listed the actions most organizations need to consider to exceed next year’s quota.

  1. Begin to recruit. This is the best time of year to recruit as top performers are evaluating their current situation, so you may lose individuals and you can add individuals. Assuming your sales quota will go up, you will need additional salespeople on your team to achieve those higher numbers. Recruiting takes time and training new salespeople takes time, get a jump on your headcount. Also you may have salespeople failing and you may need to let other go, not having enough quality salespeople to achieve your numbers is the number one reason sales managers are let go! Check out my book on Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams, if you do not currently have a recruiting/interviewing process-it also includes a salesperson “On Boarding” process.
  2. Evaluate your compensation plan. Does the plan match your organizations strategic objectives? Is it competitive? Will there be changes to your products/services in the new year that could impact your compensation plan? It takes time to build a new compensation plan, do no leave this till December! You need to test it and plan how to roll it out. There is a free sales compensation assessment on our website: www.AcumenManagement.com
  3. Review Account Planning and Salesperson Business Plans. Depending upon your sales model, review whatever templates you are currently using; are they sophisticated enough, do they achieve what you want them to accomplish? Account Plans should at a minimum include a “strategy” and 5 tactical steps to either open or penetrate the accounts more effectively. Salesperson Business Plans should include more than simple forecasts; they need to include goal setting, training needs, marketing activities and business objectives. If you want a free sample, simply ask: Ken@AcumenMgmt.com
  4. Create annual sales contests. One of the key components in building high performing sales teams is the creation of the annual sales trip. There are many variations to concept and I don’t have room to detail in this blog, but the facts are where we have annual team reward trips, I see great sales organizations. They build pride, team work and drive revenue. In my book; Creating High Performance Sales Compensation Plans I have an entire chapter on incentive compensation.
  5. Plan what major sales training your team requires. Consider the skill level of your general team and what changes there are in your market and then assess various training programs that are available. We are not a sales training organization but we can make recommendations based upon your general needs. Create a budget and insert it into your new year plan!

Each organization is different and requires a unique solution however these 5 basic actions, if acted on, will position you to be ahead of the game!

Ken Thoreson “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.

His latest book is, Ken’s 5th book: SLAMMED!!! For first time sales managers is now available: http://www.acumenmgmt.com/Books

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Pick up the DAMN PHONE!

September 15th, 2014

Pick up the DAMN PHONE!

When I saw the title of this book, by Joanne Black, I knew I would like the book- while I was reading it I loved it! Pick up the DAMN PHONE! , How people, not technology seal the deal is a great read with tons of tips for any salesperson.

As a person who has been in the sales world for 25+ years I appreciated her message and the style of her work. Joanne not only provided her insights into selling in today’s world, but to make her points she used stories and quotes from over 45 professionals. This style increased the credibility of the material but also added to the ease of reading.

I really enjoyed the overall tone of this book, right from the start, Section 1: “Sales 2.0: everything has changed (and nothing) has changed.” The bottom line: sales is still about people selling to people.  Joanne continues… having a personal connection to prospects, understanding what our buyers want from us and delivering results are still the keys to success. As someone that interacts with many salespeople in today’s world, I see way to often their tendency to attempt to sell through email or failing to take the time to build a personal level of trust.

The next sections go on to discuss Buyer 2.0 and how salespeople today must work differently to win, it’s worth the price of the book for that chapter alone.

The message of relationships is a theme throughout the book- not only building them with prospects, but Joanne goes into detail on the power of building personal networks. These maybe personal or professional points of contact and to the title of the book, Joanne makes the point to Pick up the DAMN PHONE to build these relationships and not hide behind email and social media.

Don’t get me wrong, Joanne is a proponent of using technology to increase win ratios and the use of social intelligence. On page 100 she quotes an Aberdeen Group study on the use of social intelligence:

  • 21.4% increase in top-line revenue
  • A 9.5% annual increase in the number of salespeople who make quotaWhy? Using social intelligence salespeople can see the events in people’s lives; they can use that information to make more personal connections.There are over 40 chapters in this book all filled with nuggets for today’s salesperson. I would buy this book for each salesperson and review 2 chapters a week during your sales meeting. For more information from Joanne check out: www.NoMoreColdCalling.com

When I read business related books and find valuable information I will underline key thoughts and fold over a corner of the book, I just counted 18 pages where I folded over the corner!   I am sure you will find key idea’s to improve your level of performance as well. Buy this book.

Ken Thoreson “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 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 2014.

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.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Sales Leadership: You are the Practice Squad

September 2nd, 2014

Sales Leadership: You are the Practice Squad

On every football team you have the team of starters and you have a practice squad, their job is to represent what the competitions offense or defense game plan or playbook might look like. Each week the starters practice against these players to gain a better perspective of what the real competitor will do during the game with the objective improving their odds of winning.  As a sales leader it is your job to ensure your team is prepared not only for each sales call but for unexpected situations that might arise at any time during the sales process.  You are a critical success factor and to improve the professionalism of your team you must build a practice squad mentality.

I have often stated that I don’t see enough role playing during sales training meetings, role playing must be a cornerstone during your monthly training programs.   One of the best ways to teach:  skill building, strategy development and presentation skills is the use of a Case Study.

The case study allows multiple salespeople to work together on a project basis and compete against other members of your team.   We recently completed a large project for a major technology company where we built a sales framework that changes the approach of the salesperson and alters their traditional relationship with their clients.  One of methodologies we employed to ensure we could validate the understanding of the framework and use of the sales tools was a Case Study exercise.  I want to review the process simply to encourage you to build this kind of learning experience into your training programs.

The following were the components of that case study:

  • A detailed description of the firm and its go to market strategy
  • A description of 7 potential players, titles, years employed
  • A limited description of the existing technology
  • An overview of the Industry this company competed in
  • Limited financial objectives
  • Miscellaneous information, some distracting, some valid

The salesperson or team could make two sales calls, the first with one person, and then a second call with two other members of the company. Each call was between 10-15 minutes, this could vary based upon the number of salespeople in your organization.   There were Pre-Call Planning tools and a set of Sales Discovery Guides and worksheets designed to summarize their findings.

HINT: The individuals who played the roles of the customer had their own case study with additional facts, inside political issues, defined personality styles and hidden agendas.

Once the salespeople finished their second call, and discussed their findings they had the opportunity to ask two additional questions of any person within the company.

The deliverable included a formal presentation by the sales team of:  1) what they uncovered during discovery, 2) perceptions of the firm and 3) formal product/services recommendation including a sales presentation as to why buy from us!

Using this kind of training will allow the sales leadership team to view their salespeople in action, observe their skills and test their creativity.  Even if you don’t go to the effort to create this formal of a process, building more role playing into your sales training programs will improve your team-put them in pressure situations in the office and they will perform as professionals in the field.

Ken Thoreson “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.

His book is: Leading High Performance Sales Teams is a best seller, Ken’s 5th book “JAMMED! for New Sales Managers was published this summer.

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

7 Benefits of a Prescriptive Sales Process

August 25th, 2014

7 Benefits of a Prescriptive Sales Process

By spelling out the steps that great sales performers use intuitively, you can develop the rest of your sales staff.

In most sales organizations, the majority of salespeople are B or C performers. There are never enough A performers in any organization, and they’re generally already maximizing their productivity.

One of the best ways to help B and C performers improve is to write out a prescriptive sales process. By spelling out the steps that the A performer often uses intuitively in her sales process, you can develop the rest of your sales staff.

Recently in working with a client we spent about two hours simply documenting what a salesperson should do on each of the various steps of his sales process. Here are seven benefits from that session:

1.       In forcing the process of thinking through the logical progression and the actual actions the salesperson should take at each step, we altered an early step and changed what the salesperson was supposed to say and sell during that stage. This was important because the sales team was generally inexperienced. Because of the technical aspect of the team’s offering, introducing a more mature person into the early stages allowed quicker credibility and better insights into the prospective client’s needs.

2.       Additional products and services cropped up. We created one additional professional service product that could also be sold. As we stepped through each of the various stages, we kept looking at what we were doing currently and how we could add additional levels of value.

3.       The sales manager began to fully understand not only what the steps in the sales process were, but why each salesperson needed to execute on them. This provided the sales manager a better platform for coaching, mentoring and monitoring opportunities in the pipeline. The 90-day sales training schedule began to include training on each step of the sales process, in which the sales manager would not only train the sales team on how to perform each step but also explain why.

4.       Improved forecasting occurred, because specific definitions of each action within each stage were defined. For example, let’s assume there’s a demonstration stage in your sales cycle. When do your salespeople move the prospect to the demo stage? Is it when the demo is scheduled or after it’s completed?

5.       You will separate yourself from the competition. During the sales process your company’s value proposition must be proven. It’s easy to print your messaging on brochures and your Web site, but letting your prospect feel it is critical to building “belief.” You must build a step or an action that takes place at the appropriate stage that can validate your messaging.

6.       One of the most important aspects of creating a prescriptive sales process is changing the sales process. If you and your competitors use the basic sales stages in the same sequence and say and do the same things during your prospect conversations, no one will stand out and prospects will become confused. When there’s confusion, there’s no decision. Change your sales process to stand out, be different and do something to make the customer remember you.

7.       We added a last step to the sales process: a customer follow-up at 90 days post-implementation to validate the customer’s satisfaction and to ask for a reference letter. These will now be hung in the office lobby and used in future sales calls.

The next step is for the sales manager to roll out the process, teach the salespeople how to execute, then inspect that the sales team is using the process as it is defined. Set a 90-day plan to implement and evaluate the results, create four or five metrics to measure its effectiveness, validate it’s being used and listen to your team. If it needs to be altered to increase effectiveness, that’s OK. But before you change, make sure you fully understand the impacts.

Let me know what has worked for you on creating a sales process.

Top 40 Sales Management Actions for Predictable Revenue:                    http://www.acumenmgmt.com./whitepaper.phtml

Ken Thoreson, President of Acumen Management Group LTD.

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 clients throughout the World. Ken’s latest book is: “Building High Performance Sale Compensation Plans”.

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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Sales Mgmt: don’t over complicate it….

August 18th, 2014

Sales Leadership: Don’t over complicate it…

Last week I almost lost it.  While I was observing a sales meeting at a client’s site, (they were following our template/agenda for the meeting) when the president who is active in this meeting brought up a topic that took them down the rat hole.

My job was to keep them on topic but in this case I took over; they were discussing an important new program that is a Critical Sales Factor for this year- and the program was not working. As I began to peel back the layers of the issue as to why clients were not adopting the program it became evident.  The client had been focused on creating a complex software application that included multiple pages of screens/sub categories, checklists and mutual responsibilities that they expected their clients to use during this new innovative program.

When I said: you don’t show this to them during the sales process do you?  When the answer was YES!   I cringed… their attention to detail and process management was terrific, the application was designed to ensure a quality solution, but to a non-technology prospective client of theirs, it would scare them to death-way to complex.  I can imagine the prospects eyes glazing over and brains retreating to all the work they had to do without this new initiative. It was way too complex to show in a sales situation.

I was told many years ago, selling is creating Emotion, transferring Emotion, causing Emotion. In this case my client was selling process not the benefits of what the actual program would deliver or a compelling reason to take action.   They got so caught up in their approach that they forgot it’s about the prospective client’s issues and “How are we going to sell it?” We rebuilt the sales presentation with a 4 screen shots and a few PowerPoint slides.

As we sorted out this issue, a second topic came out; they were holding client meetings to explain their new program, but they were not converting those meetings to the actual next step where they had to schedule a meeting between their team and the client. Beside the issue I described above, in reviewing the details of issue number two, it became evident that my client’s internal teams did not consider these kinds of meetings as a priority. The result? Scheduling multiple people from my client’s office and the customers became a challenge to arrange.  Solution: we printed off a monthly calendar, blocked off 2 days a week for each week for the appropriate internal team and trained the sales team to schedule one meeting in the morning, and one in the afternoon for each of those 2 days.  During the sales call the prospective client was simply booked into what dates were available that worked for them!  Everyone could plan more effectively and the prospective client’s closing was on what morning or afternoon works for you?  (Alternative close 101)

As a sales leader we get caught up in implementation and execution of a variety of programs-all good things, but what we must constantly be aware of is methodology that appears to be sales prevention.

Keeping things less complicated makes it easier for a prospective client to understand your approach and their benefits and easier for your sales team to present.

HINT:  if you would like a copy of Acumen’s “Sales Meeting Agenda”, send me an email.
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 partners throughout North America. Ken’s latest book: Slammed! for the first time sales manager was released in July.

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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Life Enrichment: Be a Top Performer

August 11th, 2014

The Difference Between Average and Top Performers

In preparation to speak at a sales award banquet this week I was thinking about what kind of message I wanted to leave with the audience and in thinking though a variety of ideas I realized it maybe a common concept that ALL sales leaders must reinforce to their teams. Whether it is a January Kick Off event, a Monday morning sales meeting or a quarterly salesperson review session, sales managers must sell the need to “Plan for Success”.

Planning for success means you build a sales organization that is not opportunistic in account management, prospecting, etc, but focused on a methodology to ensure success. It also means that there is an expectation or attitude from management that is transmitted to the team that WE will be successful, WE are winners, WE are better and WE work together. This is part of the emotional make up that creates an atmosphere that separates the average performing organizations from top performing sales teams.

What do you need to create this environment? A sales management system that reinforces what you expect and a leadership and management style that is focused only on accepting high performance-in all aspects of life. This means every salesperson must have a:

• A yearly salesperson business plan

• A Top 15 Account Plans –if appropriate

• A rolling 90 day sales training plan

• Formal monthly/quarterly salesperson reviews

• Sales contests that drive fun, recognition and teamwork

• Measurement systems that promote success and show effectiveness

Every salesperson wants to be successful, as does every sales manager, everyone has good ideas, but execution becomes the key differentiator in success. You have to work on the methodology, but you also have to focus on the emotional aspects of success, I think you can summarize it this way: the difference in success is 3 simple words:

The difference between average performers and top performers are:

  •  Top performers do what is expected… and then some…
  • They meet their obligations fairly and squarely … and then some…
  • They are good friends, helpful neighbors… and then some…
  • They are thoughtful of others, they are considerate and kind … and then some…
  • They can be counted on in an emergency…and then some.

As you go about your week, make sure you do what is expected…and then some.

In my book: Leading High Performance Sales Teams, we discuss these ideas and others in greater detail; you can listen to a pod cast on the books also in our store: www.AcumenManagement.com

*Listen to a new interview podcast on sales management: http://businessinthe.am/ken-thoreson

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 partners throughout North America. Ken’s latest book: Slammed!, for the first time sales manager was released in July.

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

Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Smart Salespeople: Power Network Map

August 5th, 2014

Smarter Salespeople: Power Network Map

This blog is dedicated to salespeople that never want to “dial for dollars” or who never want to make a cold call again! Now that I have your attention…

During a recent client sales meeting we talked about the power of networking, the need to expand the influence of one’s reach and effective ways to find new and better sales opportunities. One action was to assign each salesperson to at least one local networking/association event per month. If you aren’t doing this now, make it part of your active sales activity planning session. In fact, just today, as I was writing this column one of salespeople from that client called me to discuss the breakfast event he attended and “connection he made”. The person was in IT at a local law firm and he opened up to what was happening at his firm, who were players and the challenges/frustrations they were facing. The salesperson causally listened-didn’t sell, but booked a lunch meeting in the next week to simply work to expand the relationship! Smooth move. After the lunch or during that time the salesperson can work to better understand the situation, the relationships, political situations, budgets and business requirements. Then he can begin to sell!

If you aren’t “connected” in your marketplace do it! All successful salespeople are well connected socially, within their community and have defined business relationships. Are you? After the sales discussion at my client’s office it lead to the best new thought of the year! Create an Acumen Power Network Map!

What is the Acumen Power Network Map? After discussing the current sales environment, networking, in effective cold calls, lack of experience and a great deal of interactive discussions we created an approach that can immediately change your sales and marketing approach.

What are the secret steps to the Acumen Power Network Map?

1) Identify a “raving fan” of your current business; someone that uses your current services will recommend your company and can tell a story to anyone of your quality level of support.

2) Bing/Google/LinkedIn/Jigsaw/Facebook search that person’s business relationships, personal involvements, and identify as much information as you can find.

3) Develop a map of all associations/boards/activities/interests the person is involved with, (see diagram)

4) List all the individuals who are members of those associations/boards/activities that are associated/inter-connected with your raving fan.

5) Identify what organizations those individuals work for and determine if you wish to target those organizations that fit your company’s ideal client profile. Do they fit your vertical focus? Do you have existing Case Studies that fit their need? Have you sold similar organizations?

6), next, ask your “raving fan” to make a referral introduction to the targeted organizations and individual’s you wish to meet, either via an email phone call or even a mutual lunch meeting. Getting an introduction via a known source or a friendly relationship increases your odds of achieving a new relationship and meeting by 66%!

 

This kind of smart work will help you target sell more effectively, reduce your wasted telephone prospecting time, increase your odds to develop new account relationships and open the doors to exceed your 2014-15 quotas. Ken’s hint: Do your homework and count commissions.

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 North America. Ken’s latest book is “SLAMMED!, for the first time sales manager.

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

Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

Life Enrichment: Passion

July 28th, 2014

Life Enrichment: Passion

During the weekend a friend asked me where I had been recently, when I mentioned that in July I had been in San Diego, Washington DC, Ft. Lauderdale and that I was leaving this week for Las Vegas he just shook his head and said: “I don’t know now how you do it!.”

On Saturday after working outside for almost 4 hours and then grocery shopping I started thinking about his comment-I seem to have a lot to juggle, as do many people but what keeps me on a fairly busy travel schedule is more than simply working-it’s a passion. It has been 16 ½ years since I started Acumen Management Group and the basis behind the company still drives me.

For the first time, I will share a portion of my Business Plan, its only one section and my purpose is not to reveal what I believe in, but hopefully to give you an idea to either share your values with others or more importantly, if you don’t have them, develop them for your company and/or yourself.

What Value We Bring

We work to leverage and add additional insight to our client base, allowing existing management and sales management programs to operate more productively. We may introduce new leadership and new programs to achieve the goals of the organization. Our experience, national exposure, existing programs and on-going relationships will accomplish more for our clients ensuring their success.

Tenets

• At every meeting our goal will be to build a better relationship.

• All commitments will be documented and completed on time.

• Client confidentiality will be maintained on all aspects.

• Our client’s time is money and will be valued accordingly.

• We will at all times seek to add value-when this stops our work is finished.

• We will seek to have fun and fulfillment in our role and company.

These concepts are important to me and provide me focus, purpose and describe my passion, notice there are both personal and professional aspects within these statements. I believe that is important for a successful leader.

Passion is a topic that drives life; without it the day to day events become simply a passage. I know a woman that is almost 80 yrs. old that continues to hike in the Smoky Mountains and swims almost every day, her passion is fitness. On Friday I saw a video on Facebook of a 95 year old woman that actively dances and can still shovel snow! These women have found personal passion to keep life active. Personal passion aligned with professional passion is critical success factor for success.

I get a kick out of coaching individual people; giving them idea’s and tools to make their company more successful. The ability to impact an audience and light a spark that ignites change in individual’s lives continues to excite me-it’s a passion that allows me to put up the with stress of airline schedules and hotel nights. But it is also fun.

I have said it many times, if you are not having fun, change your life. In my keynote I normally make the following statement: You can’t change the way you have lived your life, but you can change the way you live your life!

What is your passion? What is driving your life?

Have fun and enjoy your summer.

Ken Thoreson “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 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 2014.

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.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

Partner Hiring and Training

July 21st, 2014

Partner Hiring and Training Lessons from Sage Summit

Non-productive partner companies often hire the best, but fall short at training their talent. Don’t make that mistake.

  • By Ken Thoreson

    You see it in college sports — the top teams tend to recruit the top performers. In building a channel as a vendor or building a partner organization, that’s the No. 1 job of management.

    What tends to be missing or where weak vendors or non-productive partners seem to fail, however, are in two other aspects of management’s responsibility: proper onboarding and ongoing training and development.

    These two areas normally get casual attention, but seldom do they receive the management focus they require. If you’re attending the Sage Summit look to utilize your time to refine these points for your firm.

    At the Summit, as you walk the Exhibit Hall looking for new business opportunities and when talking to existing or new potential vendors, look beyond the sales stories and investigate new partner onboarding programs. How will the vendors work with you and your team? Does the vendor have a simple checklist for quality onboarding, or does it have a more proactive automated tool to ensure you fully understand its offering, market and sales approach? How long does the vendor estimate it will take you to begin to generate consistent revenue? What’s the vendor’s commitment and what is its expected commitment from you? Is the vendor interested in simply creating a channel, or is its philosophy driven by assisting the partner in building a business with the vendor’s product or service?

    With my clients I always suggest they need to fully understand the mutual level of commitment both parties need to be aware of and to make to each other for mutual success.

    The power of being at the Sage Summit is also the opportunity for ongoing development — both personal and organizational. The various tracks cover technology, but also leadership, sales and marketing topics. My program this year is “Bartender’s Guide to Cloud Profits”” It’s just one example of information that will be shared during the conference. If you aren’t attending the event then make sure you check out the Web sites and download the videos and PowerPoint decks and pick up as much as you can.

    Professional and personal ongoing training and development at your office is more critical. Just as the vendor onboarding plan is important; creating an employee onboarding process is the first step to decreasing the time to revenue or productivity generation. While each office might have a few unique training needs, there are standardized salesperson onboarding programs.

    The secret for the initial employee onboarding is the mantra I always reinforce with my clients: Inspect what you expect! For example, I have new salespeople call me and leave voicemails so I can listen to what and how they sell the voicemail. In a like manner by the end of the third week, the salesperson must be able to present the organization’s PowerPoint presentation to the management team to ensure they can properly represent the company. Make sure they can perform in your office before they’re exposed to your prospects.

    The next piece is ongoing training. With most of my clients I help them build a quarterly training plan — a minimum of two to three hours a month that includes sales skills, product knowledge, operations training and industry awareness. One easy idea is to purchase a sales training book for each person twice a year and have the team discuss one chapter a week during your regular sales meeting.

    The secret to high-performance sales is “in the field” training. I recommend the person who’s responsible for sales leadership schedule sales calls with each salesperson and actually track what kinds of calls (first call, discovery, executive presentations and so) are made with which salesperson. This ensures you’ve “inspected what you expected.”

    Got the idea? Training is a keystone for growth.

    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: SLAMMED!!! for the first time sales manager.  Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.

    Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

    Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com