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Life Enrichment: Is your campsite in better shape than before you arrived?

April 26th, 2016

Life Enrichment: Is your campsite in better shape than before you arrived?

 

If you are not familiar with the question posed above it’s a mantra from my Boy Scout days and training. Whether you are a Sales Manager that regularly reads this blog or any other job role I wanted to raise this topic as I see this as a major question in our world today.  During my keynote programs I sometimes use this question to make a point and if there are Boy Scouts in the audience they get it immediately.

First let me explain the question, under the Boy Scout understanding, when you ever arrive at a campsite it should be in good condition but what is the most important is you leave the campsite in better condition that when you arrived. Is it cleaner? Is the campfire/rocks appropriate? Is there firewood set aside for the next campers? Etc.

Second, what does that question mean for you?  In my connotation I would ask you:  are you leaving this world in a better shape than before you arrived?  Obviously, individually we might not have an impact on the world stage, but we have the opportunity to impact the lives of an individual, the community we live in or the people we interact with on daily-weekly basis. It does not have to be something huge or widely recognized. It becomes an attitude with action.

Life Enrichment is about you creating an environment where you feel fulfilled. In my keynote program I often talk about this as a Gourmet Life. For example; last week I had the privilege of interviewing nine high school students for our church scholarship program, during the interview several students spoke about their lives outside of school.  Two spoke openly about their church program where they raised money (washing cars/selling donuts) and then randomly they would walk into a grocery store and pay for someone’s groceries, lunch for the car behind in a drive-in or a shopper at the local Walmart. These teen agers were learning the inner feeling of what it is like to focus on giving back and making their campsite/community a better place.

This past weekend, I helped organize a golf tournament and community fund raiser for our volunteer fire department. We had 100 people golfing, a live auction and other fun ideas to help our fire dept. sustain itself and to help protect our lives.  We had over 55 people working on the committee to help pull off the event, all had differing levels of responsibilities, and everyone pitched in with a smile.  After the event I had a lot of comments about how positive the fund raiser was and while we raised a lot of money the real winners became the people who participated. Lots of laughs, handshakes, new relationships and a higher level of communication between everyone, but also a good personal feeling about making something positive and giving back to the community.

To me that is an enriched life is all about and our campsite/community became a little bit better.

What is your plan this quarter to make your campsite a little bit better? I would enjoy your comments on what everyone is doing to make this world a better place.

  

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 2015.

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

What is all this talk about a Sales Process?

April 20th, 2016

What is all this talk about a Sales Process?

It occurs almost every time I speak at an event or every initial client visit. Whether your organization is using CRM or not I find that most organizations have not taken the time to define, write out and train their sales team on how to use prescriptive a sales process.  Why is this important enough to write about? The Results!

The more prescriptive process you create, the greater success your sales team will experience.  Salespeople tend to lose opportunities when they execute poorly, this is due to lack of training but it is also because they missed something during the sales process. They missed it because they simply forgot to execute at some point or they didn’t have a pathway to follow.  Remember, A level salespeople probably don’t need this kind of sales mapping, but you can move a C level salesperson to a B level by providing tools, guidance and process to follow.

I always use the example of Subway sandwiches and how their counter people are trained to simply walk down the counter by asking your certain questions as you sandwich is built. If your sales teams execute that well you get the production Subway does!

How you define a sales process is important.  Just yesterday I was speaking with a small business who mentioned they had a good sales process defined, in going deeper in our conversation I learned they had no tools, nothing documented and nothing reinforced.  Recently in working with an Acumen client we spent about two hours simply documenting what a salesperson should do on each of the various steps of their sales process, it enlightened the existing sales manager and created the beginning of a new sales driven culture for the company.  What happened?

  1. In forcing the process of “thinking through’ the logical progression and the actual actions the salesperson should take, we altered the second step and changed “what “the salesperson was to say and sell during that stage.
  2. We created one additional professional service product that could be re-sold.
  3. The Sales Manager began to fully understand not only what the steps in the sales process were, but more importantly WHY the salesperson needs to execute on them.
  4. Actual definitions of each action within each stage were specifically defined.  Why is this important?  Pipeline values become more accurate. Let me describe this in more detail.  Let’s assume there is a “demonstration” stage in your sales cycle, next ask yourself, when do your salespeople move the prospect to the demo stage: When it is scheduled? Or after it is completed? This is an example of the kinds of detail that will come out during the process.

This is an example of a Discovery Stage:

Discovery (Opportunity) Stage 3                                                                                                      

  1. Discovery Meeting(s)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (KEY STEP – this is how we differentiate ourselves.)

Salesperson Responsibility:

  • Lead the Discovery Questioning  with a Focus on landscape of the opportunity & Document Current Process
  • Identify Critical Business Issues
  • Identify Roles of prospects Team
  • Goals for Future Business Solution

o   Identify people attending the demo

  • Establish Success Factors
  • Take Good Notes , attached to CRM
  1. Summarized Findings Document
  • Create Findings Document in CRM
  • Review Findings Document for Final Version
  • Contribute Notes to Findings Document
  • Submit Findings to prospect along with appropriate  Case Study
  • Modify sales Pathway and discuss with Prospect
  • Determine if Tech/Support Team support is required
  • Coordinate Additional XXX company  resources, if required
  • Send  Letter from  President   
  • Update CRM

 

  1. During the sales process your companies Value Proposition must be proven. You can build a step or an action that takes place at the appropriate stage that can validate your messaging.  We created what we expect to be a unique idea for the client to prove theirs.
  2. One of the most important aspects of creating a prescriptive sales process is changing the sales process!  What I mean is; if you and your competitors use the basic sales stages in the same sequence and say and do the same things no one stands out and prospect becomes confused. When there is confusion, generally there is no decision.  Change your sales process to stand out, be different and make the customer remember you. Refer to my previous blog on the End of Solution Sales.
  3. We added a last step: a follow up at 90 days post implementation/installation to validate customer satisfaction and ask for a reference letter.

The next step is for the sales manager to roll you the process, teach the salespeople how to execute and then “inspect what you expect” that the sales team is using the process as it is defined. HINT: As a Sales Manager, work through what you think the sales process should look like, then hold a sales meeting to “brain storm” with your salespeople as to what they think the prescriptive process should contain. This will help build a buy-in by the sales team.

Set a 90 day plan in place to implement and evaluate the results;  create four or five metrics to measure its effectiveness, validate it is being used and to listen to your team. If it needs to be altered to increase effectiveness that is ok, but before you change-make sure you are fully understand the impacts.

Let me know your thoughts on creating a sales process. What has worked for you? What hasn’t?
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 2015.

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

 

 

If it is too good to be true, it is! Sales Managers protect yourself…

April 12th, 2016

If it is too good to be true, it is!

KEN: Today I want to introduce John Moroney to you! He is more than a guest blogger, John has worked for Acumen Management Group for many years and is re-joining our organization after a long permanent engagement with a former client. He provides great insights into the challenges all sales organizations face.

Do you remember early on in your career getting really excited when you got a call that went something like this, “Hey John, we are on a fast track to select a vendor this week for our mega project and we hear your company is really good. We need your best proposal by tomorrow so we can present to our CEO to make a decision Friday. Call me right away!”.

Oh boy, were you drooling or what! This would be the quickest sale in your life – you already were thinking about what that commission check would buy. Except – it was too good to be true.

What was happening here and what should our starry eyed sales person have done?

There are at least three possibilities:

  1. The prospect is really going to make a decision and you have a real opportunity
  2. The person who contacted you thinks they are going to make a decision
  3. The prospect is really going to make a decision and you have no opportunity

Let’s take these possibilities in order and explore.

Situation #1 is extremely rare and is almost certainly because the person contacting you has a previous relationship with your company or someone else has directed them to contact you. There may be a real opportunity but before you jump and send the requested sales proposal, why not back up the prospect a bit and schedule a call or visit with the key people? You may be able to give them a more intelligent response including some options. Just to stay realistic, this situation occurs less than 5% of the time.

Situation #2 is a fairly common and often is prompted by a change in the organization. For example, a new VP or Director has joined the prospect company and quickly realizes there is a need for your product or service. The subordinate who is given the task to get the proposals may think there is a decision about to be made, but an experienced sales person will know that is unlikely. The good news – there may be a real opportunity for your company but the somewhat bad news – it Is not happening in the next week. Treat this as a qualified sales prospect and stop salivating. One approach would be to trade the proposal for a meeting with the requester or better to schedule a call with the boss before going too far. Of the three situations, this is by far the most common.

Situation #3 is sometimes known as “becoming column fodder”. The team tasked with selecting a vendor has already decided on who they want (see #1 above) but the executive committee/CEO pushed back on the team. The committee/CEO were expecting to see three choices (i.e. three columns A, B & C), particularly for cost comparison purposes. Hence, the panicked need for your proposal by Friday. There is almost no chance you will ever hear from the prospect again after sending the proposal. You will need to change the game to have any opportunity to win this business. In this situation, you do have some leverage. The prospect needs something from you but you need access and opportunity to extend the decision process. There are two tactics you must employ: (1) Make your offering comparable in price to the competitor and (2) uncover what the prospect is uncomfortable about the preferred choice. Get agreement to make a presentation to the team as the “cost” of the proposal. Go above and around the team if necessary – remember, you have very little to lose. Focus your presentation intensely upon how your company is superior to the competitor in the area of discomfort but equal in every other way. Typically, the anxiety the prospect has for the competitor is not about the product or deliverables but more about reliability, quality, responsiveness, etc. Avoidance of risk is the predominant concern at this point in the sales cycle, so a calm, smooth, confident approach is vital. This situation is fairly rare, less than 10% of all sales opportunities fall into this category.

For many of us, experiencing these sales opportunities has taught us to slow down and step back. So although, we may recognize something is too good to be true, it still takes skill and patience to work the opportunity particularly when the prospect could be inexperienced and reluctant to engage. Good selling!

What are your thoughts?

 

John Moroney is an energetic operations and sales leadership executive with over 30 years of experience in high technology products and services with a particular passion for sales process design, deployment and improvement. You can reach him directly at:  JohnM@AcumenMgmt.com

Acumen Management Group, www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

 

Emotional Sales Leadership

April 5th, 2016

Emotional Sales Leadership

I was recently interviewed on a podcast based in Europe around the topic of the importance of emotional leadership. The interviewer asked me a series of questions regarding the topic and why I felt it was a critical success factor for most organizations.

In retrospect based upon the podcast I came away with even a stronger opinion on the topic of generating the right level of emotion-that is positive emotion into the sales team.

It is important to track sales metrics to better understand the sales formula or recipe for success and to analyze leading indicators that will allow the sales manager to better predict future revenues. Balancing the mechanics of sales management with emotional leadership techniques requires the sales manager to take the next step up the ladder of professionalism. Many times we have seen organizations with failing sales or lacking the growth they expect to simply throw money at a sales training organization to fix the problem.  That approach simply becomes a band aid.

I am not saying sales training does not work or is not required but many times the ability of the sales trainer to interject their emotion/passion during the workshop helps pump up the sales team and short term impact occurs, however several weeks later that emotion is no longer felt and sales fall back to the original level.  We call this the balloon effect. The air or excitement has seeped out of the balloon and now it is simply limp and looks like it did before the balloon was blown up-just like the underperforming sales team.  Many times the sales manager enjoys the emotion as well, but they simply forget to reinforce the sales skills or to build on the positive emotion from the event.

So what specifically can any leader do to create Emotional Leadership?

  • Create an atmosphere of fun: make sure the sales team enjoys their job.  This is not to mean that accountability and expectations are not set, it simply means that there is excitement about what the salespeople do and how they do it.  HINT: Run an annual sales trip contest.
  • Provide a vision: where will the company/sales team be in 18-24 months? Share an expected Organization Chart and ask the team for their insights. HINT: set sales objectives that lead you to your goal.
  • Focus on training salespeople on belief: focus on how your products/services benefit your clients as much or more as what your products/service do. HINT: Visit client offices to see the impact you company has had on their organization.
  • Create a sales training program on attitude: Use video’s or books that share the concepts of mental preparation and positive attitudes, not the simple rah/rah material but courseware that changes lives.  HINT: Twice a year focus on this kind of training.

As sales leaders you must recognize that every time you walk into a room, talk to someone or even send an email the message you send gets magnified.  Use emotional leadership to create an environment of high performance.

What other ideas do you have to create that positive emotionally driven sales team?

 

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 2015.

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 Leadership: Why Winners Win!

March 24th, 2016

Sales Leadership Thoughts:  Why Winners Win!

Salespeople must be trained on the emotional elements of success at the same level that they are trained in pure sales skills training.

Last week after speaking at a conference a person mentioned to me she really enjoyed the topic; Why Winners Win.   It is one of my favorite parts of the keynote and the four points I make wrap up many of the beliefs I hold, so I thought I would share them with you today

The first element is: Winners Create Optimism.   One reason is they dare to dream what others can’t imagine.  In the past sociologists told us that you needed talent or hunger to succeed and win.  There was a study done of highly talented individuals and those people who worked extremely hard (hunger) that never became successful and those highly successful talented or hard working (hunger) individuals.  The result was the groups that were successful had an additional ingredient: optimism, not a simple happy go lucky feeling, but a real attitude that good things will happen. The secret to this ingredient is you can develop it. Work on the positives of life.

The second element is: they recognize fear as opportunity.  Winners aren’t immune to fear, but instead of stopping them, the go with it.  They treat fear as a signal and push through to experience new heights of living. Feel the fear-do it anyway!

The third is: they build dreams.  Winners can visualize, they create of the image of their dream into reality.  Our dreams shape us and we can’t do what we can’t imagine, people who get what they want often figure out what that is by letting their ambitions soar instead of censoring them before they emerge. Winners hang on to dreams…they are self fulfilling prophecy; positive illusions promote the capacity to productive work and a successful life.

The fourth action is: Winners reduce frustrations.   Winners focus on what will go right, not what will go wrong, losers see the sand traps around every green, winners see only the greens—go for the pin!   Remember that past frustrations build anxiety, while we must recognize frustration, it is a healthy by product of working towards your goals/dreams. Frustrations are simply steps to achievement.

Keep reading:  Two great books to keep your mind on track.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

My blog on Creating Intensity is also focused on the emotional aspects of sales leadership and sales team performance.

I hope these ideas will begin to make your week, month and year terrific!  Remember to build a Gourmet Life! Put the right ingredients in place and your Menu for Life will guide you to a highly successful and happy life.

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 2015.

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: What is your goal–today?

March 14th, 2016

Sales Management: What is your goal—today?

 

Sales leadership is a constant focus on many various facets of business-it’s one of the reasons sales management is a one of the most difficult jobs in any business.  The person responsible for driving revenues has to focus on their sales team; its activity levels, their sales opportunities, morale/emotion, training, customers, perhaps marketing as well as other departmental interactions. It is because of these numerous aspects that many sales managers get distracted or lose focus.

In my list of the Top 40 Actions To Build Predicable Revenue  I have attempted to build a check list with a purpose description in order to assist any sales leader in building their methodology. Download it and compare it your list.

Obviously no one can focus on 40 actions or even 20 steps everyday-just juggling the various items that can come flying in or at the sales manager at any time is hard enough. What I like to do with our clients is to help them build a mentality of execution-getting something done!  I will frequently send a quick email to a variety of past and current clients asking them What is your Sales Management Goal-Today?  The purpose is simply to reinforce the aspect of thinking about what “I” need to do today to achieve a higher level of performance from my team.

As you will see from the free download, there could be a variety of actions that might be required today!  It may be as simple as checking CRM for quality/updates or developing the quarterly sales training program or making sales calls not to attempt to close an opportunity but to evaluate the ability of a salesperson and coach them to a higher level.

Take this opportunity to daily position yourself to do it better or think and act on improving your team.  Sounds easy but many times its Friday morning and many Sales Managers realize they have not “moved the ball” forward on several critical aspects of their job.

How about you? What is your sales management goal-today?

 

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 2015.

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

 

Creating Intensity

March 3rd, 2016

Creating Intensity

The Job of Sales Management
A Series of Tactical Actions to Drive Success

During the balance of the year I will outline 40 steps a sales leader can take to achieve predictable revenue. They are not listed in any priority- as every sales organization is at differing levels of maturity and needs. If you run a channels organization these ideas will be pertinent to your team as well as your dealers/resellers/partners.

Every player does not give 110% every day, it’s the coach’s job to increase their intensity and the effort they give”….. This quote came from Butch Jones, head coach at the University of TN.

This is part of what I call the emotional job of sales leadership, it is one thing to analyze data and create sales programs and systems, and it’s another to create the right culture. Last week my keynote at a sales conference was titled: Building a Culture of High Performance, during the program I discussed this side of leadership and the need for both personal and professional actions one can take to raise the bar of excellence.
In a turnaround situation this emotional aspect of sales leadership is critical, if you are building a new team it is a necessity. What does the emotional Sales Leader need to do?
1. Stay focused on energy-yours and your team’s
2. Pay attention to their plans, their daily/weekly execution and their intensity…
3. Be on top of everything…. Pay attention to the details to ensure EVERYTHING works.
4. If you expect them to work at 100%, your focus, your energy must be 120%.
5. Always be more aware than the team… of all aspect of the sales/marketing focus
6. As a leader in any organization recognize that your focus/intensity/enthusiasm must be above the ones your lead.

Your team wants to feel the energy and belief, as a Sales Leader work on this emotional transfer. Being a leader and having vision and communicating emotional is a Critical Success Factor in Sales Leadership. In my book on Leading High Performance Sales Teams I cover the tactical steps build this belief.

Notice, in this blog I used the word Sales Leadership not Sales Management, there are two different aspects to building a high performance sales team, leadership and management- you must know the difference and you must be both!
When I spoke with Josh Dobbs, Quarterback of the Univ. of TN this summer (at the airport) his biggest comment was that Butch was a motivator, not a coach, not a buddy, but a motivator.
What are you doing to increase the intensity of your team?

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 2015.
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

What Slice of Pizza Do You Need?

February 1st, 2016

What Kind of Pizza Do You Need?

It seems every year brings new challenges, yet what I find is successful partners focus on improving certain areas within their business each year. It’s like pizza, you can see the entire pie, but the only way to finish it, is to take one slice at a time. During our business planning sessions we recommend to our clients to identify key success factors that need attention and to attack them one at time, rather than focusing on many different actions simultaneously and not refining or fixing the issue completely.  During the last 6 months we have surveyed hundreds of partners, the number one topic that came up was: prospecting, or building pipeline values so let’s focus on that!

I have listed a few slices to chew on in 2016:

  1. Prospective clients have done their homework as to their issues and potential solutions via the internet or other relationships.  This has caused the salesperson to alter their traditional sales approach.  We have found the salespeople who have not adapted to this change are struggling, as they have been use to “telling” their story vs “selling” themselves and their solutions.   The idea that magical mental stimulation must occur in selling is more important than ever before, knowing people, understanding the 5 business challenges business people face and connecting the dots between the person, the problem and your solution is a critical success factor. Work on role playing the “discovery” process, the art of asking questions, probing for information and building trust and confidence is critical. Once the prospect knows, that you know their issues and can fully discuss with them solutions that address their business strategies your win/lost ratios will improve. Sell to the business outcomes-not the technology.

HINT: your goal is to create an 18-24 month IT solution roadmap that aligns with the prospects business strategies.

  1. Acumen Power Networking or “6 degrees of Ken Thoreson… The use of LinkedIn and other online databases can now allowed salespeople to evaluate their top 20  best clients and determine who they are linked too, past employments,  what association’s they  are involved in, and their personal interests. Once this is completed, a salesperson can determine who know within their personal connected networks. Once your best clients are mapped, you can then work with your clients to connect with key net new prospects.  By first mapping your clients, then power mapping your prospects, the odds of connecting existing clients and your top prospects will increase. You can then leverage your clients during your prospecting and sales process. This methodology is certainly being used by top performers and we certainly see it as a continuing trend. 
  1. Get started fast in 2016! The first action salespeople need to do is reach out to every one if their existing clients, in a physical meeting if possible, and discuss with them their use/satisfaction and impact of the salespersons product/services on their company.  This will reinforce, hopefully, in the kinds of benefits in the products/services that are delivered-this builds belief in the company and belief by a salesperson is the most important emotion they must carry with them each day. It’s the inner desire to serve clients that separates the average performer from the top producer and if the salesperson truly believes in their product/services -they will go the extra mile to win the order.

The second action, during this client meeting is to discus with the clients “their strategic objectives over the next 24 months”. This will help the salesperson plan a strategic sales roadmap as to how their products/services can potentially be used to assist the client in achieving their goals.

The third action, with this client is to work them through an Account Plan. One portion of the entire plan is based upon mapping the current utilization of the existing product/services used by the client. Next the salesperson would walk the client through a Cross Sell/Up Sell program, showing them additional benefits of new offerings they have not taken advantage and how these additional products/services will leverage the clients existing products/services and bring new benefits.   NOTE: this takes planning prior to the scheduled meeting.

These 3 actions will help the salesperson get off to a fast start-by working with and selling existing clients where they have trusted relationships and proven solutions. Immediate revenues, larger pipelines and increased levels of belief along with better customer relationships is a positive way to start the year.

HINT: during these conversations the salesperson should also ask for one to three referrals from their existing clients.

Each salesperson must attend 2 networking events per month, the goal is expand relationships and awareness within the marketplace.  Check out the Microsoft Community Connection program to really find out how to grow your pipeline: www.MSCommunityConnections.com

  1. Each partner must develop 5 “Business Eco-System partners”, these are organizations/salespeople that sell non-competitive but related products/services into the same marketplace. Moving into the cloud partners must increase pipeline values, increase marketing programs and increase leverage in their business. Business eco-system partners may know of new opportunities, they may know selected people within certain accounts and they may provide solutions to your existing clients-making a salesperson a business resource for their clients. Effectively working this approach will bring in the equivalent of one salesperson’s quota per year without hiring additional people!
5. We believe in 2016 the focal points will be on velocity and execution; increasing the speed of the sales cycle and number of orders received. Based upon our Partner Cloud Acceleration experience we have found this is a critical success factor. While there has always been talk about “trusted business advisor”, we believe you achieve this through Business Guidance selling.  This is a phrase we use to describe not a new sales methodology but a concept that can be implemented within any sales framework.  Generally with any sales offering a salesperson either is increasing productivity, reducing costs or providing a certain benefit.

In Business Guidance selling, the salesperson during the proposal or closing stage, as they are selling their solution and the associated benefits, they link those benefits to a dollar value and then make a Business Guidance recommendation to the prospect.  The salesperson recommends they use those benefits/savings to impact a specific perceived need within the prospects company. These Business Guidance recommendations could range from: improving the web site, providing adding customer service training, etc… None of these recommendations are related to additional products/services from the salesperson’s firm.

This increases the need for a quality Discovery Stage within your sales process.

By acting in this way and providing this kind of insight you can separate yourself from your competition and not be perceived as simply another salesperson.  In 2016 and beyond clients are expecting more from their vendor relationships.

 

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 2015.

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

 

 

The Opposite Side of the Interview Table

January 12th, 2016

The Opposite Side of the Job Interview Table

Tips to Consider when considering a new Job/Employer

Recently a received a call from a former client, he wanted to discuss the potential of considering another opportunity. During the conversation it occurred to me that I have spent hundreds of hours writing a book: Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams and coaching hundreds of people on how to build an internal sales interviewing process, but I had never considered the situation from the candidate’s perspective.

I decided to begin creating a check list of questions that anyone in the middle of a job interview should consider before accepting a new job offer.  They are not in a particular order, but I suggested to my client to rate each question on a scale of 1-5, 5=High.  If you have other thoughts, please add them in the comment section.

My goal is simple, I have seen many great people take the wrong opportunity, to really succeed both the employer and the employee must be in alignment both from a job skill perspective and an emotional basis.  This check list is designed to ensure the interviewee does the due diligence that is necessary for success.

BTW: my client declined to pursue the new opportunity. 

  • What is their business strategy?
  • Why do they win in a sales environment?
  • How strong/sophisticated is their marketing?
  • How does the management team make decisions?
  • Has the existing management team had success in the past?
  • What happened to the last person?  Why did they fail? Or Leave?
  • Do they fit my culture?  What is the attitude of the middle management team?
  • What kinds of reporting do they have? How close do they manage their business?
  • What seems to be the capability of the existing sales team?
  • Do I have the necessary experience to do the job? Do I know what already needs to be done to fix the issue?
  • How well does the President communicate one on one or in a group?
  • What is the cash flow situation?
  • What kind of market are they in? Growth? Turnaround? Limited?
  • What niche do they have in the market?
  • What kind of player are they in the market? Dominate? Minor?
  • Are they a leader in technology?
  • What is their end game? Sell out? Buy others?  Are M & A opportunities brewing?
  • What kinds of support could I expect?
  • What kinds of turnover have they had in this job? Or other jobs that are important in the company?
  • What is the ownership?  Public, Private, Private Equity, ESOP?
  • What is their revenue trend the past 3 years?
  • Profitable?
  • Who does the position report to (title)?
  • How long has that person been with the company?
  • Will that person help me develop my skills and career?
  • What is the risk to my career if this opportunity does not work out?
  • What is the per cent age of probability of success?
  • Are they a quality company?
  • Do they really want me?
  • What makes them unique? Do I feel a passion for their business?

What did I miss? Any new issues to consider?

All the best in 2016!

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 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 2015.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.

 

10 Sales Kick-Off Meeting Idea’s

December 21st, 2015

Sales Leadership: Ten 2016 Sales Kick-off Meeting Idea’s

 While working with a client last week it became obvious that we are moving into the time to finalize 2016 budgets, compensation plans and something most sales managers don’t take enough in developing their 2016 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 2016 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” is only one example.
  2. 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. HINT: Roll out your first quarter sales training plans.
  3. Announce a first quarter sales contest. (see previous blogs for ideas)
  4. Announce a 2016 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. See my book: Creating High Performance Sales Compensation Plans, for idea’s on sales contests. www.AcumenManagement.com
  5. 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.
  6. Schedule the president of your company to give a short message on his/her philosophy on sales and the culture of your organization.
  7. 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 early in the afternoon, if your event is a full day meeting.
  8. Make sure you make the meeting fun!   As the sales leader work on activities that create the right culture and teamwork.
  9. 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.
  10. Bring in an outside speaker. This could include a customer telling their satisfaction with your firm, a sales trainer or a motivational message that propels your team to excellence.

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 Kick-Off special?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 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 2015.

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