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Time for Salesperson Evaluations

March 30th, 2015

Time for Salesperson Evaluations

Last week one of my client’s and I were discussing the end of the first quarter, salesperson performance and next steps in their business strategy.  The conversation lead me to suggest the following steps for my client as well as all of my readers.

Step One: Evaluate your team, place each of your team members into one of the following categories:

  • Stars: How do we keep them?
  • Learners: High potentials, do we have a plan to train?
  • Solid Performers: How do we maintain?
  • Followers: Good for now, but what about next year?
  • Deadwood: Can we do better?

Step Two: Once you have classified your team, the next step is to develop a plan to review each person and set a learning path for them.  We recommend that this becomes a formal procedure between the Sales Manager and each salesperson, at least twice a year.    Weuse a Salesperson Development Tool from our Sales Managers Tool Kit.  (The Tool Kit is a library of 40+ robust sales management tools we have developed during our consulting practice.)

The Salesperson Development tool includes a revenue vs quota section, but just as important it includes a section for the Sales Managers evaluation regarding:

  • Skills/Strengths: what needs work, what items are good
  • Development Plan, What actions are to be taken, Target Date/Completion Date
  • Obstacles and plans to reduce obstacles

This session allows both individuals an opportunity to honestly discuss career aspirations, personal goals and skill development.  Using this approach along with the Salesperson’s Business Plan the manager can fully coach the salesperson to the next level.

Building a regular cadence of “inspecting what you expect” of your team will increase the professionalism of your team and will drive performance.   What are your thoughts on improving the performance of your sales teams?

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 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.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

10 Traits Buyers Seek in Salespeople

March 24th, 2015

The 10 Traits Buyers Seek in Sales Superstars

Selling yourself is the first step.

What really separates the best salespeople from the rest of the pack? Our research shows that top performers not only understand each customer company — they understand the person making the buying decisions as well.

Most sales training courses emphasize the importance of addressing the customer’s needs. They teach salespeople to explain how, “your product or service”,  can help achieve key business goals. Those discussions are critical for making sales.

But few training programs address how buyers view salespeople as they’re presenting that information — knowledge that can be an equally powerful sales tool.

Our research indicates that, from the buyer’s point of view, the best salespeople:

1. Listen. Buyers want to deal with professionals who ask the right questions and truly listen to the answers, people who can take what they’ve heard and translate it into appropriate solutions. Want to boost your listening skills to top-performer level? Take notes, summarize and restate what buyers tell you and — just as important — listen when they confirm whether you’ve gotten it right.

2. Tell the truth. I cringe when I hear salespeople tell customers or prospects, “Let me be honest with you,” as if they haven’t been honest so far. If you don’t know the answer, don’t make it up. If you aren’t professional enough to sell without lying, find a new profession.

3. Do more than push products. Of course, it’s vitally important for salespeople to know about the products they represent, but talking only about features and functions went out in the ’70s. Top performers focus on helping buyers achieve their business goals. One way to do that: Videotape and watch your own sales presentation to see from the buyer’s point of view. Are you helping or just selling?

4. Know the customer’s business. Going after vertical markets has become a major emphasis for many organizations. Stay abreast of developments in your customers’ worlds. When prospects see that you’re familiar with their businesses and industries that generates trust and confidence — key ingredients in any successful sales formula.

5. Know what the customer’s clients need. See No. 4.  Why do their customers buy from them? Knowing their customers will help you sell them.

6. Address pain points. Top performers outdo the competition by personalizing their presentations, showing how their solutions help customers resolve specific business problems, achieve important goals and generate impressive ROI.

7. Keep promises. Buyers keep track of what you say you’ll do and whether you actually do it. If you offer to send a white paper or list of references, follow through. And get it there when promised; never request an extension.

8. Avoid wasting time. As a salesperson, you’ve got the right to be persistent and to be respected, but not to be a pest. Dropping in unannounced because you were “in the neighborhood” falls into the latter category; it’s also the mark of an amateur. Instead, schedule your calls, have a stated objective for each meeting and be sure the time spent results in value for the customer.

9. Serve as an information resource. Top-performing salespeople often provide customers with useful background materials, typically from reputable outside sources. Consider giving your buyers relevant information from The Wall Street Journal, local business journals,  industry magazines and newsletters.

10. Make the buyer a hero. Top performers know what personal factors drive each buyer’s behavior, whether it’s ego, desire for a bonus, the potential for promotion or some other factor. Do what’s necessary to make sure an important buyer regards a particular sale as a personal win. Do you know their personality style?

Long ago, someone told me the three key factors in sales are: Emotion, emotion, emotion. No question about it: If you recognize your buyers’ emotions, you’ll accelerate your sales.

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 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.  Need more sales management resources?

Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

If It Isn’t Fun, It isn’t Selling!!!

March 16th, 2015

If It Isn’t Fun, It isn’t Selling!!!

Last week I was in Arizona speaking at a conference, during my program I used the phrase: If it isn’t fun, it isn’t selling!, and the reaction I received was interesting.  Most of the comments seemed surprised or somewhat taken aback as I discussed the topic, others were curious as to how to have fun during the sales cycle.

I have to confess,  I have somewhat borrowed  that phrase from Sam Hagerman, Camp Director at my old Boy Scout camp, Camp Decorah; his mantra was: “if it isn’t fun, it isn’t scouting”. I did tell Sam I changed his statement to fit my audiences.

My message last week was more about emotion, selling, managing and building an environment of high performance.  There were two aspects around this topic that are important to understand in creating great culture.  First, in every organization that I have been with or have consulted in that had great cultures, those sales teams not only worked hard, were professional in their approach they also had a culture of fun.  Sales Managers that created a culture of high performance always made sure they   brought an approach to managing that included accountability and high expectations, but also one where the team had fun together.   A few ideas to focus on:

  • Build Belief: make sure your sales teams believe in your company, products/services and each other. This is the emotional work for sales leadership.
  •  Make sure your sales contests are sales games!  They need to be fun, with exciting themes and creative. An annual sales trip for spouses/sales teams is a must, these kinds of sales incentives build camaraderie, memories and teamwork.
  •  Create opportunities to socialize with your team; organize pizza nights to breakfast meetings. These kinds of events allow everyone to talk, laugh and build respect between team mates.

The second aspect of creating fun and selling is with prospects and clients during the sales process.  In my program I stressed that I don’t mean you need to be a jokester during the sales process or less of a professional, but a more relaxed approach can separate you from your competition.   Many years ago someone told me there are 3 rules in selling:  Emotion, Emotion and Emotion. You must have it, you must transfer it to your prospect and they must take action based upon emotion.

As a friend of mine Jeb Blount, the founder of Sales Gravy likes to suggest to his training clients, ask yourself about your prospects: Do they like you? Are they listening to you? Are you listening to them?  What kind of sales environment are your creating?

As a salesperson your interaction with your clients or prospects will always create an emotion-positive or negative. Focusing on a positive, fun and interactive approach will lead to a connection with that person(s).  That connection is critical to building the trust and confidence you need to win the opportunity. Several idea’s to improve the power of connecting:

  • Identify the Personality Style of the person you are speaking with, based upon their style, work with them on their communication mode. But bring your personality.
  •  During any meeting, bring a lighter touch to your conversations, while having an agenda for your meeting, being prepared with a Pre-Call Strategy tool is great, make sure you add a sparkle in your eye and smile on your face to your approach.  It’s ok to be yourself!
  •  Make the experience memorable. This is the power of creativity, ask yourself: “What can I do break through the traditional sales process and make the relationship unique?”   If you use social activities in your sales process, can I align an activity that fits your prospect; i.e. a wine tasting? Sports events?  Or if you are selling in a formal sales process can you bring something else to the table during a sales call; a best-selling book autographed by the author, or an invitation to your Rotary Club meeting?

 

Having fun and taking a lighter personal approach can separate you from your competition and that pays off with greater commissions.  You will also enjoy the sales process and that emotion and approach will be felt by your prospects.  What are your ideas around having fun and selling more?
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 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.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Enhancing Your Executive Edge

February 23rd, 2015

Enhancing Your EXECUTIVE EDGE

How to Develop the Skills to Lead and Succeed

It’s time for another book review!  Last week I was on vacation and I had the time to read three books, one of them written by Kim Zoller/Kerry Preston was on Enhancing Your Executive Edge. Published by McGraw Hill, it is a terrific read for all executives and any manager.

In defining Executive Edge the authors quickly hook you in the Introduction, they set the stage showing their methodology by providing the reader an experience in self development and growth by providing an Online Assessment to first determine your current “Edge”.  I would suggest you take this assessment after reading this blog. www.whatismyexecutiveedge.com  The reader will immediately begin to understand their current environment.

As you read through the Introduction Kim/Kerry describe their plan of breaking the book into five major buckets with 18 distinct chapters:

  1. Self-management and social awareness
  2. Personal branding
  3. Communication and presence
  4. Business protocol-the details of Executive Edge
  5. Motivation, perseverance, and excellence

Throughout the book they make you work through various scenarios and check lists to assess your current status and your desired outcomes. In addition throughout the book they offer strategies to help the executive handle various situations, for example:

  • Strategies for Not Being and Looking Arrogant
  • Strategies for Working with Arrogant People
  • Strategies for Not Posturing and Avoiding Extreme On-Upmanship
  • Strategies for Working with Others who are Posturing

The chapter on “Knowing How to Read People” is outstanding!  Their check lists and 10 tips are critical in enhancing your ability to manage people, this chapter alone can assist any person in becoming a more effective leader.

One of the aspects that I always stress with my clients is to build “business Eco-System Partners”, or a network of people that can help you grow your business as well as your personal level of professionalism. In Chapter 6 the authors hit this topic head on and they show you how to Strategically Build Relationships and Influence.  As in every chapter they provide useful tips and at the end of each chapter they summarize their key points. The following chapter then moves on to showing the reader how increase your effectiveness by learning to Network and Business Socializing by helping you build a BLT.  This focus on creating “believability, likeability, and trust” in your business environment and in any situation. The authors walk you through their checklist in preparing for an event, how to work the event and how to appropriately follow up after the event. If your salespeople network this chapter would make a great sales training meeting, if you managers work events, this chapter is worth a discussion at your managers meeting.

Standing out is part of the concept of having an Executive Edge.  Kerry/Kim focus on Personal Branding extensively and how to build it; the entire section provides a great level of insight into how individuals can create a real presence.   Their helpful tips will provide you an action plan to increase your ability to increase your position; starting with “Appearance, Behavior to determining your Value.

This book is a great read for the first time manager and it would make a terrific book for an organizations management team to read and discuss. HINT: add this book to each managers Executive Development Plan.

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 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.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

What Sales Compensation Trends Are in Store for 2015?

February 12th, 2015

What Sales Compensation Trends Are in Store for 2015? 

By David J. Cichelli, Sr. Vice President, The Alexander Group, Inc.

This week while I am on vacation I am adding a Guest Blog, it should be of huge interest to the readers of this blog.

A look into the Alexander Group’s “2015 Sales Compensation Trends Survey” reveals that companies plan to offer moderate pay raises of 3 percent for sales personnel in 2015. This comes after a blowout year in 2014 with payouts increasing 7 percent over payments from the previous year, widely exceeding the 3% increase planned for 2014. Sales departments have a long history of overspending their compensation budgets. 2014 was a poster year for this practice.

Historically, projected wage inflation increases for sales personnel have remained modest since 2010. From 2011 through 2014, sales departments have projected their next year compensation payout costs to increase at a median 3 percent. Only in 2012 did the payouts match the projections. For 2011 and 2013, the payouts exceeded the estimate by 2 percent. For 2010, the payouts exceeded the estimate by 3 percent.

For 2015, we are again seeing sales departments estimate their compensation payouts to increase 3 percent. This is consistent with pay treatment for other corporate functions.

Much like the rest of the economy, most sales departments are expecting moderate sales revenue growth in 2015. Survey participants project a 7.5 percent median increase in sales for 2015.

The Survey results indicate that sales personnel hiring will be improving in 2015. Almost 65 percent of the reporting companies plan to increase headcount in 2015, the highest portion of reporting companies since 2010.

What else we can we expect to see in 2015? As the economy improves further, the demand for qualified sellers should expand. Hiring will become more difficult. If voluntary turnover increases as sellers seek improved compensation, we may begin to see an uptick in compensation inflation. The 2014 blowout might be a precursor signaling further and more generous wage increases for sales personnel in 2015.

Read more about the latest sales compensation trends, quotas, practices, costs and recognition events in the Executive Summary.

David J. Cichelli is the editor of the survey and a senior vice president with the Alexander Group. He is also the author of the best-selling book, “Compensating the Sales Force,” published by McGraw Hill, and the “2014 Sales Compensation Almanac,” published by AGI Press. He can be reached at dcichelli@alexandergroup.com.

Efficient Effectiveness: Sales Leadership

February 9th, 2015

Sales Management Thought Leadership:  efficient effectiveness

As an Eagle Scout I can discuss the topic of “Be Prepared” easily and based upon this past Sunday it even has more credibility. Boom’s Day” the largest fireworks display in the U.S  occurs each Labor Day weekend in Knoxville, TN-so what does that mean?  An estimated 400,000 people flock to the river front to watch the event; boats on the river, people lined up on the docks,  roads and every home, parking lot and condo packed with friends and neighbors.  As this was my first time to witness 45 minutes of noise, color and lots of OOOh’s and Ahhh’s I had to be prepared. Did I mention the potential of rain?

For two weeks, prior to Sunday,  I asked everyone about the event; where to park, when to arrive, double checked my reservations for my dinner cruise and thought of what to pack in my knap sack.  The good news was I found a parking spot in the first ramp I drove into, arriving at 2:30pm allowed my friends and I to casually walk thru Market Square, stop for  refreshments and sushi and then walk the 10 blocks to the river walk and boat launch. When the rain came we had hats’, ponchos, umbrellas and at 9:30pm when the show began, the rain stopped. On the walk back to the car, I took out my flashlight and the four of us made it home by 1am.  A great evening to remember.

What does this have to do with sales management?  As a manager you must be prepared-at all times for almost any event.  The best plan is to have a plan and to consider what might go wrong or what could impact your ability to exceed your objectives.  I have simply listed below a series of topics for your consideration and for you to double check against your plan or lack of plan.

Do you have a plan?

  • If you lose a salesperson
    If your sales team needs sales training
    To increase the sales culture of your team
    To increase your networking/partnering function
    That generates excitement for your products/services
    To say thank you to your support team
    That increases your level of professionalism/education
    To create a sales contest that drives revenue
    That adds net new customers to your base
    That drives the necessary sales leads for each month
    To say thank you to your existing customer base
    To increase your public relations exposure within your community or market
    That will increase/improve your vendor relations
    To improve your CRM effectiveness
    If your computer systems fail or are destroyed

 

That’s enough for now, but if I missed anything, comment below, let’s build a complete list for the future.
HINT:  this is a great idea for your next management meeting, simply begin by asking each of the departmental managers about their problems or contingency issues that arise on a day to day basis or what might occur if a disaster of any kind happens-then ask them for their plan.

Why is this critically important today?  In any kind of business environment,  the organization that operates the most efficiently generally out performs their competition, in more challenging times a focus on efficient effectiveness must become the mantra for the day.
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 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.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

What is all this talk about added value?

February 4th, 2015

What is All This Talk about Added Value?

A mind is like an umbrella, it must be opened to work….

 During my keynote at a recent sales kickoff meeting I opened up the dialogue regarding how salespeople and organizations need to not only create value to separate themselves from their competition buy also the need for a company to prove their value proposition during the sales process.  Many organizations express their value on their website or marketing brochures, but fail in this important step of proof.

At this highly “product” driven company the salespeople were really struggling to understand the concept of being unique or what kinds of value they could offer, it was a lively session.   In a commodity business it is critical you consider value and what is really value. During a 90 minute keynote it might not be possible to create specific ideas around adding value or proving your value proposition but opening the mind to the concept is critical in today’s environment.

It comes down to the fact that without value added, anybody can do what you do, including your competition. Value added is up to the salesperson or organization in making the difference and if it is done right, no one will ever compete with you.

The strategic thought process question that should be asked before every meeting or client situation is:  “How can I add value to this opportunity?

There are three steps to adding value.

Step One: Forget what business you are in.

Understanding your business begins, paradoxically by forgetting your product/service. You’re not the product/services you represent. You sell dreams and you sell solutions; you simply deliver the product/service.  As a young salesperson I learned the power of this step, I found out the reason the client was purchasing my computer/software was to enjoy her weekends at the lake cabin!  That emotion is what I ended up selling. It is critical you always understand what the compelling reason to purchase is driving your client? I always stress this during sales strategy sessions.

Step Two: Move from the big picture to added value options

Ask yourself: What actions can I take that will add value to my offerings-that will exceed by clients’ expectations? What can I do that will position me as different from and more valuable than my competition?”  These can be the big questions that organizations can ponder during a strategic planning session or driven by the salesperson in each unique sales situation. One client of ours sold heavily on ROI; what we did was assist in creating a sales process where on stage 3 the salesperson would have the client visit our client’s website (make it a sales tool). The prospective client then would actually enter a few variables into a data entry form.  As a result the CFO of the client’s organization would create a business case for the project, this business case was then presented to the prospective client.  This added value, proved the companies value proposition and added a unique phase to the relationship.  What kinds of added value actions can you offer is a challenging session and will take time to develop. We suggest group meetings with a variety of employees, customer focus groups and brainstorming sessions during this phase.

Step Three: Value Add Evaluation

How can I bring this idea to my clients? Can I afford to do these things? Does it duplicate any other service we provide? I always suggest that competitors can ‘catch on” to what you are doing, but you don’t want them to “catch up”. It is critical you continually assess your ideas around the value you are bringing to the sales situation. Every six months schedule a strategy session to evaluate your sales process and your value add services.

It is a challenge to create value but the time and investment will pay huge dividends in revenues and profits.  Get creative, open your mind, find your competitive edge and win!

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 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.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

The Soft Edge; where great companies find success

January 19th, 2015

The Soft Edge

Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success

This week’s blog is a book review, The Soft Edge by Rich Karlgaard, published by Jossey-Bass.

This is an excellent management book for any level in any company, I recommend to my clients that they need to read a minimum of two business books a year and this book makes my 2015 list!

In the first chapter the author discusses the 3-sided triangle of business; the bottom is the Strategic Base, the left side is the Hard Edge and the right side becomes the Soft Edge. The hard edge is the traditional operations, ratios, measurements and systems of running any effective organization.   He spends just a few pages describing the importance of the Hard Edge and the 5 components that make up that side of the triangle.

Rich then moves on to describing what he means is the Soft Edge; “The Expression of Your Deepest Values”, it is made of 5 components as well.

  • Trust
  • Smarts
  • Teams
  • Taste
  • Story

 

Immediately he begins to build his case for the power of the Soft Edge management and then each of the following chapters takes the five components and breaks them into greater details and explanations.

Trust:  Trust begins with culture and values, as with many management focused books, the author quotes business leaders on the topic to reinforce his points. One quote: Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.  He described both internal and external levels of trust and makes his point by quoting a survey: “For the first time in in history, impressions of openness, sincerity and authenticity are more important to a corporation’s reputation than the quality of products and services”.

The amazing story was, I was reading this book on my way to Las Vegas to speak at a conference, one section of my program was on “building trust”.  During my speech I picked up the book, quoted from it to help me drive home my points!  When I packed my book, I did not know the contents of the chapters of this book, it was a total coincidence.

Smarts: There are two components: 1) the ability to learn new things and solve novel problems, 2) the ability to apply outcomes of learning-call this intelligence as –knowledge.

Teams: This chapter rings the bell, when he described the two pizza rule!  A team should never be larger than what 2 pizzas could feed.  He writes on the need to improve speed and execution, a great chapter on a topic that many others have tried to cover without Rich’s insights and story.

Taste: In this chapter Rich identifies key organizations that have focused on the “experience” of going beyond the aesthetic of the product, but creating the emotional connection.

Story: The point the author makes in this chapter is the power of having a corporate story (s), and the need to craft, share and create stories for both employees, customers and prospects. Building belief is critical in creating a sustaining business model.

In the Conclusion chapter he summaries the prior chapters by using a case study of a situation where companies have focused on the Soft Edges and where they have not-and the results. If you are not by the end of this book a believer in the power of the Soft Edge, this chapter will convince you.

Buy this book for each member of your management team and weekly, discuss one chapter at your management team meetings. It will make a difference in your success.

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 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.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Increasing Velocity is a Critical Success Factor

January 13th, 2015

Increasing Your Velocity is a Critical Success Factor

 

It’s normal.  After any keynote presentation members of the audience will approach me to ask further questions on my program or make more in-depth comments on related topics, frankly I truly enjoy these kinds of give and takes.

Last Friday my topic was “Accelerate Your Business in 2015”, during the program I covered a variety of ideas, techniques and tools the audience could  use to drive increased levels of sales pipeline values and revenues.  A portion of what I spoke about was from a recent blog:  The One Must Do Action Step to Ensure a Great 2015!  In this in blog I covered why it is important to meet with your existing clientsat the beginning of every year and 5 potential outcomes you could expect from those meetings.  If you haven’t read it, it is not too late to implement the tactics I covered.

The interesting part of the one on one discussions I had was the tendency of almost every person that spoke to me suggested creating additional or new ideas/tools beyond the ones I had shared.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with creativity, being innovative or trying something new. What continues to amaze me is everyone had great ideas, however taking the time to create new approaches, or tools either delays the end result or in most situations-nothing happens.  Either something comes up or a distraction occurs and the sales/marketing/management programs fail to achieve their goals.

It seems people love to reinvent the wheel.

My recommendation is to use the idea’s/tools of others, certainly refine them to fit your focus, but rather than delay implementation or spending valuable time re-inventing or tweaking the program-simply execute it!   Increasing the velocity of everything you do in business today has become a critical success factor.

On Friday I had suggested the following ideas to accelerate your business;

  • Learn to Partner with other organizations, I call this business-eco system marketing
  • Implement a salesperson 20-20 campaign
  • Focus on a vertical market with in your business
  • Perform Account Plans on your top 30% customers
  • Learn to Cross Sell/Up Sell each of your products/services
  • Build Thought Leadership into your marketing
  • Create customer Power Networking Maps

During the presentation I covered each of these topics in greater detail as to the how to’s and the desired outcomes, if you wish to learn more about these ideas you can find them in  my various blogs on each topic. If you can’t find them reach out to me and I will share my thoughts with you. Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

Need other tools designed to increase your sales and sales management effectiveness? Don’t reinvent the wheel, check out the Online Sales Management Tool Kit

Lastly, what is your one best idea to increase the velocity of your business for 2015?

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 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

The One Must Do Action Step to Ensure a Great 2015

December 29th, 2014

The One Must Do Action Step to Ensure a Great 2015

What is the first action all salespeople must do to begin each year? It’s simple, but many times overlooked. The first action they need to do is reach out to every one of 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.  We call it the Annual Client Audit Review.

The objective of this meeting is actually made up of many sub-steps.

  • This will reinforce in the mind of the salesperson the benefits the products/services that were 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. When the salesperson truly believes in their product/services and their impact on their clients business -they will go the extra mile to win the order.

 

  • The second action, during this meeting is to discus with the clients “the client’s 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 each 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. After the meeting the salesperson can then develop a strategy for the account and then create 5 tactical steps to further penetrate this account.

 

  • Don’t forget to ask for Reference Letter or a quote from your client.

 

  • Lastly, always ask for a referral, who do they know that you can serve?

These five 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.

What is your plan to get a jump start on 2015?

HINT: This Action Plan is assuming that in December the salesperson has already completed a 6 month Salesperson Business Planning exercise.

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