April 2nd, 2012
Sales Leadership: Gaining Insight and Accountability
Most sales leaders have a lot of confidence-which is good, but many have never experienced what many CEO’s have, that is an insights and help from other CEO’s. Also many organizations never gain real insights from their customers or even help from their customers.
What can you do to improve on these two critical blind spots? We like to recommend too many of our clients that creating a Client Advisory Board and a Sales Management Advisory Board will begin to improve the business operations and provide a source for insight and accountability. Let’s first explore a Client Advisory Board.
Client or Industry Advisory Board
This type of board consists of current customers that generally meet in a formal basis a minimum of three times a year. We recommend that organizations select not just your “pet” clients but a cross section of clients that will make a commitment for a two year term on the committee. Initially you will want to stagger terms. The purpose of this group is offer you insights into the needs of the customers-from their perspective, evaluation of your; service, sales, operations, idea’s on market trends-especially important for those partners in a vertical market. They can also be used as sounding boards to gain their perspective on potential new product or service offerings you maybe considering.
Generally we like to recommend that you have five to seven clients on this Board. Initially the partner executive should prepare a formal agenda, run the meeting, coordinate the appropriate members of your organization to attend the session and assign someone to take active meeting notes. It is important to recognize that you and your team must NOT become defensive over issues that arise or to the comments that are made by the clients during the meetings. However, it must be clear to each person attending the meetings that the Board meeting is not meant to be a negative-complaining (can I use the word) bitch session, but rather one where all parties are sincerely working towards improved performance. If sessions drift towards a complaint meeting, the executive must take action to redirect the meeting.
From a sales perspective the fact that you have a formal Client Advisory Board during the sales process can be an important sales asset. In smaller geographic areas or within a vertical market, prospects will know these individuals and will be impressed with your commitment to the customer experience.
As your Board matures, you may allow them to elect officers, coordinate agenda’s and generally run the meeting. In several clients this concept has lead to client meeting days where ALL clients are invited to learn, share idea’s and provide the partner organization an opportunity to show appreciation. HINT: when this occurs-you know you have succeeded and we always invite your top prospects. What a wonderful closing opportunity!
Sales Management Board of Advisors
Many CEO’s attend monthly/quarterly meetings with their peers to discuss business challenges and gain insights from other business owners, at Acumen we started peer group concept for sales leaders. Until now, individuals with Sales Management responsibility have not had the opportunity to share their plans, their accomplishments and their problems in a secure peer group.
Our premise is simple: sales management professionals do not have the opportunity to consult with others about the challenges of their jobs, seek advice or gain motivation when needed. These web based interactive group learning environment is designed for sales management professionals who wish to learn, cooperate and succeed by sharing their experiences with you.
Individuals with sales management responsibility face diverse challenges:
o Exceeding Corporate Revenue Objectives
o Developing Sales Team Capabilities
o Balancing Client/Company Objectives
o Managing Internal Corporate/Divisional Relationships
o Managing Time/Energy/Emotional Cycles
o Balancing Personal/Professional Life
o Building Efficient Business Models
o Creating Strategic Direction
In addition, sales management must focus on:
o Sales Management Systems
o Compensation Planning
o Territory/Market/Competitive Analysis
o Distribution Strategies/Channel Management
o Performance and Employee Management
If you face these needs and responsibilities, it’s time to invest in your success!
The Board of Advisors, offered by The Acumen Management Group, Ltd. provides such a unique opportunity. A select group of Sales Management professionals will experience what has only been available for CEOs or Presidents-an on-going professional group that works together to help, encourage and challenge thinking. For more information on this service go to: http://www.acumenmgmt.com/SalesManagementAdvisoryBoard121
How Does the Sales Management Round Table Work?
Our series of 10 monthly web-based events enables a small group of sales management professionals to learn more about their careers, share challenges they face, and gain insights into how other individuals with similar responsibilities succeed, build their businesses, and solve their problems.
Each group is comprised of 12 to 15 sales management professionals who meet for two hours once a month for 10 months (June/July respite). Each member has an opportunity to present his or her sales plans, business issues, and challenges for group feedback.
Members learn from their peers’ plans and assist them with their professional and personal growth. This group problem sharing and problem-solving environment helps you translate their problems and solutions to your situation.
I am forming a new group and for 10 months, two hours each month, the Acumen Sales Management Board of Advisors will meet. Register today and make the commitment to grow professionally and personally. Ken@AcumenMgmt.com
In 2012 gain insights and build accountability into your management equation and see how the formula improves your business acumen.
Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 13 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Ken’s latest book is: “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”.