Archive for the ‘Recruiting’ Category

It’s Time to Recruit-not necessarily to hire,, Lesson from the Super Bowl

February 6th, 2017

It’s time to Recruit-not necessarily to hire.

A Super Bowl Lesson

After 8 days and 6 different cities I hope to make sure this message is clear-it’s been a busy week! I missed last week’s blog because of some of that travel but I also wanted to make sure everyone had time to consider the blog on sales compensation planning for 2017-it’s a critical component for building a high performance and self managed sales team.

The most critical component in creating a high performance team is attracting and selecting the right level of talent, however, hiring correctly is still the number ONE problem in most organizations.  While the jury is still out on the on college national signing day and their recruitment of high school seniors, and if you follow college football you saw Alabama again win the talent contest for football players. They certainly refilled their talent pool and Alabama actually turned down players that were highly rated.

What we saw at the Super Bowl on Sunday was something similar. What we saw at the Super Bowl for those of you who are not aware of the Sunday’s event; with very little time Tom Brady lead his team back from a 21 point deficit to win his 5th Super Bowl ring.  The record shows that he has accomplished similar come from behind victories every year. On ESPN he was quoted:  I kept telling myself and my teammates that we can still win this game.   While sport’s analogies are cliché, the odds of winning were with the Patriots, however the amazing story was Howie Long, FOX Analyst, comments that with Tom Brady, the Patriots have won 5 Super Bowls with a large number of new receivers, something like 50 different offensive linemen, 20+ new running backs and many new positon coaches-yet excellence has continued. How have they continued to create a successful organization?

While being interviewed, Bob Kraft, the Patriots owner, kept talking about not only culture, but organization process, attention to details and a focus on quality. They know that each year players/coaches will retire, move to new organizations, (they are losing their Offensive Coordinator today) and others will be let go. They have to be ready and continue to keep their talent levels and training programs at a constant peak.

I titled this blog: Now is the time to recruit—not necessarily to hire-is also important.  Recruiting must be a constant focus of sales management.  At this time of year many top performers are assessing their current employer and are asking themselves if they are positioned with a winner or if the frustrations of the past year or two have been worthwhile and if they have progressed professionally.  If you are not constantly seeking new and better talent, you will find that the top sales talent, may not be looking when you are.   We always tell our clients that they need to develop a marketing campaign to recruit talent as well as to find prospects-both pipelines are critical.

Recruiting is not hiring. In my book I mention recruiting is 20% of the Sales Managers job, it is that important to add quality to your sales organization. Honestly evaluating your current talent is important. In our SLAMMED! Sales Management Boot Camp we start the entire program with this exercise, with an honest evaluation you will be in position to recruit and hire more effectively.  Build an interviewing process, stick to it, have at least 3 people interview each candidate, be skeptical and you will see the results of your efforts-just like Bob Kraft or Tom Brady.

Also in our book, “Recruiting and Hiring a High Performance Sales Team”, I suggest that for every one salesperson you hire, you need to interview five and that a minimum of three people interview each person. While I can’t get into a complete recruiting, interviewing and hiring process in this blog, building a recruiting machine with a defined interviewing process will help you take the emotion out of hiring and help you select the winners required to make your organization a “super team”.

Our website has a free video on Hiring Smart and our On Line Sales Manager’s Tool Kit includes a complete interviewing kit as well as a 3 week New-Hire On boarding training schedule. www.Acumenmanagement.com

Check out those resources then focus on execution.   I hope your new year is off and running-in the right direction!

 

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

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

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

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

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

December 20th, 2016

First Quarter 2017

Are You Set Up for Success?

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

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

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

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

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

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

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.

 

Hire High Performance Sales Teams # 2

September 1st, 2015

Hiring High Performance Sales Teams
Follow this formula to hire sales superstars
(Second installment of a two-part article on sales recruiting)

If you can find good people, they can always change the product/service. Nearly every mistake I’ve made has been in picking the wrong people, not the wrong idea. Most entrepreneurs have no problem coming up with a good strategy, but they usually need all the help they can get in developing and implementing the tactics that will make them successful in the long run.”

—Arthur Rock,
Harvard Business Review, 1987

Selecting sales personnel is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, challenge of any organization. Failure to achieve revenue targets, manage customer relations and deliver service can be traced directly to hiring people unequipped to carry out their assigned roles. Recruiting is a commitment; it should consume about a fifth of the sales leader’s time, and the process should be as well organized as the company’s sales methodology and forecasting systems.  The following information is used in our online video training course for sales managers: . https://app.wagmob.com/ken/

Define the Ideal Profile
The key to building a winning sales organization is understanding whom you want to hire. Why? Because thorough development and analysis of the ideal sales representative profile heightens your chances of recruiting the right person. Here’s how you start:

Make your own list of essential sales person characteristics. As the hiring manager, start by writing down your definition of a great sales representative.

Ask company leaders to make a list. Ask management and members of the sales team to identify desirable sales traits.

Test your top sales representatives. Ask your company’s most successful sales representatives to complete a personality profile or psychological test administered by an outside party. Record the data and look for common denominators among your top sales people.

Reviewing the basic personality types often encountered in sales can provide additional insight into hiring effective sales representatives. “Hunter” (aggressive, accustomed to cold calling and inured to rejection) and “farmer” (stable, oriented to customer care) are common terms used to describe personalities in the sales world.

Understanding an applicant’s most typical behavior style when interacting with others can reveal how that person solves problems and makes decisions. And you may learn how flexible the applicant is in dealing with contrasting personality styles. The types:

Dominant—A dominant individual loves a challenge, and is always ready to take on the competition. Dominant people are direct, positive and straightforward. They continually seek new horizons and like to make decisions quickly. Some consider dominants restless, because they become impatient and dissatisfied with the status quo. They are generally resourceful and adapt readily to new situations.

Cautious—Cautious people are basically humble, loyal and non-aggressive. They are usually conservative, slow to make decisions until they have absorbed all available information, and sticklers for detail. Cautious individuals want to be appreciated, and will go to extreme lengths to avoid stepping on someone’s toes. They strive for a stable, ordered life and tend to be more task- than people-oriented.

Interactive—These individuals are outgoing, persuasive, gregarious and generally optimistic. Interested in people, they’re poised in social situations; at an initial meeting they may greet you warmly by your first name, as if you’ve been friends for life. Interactive’s may act on emotional impulse, making decisions based on a cursory analysis because of their trust and willing acceptance of people.

Steady—Usually amiable, supportive and relaxed, steady individuals appear contented, even laid back. Patience and deliberateness are their defining characteristics. People high in steadiness strive to maintain the status quo and avoid rocking the boat. They value relationships that they have worked hard to establish, and operate well in a team environment.

Matching the salesperson’s personality to the job—or even to the type of client he or she sees—makes sense. But remember that people often display characteristics of two or more personality profiles.

Measure the Profile
Once you’ve compiled all your information on the sales position and the applicant’s desired personality profile, boil it all down to five or seven objective, measurable characteristics. Why so few? Because you need to focus on key responsibility areas that drive success. For example:

  • Hundred percent quota achievement in four out of five sales jobs, for a minimum of five years
  • Bright, articulate
  • Experience in opening new territories
  • Regional sales experience
  • Specific industry expertise

Create a measurement scale for each characteristic, like this:

Ineffective
Effective
-5 -4 -3 -2 -1 NA 1 2 3 4 5
and use it to rate each candidate during the interview session.

Don’t be fooled by the profile’s simplicity, or the fact that it measures only five characteristics. This is the distillation of sound input from numerous sources, a benchmark based on the personalities and performance of your top sales representatives. Focusing your work in an easy to understand, simple format places the emphasis on implementation and results. It’s important to make this profile document available to everyone involved in the interviewing process, including recruiting firms.

Critical Reminders
To derive the most benefit from your new recruiting tool, interview a minimum of three candidates for each position, and make sure that every interviewer in the process rates each candidate from -5 to +5. Continue to refine the profile by gathering input from both internal and external sources.

A highly motivated, successful sales organization is critical to generating revenue and margin growth year after year. For a company’s sales leaders, searching for great sales people every day is a top priority and never-ending challenge. Studies show that successful sales managers spend 15 to 20 percent of their time on recruiting. Whether or not there’s an opening in your sales ranks, take the time to meet new candidates or reacquaint yourself with candidates whom you have been courting. When you least expect it, your top candidate may become available.

Striving for Consistency
Now that you have a plan to fill the pipeline with quality candidates, the next step is to systemize the process for choosing and winning the right candidate time after time. Communicating an established process to all involved parties not only saves time, but sends a clear, unified message to candidates that this company has its act together, increasing their desire to join the sales team.
The following model has worked consistently in the past. Consider it as a foundation for your sales recruitment process.

1) Identify and document each stage in the interview process, and who (at least three people) in your company will participate.

2) Perform personality testing on your top sales reps. This provides a benchmark for evaluating candidates in one-on-one interviews.

3) Distribute to all participants:

Outline of interview process
Ideal sales candidate profile
Interviewing scorecard
List of base questions to ask every candidate
The candidate’s resume
It takes effort to build a recruiting process, and even more to ensure that everyone follows the plan. But the result—the creation of a winning sales team—is guaranteed to make life less stressful for any sales leader!

Check out our online video sales management training courses: . https://app.wagmob.com/ken/

 

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

 

You Don’t Just Hire a Sales Team: you build it

February 20th, 2012

You Don’t Just Hire a Sales Team–You Build It

Developing a great sales organization involves more than just bringing the right people on board. It requires providing the right opportunities and creating the right culture.

 By Ken Thoreson

(This is an excerpt from my latest book: Your Sales Management Guru’s Guide to:  “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”)  

 Recently, in speaking to two prospective clients, I heard the same complaint that I hear over and over from sales executives: “My turnover rate is huge.”

They’re not alone in their concerns. Consider these facts:

  • In one Manpower Inc. survey of nearly 33,000 employers worldwide, U.S. and Canadian respondents both ranked “sales representative” as the job they were having most trouble filling.
  • Nearly 25 percent of the nearly 2,200 sales executives surveyed in another major study reported that turnover had increased during the previous year.

Hiring the right talent is critical in building successful sales teams. Studies show that, if you bring in the wrong salesperson, you lose up to four times the cost of that person’s annual salary and benefits in missed opportunities, management time, fee’s and other factors. (If you’re experiencing turnover, you may find Acumen’s book Hiring a High-Performance Sales Team a valuable resource.)

 Building Your Team: Beyond Hiring

However, hiring is just one part of the equation. It’s also important to develop and retain your salespeople. Here are a few suggestions for achieving those goals:

  • Buff up the “B” team. Obviously, you have a limited number of “A-level” salespeople. So it makes sense to invest some effort in grooming the B-level team members who seem most likely to be able to move up to the top tier.

If you’re recruiting regularly, you’ll have a constant pipeline of top talent available to keep enhancing the quality of your team. Conducting interviews regularly will improve your ability to identify both the winners and the runners-up—that is, the B-team players with strong potential.

Don’t waste time on salespeople who are C-level or below. Many sales managers spend too much valuable time attempting to save poor performers or trying to make their money back on their hiring mistakes. Instead, focus on providing B-level players with the management, coaching and training they need to advance.

 Emphasize education. Design a comprehensive orientation and training program to ensure that new hires hit the ground running–and that they keep moving forward.

We typically advise our clients to establish a three-week on-boarding plan for new hires. That effort typically includes having new employees do everything from reading past proposals to learning to use the customer relationship management (CRM) system and other technologies to making presentations to multiple people, including the president. Managers or assisting salespeople should sign off on each item on each employee’s new hire plan.

The plan should also include a 90-day list of planned objectives. While those objectives will be unique for each organization, they might include pipeline values, revenue goals, sales calls goals and proposals delivered. Having predefined objectives allows all involved to know whether each new hire is on track or requires some additional education.  

  • Create a sales-oriented culture. From conducting numerous exit interviews, we’ve found that many top salespeople leave their jobs not because they’re dissatisfied with compensation, but because they’re frustrated by sales management. Typically, that frustration stems from a culture that blocks sales success via lack of support, poorly designed sales processes and inefficient internal policies that make it difficult to add new clients, generate proposals, process orders or even calculate commissions. Some organizations call this as “sales prevention.”

Recognizing success goes a long way in building a strong sales culture. Offering contests, awards and yearly incentive trips–and maintaining a fun environment—are all important ways to provide that acknowledge.

Sales leaders serious about improving performance should work hard to implement all three suggestions, helping B-level players move up while developing training programs and a culture that encourages and reward success.

 Building Your Team: Working with Company Leadership

Another critical step in building that culture is making sure that your company’s leadership views sales development as a top priority.

That’s not necessarily a given. Many companies’ management teams view their sales divisions as cost centers. In reality, those divisions are profit centers. For that reason, executives should be doing everything possible to help their salespeople execute brilliantly. Again, companies serious about gaining competitive advantage should emphasize developing, mentoring and coaching their sales teams in the same way that they focus on building certification levels for their delivery teams.

Executives from smaller companies often tell us that, unlike their counterparts at larger enterprises, they don’t have the resources to undertake professional-level development projects. (My typical response is: “That’s why you’re still a small company.”) In reality, though, effective sales, training and retention efforts are especially critical for small businesses. Cash flow and decreased sales can have a much bigger impact on monthly profitability for small businesses than for large companies, which can usually better weather a few bumps.

The takeaway: Building a strong sales organization requires developing programs dedicated to each salesperson’s short-term success and long-term growth—and it requires doing so in a positive culture that rewards achievement. Such efforts will help all team members reach their potential and go a long way toward keeping them on board.

 BONUS: a free web cast on “Hiring a High Performance Sales Team   https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/347130472

Hiring top performers is the #1 job of sales management and it is hardest part of the job. This one hour investment will absolutely help you recruit and hire a better sales team. This program is based on my first book.

 Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 12 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America.

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

 

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Secrets of Hiring Top Performing Salespeople

February 6th, 2012

How to Take Emotion Out of the Sales Hiring Process and Hire the Best Salespeople

It’s the number one job of sales management and it is the most difficult, if you hire effectively the job of sales management becomes sooooo much easier.  If you are serious about building a high performance sales team I have something special for you;  I will train you on the aspects of building a recruiting process that will improve your odds of only hiring the best salespeople-not the best available.  What could be the results of attending this web cast?

  • Increases in service, quality and customer satisfaction of over 50%
  • Growth rates 60% to 300% greater than their competition
  • Return on sales of 200%-300% greater than their competitors
  • Return on assets of 150%-300% greater than their competitors

             Leonard Schlesinger  Harvard University

REGISTER Today:    https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/347130472

It’s a fact that when you miss hire a salesperson it may cost you FOUR times what you ended up paying that person while they were on your team.

In this webinar, author and sales management expert, Ken Thoreson will teach you how to remove emotion from the hiring process and improve your odds for hiring salespeople who will produce. You will learn:
• 5 techniques to increase interviewing effectiveness
• How to evaluate the traits of high performers
• How to create a sales recruiting scorecard that “takes the emotion” out of hiring decisions
• How to use and create a sales case study specifically designed for your business
• How to building an interviewing process to hire the best, not just the best available
• How to separate the average from top performers

This webinar is perfect for sales managers, executives, business owners, HR Professionals and anyone who is involved in the sales hiring process.

REGISTER Today:   https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/347130472

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 14 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Move up and move ahead!

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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Sales Leadership: a lack of resources may limit success

June 6th, 2011

Sales Leadership:  A Lack of Resources May Limit Success

Date Line: Las Vegas, Nevada

I have spent the last 3 days/nights in Las Vegas on vacation prior to speaking at a conference this week. During that time I toured few new hotels, saw a show, dined at great restaurants, viewed The Grand Canyon and visited Hoover Dam. If you haven’t been here recently, it’s a great spot to visit and enjoy the area.  However, two things hit me:  1) the recession has really affected the area, they are #1 in foreclosures, with supposedly more to come, the highest unemployment rate in the nation and the hotels/casino’s are starting to close! Number 2);  Lake Mead which was  made by the creation of the Hoover Dam in the 1930’s currently holds only has 47% of  the required water supply, it is down 163 feet!  Hoover Dam not only supplies water to the Southwest, including Phoenix and Los Angeles, it also supplies the electric power. As the water supply dwindles, so will the ability of this man made wonder of the world to generate water and power for the increasing needs of the population.

The lights of Los Vegas still are bright, yet they only receive 3% of the power from the dam, and 90% of its water supply, just 55 minutes from the strip. The water shows at the hotels are impressive, yet everyone knows they are in a 25 year drought. Most of the locals understand their resources are becoming limited, yet they are expecting tomorrow to be a success. I am unsure if they are prepared for the tomorrow or if they have new resources in place?   As a sales leader are your resources ready for tomorrow’s success?

The number one reason most sales leaders are fired is their in-ability to achieve sales quota. No surprise, however based upon our 13 years of consulting on business and sales management issues the general reason sales leaders fail is because their resources are not well positioned for tomorrow’s success.  What do I mean by this?

Sales management must know their future quota objectives-at least 18 months out. This will first allow sales management to make sure they have the required number of salespeople hired to achieve that desired goal. For example; if you expect each salesperson to achieve $1M of sales and you have a $10M goal the easy answer is to have 10 salespeople.  However, we all know that is unrealistic as not every salesperson in every organization will achieve their quota or because of their level of maturity/experience they will need to “ramp to” that level of production.  You must also take into consideration, that you will lose X% of your sales team each year.  What is your hiring plan for 2012?

Second, the newly hired salesperson (resource) is not adequately prepared to contribute. We find this in almost every new client organization.  The new hire on-boarding process is not well designed to quickly raise the productivity and validate the new resource can sell your organization and products/services. Next, we find that “rigors of cadence” are not part of the ongoing development of the sales team. What I mean by that is sales certification and training programs are not rigorous or demanding in performance.  We like to see a testing process to validate each salesperson can represent your company on at least a yearly basis designed to improve everyone’s professionalism.  Also, we find there is not an on-going cadence or sequence of training programs built on a regular basis, these programs should cover not only sales training skill development, but also sales operations (CRM), industry knowledge, competitive awareness, and product/service expertise. These should planned 90 days in advance or each quarter. Do you have your summer training program prepared?

The other resource most overlooked understands the impact of the marketing funnel on the sales funnel. The question is: how many leads are required to enter the sales funnel each month from marketing and your sales team to ensure you, as the sales leader, always have an adequate level of sales opportunities to exceed your sales objectives. Only by measuring and knowing these numbers and the various ratios of opportunities as they move through the sales funnel will sales management be confident of resource allocation.  If you would like a worksheet on this issue, send me an email:  Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

These are just a few of the resources you as the sales leader must consider; review my past blogs to find topics on: Time Management, Sales Meeting Agenda’s, Personal Development, etc.  If you are interested in learning more on Hiring and On Boarding Salespeople, you might enjoy reading our new book:  Hiring High Performance Sales Teams. www.AcumenManagement.com Summer is a great time to consider your resource development program, how will you personally improve your own resource?

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 12 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Move up and move ahead!

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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

NCAA Sales Management: Developing Winning Sales Strategy

March 28th, 2011

NCAA Sales Management: Developing Winning Sales Strategy

Last week it was about golf and putting, this week after indulging in men’s and woman’s NCAA games all weekend it’s all about strategy.

In my view there are several levels of strategy to consider. First, putting the right players on the floor to match up against the competition is key, and is the reason my first book was written: Hiring High Performance Sales Teams. Without talent, you have not chance to win. The good basketball teams are deep with talent and can go “large or they can small and fast” or they can focus on defense as well as offense. Assessing and developing talent is what coaching is all about, watch the Final Four’s next week and evaluate your team and its ability to win.  Are you accepting weak players or can your team push through the tough times and score. I stress that recruiting is the most important job for sales management, build a continuous hiring program to find top talent.

Secondly, strategy and execution during the sale or game time must be brilliant! This is where from a sales strategy your value proposition must sold, your prospect relationship developed and where you must out maneuver the competition.  If they come out man-to-man or in zone defense can your salespeople adapt, if a full court press stresses out your team, can they break it with quick passes and move down the court for an easy layup?  Do you have them trained well enough to react to the situation and not simply lose the sale or give up a turnover?  During this phase Sales Managers also must coach. This is when your experience and creativity must take over by providing advice, insights and hopefully the right tactics to assist your sales team during this phase.  If you would like Acumen’s four page Sales Strategy Guide, send me an email: Ken@AcumenMgmt.com We use it with our clients during their pipeline review and sales strategy meetings.

The third phase of strategy is the last two minutes. During the sales process this could occur during the last week or two when everything is on the line.  The prospect could be confused, undecided or leaning towards your competition; what play would you call? Would you camp out at the prospects office? Have your president call their president? Drop your price?  The best coaches in the NCAA would call a time out and make sure the next two plays are drawn out, ensure everyone understands whom to foul, how many timeouts are still available and who should take the last shot… Those situations are actually rehearsed during normal practice times; nothing is left for chance when the game is on the line.  Do you have your sales training plans designed for a rolling 90 days with all aspects of sales strategies built in? The best sales managers do!

OK, I promise next week, I won’t use a sport’s analogy in my blog, but team work, practice, selection and development will win the 2011 NCAA Final Four.

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 12 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Move up and move ahead!

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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

The Importance of Sales Management in a Recovering Economy

January 24th, 2011

The Importance of Sales Management in a Recovering Economy

During the past two weeks I have been in Miami, Phoenix and this weekend I have been speaking in San Antonio.  We have met with Sales Leaders from around the world, lead workshops, presented keynotes and developed new long term relationships with our client base. It’s been a great few weeks.  I have also noticed an uptick in my own prospects and business opportunities.  Have you?   Based upon my conversations almost every sales leader is optimistic and pipelines are filling. Are you ready to participate in the recovery?

During the past 13 years I have been consulting, writing and speaking on the fact that sales management is the lynch-pin that drives successful organizations; sales leadership sets the tone, the culture and drives the organization to greater levels of revenues and profitability.  And now, during the past six months the topic of participating in the economic recovery and the impact of great sales management on the organization has been a critical and hot topic. The topics of surviving or working in a challenging economic time are over.   “Economic recovery?”.. Yes, just reading the USA Today, on Monday January 24th, the quotes are all over the paper:

  • Are you more or less optimistic than you were 3 months ago about the economic outlook this year?  91% of 46 Economists answered YES.
  • Over the next 12 months, which will have the greatest positive impact on the economy?  48% said BUSINESS, 45% the consumer
  • The US economy is expected to grow at an annual rate between 3.2% to 3.4%, that is up from October forecast of 2.5% to 3.3%
  • They expect employers to add 200,000 jobs a month-more than double last year’s rate.
  • The DOW is over 11,961 at the time of this blog

What is the role or action points for sales manager’s in a recovering economy? I listed a few steps to focus on:

1)      Build your Hiring Plan; Sales Managers should know today when they expect to add new salespeople for the next 18 months. Based upon your revenue goals for the next 24 months you should have a plan set defining what months you will need hire new sales talent to achieve those new higher sales targets. If your next hire date is March, then your recruiting plan must in effect now, is it June? October? Make sure you also plan on members your current team could leave or be fired also.

2)      Get aggressive on increasing your individual salesperson strategy sessions, winning now is critical to build momentum.  Schedule special sales team sessions or hold a small group of salesperson discussions weekly to strategize each sales opportunity.

3)      Increase the culture building and building belief in your offerings and your organization. If you want an article I published on that topic send me an email.  Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  Your sales team needs to believe and feel the change in economic conditions, you want to create their desire to participate in the recovery. “Take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime, during the life time of the opportunity”.

4)      Retool your sales compensation to ensure it is in alignment with your corporate objectives or if you have already rolled out 2011 compensation plans, create an aggressive sales contest or special incentives to win Net-New clients or upgrade existing clients or hit higher levels of revenues/margin. Drive the sense of urgency to win.

5)      Sales management must now focus, as always, but more importantly now on “Brilliant Execution”. If you and your team are 2 steps ahead of your competition during the next 4 months your summer and fall business opportunities will accelerate. Focus on increased levels of sales management planning i.e. sales training, one on one coaching and  managing the number of calls per month per salesperson and even schedule weekly telephone blitz days to find those businesses that need your solutions to participate in their own recovery.

Sales leaders are the key to success, you can make the difference and NOW is the time to take advantage of opportunity and participate in the economic recovery.

What else do you think you should focus on to grow your business during the next 18 months? Let me know your thoughts….

Ken’s books: http://www.yoursalesmanagementguru.salesgravy.com

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 12 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Move up and move ahead!

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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams

January 11th, 2011

What’s the number one challenge of sales management?  Recruiting and hiring top talent. Where organizations have focused on quality hiring sales and revenue problems don’t exist, customer satisfaction levels are high and morale/culture is terrific.   While most sales organizations focus on creating a sales process to increase sales performance, they yet fail to develop a recruiting and interviewing process that attracts ensures they Hire the Best, Not the Best Available.  And then they wonder why their sales training and sales process didn’t work?   This book has been designed to assist you in improving your skills and in building the systems and mentality required to increase the performance of your sales team.  It is all about improving your odds.

We have included the tools to help you improve your performance; interview scorecards, interviewing questions, and sample job descriptions.  Plus; a bonus section: the Sales Management Guru has included a  sample three week new hire on-boarding process to ensure you  initially train them properly  and increase their ability to quickly begin to generate revenues.

Why you need this book in your sales management library;

 ·         Learn to develop your ideal salesperson profile

  • How to create  a sales candidate funnel
  • Find out why many sales managers get fired in less than 18 months
  • Knowing the best candidates may not be looking when you are and how to find them
  • Why taking the emotion out of hiring is the key to interviewing
  • Learn how an Interview Scorecard screens out the “empty suits”
  • Why social interviewing is important
  • Why and how to use  a sales case study to evaluate your candidates
  • Learn the differences in using sales assessments and why they  are an important factor in selection
  • How to properly conduct a telephone interview  and use scoring list to assess talent
  • Use social media to evaluate your sales candidates

 

Order your copy today: http://www.yoursalesmanagementguru.salesgravy.com

Leading High Performance Sales Teams will be available later in January

Creating Sales Compensation Plans for High Performance will available in February.

The fourth book is titled: Success Simplified, it will be available in January. This is co-authored book with Stephen Covey, Dr. Tony Alessandra, and Patricia Fripp. My chapter deals with personal success and how coaching and consulting with sales managers lead me to discover that in reality we are developing people as individuals personally and professionally. I cover how to create a Menu for Life.

Have you booked you’re a Sales Keynote Program for the Fourth Quarter, 2011 Kick Off or Customer Conferences?  Ask Ken about:  No Regrets-A Do Over Recipe for Personal & Professional Success