Archive for the ‘Sales Kick Off Meeting’ Category

Why 2017 Can Be Your Best Year Ever!

January 2nd, 2017

Life Enrichment: Why 2017 Can Be Your Best Year Ever!

Individually, at parties and in the news,  questions of New Year’s Resolutions are one of the major topics, recently I posted the following notes on my Facebook page, the post received many “likes and comments’ from a variety of connected friends:

May everyone and I mean everyone, enjoy the new year, enjoy your friends, make new ones, enjoy your experiences, create new and different ones, and as I was trained as a Boy Scout, always leave the campsite better than when you arrived…Life Enrichment should be our focus, living together with harmony, not divide our purpose. Vow to help someone else have a better life.

In a short post I tried to highlight specific actions that as a society and specifically individuals we can all do to “heal” our society but just importantly to ensure you enjoy a better life as well.  In many of my keynote programs I focus on Life Enrichment as a theme. Simply this means by taking positives actions a person can more fully enjoy both their Personal Lives as well as their Professional Lives. This balance of professional/personal life brings a better sense of success that leads to a better life, I call this Gourmet Living.

First, in my post I encouraged everyone to enjoy the year, drop the anger or craziness of the election, it’s bad for your health, tough on your friends and will bring a negative atmosphere to your life. Learn to enjoy the time you have with your friends, laugh, make time for a breakfast/lunch just to talk and develop deeper relationships.

Second, make new friends, expand your network of business/friends and enhance your contact with old friends.  Recently because of two boy hood friends and their current professional lives, I was in a position to help a younger women move forward in her life with a goal of impacting five new lives.  New people may bring you different experiences and perspectives that may broaden your life.  Reach out to open a dialogue at any chance you have;  yesterday at the Lady VOLs basketball game I had an ongoing conversation about the game with the Usher, it was fun and his insights to the team made the game more interesting.  (They won too!)

Third, leave your campsite in better shape, this has become a major mantra for me, perhaps as I reach my current age I have reflected more on life, but I would like to believe it’s a mantra I have attempted to always promote. Work on improving your local community, your church/organizations that impact others, take care of the environment, and mentor a younger person, whatever-volunteer.  I recently read it will make you live longer, make you more healthy, and happy.

A friend of my recently wrote a blog on the “One Person That Impacted My Life in 2016” I think it was a fabulous idea, today is a good day for you to reflect on that thought, name that person and thank them, make them aware of your feelings and then go make 2017 Your Best Year Ever!

A few simple thoughts at the start of our new year I hope you enjoy.

BTW: In February we will launch “SLAMMED! For the first time Sales Manager, this 8 week online boot camp is based upon my last book. We will cover all the aspects of sales leadership, from recruiting, compensation,  leadership, training/coaching, management systems, etc.…I will be using our online video training series, workbooks, discussions and personalized dialogue. If you wish to learn more, send me an email

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

Ken

 

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 2016. 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

 

Ten 2017 Sales Kick-Off Meeting Ideas

December 12th, 2016

Ten 2017 Sales Kick-off Meeting Ideas

 

While working with a client last week it became obvious that we are moving into the time to finalize 2017 budgets, compensation plans and something most sales managers don’t take enough in developing their 2017 Sales Kick Off meeting.

Already many larger organizations are booking their sales conferences for the first quarter where they will invite their sales teams, vendors, resellers/partners to hear plans to make 2017 the “best year ever”.  Keynote speakers, breakout sessions, new marketing plans and product demonstrations will all be coordinated to increase enthusiasm, salesperson belief and excitement that the New Year will bring.  I know this because I am already booked for five events already.  However just because larger organizations are planning their formal conferences, it doesn’t mean a smaller sales organization shouldn’t plan a Kick-Off event.

A New Year sales kick-off meeting can be organized as an off-site/overnight 2 day program or as simply as a ¾ to a ½ day event.  You should schedule them no later than mid-February and many firms will hold a mid-year event as well. However the basics of any sales kickoff event should include the following planning ideas. These idea’s are not in order of priority.

  1. A theme for the New Year. This should be a positive statement of your major objectives and something that can be reinforced throughout the year. “Be Brilliant on the Basics”, The Best and Brightest! Are only two examples.  You should then determine how you will reinforce whatever theme your chose with a gift, a banner but make sure every speaker comments on the theme.

 

  1. Include time for sales training on sales skills and hand out a sales training book that will be your first quarter “must read”. You can use the book for extended sales training during your meetings. (Jill Konrath’ s new book is hot: More Sales, Less Time ) HINT: Roll out your first quarter sales training plans at the same time.

 

  1. Announce a first quarter sales contest to help you get off to a fast start. (see previous blogs for ideas)

 

  1. Announce a 2017 yearly sales contest, this should be a big prize for exceeding the salesperson’s quota. Examples include: a trip to a resort, a cruise or a trip to an island.  Remember these kinds of incentive programs are not expenses but paid out of incremental revenues/profits. Your announcement should include pictures of the location, etc. Again, you can tag other contests to this and reinforcement is important.  These kinds of games will increase your sales culture and drive performance. See my book: Creating High Performance Sales Compensation Plans, for idea’s on sales contests. www.AcumenManagement.com

 

  1. Describe and show your marketing plans for the first six months-at least. This will show the salespeople how your organization is planning to support the sales team.

 

  1. Schedule the President of your company to give a short message on his/her philosophy on sales and the culture of your organization. Keep management involved in the meeting both during the meeting and afterwards during a social time.

 

  1. You may or may not announce your new compensation plan at this event, it all depends upon the degree of change you are making. With minor changes, it’s a great time, with major changes schedule a separate meeting. HINT: Do not roll out the new compensation plan as the last topic of the meeting, schedule it early in the afternoon, if your event is a full day meeting. In my book: Creating High Performance Sales Compensation Plans I cover an entire chapter on how to successful “roll out” a new plan.

 

  1. Make sure you make the meeting fun! As the sales leader work on activities, games, ideas that create the right culture and teamwork.  You can find many ideas online.

 

  1. Spend time having each salesperson presents their “Business Plans” for the first half of the year. Based upon the number of salespeople this can be done by breakouts into regions, smaller groups or as a single group. These business plans include not only forecasts but personal commitments to activity levels and professional growth. If you need an idea of what a Salesperson’s Business Plan, send me an email; Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

 

  1. Bring in an outside speaker. This could include a customer telling their satisfaction with your firm, a sales trainer or one with a motivational message that propels your team to excellence. Whoever speaks must reinforce your objectives, your theme and be relevant to your team.

This is your time to bring a coordinated program that set’s the tone for the New Year. Make sure you take the time to do it right.

What additional ideas do you have to make your sales kick-off meeting special?  Let’s share.

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 18 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2016.

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

Sprint to the Finish-it’s that time of year…

October 24th, 2016

Sprint to the Finish—–It’s that time of year…

by Ken Thoreson

 

An upcoming election . . .  Roller-coaster days on Wall Street . . .  Middle East issues . . .  Competitors taking what appears to be drastic measures . . .   There are many distractions.

With that economic domino effect affecting us all as 2016 begins to wind down, ending the year on a high note will be more challenging than ever.  Here are some ideas and strategies for you to consider:

Keep it in perspective.  Focus on your technology-based products and services – it is the best place to be in challenging economic times.  You sell what is especially in demand by your customers right now – solutions that can increase efficiency, cut costs and enhance customer relationships.

  • Stay optimistic.  Remember that clients and prospects are seeking help and you’re in a position to both reassure and assist them.
  • Work harder.   (Sorry, but that’s what’s needed.)   Try to stretch yourself both in terms of attracting new customers and better serving existing ones.  Sell professionally; execute brilliantly.

Meanwhile, the standard end-of-year scenario still applies.  As always, this is when accelerated compensation programs kick in.  More importantly, it’s when many management bonus systems take effect, rewarding executives for driving certain levels of pretax income to the bottom line or attaining their revenue targets.  And it’s no wonder that, just like every year at this time, sales teams feel like they’re in the last 100 yards of a big race.

Here are 5 sales strategies to help you stay out in front as you approach the 2016 finish line:

  1. Count the days.  In the same way that consumers track holiday shopping days, know how long you’ve got left to sell this year.  Doing the countdown adds urgency to the process for you and your prospects.  (Hint:  How can you use one more hour a day to boost business?  “One more call before I break for lunch; one more call before I leave for the day.”  That’s two additional calls per day, 5 days per week, number of days – you do the math!)
  2. Leverage all your resources.  Can you turn to colleagues to strategize about opportunities and develop winning tactics?  How about conducting site visits?  Can an existing client, vendor contact, or strategic partner help create credibility with prospects?
  3. Plot-closing strategies.  Focus on why prospects need your solution and exactly how they’ll benefit from implementing it, whether it’s generating revenues, improving productivity or better serving customers.  Then develop a reason for them to act now. You may have a sense of urgency driven by end-of-year deadlines for quotas or bonuses, but you need to show prospects how moving forward at this point will benefit them.
  4. Make contact twice weekly.  Never let a week slip by between meetings with prospects.   If you see them on Tuesday, see them again on Thursday.  Stop by at a convenient time-but always have a valuable reason to visit, such as providing an implementation plan or a reference letter.
  5. Keep prospecting.  Sales organizations often drain their pipelines by the end of December.  January may be strong with leftover business, but February, March and April typically lag.  It’s important to ensure that marketing and prospecting levels remain constantly focused on future pipeline development.  Now is the time to develop your Prospecting Parthenon for the first half of next year.

One last tip for coping with today’s economy:

In the downturn following the 2008 market collapse, I developed a short personal motto that successfully reinforced the need to keep moving forward.  It was: “Take action. Stay positive.”  I suggest that you develop a similar slogan to help you close out 2016 with a strong finish and begin 2017 with consistent sales results.  Having a strong foundation can make all the difference in how you end the year and position yourself for 2017.

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

 

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

April 26th, 2016

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 18 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

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

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

What Slice of Pizza Do You Need?

February 1st, 2016

What Kind of Pizza Do You Need?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 16 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! For First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

10 Sales Kick-Off Meeting Idea’s

December 21st, 2015

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

 While working with a client last week it became obvious that we are moving into the time to finalize 2016 budgets, compensation plans and something most sales managers don’t take enough in developing their 2016 Sales Kick Off meeting.

Already many larger organizations are booking their sales conferences for the first quarter where they will invite their sales teams, vendors, resellers/partners to hear plans to make 2016 the “best year ever”. Keynote speakers, breakout sessions, new marketing plans and product demonstrations will all be coordinated to increase enthusiasm, salesperson belief and excitement that the New Year will bring.  I know this because I am already booked for five events already.  However just because larger organizations are planning their formal conferences, it doesn’t mean a smaller sales organization shouldn’t plan a Kick-Off event.

A New Year sales kick-off meeting can be organized as an off-site/overnight 2 day program or as simply as a ¾ to a ½ day event. You should schedule them no later than mid-February and many firms will hold a mid-year event as well. However the basics of any sales kickoff event should include the following planning ideas. These idea’s are not in order of priority.

  1. A theme for the New Year. This should be a positive statement of your major objectives and something that can be reinforced throughout the year. “Be Brilliant on the Basics” is only one example.
  2. Include time for sales training on sales skills and hand out a sales training book that will be your first quarter “must read”. You can use the book for extended sales training during your meetings. HINT: Roll out your first quarter sales training plans.
  3. Announce a first quarter sales contest. (see previous blogs for ideas)
  4. Announce a 2016 yearly sales contest, this should be a big prize for exceeding the salesperson’s quota. Examples include: a trip to a resort, a cruise or a trip to an island. Remember these kinds of incentive programs are not expenses but paid out of incremental revenues/profits. Your announcement should include pictures of the location, etc. See my book: Creating High Performance Sales Compensation Plans, for idea’s on sales contests. www.AcumenManagement.com
  5. Describe and show your marketing plans for the first six months-at least. This will show the salespeople how your organization is planning to support the sales team.
  6. Schedule the president of your company to give a short message on his/her philosophy on sales and the culture of your organization.
  7. You may or may not announce your new compensation plan at this event, it all depends upon the degree of change you are making. With minor changes, it’s a great time, with major changes schedule a separate meeting. HINT: Do not roll out the new compensation plan as the last topic of the meeting, schedule early in the afternoon, if your event is a full day meeting.
  8. Make sure you make the meeting fun!   As the sales leader work on activities that create the right culture and teamwork.
  9. Spend time having each salesperson presents their “Business Plans” for the first half of the year. Based upon the number of salespeople this can be done by breakouts into regions, smaller groups or as a single group. These business plans include not only forecasts but personal commitments to activity levels and professional growth.
  10. Bring in an outside speaker. This could include a customer telling their satisfaction with your firm, a sales trainer or a motivational message that propels your team to excellence.

This is your time to bring a coordinated program that set’s the tone for the New Year. Make sure you take the time to do it right.

What additional ideas do you have to make your Kick-Off special?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

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

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

If you had it to do over again?

December 2nd, 2015

If you had it to do over again; what would you do differently-if anything?

Self Help for Salespeople

Every high performing salesperson and sales leader most likely has used this phrase to increase their professionalism.  Have you?  During the past 18 years of working with  and training sales managers around the world  this phrase is one of the most powerful lessons I believe we pass on to our clients, but it leads to additional unexpected benefits as well.

First, this phrase must be used by the sales manager on a regular basis; after every sales call they make with their sales team members and after every role play situation in their sales training meetings. Its purpose? It really has multiple purposes or results; 1) after a sales call it allows the manager to create a dialogue with the salesperson regarding the performance of the salesperson during the sales call and it allows the salesperson to also critique themselves before the sales manager offers their insights. One of the other benefits is during a sales training classroom situation. Using this phrase allows the salesperson to critique themselves prior to the sales manager asking the other participating salespeople for their reactions to the role play-before the manager provides their ideas. This group focus increases the use and redundancy of using this important coaching tool.

I have asked this question after many on-site sales calls, I have had salespeople tell me they thought the call went well except for something minor, when in reality they had not developed rapport, trust or closed the call without next steps—even after using our Pre-Call Planning Checklist! However after using the phrase over a period of time during our consulting engagement, we begin to see self-corrections and better insights into call preparation and sales call execution. It’s the attention to detail that is critical in improving performance.

Why all the attention of using this phrase so often and consistently? The reason is simple, most sales managers are not on every sales call! Consequently the objective for the manager is to drive into the salesperson to ask themselves after every sales call or customer interaction:  if I had it to do over again, what would I do differently-if anything?  This self-reflection is a must if you are going to create a self-managed and increasingly higher performing sales team.  Only through immediate review and correction can a professional continue to improve their skills and learn how to increase their personal effectiveness.

This is the pay-off for the sales manager-creating salespeople that are independent of their sales manager and that are self- improving.  These are the keys to building predictable revenue.

Let me switch to the second purpose of this question.  I use this phrase as an opener  in one of my keynote programs, I describe that training and consulting on sales management issues has allowed me to see how increasing the professionalism/success of salespeople and sales leaders  sometimes  increased their levels of personal success.  This balance between personal and professional levels of performance is the long term critical success factor.

I ask my audiences to evaluate their lives using the same question and then I say: while we can’t relive our lives we can change the way we live our lives.

In my many years of business life, the individuals who live their lives with a focus on creating a fulfilling experience are the ones that win in the end.  Ask yourself about your life, if you had it to do over again; what would you do differently-if anything?  As a sales professional you have the opportunity to impact the lives of those around you-beyond what you sell- but you first must be in control of your life. We have found that those individuals who are not in life-balance burn out, become ineffective or simply cannot connect on a personal level and achieve higher levels of success.

In my keynote I use a “Personal Pizza” and a “Professional Pizza” assessment tool each having 8 slices and I ask each person to rate themselves on a scale of 1-7 on each slice. Each slice represents one aspect of professional/personal life. This helps everyone see where they are in the professional/personal continuum.  (If you want copy of this assessment send me an email:  Ken@AcumenMgmt.com)

Focusing on improvement takes making a commitment but it’s the difference between being a professional and being an amateur:

A professional has a commitment to a calling…the education, training, and expertise that an amateur does not have. This commitment to become a true professional is a key to differentiating yourself in the marketplace.

Which are you?

If you had it to do over again; what would you do differently-if anything?

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

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

July Sales Training Tip: YouTube.com

June 16th, 2013

Your July Sales Training Tip: YouTube.com

Normally at this time of the year, I am reminding my clients that it’s time to begin building their 3rd Quarter sales training plans.  Those of you that are regular readers know that Acumen Sales Mangers plan their entire quarter sales training plans at the beginning of each quarter. Each sales meeting schedule is defined by date/time, topics and assignments-as to who is training on what topics.  Topics should include: sales skills, product/services knowledge, competition and sales operations (CRM, contracts, etc…)  BTW:  During the first six months of 2013, I have  used: Question Based Selling and Demonstration to Win books for many of my clients “book club” study groups.

But what about July!  With the 4th of July and Summer time upon us, here’s a fun idea to launch your summer sales training plans.

  1. Set your date for your July sales training date.
  2. Assign each salesperson to review YouTube.com to find what they consider their best sales training video lesson
  3. At your sales meeting, each salesperson would introduce the You Tube video and discuss why they felt it was pertinent to your sales organization.
  4. Then watch the YouTube video as a team and discuss it.

It will be a fun meeting, but also, each salespeople may end up watching 4-6 YouTube videos on sales training as they evaluate their recommendation and they will learn to use You Tube as a resource for idea’s and as a sales resource.

Simply have them go to www.YouTube.com and in the search bar enter: sales training.

Make July a jubilant month.  Focus on sales pipeline building, sales strategies on individual opportunities and sales training.

Ken Thoreson “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. Ken’s latest book is: “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”.

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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Earn Your Success, Pay the Price

April 21st, 2013

Earn Your Success   Pay the Price

A good friend of mine always told me that you “earned success” and you had to accept the fact that their normally was price to pay for that success.   When I work with my client’s sales teams I always inquire about their goals, actions and commitments to achieving their objectives-and what doesn’t surprises me anymore is this lack of fully understanding of the “price to pay”.

I am not suggesting that our lives are so consumed with achieving success that all other facets of life are out of balance.  Those of you who have taken my “Personal & Professional Pizza” assessment understand my focus on life balance, if you haven’t take the assessment, view my Gourmet Life video:  http://www.acumenmgmt.com/KeninAction123

However, if you are leading a sales organization or if you are a professional salesperson understanding that there is a price to be paid to achieve success must be clearly understood and accepted.  I see salespeople showing up Monday and simply coming to work-sales leadership and sales roles demand more.

First; it’s creative time.  Taking time on a quiet evening or on a Saturday to review each active sales opportunity and thinking through your sales tactics/strategies demands extra time.  What else can you do to win?

Second; it’s professional. Are you actively taking the extra time to review LinkedIn groups within your market to better understand what issues are being discussed?  The Sales Association group in LinkedIn and their VP Sales Group are good groups to join.  I am actually leading a series of monthly sales leadership web casts for the VP Sales Group.https://m360.salesassociation.org/event.aspx?eventID=74422

Third; it’s your network. Paying the price to develop, nurture and expand your network pays results. This takes time to find the right individuals and your effort to create an active campaign to build the network.  As a professional this time will bring you additional levels of revenue-at unexpected times.

Fourth; it’s mental toughness.  Just last week a salesperson was 90% confident he was closing an opportunity and then he got hit with an objection and was flattened.  He wasn’t strong enough to counter sell the objection, but at least he was strong enough to ask his fellow sales team members for advice.  We will now see if he and his manager go in to win.

I always enjoy the comments everyone makes on my various blogs, but reading your thoughts on this blog would be important.  What are the actions or efforts you believe are necessary to achieve success?

 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. His latest book is: “Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams’.

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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com