Archive for the ‘Sales Leadership Training’ Category

No Challenge, No Change

May 1st, 2017

No Challenge, No Change

After spending a day working with a client and their sales team, we normally set up three follow up web based sessions to ensure our recommendations are acted upon and their sales team actually changes.    After the second web based training it is my opinion that the organization most likely will not change. Not because our program and recommendation were inappropriate but Sales Management is failing to coach and challenge their team.

In one of our recent 8 online interactive SLAMMED! Sales Management course discussions, a common topic was How do I get the salespeople to ….update CRM, improve the sales process, prospect….or in reality, how do I effect change.

Working with an experienced sales team or a mix of experience along with younger less experienced salespeople certainly is a challenge for any sales leader but this is where real leadership enters the picture. I see this in many organizations where the sales manager fails to understand how to use various leadership styles to influence their teams or individual members.  They fail to challenge.  I am not suggesting the sales manager becomes a bully i.e. Alec Baldwin in Glengarry, Glen Ross, (if you are unsure of what I am suggesting-it’s worth the time to watch the YouTube.com version.)

What I am suggesting is leadership must be focused on setting the vision, planning the course of action and management must implement and work to achieve the objectives.  Too effectively to cause change individuals must understand the why. Why there is a need to change based upon an organization or industry impact and then why is it important to the individual salesperson.  Sales Managers must seek understand what motivates each individual and where they are on whatever level of experience, ego, maturity, etc.   Leadership theory discusses 5 styles of leadership, knowing which style to use and when is important to understand but becoming the leader is one of the biggest challenges sales managers face.

There are many arguments whether leaders are born or made, I am not addressing that issue in this blog, but knowing what leadership is and what it is responsible for will help the person in a management position to improve their level of professionalism.

If one does not challenge their team to move forward, to improve their skill levels, to work more effectively, 90% of salespeople won’t. The top 10% either don’t need the change or the challenge, they will continue to automatically enhance their professionalism.

To consistency drive higher levels of performance the sales leader must work emotionally to challenge their teams.  This is why in SLAMMED! we start the training on the soft skills of sales leadership, sales management and culture building before moving to the more tactical aspects of sales management. Learning how to emotionally lead will drive your levels of personal success to the next level.

My challenge to you is to identify 3-5 issues that need to be changed, fixed or improved in your organization, determine how you will challenge your team to cause change and then do it!

 

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

Sales Management Thought Leadership:  efficient effectiveness

April 20th, 2017

Sales Management Thought Leadership:  efficient effectiveness

As an Eagle Scout I can discuss the topic of “Be Prepared” easily and based upon my upcoming vacation next week it could lend more credibility. Last year I had to catch two planes and a ferry to end up on an island in the Caribbean, while that sounds somewhat easy, it took planning and preparation.  Taking a vacation for me becomes a big project for a variety of reasons-but mainly it’s time to unplug and “breathe fresh air”.

We researched a wide variety of destinations, resorts and optional packages, we narrowed the search and checked out online evaluations and then compared costs.  I posted potential locations and asked for opinions on Facebook, I asked my travel agent for her thoughts and friends for their experiences. All of this helped us pick a great spot, it was rated the “best beach resort in the world”.

Next I had to organize my professional life.  Client projects needed to be finalized, meetings re-scheduled, mobile phones had to find International plans, and new proposals completed.

Now just a few day to go, we had to pack, purchase last minute items and think through options like umbrellas, sun tan lotion, books, mosquito spray and other health related item.

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

Do you have a plan?

       If you lose a salesperson

       If your sales team needs sales training

       To increase the sales culture of your team

       To increase your networking/partnering function

       That generates excitement for your products/services

       To say thank you to your support team

       That increases your level of professionalism/education

       To create a sales contest that drives revenue

       That adds net new customers to your base

       That drives the necessary sales leads for each month

       To say thank you to your existing customer base

       To increase your public relations exposure within your community or market

       That will increase/improve your vendor relations

       To improve your CRM effectiveness

       If your computer systems fail or are destroyed

That’s enough for now, but if I missed anything, comment below, let’s build a complete list for the future.

HINT:  this is a great idea for your next management meeting, simply begin by asking each of the departmental managers about their problems or contingency issues that arise on a day to day basis or what might occur if a disaster of any kind happens-then ask them for their plan.

Why is this critically important today?  In any kind of business environment,  the organization that operates the most efficiently generally out performs their competition, in more challenging times a focus on efficient effectiveness must become the mantra for the day.

Check out our  Sales Management Boot Camp, starts May 12th, 8 weeks of online, interactive training:

https://www.salesgravy.com/online-sales-training/course/Slammed!-The-New-Sales-Manager-Boot-Camp-(Starts-5-12-17)-233

 

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 partners throughout the world

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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Slammed! Sales Management Book Camp

January 9th, 2017

KEN: Normally I do not use this blog to promote, but I have had many readers inquire about out training programs and I wanted to let everyone know about this special opportunity.

Slammed! The New Sales Manager Boot Camp

We hear these comments all the time:

  • Revenues are flat
  • We have too much to do, we don’t have time to build a sales organization
  • I am frustrated with my sales team, do I have the right team?
  • I have a problem growing sales profitably
  • My pipeline is full, but nothing is closing
  • I don’t think my compensation plan is working
  • I am unsure what metrics to use to measure sales effectiveness
  • We seem to react to every opportunity

If you relate to any of these comments then SLAMMED! Sales Management Boot Camp maybe for you.  We start 2-24-17

To Learn More    http://ow.ly/VRmV307IMB5

Sales management is one of the most rewarding jobs in business when you know what to do and how to do it. This is what New Sales Manager Bootcamp is all about. Taught by sales management guru Ken Thoreson (one of the world’s foremost sales leadership coaches),  you will get everything you need to crush it in your new role.

You will attend eight live, virtual sessions with Ken in a small group setting (all sessions are recorded), in addition, you’ll have access to:

  • More than thirty self-directed video learning modules
  • Discussion forums where you can share best practices with Ken and other participants
  • Live chat room where you can interact with Ken
  • Ken will also be available for limited one to one coaching
  • Plus you’ll get all four books in Ken’s Sales Management Guru series including Slammed! For the New Sales Manager

In the course you’ll learn:

  • Important time management strategies for sales leaders
  • How to recruit, interview, and hire top talent
  • How to motivate your sales team
  • How to build and lead a high-performance sales culture
  • Compensation and incentive strategies
  • Coaching and training strategies for improving performance
  • How to effectively onboard new sales reps
  • How to evaluate your team and plan for the future
  • Pipeline strategies
  • Business planning strategies
  • How to build and create accountability
  • How to monitor leading indicators
  • How to manage and leverage sales dashboards
  • How to use Salesperson Business Plans to lead a self-managed team
  • And continued access to all training material in the program for twelve full months

If you are new to sales leadership  or never attended a sales management course this is a opportunity you must not miss. It is a rare opportunity to learn from one to the greatest sales management minds of all time. To ensure that participants get full attention class size is limited to 12 participants.

Enroll now to get instant access to pre-work and initial training videos. For questions please give us a call at 1-844-447-3737

To Learn More    http://ow.ly/VRmV307IMB5

 

 

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

Build Your 2017 Pipeline NOW!

November 21st, 2016

Now is the Time to Build Your Pipeline for 2017

At this time of year it is not unusual for salespeople and sales managers to simply focused on closing business to achieve their yearly objectives, maximize their compensation plans and unfortunately drain their pipelines.  January can be a good month with leftover sales opportunities but many sales teams face a weak February/March. Because of this  I wanted to share an easy sales driven prospecting system that can ensure your sales pipeline does not shrink-ever!

HINT:  This marketing campaign idea could incorporate messaging from your vendors utilizing their marketing materials, email campaigns, telephone scripts and partner involvement, if their marketing website allows you to download quality tools.

Action steps include:

1) Refine their prospect database to reflect the A, B, C Ideal client profile concept.  (See previous blogs that define what an ideal client profile is or send me an email for details.

2) Download and review a direct mail letter/postcards/email tools provided by your vendors or develop your own and create two pieces for two campaigns that will be used; these can be personalized with your logo, etc.  These should include two different messages based upon your products/services that must excite a net new prospect.

3)  Create multiple batches of 20 suspects by salesperson, divided into groups of A, B, C, D, etc.

4)  Execute on the following tactical plan:

Week One:      Each salesperson sends email/ postcards # 1 to 20 different suspects in Group A

Week Two:      Each Salesperson sends email/postcards #2 to the same Group A 20 suspects

Each Salesperson sends email/postcards #1 to another set of 20 suspects in Group B

Week Three:    Each salesperson begins to call Group A and set an appointment or invite them to an Executive Forum run by the partner

Each salesperson sends emails/ postcards # 2 to the 20 suspects in Group B

Each salesperson sends email/ postcard #1 to 20 suspects in a new Group C

Week Four:     Each Salesperson begins to call all non-contacted member of Group A

Each Salesperson begins to call all suspects in Group B

Each Salesperson sends emails/postcards #2 to the suspects in Group C

This program continues in this manner. As the activity level and pipeline grows, the only change in this marketing and activity plan will be the number of emails letters sent per week, it could drop to 10. The reason we recommend 20 or less names is to keep the contact focus low enough to ensure the salesperson can attempt multiple contacting calls within the third week.

It is recommended that an on-going “Executive Forum” or workshop event is scheduled for the same time/same day each month i.e. the third Thursday at 8am. The purpose of the event is to provide a “call to action” and provide a reason for the telephone call follow up.

HINT: Sales Management must monitor this program carefully to ensure 1) salespeople are contacting the prospects, 2) the messages within the marketing pieces are working or not and 3) what call/contact ratios are effective.

Let me know how this idea is working for you or what other ideas you are using to drive you sales pipelines.

 

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

Sales Management End of Year Checklist

November 7th, 2016

Sales Management End of Year Checklist

 

While I was working on ideas for the next few blogs it occurred to prepare a series based upon the end of the year and the start to 2017. Depending upon the person and the conditions in their sales organization each article may or may not be pertinent. I decided to start with a Sales Management End of Year Checklist.  The following checklist is not in any priority format, but simply a quick read list and a set of recommended actions for any executive or sales leader as they plan for 2017. I have attempted to provide a list of resources, downloads or offers to assist in providing value and support for all of our readers. If you have other ideas or suggestions please comment within the blog so that all of our readers can benefit.

?       Evaluate your sales team.  What does each salesperson need to enhance their productivity in 2017?  Who are keepers, who are laggards?  I like to recommend that Sales Managers create a Personal Development Plan for each person, if you need a template Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

?       Is your compensation plan working?  Did it achieve your goals for 2016? In 2017 are the strategic goals of the company changing? Do I have to alter the sales compensation plan to help achieve the new goals? Take our online Sales Compensation Audit   to determine any weak points or check out our blog for new ideas and select Sales Compensation category.

?       Is your 2017 overall Business Planning in progress?  Assess your entire business and develop a score by department using our online Business Assessment.

?       Need to prepare a 2017 Sales Business Plan? Ask me for a template Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

?       Concerned about 2016’s tendency to not achieve quota each month or your inability to Predict Revenues? Download our List of the Top 40 Actions Sales Managers must activate to build a high performance sales team.

?       How many new salespeople do you need to hire during 2017?  Do you have a recruiting marketing plan in place? How strong is your interviewing process and skills?  Watch a video on recruiting and interviewing to help improve your organization.

?       If you are hiring, then you must tighten up your new hire on-boarding process, this must be a priority for any sales organization, you can find a template on our Sales Managers Tool Kit. There are over 40 robust tools located in the tool kit.

?       Time to plan your 2017 Sales Kick Off event; you need to have a theme for the year, make it fun, motivational and educational.  Set the tone for your team at your kick off meeting, my blog has many ideas for this kind of event or ask for ideas or speakers for the meeting, select Sales Kick Off Ideas category

?       Does your sales team need new formal sales training? Check out two sites for an online video training courses that offer low cost, mobile access and adult training methodology. www.ChannelEQ.co or Sales Gravy University

?       HINT: at your 2017 Sales Kick Off Meeting you should have your entire Quarterly Sales Training Plan ready to hand out, topics must include: Sales Training, Product/Services Training and Sales Operations.

If you have questions on any if these ideas let me know.

This is the time of the year to evaluate your successes, determine what issues must be changed or improved, and finish planning for the new year and also by the way…… exceed your 2016 quotas!

Have fun and go sell something!

 

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

 

 

 

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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

 

3 Magic Questions a Sales Manager Must Know

August 18th, 2016

Three Magic Questions a Sales Manager Must Know

One of the main roles of a Sales Manager is to help train your salespeople on how to stay on track during a sales cycle. During any sales opportunity coaching sessions consider asking these three questions with any sales opportunity:

  • Why do anything?
  • Why now?
  • Why with us?

Let’s explore these, acknowledging the answers can’t all be known at the beginning of a sales opportunity but focusing on answering them is critical to maintain focus and winning the sale.

Why do anything?

Any person and organization has a myriad of priorities. Going through a buying decision whether for marketing services, new equipment or office space, is a major commitment that may include multiple people and maybe competing with multiple priorities. So how will your prospect justify the effort and invest the time? Often, the buyer has latent pain – they know they need to do something but they may not know what they need to know or how to decide. They almost certainly don’t want to speak with a salesperson without a strong sense of what they need and whether it is affordable. This presents your first challenge – how to help the potential buyer to answer the question – Why do anything?

Therefore, marketing and sales campaigns which provide the prospect with honest content where the buyer can educate themselves is vital.   Your sales team’s prospecting activities (emails, phone calls) should leverage this content and assist in identifying the issues and required capabilities. Blogs, webinars, case studies as all examples of content that may be beneficial to the prospect as long as it is not overtly self-serving.

Once they engage with a prospect, top sales professionals know they can both help the prospect and increase their company’s potential sales success through a deeper discovery phase. Exploring unexpressed potential needs, linking the implications of the current issues with other functions within the enterprise and tying the project to corporate objectives will both help the prospect build momentum internally and differentiate your offering. This is critical to begin to build your “business case” for taking action.

Why now?

Consider again the myriad priorities within the prospect company and the limited availability for executive support and investment capital or expense. To win the business requires more than beating your competition – you need to help your prospect communicate the importance of this initiative and gain internal approval. Perhaps this project is critical to retain a key customer, or comply with upcoming regulations. It may require a formal cost justification and follow a capital approval procedure. If the prospect does not have experience or insight to elevating the importance of your sale within the company and how to navigate the approval cycle, you will either have to help them or accept the consequences. Tools to assist your prospect such as payback models, use cases and template presentations can be both valuable and appreciated.

Timing is important, as knowing when the solution to fix the “pain” must be implemented and begin operation can drive the prospect’s sense of urgency to purchase.

 

Why with us?

Successful salespeople develop a competitive strategy starting at prospect qualification, refining and adjusting through the Discovery stage. What are the issues and capabilities that your company has helped the prospect uncover and how do you prove the ability to deliver? Are they unique and important to the prospect? Can the competition respond?

Often the committee will meet many days or weeks after all the vendor presentations. Summarizing the issues, the capabilities you offered and how these were received by the team and communicating to all of the committee members could be your last opportunity to stand apart. Whenever possible, these documents should be personalized.

As a Sales Manager, is it important to have your team act professionally, staying aligned throughout with the prospect’s buying process and possibly added value as it has progressed? Remember, as the point of vendor selection nears, the buyer’s sense of risk rises. How you understand and respond to this state may be the deciding factor amongst the prospects choices.

Summary

During the life of any complex sales opportunity it is sometimes difficult to for a salesperson to keep their arms around the abundance of information, questions, insights and tactics. Consider these three questions as their guide. Regularly reviewing each opportunity with these questions and honestly facing the answers, will provide the salesperson and sales manager the insights to adjust the opportunity strategy. Training your sales team to crisply communicate opportunity status to executives within your company via these three questions will both be appreciated and demonstrate your team’s competence and professionalism.

If you would like an additional set of “Magic Questions for Sales Managers”,   Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

John Moroney is an energetic operations and sales management consultant with over 30 years of experience in high technology products and services with a particular passion for sales process design, deployment and improvement. Increasing productivity, driving revenues with a focus on execution, John brings his clients practical and creative solutions that are designed to impact. He is an Associate Partner with Acumen Management Group, a business and strategic sales management consulting firm focused on a world-wide audience.

You can reach him at JohnM@AcumenMgmt.com or LinkedIn: John J Moroney     651-402-4342

www.AcumenManagement.com

July is Sales Leadership Month

July 6th, 2016

July is Sales Leadership Month

As a sales leader you must always have a vision and action plans for a rolling six months, this is why July is the perfect month for anyone that has sales management responsibility—so why not name it Sales Leadership Month!  Ok, it is not an act of government and it is only Acumen’s opinion, but let’s explore why I feel that way.

July works because it tends to be a slower month in most organizations, individuals take vacations and the summer weather makes thinking and planning better as your activity levels peak generating “fresh air” and new thoughts.  So lean back, put your feet up, put some suntan lotion on and feel the breeze and consider the following ideas.

The first half of the year is over, it’s time to reflect on what has worked? And what has not?

  1. Based upon your Sales Plan where are you against your quota? Where are you against your planned headcount? Were new product/services launched? Were they successful?
  2. Did the quarterly sales training plans work? Are you getting the results you expected? Are you grooming new levels of professionalism or even new sales managers? What are 5 new ideas to coach and train more effectively?
  3. How is the sales compensation plan working? Are the goals of the organization the same as they were when you created it? Is the market/economy or products/services performing as you expected it to perform? Do you need to make an adjustment?
  4. Did the sales contests generate the expected levels of revenue or generate the excitement you wanted? If not, why not?
  5. Did you lose a salesperson unexpectedly? Are there members of the sales team that need to be placed on probation or even let go? What can you do to retain your talent? How can you build higher levels of belief or commitment to your organization?
  6. Are the salespeople using CRM effectively? What else can you do to ensure it is updated and cleansed on a regular basis?
  7. Marketing; did your messaging and campaigns generate the expected results? Were the leads generated moved into the pipeline and can you measure where they came from? Did those leads close and do you know the best lead source? What new ideas could we try to out position us from the competition?
  8. Metrics: does the formula for running the sales organization work? Have you tested new metrics to give you a better idea to pipeline velocity? What leading indicators are business drivers? Were your sales forecasts/commitments accurate? If not why not?

This is just a short list to stimulate your July thinking and to ensure that your second half Sales Plan is on target to exceed your goals. This checklist obviously should be reviewed each month, but with a six month trend and measured results the proactive sales leader can move the dials and alter the course if necessary. Continue to Inspect what you expect and make sure your quarterly reviews are thorough.

Two last thoughts:

1)      if you have questions or comments on any of these ideas let me know : Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

2)      On our  website we have a White Paper on the Top 40 Actions Sales Managers Must Take to Drive Predictable Revenue and several free Sales Management assessments, www.AcumenManagement.com

Have a great July, sit back, reflect and take action.

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 third 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

 

 

 

Emotional Sales Leadership

April 5th, 2016

Emotional Sales Leadership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com