Archive for the ‘Sales Management Planning’ Category

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

 

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

 

 

 

Why Can’t I get an accurate forecast?

April 23rd, 2015

Why can’t I get an accurate forecast?

Just last week I heard that comment from a new client and he was the President of the company.  Frankly it is a common phase I have often heard from CFO’s, Presidents and VP of Sales-but what’s the resolution? Many consultants would drag out their “scorecards or methodology” to fix the issue, instead let’s first learn to diagnose the signs and why the problem exists.  This is what I generally see or hear when I begin to poke at the problem:

  1. When you review the pipeline report (CRM/Excel) all the Closing Dates are listed as the end of the month-6/30/15 as an example.
  2. Beyond your current monthly pipeline values future pipeline dollar values are not listed
  3. The velocity of the sale or length of time it has been in the funnel is 90 days longer than the average velocity for your business.
  4. Monthly forecasts by the sales team are always off by a wide margin, when asked, the sales team has no idea as to why they can’t predict accurately.
  5. The salespeople do have not a defined closing plan for active opportunities
  6. The salespeople are closing on topics i.e. price, instead of what the compelling reason is the prospect has for your product/service.

What’s the action plan?

First, as the sales leader there are some obvious actions to take place and some not so obvious. The first action is not to ask for a forecast. WHAT?  Yes, remember forecasts are like the weather person on TV-they have just so so odds of being accurate. We recommend instead to ask for a commitment.   How we recommend to  teach this is: during the first sales meeting of the month when each salesperson “forecasts” their sales for that month say for example, $100,000, the sales leader would say: Great!, you hit $100,000 and I will give you a $500 bonus.  OK?  As expected the salesperson gets excited. The Sales Leader would then say the same phase to each of the salespeople on your team. After all the salespeople have forecasted the sales leader would say: and if you don’t hit your goal of $100,000 each of you will owe me $500!  Now that you have their attention you allow them make a new “commitment” vs a forecast.

Second, we recommend that you begin to track each month’s commitment by salesperson, do this for at least 4 months without the sales team knowing you are tracking their commitments, then record their actual sales for each month.  By comparing those two numbers you can determine the Forecast Accuracy % by each salesperson and for your entire team.  When you have sufficient data, share this information with the entire team and discuss that you will continue to measure this data and it will be added to your Sales Dashboard-assuming you have one!

By tracking this information, your sales team will know that you paying attention to this metric and they will begin to pay attention to the importance of the monthly goal.  In sales management what you pay attention to-on an ongoing basis-will begin to impact what your sales team pays attention to.

Third, it takes training.  This happens during the weekly sales meeting, your monthly one on one business reviews and in all coaching environments, this has to be an ongoing process and not simply discussed from time to time.   What we find is either the Sales Manager is not asking the hard questions of the salesperson or the salesperson is not asking the prospect those pertinent questions. We call them the Magic Questions.  They are part of our Sales Management Online Tool Kit, but I want to share them with you to improve your process.  My recommendation for the Sales Manager to use these-printed out- during the weekly sales meeting and then make sure each salesperson has their own copy for their use.  Each week or each day that any opportunity is discussed it is critical the sales manager continues to use the check list of questions to drive their use into the salesperson’s head!

By using these questions and being tough nosed on making sure your salespeople can answer these questions, both you and the team will have more honest sales discussions.

    • What is their Decision Process? (Do you know every step?)
    • When do they want to be implemented or have our systems ready to go?
    • Who is involved in the Overall Decision?
    • Do they have a Business Need?
    • Are they Listening to you?
    • Do they have Funding?
    • What is the Next 2 Steps?
    • Who or What else are they considering?
    • When is the Next Board Meeting? Or Decision Meeting?
  • What are They Doing for me?
  • Do I know my Strengths?/Do I know my Weakness(s)
  • Do I know Their Decision Criteria?
  • Do I have an Excellent Closing Strategy?

 

 

Make the commitment to get the commitment and your sales forecast (ugh) will become more predictable and accurate.

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

 

 

Sales Leadership: 5 Steps to Exceed 2015 Quota

September 22nd, 2014

Sales Leadership: How to Ensure You Exceed Your 2015 Quota

 

The end of the year is rapidly closing in and while everyone in your organization is focused on achieving their targets; as a sales leader it is crucial you are also focused on the new year. At this time of year I am working with each of my clients to begin to position them for success. I have listed the actions most organizations need to consider to exceed next year’s quota.

  1. Begin to recruit. This is the best time of year to recruit as top performers are evaluating their current situation, so you may lose individuals and you can add individuals. Assuming your sales quota will go up, you will need additional salespeople on your team to achieve those higher numbers. Recruiting takes time and training new salespeople takes time, get a jump on your headcount. Also you may have salespeople failing and you may need to let other go, not having enough quality salespeople to achieve your numbers is the number one reason sales managers are let go! Check out my book on Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams, if you do not currently have a recruiting/interviewing process-it also includes a salesperson “On Boarding” process.
  2. Evaluate your compensation plan. Does the plan match your organizations strategic objectives? Is it competitive? Will there be changes to your products/services in the new year that could impact your compensation plan? It takes time to build a new compensation plan, do no leave this till December! You need to test it and plan how to roll it out. There is a free sales compensation assessment on our website: www.AcumenManagement.com
  3. Review Account Planning and Salesperson Business Plans. Depending upon your sales model, review whatever templates you are currently using; are they sophisticated enough, do they achieve what you want them to accomplish? Account Plans should at a minimum include a “strategy” and 5 tactical steps to either open or penetrate the accounts more effectively. Salesperson Business Plans should include more than simple forecasts; they need to include goal setting, training needs, marketing activities and business objectives. If you want a free sample, simply ask: Ken@AcumenMgmt.com
  4. Create annual sales contests. One of the key components in building high performing sales teams is the creation of the annual sales trip. There are many variations to concept and I don’t have room to detail in this blog, but the facts are where we have annual team reward trips, I see great sales organizations. They build pride, team work and drive revenue. In my book; Creating High Performance Sales Compensation Plans I have an entire chapter on incentive compensation.
  5. Plan what major sales training your team requires. Consider the skill level of your general team and what changes there are in your market and then assess various training programs that are available. We are not a sales training organization but we can make recommendations based upon your general needs. Create a budget and insert it into your new year plan!

Each organization is different and requires a unique solution however these 5 basic actions, if acted on, will position you to be ahead of the game!

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 partners throughout the world.

His latest book is, Ken’s 5th book: SLAMMED!!! For first time sales managers is now available: http://www.acumenmgmt.com/Books

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

There are only 10 day’s left in June!

June 2nd, 2014

There are only 10 days left in June!

For the first time sales manager

Today (6/2/14) during a client’s Monday morning sales meeting, before we started the sales forecast for June, I announced: “There are only 10 days left in June!” I did this on purpose for several reasons.

1. I wanted to wake up and shake up everyone’s thinking at the outset of the meeting.

2. It was important to create a sense of urgency in everyone.

3. I created a theme for the month.

If you are a first time sales manager or even an experienced one, having any size team in a Monday morning sales call takes preparation. You do not begin without thinking about the outcome and intent of the meeting. With my clients, we use a sales meeting agenda and stick with a standard format, this keeps everyone on task. In today’s meeting we had 15 people with the vast majority on telephones-keeping everyone involved is important and getting to the point is critical. We covered a lot of topics in less than 40 minutes with good communication.

Creating a sense of urgency is critical, as a first time sales manager staying focused on achieving sales objectives is an important aspect of the job. Making sure your sales team is increasing their sales tempo is a must I sometimes find salespeople making one appointment per week per prospect-if they are hot, see them twice a week! Move the opportunity faster. If you are always waiting until the last week of the month or quarter to achieve your objectives it will grind you and your odds of success will decline. Keep the attitude of “what can I do today to move this sales opportunity forward?” is the mantra that each of your salespeople must feel and keep focused on-HINT: create that sign and hang in your sales area.

I have written often about creating a theme for the month or quarter, they can be fun or serious but they always are focused on selling. In my new book, out later this month: SLAMMED!!! The Guru’s Guide: for the First Time Sales Manager there are 9 chapters on Building a High Performance Culture. Creating an atmosphere of performance takes leadership, attitude, fun, and support. As a new sales manager maintaining that balance is an important function of your job.

What else can you do to increase the sense of urgency of your team? Let me know and I will post your comments.

If you would like a copy of a Monday morning Sales Meeting agenda template, send me an email: Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout the world.

His latest book is: Leading High Performance Sales Teams, Ken’s 5th book designed for New Sales Managers will be published this summer.

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com www.AcumenManagement.com Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Second Quarter Plan

March 10th, 2014

Second Quarter Plan

Amazing, it’s the middle of March-are you ready for the second quarter?

With many of my clients we have the each member of the sales team prepare a six month Business Plan and then a shorter Quarterly Action Plan is created and as I was preparing a client audit today I realized it was time to begin to have this client’s sales team evaluate their performance.

The six month Sales Business Plan is much more than a simple sales forecast but a tool designed to help the salesperson set goals and objectives in a variety of areas.

The Quarterly Action Plan is a more tactical plan to execute on key actions to achieve their goals from their Business Plan.

There are several aspects to this systematic approach to coaching a team:

• First, the team must prepare and believe in the plan/document they are using, this normally does not always happen until the first formal review period when they see results or lack of results vs their plan.

• Second, monthly the Sales Manager must discuss with each salesperson as to their actual performance vs the plan.

• Third, the plan must include the necessary actions to improve overall performance

• Fourth, the two plans, must be designed to work together and not conflict

In building either plan consider these key elements:

• What training and development programs are important to reinforce

• What prospecting and activity goals are important to manage

• What revenue/margin goals that need a focus

• What account or territory intelligence and relationship building is important

What are you using to build a more systematic approach to hitting your objectives?

What did I miss?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

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

 

Sales Planning for 2014

January 7th, 2014

Sales Planning: Sales Leadership and Sales Execution

At this time of year all the planning, budgets and compensation plans are done or should be.

Excellent sales organizations will have each salesperson complete a six month detailed sales business plan that will include defined personal and professional goals and depending on the type of product/services an organization offers, a forecast that equals 3X assigned quotas. This forecast maybe created by product type/vertical/geographic market along with a high, most likely and minimum sales values. In addition this plan should include personal training requirements, selected activity goals and personalized marketing programs. While this tool important to have for purposes of coaching and planning (I have written often around this topic), brilliant execution on a quarterly basis is critical for success.

The quarterly sales plan by salesperson must be much more tactical.

The quarterly plan takes the six month plan and breaks it into a much more tactical plan. The Salesperson Quarterly format will review existing short-term pipeline values vs quotas (by product/service) measured against specific short term active deal flow. The purpose is to ensure the salesperson understands their quota expectations and to analyze their opportunities are available to exceed the number. In addition, any networking events, salesperson personalized marketing activities or corporate marketing programs would be defined as well as any specific key customer meetings. The salesperson will also review their YTD actions vs their planned Six Business Plan. This plan is used to ensure the salesperson and sales management can accurately begin to predict. Like a sample? Send me an email Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

What you do this quarter pays off next quarter. Make it happen this quarter.

By creating six month salesperson plans and tying those to quarterly execution the sales leader can begin to create the focus necessary for 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 15 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout the world. 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

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