Archive for the ‘sales leadership’ Category

Building Belief for Sales Success

May 15th, 2017

Building Belief for Sales Success

NOTE: This past Friday, we started another Sales Management Boot Camp,( they run 8 weeks in a live interactive Peer Group setting along with a series of self-paced video learning and templates), the first session is on Building Sales Culture, Leadership  and Management Styles.  This topic of Building Belief becomes a cornerstone element. That is why I am writing this blog, for more on this general topic, read my blog on “Emotional Leadership”.

 Are your sales inconsistent? Are you losing more opportunities than ever before? Does your sales team seem weak compared to those of your competitors?

Any number of reasons-from rapid growth to hiring mistakes-could be responsible for a “yes” answer to any of those questions. But in working with our clients, we often find that the underlying problem is actually an emotional one: lack of passion. Individual team members or the entire sales organization-or both-simply don’t have the combination of enthusiasm and belief that’s essential for success.

Salespeople have to be emotionally invested in their work with a burning desire to achieve. They must also believe that the company they represent is the best and the solutions or services they sell are of the highest quality that impact the clients business. That belief must be genuine, it can’t be just a marketing message and it’s not something that they can fake.

With all the new products most vendors have launched in recent months (and will continue to release this year), that type of authentic belief is more important than ever for partners. Most sales organizations don’t do any belief-building activities. Or if they do, they only do so occasionally. Our experience shows that the most successful sales teams constantly undertake belief-building initiatives. Examples include:

Storytelling: People from different cultures and generations pass along stories about their ancestries, traditions and lore. Partner companies need to take a similar approach to capturing and preserving their histories. To do so, write down customer success stories when they occur. Put together detailed descriptions of your company’s role in helping customers implement new technologies, launch or salvage important projects or earn recognition from a vendor. Then share these stories at sales meetings and other employee events. You can also use the best stories to recruit top performers and help orient new employees.

Monthly Meetings: When a company launches, its first employees typically feel that they share a mission. Everyone knows everything that’s happening and what’s needed to succeed. But when the staff grows beyond about 15 people, that sense of mission-along with clearly defined expectations and common beliefs-can be difficult to maintain.

We believe that monthly employee meetings are crucial for keeping everyone engaged and informed. (Larger organizations and those with remote offices may want to opt for quarterly day-long events instead.) Such gatherings give you a chance to remind your staff about your business philosophies, plans and expectations. You can also use them to recognize outstanding employees, perhaps honoring a Most Valuable Player chosen by the team at each session. Remember to make the meetings fun as well. Consider sponsoring games or offering door prizes. One company meeting I attended featured a surprise visit from an Elvis impersonator, who sang several songs.

Customer Visits: Each quarter, have your entire sales team visit a customer company that’s successfully implemented your solutions. Ask the customer’s executives to describe the impact your company has had on their competitive position or to review the savings they’ve gained from your products and services. You might also invite customers to share their experiences at some of your monthly meetings.

Reference Letters: Ask your best customers for testimonials. While such letters are, of course, highly useful as tools for future sales presentations, they’re also valuable for building belief in-house. Frame the letters and display them in your lobby or sales presentation area. Have new employees read them as part of the orientation process. HINT: it is extremely easy to physically record a client’s testimonial and even place it on your website and make your sales team are using during the sales process.

In our business, it’s all too easy to get bogged down with lost sales, missed project dates and other problems. Regularly reinforcing the positives goes a long way toward keeping everyone’s belief and passion strong and moving in the right direction.

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

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

Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers,

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.  Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

Be an Optimized Sales Leader

April 3rd, 2017

Be an Optimized Sales Leader

In every business cycle new ideas are built and strategies-tactics attempted to create a positive impact on the organization. For example, the role of quality control, Lean and Kaizen Management have been implemented in many areas of business to improve performance. In most cases each of these “re-engineering” type programs have had positive impacts; from just in time inventory, to ISO policies.  Most of these programs have been directed at inventory, process management, cost reduction, financial statements and even Human Resource management.  What has seemingly been overlooked in most companies and now is rapidly gaining a focus is the productivity, cost and methodology of the sales organization.

The impact of Sales Management Optimization Policy ™ must be applied to the sales organization. Essentially OP is defined as: “you must build your organization to excel in the tough times and to propel in good times”.  In a sales organization this responsibility is the Vice President or Sales Manager. Yet these individuals who have a major impact on the success of the organization generally have a job-life span of 14-18 months, limited training-at best and must operate in a pressure filled role with multiple soft and hard management skills in operation at all times.

In most cases sales management lacks methodology and a focus on running their organizations that manufacturing, inventory and financial managers have successfully implemented. Sales Management Optimization Policy takes into consideration the aspects of effective process management, standards and cost control into the sales organization.

Challenges:

In the current economic market, the successful Sales Leader faces many challenges:

  • Managing Lower Costs of Sales
  • Driving Revenue
  • Attaining Budget Goals
  • Managing Sales Teams
  • Working with Limited Span of Control
  • Achieving Goals with Stretched Resources
  • Working with Market Dynamics

The answers lie in two fundamental points. First;if it’s working, don’t mess with it” and for those companies where sales (revenues) are working there is little interest in disturbing that department. Second, when sales are not working two actions seem to take place; radical personnel change or high levels of micro-management on the actions to fix revenues.  We would argue that all organizations must look at a bigger picture and build logical and emotional judgements/systems in place not only to achieve the goals of the organization but to assure management systems/processes are designed to create the environment for successful sales cultures. Selling is emotional  and sales leaders must balance the need for building an environment of success and need for business management systems.

The interesting element in building an Optimal Policy within a high performance sales management approach is aligning the goals of the individual with the goals of the corporation. The smart sales leader will understand the basics of pure management, i.e. understanding the personal needs and wants of their individual team members or what most people today call EQ or Emotional Quotient.  In my Life Enrichment keynotes I discuss how management must focus on this point for themselves and their teams.

First, let’s address the business side of sales management. This element covers  key components of the tactical implementations of  sales management. The list below represents a Sales Management Business Plan.  Each of the  components would include goals, impact on the attainment of the  corporate goals, critical success factors, potential challenges, measurements and defined tactical actions required to achieve the goals. We recommend these plans are updated every six months with a 60-day assessment of trends or changing factors.

Statement of focus

Time line of planned events

Activity standards

Account plans

Sales organization design (18-24 month view)

Sales process design map

Customer relationship strategy

Sales technology implementation

Recruitment/hiring/training programs

Marketing/ materials

Public Relations awareness

Business Eco-System Partners and Alliances

Product and revenue projections-24 months

Competition Analysis

The second aspect of Sales Management must be the cultural human interaction or EQ.  It must be recognized that only managing by the numbers and focusing on activity based sales indicators will not create the environment for high performance. The goal of sales management is to achieve results and manage the business, it is critical that salespeople understand key ratios are to assist them in their personal job success not as micro-management. Yet we find often a line has been drawn between the salesperson and their manager in “talking only about the numbers”. The key issue for the individual  is to understand their formula for success and how the specific  salesperson’s performance matches against that company’s formula.

We must move beyond this mentality to truly understand the personal objectives of our people and communicate your interest to help the person. Sales Management today must assist members of their team in setting personal objectives  and assist their team members on achieving those goals.  We call this align the soul of the individual with the goals of the corporation. This is where coaching and real managing takes place and a managers trust level grows.

 Focus on understanding and improving the sales management process along with building your EQ sensitively to the needs of your sales team and you will experience the best that life can bring you: Sales Management Optimization!

 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 has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers,

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

 

Sales Mgmt: Mowing Your Lawn

April 1st, 2013

Sales Management and Mowing Your Lawn

The first quarter is over and sales leaders are capturing forecasts for the next two months and hopefully celebrating the achievement of their first quarter results.  I am sure not everything has been smooth, after the last 90 days of working with a variety of clients and speaking at a variety of conferences, the odds of some “uneven” achievements and unexpected events has occurred.  In one client we didn’t hire the salesperson we wanted, in another a salesperson left without management knowing it would happen and in another the marketing campaigns didn’t launch on time.   Just like my lawn…

As I drove into my garage last week I realized it was finally time to mow-for the first time this year; my lawn looked uneven in growth, leaves have nestled into the grass, some weeds had extended themselves and it resembled something far different than I had hoped to enjoy. There is work to be done.  I am sure after this afternoon when I hope to mow that the results of a fresh cut will level off the growth, the leaves will be mulched and generally it begin to represent a well groomed lawn.  The next treatment of fertilizer will stimulate better growth.

The same view of your sales team should also be considered, evaluate your team, determine who needs to be “groomed” or “cut” and what treatments must you begin to accelerate your growth during the second quarter. This necessary in order that your summer sales will generate the necessary look and feel that you desired. In past blogs we have discussed how to create your quarterly sales training programs and coaching sessions with each salesperson.

HINT: It is a great time NOW to hold a one on one salesperson review meetings; What worked? What didn’t work? What new steps/actions need to be implemented to increase performance? Develop a mutual action plan where both you and your individual salespeople agree on those actions and use that tool to coach and manage for the next 90 days.

Enjoy the spring and position your team to truly enjoy a wonderful summer season of selling. What are you plans?

Resources: Top Sales World web site and magazine for April!

April is a very significant month for us on Top Sales World, as we launch Top Sales Academy – see Linda Richardson’s interview on Page 4. Also on April 16th, you will be able to tune into Top Sales Radio.  If you are not all ready subscribed to the magazine: you can register for free here: http://bit.ly/YjPzXG

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 14 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. His latest book is titled: “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”.

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

February 6th, 2013

Sales Leadership: Getting Refreshed

Last week on Thursday in Ft Lauderdale, Fl  I provided a closing Keynote program for an international association annual conference,  the program was based on a topic that has proven to be very popular: Gourmet Living: building a menu for life. During the same week I spoke to a group in NY at their 2013 kick off meeting, that topic was: Changing Environment Means Changing; a plan for success!  In both cases, with different programs and certainly different audiences, the “after” the program conversations were identical.

It is normal that after providing a program that members of the audience will come up to me and make a few comments; in both cases everyone commented that they needed the uplift, the new thoughts or simply to be reminded of something they knew.  While I won’t detail all of the comments these words hit me, especially on the plane from Ft Lauderdale to Destin Fl, where I have been taking some time off as well.  During the weekend and the first few days of this week I have monitored email, attended a few conference calls and did some limited management coaching, I have also walked the beach, played golf, enjoyed friends and I am almost half way through a fun book I am reading.  Last year I wrote about the fact that sales leaders were facing “Sales Fatigue” within their sales teams and as well perhaps within themselves.  I offered a few ideas as to how to counter that attitude.  If you want a copy of that blog let me know: Ken@Acumenmgmt.com

On Thursday I will be driving back to my home-9 hours of windshield time. Today I am heading to the Spa for a massage and few other treats.  Why am I opening this topic with you?  I am firmly convinced that you must “Treat Yourself” to maintain a freshness.  My wife had to teach me this, but as hard as everyone works I have come to accept that these opportunities to relax, to treat yourself and to enjoy friends are unique points in time.  Serious sales leadership requires high levels of energy, creativity and the ability to relate to your team, members of your organization and certainly to prospects.  If you are dull because of not taking the time to refresh, your organization will sense this and feed off of your lack of energy and robotic behavior and your sales will suffer as well.

During the program I normally hand out a Personal Pizza and a Professional Pizza (not real-only on paper)  where each of the 8 slices for each pizza  are described by one or two words, we ask each attendee to score themselves from 1-7 (7=Great) as to how they feel about themselves in relation to the word.  They then connect the circled numbers and draw a line connecting the dots. The representation will show if you are in balance personally and/or professionally. We then have instructions as to how to fix your life if you need balance. If you want a copy of our Pizza Test, send me an email:  Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

 

The message: find time each day to refresh. In my keynote I speak about creating “Extreme Self –Care” by creating daily rituals that relax, (yoga/mediation) are fun (?) and exercise (walking or something more strenuous), and focus on eating better.  Focus on mentally and physically refreshing and your sales results will improve as well.  Off to the Spa.

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 North America. Ken’s latest book is: Recruiting 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

Sales Leadership: Bringing a Sharp Focus to Your Sales Meetings

January 21st, 2013

Sales Leadership:  Bringing a Sharp Focus to Your

Sales Meetings

During the past few months I have been consulting with several clients on a variety of issues and coaching others via our new “Acumen Project”. (more on that later), in both environments I have begun to revert to a similar sales management technique to achieve the desired results.   For this week, I thought I should share this fundamental concept with you.  If you are attempting to bring an increase focus on weekly sales and activity and exceeding your monthly sales goals, this idea will help you.

First, you should be using Acumen’s Sales Meeting Template, (if not check out our previous blog), when you get to the sales forecast section and opportunity discussion, you can either go to the “white board” or via Excel and a PC projector; you note your monthly sales objective. For example $250,000.

Second, you then ask each salesperson to forecast each account and dollar value on all sales opportunities greater than 75% probability of closure. Write each entry underneath your sales goal.

Third, total the overall sales to see if they exceed your sales goal.  If they don’t, list all additional opportunities greater than 50%.  If you still don’t have enough opportunities and potential sales to exceed your quota—you are in trouble-, see past blogs.

Fourth, discuss each opportunity as a team to ensure the salesperson has the next TWO sales steps planned to close the opportunity for this month-see Acumen’s 10 Magic Questions.

Fifth, perform this exercise each week of the month (save the list) and as certain opportunities close or are postponed, work to move other sales opportunities to the close list.  The 50% list becomes your “upside” list.

Six, track what your individual salespeople forecasted at the first of each month and what they actually ended up the month selling. This is called the Forecast Accuracy ratio, a great ratio to better understand your team’s ability to forecast and understand their prospects buying reality. You will be in a great position not only to forecast pipeline values to your management team with this historical view, but be a better coach for your sales team.

Seven, each week, each salesperson should be prepared to report on specific weekly activities. While this will vary by type of sales organization, by having a weekly reporting function, salespeople will have to be accountable.   As a rule we ask each salesperson to rate their previous week on a scale of 1-5 at the beginning of each sales meeting. In other teams, each salesperson must earn 25 points a week by performing certain level of variety of activity levels. If you would like to see a sample of the 25 point, send me an email:  Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

What’s the bottom line?  Its fundamentals-back to basics;  salespeople pay attention to what sales management pays attention too. Discipline of focus always is the payoff to success, what is your commitment to success?   Let me know your idea’s to drive performance.

The Acumen Project?  I was watching the golf channel several months ago,  a show called the Haney Project where a golf coach would take a well-known celebrity for 6 weeks and provide customized coaching to improve their game. While it was somewhat a reality show, positive results occurred.   I thought about that program and have now created the Acumen Project.  Where using our online Interactive Sales Management Tool Kit, my books, DVD’s and 12 hours a month of consulting services over 5 months, we will turn executives or sales managers into leaders of sales teams.  We cover the strategies and tactics of successful sales management; recruiting, compensation, reporting and coaching and much, much more. For more details, ask.  Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. His latest book is titled: “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”.

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

Sales Leadership: 2013 Sales Theme

December 3rd, 2012

Sales Leadership:  2013 Sales Theme

Last week I was speaking at a conference on: “Building and Maintaining Sales Motivation”, after the program several individuals came up to discuss my concept of a “Drive Statement.

At this time of the year everyone is working on your sales business plans for 2013 and finishing budgets and forecasts.  While every plan should include goals and objectives for training, marketing and sales incentive programs; it is also the perfect time to consider how you will maintain your sales team’s emotional focus on exceeding your goals.  Creating a “Drive Statement” can assist you.

A Drive Statement is a series of words or a sentence that describes your overall theme for your sales team for an entire year.   This statement is reinforced at every potential opportunity.  It may appear on your internal letterhead, made into a banner and hung in your sales area and used to reinforce your training programs.  For example, I have seen one that was simply: Growth!  This word reinforced the company’s focus on sales growth, professional growth, market share growth and company growth.  Another that has been used before was; Brilliant Execution. This particular company wanted to reinforce the sales process, sales strategy execution as well as increasing the focus on customer service. They had defined specific steps they felt would improve all aspects of the sales function and they wanted everyone to know that they expected brilliant execution!

One that I have seen was a more complex statement; We will dominate our market with an assertive approach and creating a unique experience. This company wanted to make the statement that becoming #1 in the market was important but using the word assertive meant they wanted a more aggressive attitude within their sales and marketing departments but the additional use of “unique experience” meant a touch of creativity or the opportunity to standout was important.

Think through your goals for the 2013, what approach and attitude do you want your sales team to consider or act on throughout the year.  Then engage several team members to assist you in developing a sales theme or Drive Statement.  I would encourage you to share your thoughts on this topic in the blog comments below.

At your 2013 Sales Kick Off meeting, create the atmosphere of an excitement when you unveil a well-planned out business plan where sales, marketing and operations are coordinated and your sales team leaves the meeting motivated to exceed their goals.  Plan a fun event but make sure your team knows your Drive Statement and how it relates to your vision for the year.  If you would like ideas on how to create a successful  sales kick-off meeting send me an email: Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

  Ken Thoreson is the President of the Acumen Management Group Ltd., a North American consulting organization focused on improving sales management functions within growing and transitional organizations. Ken’s latest book is: “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”. Consider Ken for your sales kick off meetings.  You can reach him at ken@acumenmgmt.com  

www.Acumenmanagement.com  Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com 3f4qb8v9ge

Sales Mgmt: 4 Steps on How to Not Get Fired!

November 26th, 2012

Sales Mgmt.:  4 Steps on how not to get fired.

On my flight to Seattle I was pondering what this week’s blog might contain; it occurred to me that in reflecting on the past year and looking forward towards 2013 a quick summary of a few basic actions sales leadership must take to succeed would be of value.

Step One: Build an active recruiting plan.  Most sales managers get fired for not hitting the desired sales goals, the issue is normally because they have a lack of salespeople selling their products/services!  You must know what is your average transaction value is vs your yearly or monthly sales objectives? The question you need to know is: “do you have enough salespeople on board to achieve your monthly number of required sales transactions? “ A sales manager must look out 90-120 days knowing your future potential revenue objectives and understand your manpower requirements.  Recruiting is sales leadership’s marketing campaign for sales leads. Build an ongoing program to ensure you have the right talent in place to exceed your goals.

Step Two:  Know your pipeline metrics. This is something I have written about before but it is what can bite the sales manager. You must know the accurate value of the pipeline 90-120 days out (depending upon your sales cycle). The question you must ask is: “do you have enough number of opportunities both in value and number of opportunities to achieve your upcoming monthly quota? If not, what can you do to ensure you build up the pipeline values so that you will have enough opportunities to achieve the monthly objective? It’s November, what is your February pipeline value? Do you have the necessary values to achieve February’s goals when it’s February first?

Step Three: Is your team trained?  Recently, at one of my new clients; my client, a technical team member and myself “listened in’ as two of their salespeople gave a demonstration to a major new client sales opportunity.  It became obvious to the president that the salespeople were not professional or even capable of handling the meeting. It was enlightening and a crucial step towards increasing the need for continued focus on sales training.  The sales team had been neglecting our recommendations as to improving their skill level, and now there will be an increased buy in by management and peer levels to focus on sales skills. 

  • ·         Make more sales calls  with your team,
  • ·          build in  a quarterly  salesperson skills  evaluation process,
  • ·          increase more role playing in your sales training meetings
  • ·         Build a quarterly sales training programs 

Step Four: Improve your professional business acumen. 1) Make sure you read the local business sections in your local papers, the Wall Street Journal, business magazines/web sites,  2) read 3 business books a year and 3)  join a sales leadership  “peer group” of other sales managers to learn how others are increasing their leadership skills. This step will improve your ability to discuss the business trends of the day with prospects and your sales team, increase your stature within your management team and improve how you manage your team.

Follow these four steps and your odds of surviving the normal 18 month window that most sales leaders live under will improve. If  you have not downloaded  our White Paper “Top  40 Sales Management  Actions To Build Predictable Revenue”  from our website: www.AcumenManagement.com  , send me an email Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  and I will send it to you.  Have you registered for our monthly newsletter: “Why Sales Manager Succeed!” Hit our web site.

Finish the year huge and make sure you are ready to slam the first quarter!

Ken Thoreson is the president and founder of the Acumen Management Group Ltd., a North American consulting organization focused on improving sales management functions within growing and transitional organizations. You can reach him at ken@acumenmgmt.com   Ken’s latest book is: “Recruiting a High Performance Sales Team”.

www.Acumenmanagement.com  Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com 3f4qb8v9ge

 

 

Sales Leadership: Nine Minutes on Monday

October 22nd, 2012

Nine Minutes on Monday

The Quick and Easy Way to Go from Manager to leader

By James Robbins

McGraw Hill

My speaking and sales leadership consulting practice causes me to work with many  individuals that are experiencing situations of stress that include either learning to manage a sales team for the first time or their organizations are not performing at optimal levels.  The author captures the reader immediately by building on the story of him climbing a mountain where he is almost at the summit and unsure if he can make it to the top.  As the book moves forward the James Robbins continues to share stories that make his points and describe his easy to follow plan to enhance your leadership and the performance of your team.

While any student of management and  leadership maybe familiar with a few of this tactics, what makes this book a must read for all levels management is his formula and his challenge to simply spend nine minutes each Monday to consider 9 simple questions. Too many times in the face paced world we live in, especially as sales managers, we neglect the basics of leadership and the need to build the appropriate culture that drives performance. Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis know that while this is a favorite topic of mine, James Robbins can provide you a pathway to becoming the real leader you need to be in any sales leadership position.

The author builds his case for his formula by beginning to address the fundamental needs of all employees and yet provides answers and direction with examples of individuals who have applied his techniques.  One of his 9 points is: The Need to Play, in that chapter he describes the importance of having fun and his example is from a Funeral Home!  The really great way this book is put together is at the end of each chapter there is a “Summary” page that recaps the Key Lessons, provides one of the 9 Key Questions to consider and a Key Action Step.  At his web site: www.nineminutesonMonday.com you can download other tools as well. An example of one of his questions is: “How can I promote a feeling of autonomy in one employee this week?  Each question is simple, but profound on its potential impact on your team.

Buy the book, read it, apply James Robbins plan and find out how in the end, he made it to the top of the summit by learning the ultimate leadership lesson.

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 14 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations 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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Sales Leadership: The Impact of Creating a Sales Process

September 23rd, 2012

 Sales Leadership: The Impact of a Creating a Sales Process 

It occurs almost every time I speak or every initial client visit. Whether your organization is using CRM or not I find that most organizations have not taken the time to define, write out and train their sales team on how to use prescriptive a sales process.  Why is this important enough to write about? The Results!

Recently in working with a client we spent about two hours simply documenting what a salesperson should do on each of the various steps of their sales process, it enlightened the existing sales manager and created the beginning of a new sales driven culture for the company.  What happened?

  1. 1.       In forcing the process of “thinking through’ the logical progression and the actual actions the salesperson should take, we altered the second step and changed “what “the salesperson was to say and sell during that stage.

 

  1. 2.       We created one additional professional service product that could be re-sold.

 

  1. 3.       The Sales Manager began to fully understand not only what the steps in the sales process were, but more importantly WHY the salesperson needs to execute on them.

 

  1. 4.       Actual definitions of each action within each stage were specifically defined.  Why is this important?  Pipeline values become more accurate. Let me describe this in more detail.  Let’s assume there is a “demonstration” stage in your sales cycle, next ask yourself, when do your salespeople move the prospect to the demo stage: When it is scheduled? Or after it is completed? This is an example of the kinds of detail that will come out during the process.

 

  1. 5.       During the sales process your companies Value Proposition must be proven. You can build a step or an action that takes place at the appropriate stage that can validate your messaging.  We created what we expect to be a unique idea for the client to prove theirs.

 

  1. 6.       One of the most important aspects of creating a prescriptive sales process is changing the sales process!  What I mean is; if you and your competitors use the basic sales stages in the same sequence and say and do the same things no one stands out and prospect becomes confused. When there is confusion, generally there is no decision.  Change your sales process to stand out, be different and make the customer remember you. Refer to my previous blog on the End of Solution Sales.

 

  1. 7.        We added a last step: a follow up at 90 days post implementation/installation to validate customer satisfaction and ask for a reference letter.

 

The next step is for the sales manager to roll you the process, teach the salespeople how to execute and then “inspect what you expect” that the sales team is using the process as it is defined.  Set a 90 day plan in place to implement and evaluate the results;  create four or five metrics to measure its effectiveness, validate it is being used and to listen to your team. If it needs to be altered to increase effectiveness that is ok, but before you change-make sure you are fully understand the impacts.

Let me know your thoughts on creating a sales process. What has worked for you? What hasn’t?

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