Posts Tagged ‘Sales Management Systems’

Putting for Par’s: Are you practicing properly?

March 21st, 2011

Sales Leadership: Are you practicing properly?

Putting for Par’s

 

I happen to be in Florida this weekend, taking a few days off to visit relatives, play golf and enjoy the weather.  We played 36 holes the past two days, my first real golf of the season so before we came down from Knoxville I went to the driving range at home and hit two buckets of balls to attempt to regain some form of respectability. Prior to my first round I hit another ½ bucket of balls and a few casual strokes on the putting green and boom, then off to the number 1 tee box.   Amazingly my first drive was right down fairway, but as I worked through the 18 holes it was rough as I struggled with some good and some bad, a few bogeys and a few double bogeys.

In your role as a sales manager are you taking your personal and professional development as casual as a few practice swings on the driving range?  Recently in a six week series of sales management training programs for a major client, several participants didn’t complete a variety of reading assignments because they were too busy “closing out the quarter”.  For some reason they could not find 2 hours over six weeks to read 15 pages of content.  Successful sales leaders will commit to reading, attending workshops and attending vendor sponsored workshops on sales management topics.

If you consider yourself a professional, every week you spend hours on the driving range enhancing your abilities with each club in your bag, you practice hitting out of the sand and chipping off the green.  What are you doing to increase your professional skill levels?   There are a variety of resources you can find to improve your sales management expertise.

Several quick idea’s: check out the LinkedIn groups on sales leadership, commit to reading two new books a year,  and visit at least two other sales organizations that are similar to yours and benchmark your organizations against theirs.  For example: our new book: “Leading High Performance Sales Teams” I review a variety of idea’s to enhance your sales teams abilities , concepts to improve your leadership styles and increase the effectiveness of your management systems.  On our website there is a free sales management and sales compensation assessment where you can compare your existing programs, watch several free videos on hiring and training salespeople and read our White Paper on the Job of Sales Management. www.AcumenManagement.com

What is your plan to make more pars’ vs bogeys? I left at least six putts inches short, I am off to the putting green!

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

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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams

January 11th, 2011

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

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

Why you need this book in your sales management library;

 ·         Learn to develop your ideal salesperson profile

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

 

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

Leading High Performance Sales Teams will be available later in January

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

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

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

 

Sales Management: How Does March Look?

December 20th, 2010

Sales Management: How Does March Look?

In magazine columns and other blog postings I have written about being a proactive strategic sales manager rather than a reactive, fire-drill crazy, un-organized sales manager. As we close down 2010 and your thoughts about January are nestled in your head, its March that you should be considering.

If you have already built your first quarter sales training programs, have your management systems in place to analyze pipeline values and your recruiting plans are activated then you have some of the systems in place. Just to check, you might like to take a few minutes and take the Sales Management Assessment on our website: www.AcumenManagement.com  .

One of the concepts that I truly believe in is developing “leading indicator” analysis. These statistics are activities that can assist you in either forecasting pipeline values or sales opportunities well in advance of the current month. This view is why; you now should be considering March’s sales potential. If you have created these key indicators, you may have the time to adjust your forecasts or sales/marketing activities to counter act negative potentials or MORE importantly, if they are showing all “green” light indications, you can focus on improving your operations and closing sales opportunities.

I was reading the WSJ the other day and came across an article titled: “New Ways to Read the Economy”, it described how economists read leading indicators.  Here are just a just a few examples: 1) Broadway ticket sales=future tourist revenue, 2) diesel-fuel sales=Industrial production, and 3) subway-passenger traffic near Union Station in San Francisco=sales tax revenue. These kinds of related activity that can predict future results are the kinds of analysis you must determine for your sales organization.

Depending upon your sales/marketing environment you need to consider several pre-sales activities and measure them for a minimum of 6 months before considering them reliable.  These kinds of activities should be the same for each salesperson and your entire sales organization. What else? You need to know the length of your sales cycle and the correlations of activity to results.  In a typical B2B sales environment, consider 1) the number of monthly sales calls that require a Pre-Sale technical Engineer=future number of proposals/quotes, 2) the number of opportunities/pipeline values in Stage 2 as compared to Stage 7(assuming 7 is your final stage) or 3) the number of new prospect Face to Face sales calls/month.

What kinds of leading indicator activities make sense for your firm? Leave a comment and let me know.

As a strategic sales manager with a good perspective or view on managing what is  happening today and knowing its correlation to future  results or revenues you will not only produce greater results but you will sleep better too!

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

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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Planning Your Sales Training

October 4th, 2010

Planning Your Sales Training

 In my soon to be published book on Sales Management, one topic I discuss in great detail is salesperson development and training.  Besides recruiting effectively, training and development are the next most important aspects of the sales leader’s job. While Acumen Management is not a sales training firm, we do focus on the facts that sales management MUST focus on sales training within their own firms.

With our consulting clients we recommend that sales managers must plan their sales training meetings 90 day in advance.  I am suggesting that sales meetings are not the same as sales training meetings.  Prior to each quarter we suggest spending 2 hours and carefully review the needs of your team and develop a program to address each issue. During the planning meeting the strategic sales manager will define each date, time, assigned trainer  and subject matter well in advance, this ensures that sales skills, product knowledge, company operations and industry information  are thought through and during each quarter, the expertise of your team is moved forward on each topic.  

I like to recommend that members of your sales team become the sales trainers.  What I mean is the sales manager should  not be the only sales trainer; assign specific people to train on the various topics that need training such as; CRM applications, sales skills training i.e. negotiations, and product/services information.  The important aspect to remember is for the sales managers to “Inspect what you expect”… meaning prior to your salesperson’s training event you must review their content and knowledge.  With sales training plans built out 90 days in advance, (normally the same sales days/times each month) everyone knows well ahead of time the scheduled events and can block out those dates/times in their calendars.

By planning your sales training in advance the strategic sales leader will be better organized in the developmental aspects of salesperson training and by assigning portions of the training to salespeople the sales manager can also gain insights as to who could be a future sales manager.

For potential ideas on new training topics to building into your training programs you might want to review this recent published article on the   top 10 trait buyer want from salespeople.  If the link does not work, send me an email for the article.   Ken@Aacumenmgmt.com

http://raintoday.com/Thoreson09292010.cfm

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

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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

When You Leave..Your Office

August 31st, 2010

When You Leave

Sales leaders sometimes travel and sometimes they even take the time for a vacation! I can remember leading a sales management workshop 10 years ago when at a break it seemed almost everyone ran to a phone to check in and “put out fires”. Two of attendees stayed behind and chatted casually about the class or other topics.  It was a clear study of who were in control and perhaps who were not, the two sales managers must have known that even without them, their team and organization would continue to function.

In today’s world with text, email, vmail and mobile phones staying in touch is easy-sometimes too easy.  There are a few rules in leading a high performance sales team when out of the office.

One: Make your team independent of you. Many first time sales managers feel they must “serve” their team and solve all their problems. While support is critical, absorbing their problems  does not solve their problems, it only adds to yours and  limits your time to be effective on the strategic and key tactical actions you need to  take to be successful. When a salesperson presents a problem to you remember to say:  “What are your 3 recommendations?” This will help them pre-think the issue before burdening you and perhaps solve the problem themselves.

Two: Assign Responsibility. When you are going to be away for a period of time, assign one or several salespeople to various roles. Obviously you may limit their responsibility, but allow someone to run the Monday Morning Meeting or lead a Sales Training program and if you have new or younger salespeople on your team, make sure each has an assigned senior to provide mentoring. These small tasks allow you to test and train others for future sales management roles.

Third: Turn off your phones.  When you are at a conference or workshop or even taking a day off, enjoy the time to focus and clear the brain or what I call, “get some fresh air”.  Sure you can check your email from time to time but limit it to three times a day.

If you are living in a crisis mode and need to be in constant contact with everyone then you might like to take the sales management Audit Analysis on our web site to find out what you need to focus on to improve your sales management systems. www.AcumenManagement.com

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

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

The Power of Net-New

August 9th, 2010

Growing Your Company: The Power of Net-New

Partners who focus on net-new clients will see growth; but you’ll need focus and correct execution to really pull out a win.

  • Over the last few years as we’ve worked with partners in strategic planning sessions to help them build predictable revenue, one trend we’ve found is that clients who focus on adding net-new clients experience greater revenue growth.

Bringing on net-new clients requires careful focus and execution in several key areas:

  1. Company leaders must set the stage by asking: Is this a goal we (management committee) are all committed to achieving? If the answer is yes, then the first metric to be set is a specific number of net-new clients sold per quarter. Depending on the size of the organization, it may be appropriate to then determine metrics by practice for net-new revenue and net-new clients per quarter.
  2. Create a marketing plan to assist in attracting net-new prospects. You should expect to spend additional marketing dollars as compared to simply marketing to your existing customer base. We normally recommend that each potential prospect must be “touched” eight to 12 times by e-mail, direct mail, phone calls and other campaigns. The secret to a successful campaign is touching various job titles at each prospective organization, such as president, VP of sales, marketing, human resources and CFO. The marketing messages must be unique and specific to each job title.
  3. Next in the game plan is to consider sales compensation or sales contests to build excitement and awareness of management’s interest in this objective. In creating sales compensation plans we often create an additional percentage or dollar bonus on all net- new clients sold if sales or revenues are greater than X dollars. These may be based on monthly or quarterly objectives. In some cases a sales contest is set up to replace competitive vendor installations with Microsoft Dynamics ERP or CRM applications. “Wanted” posters can be hung up with the bonus dollars visible — marketing needs to be aligned with this campaign as well.
  4. Management must consistently reinforce the vision to the entire company — as well as to the sales team — at monthly company meetings, sales meetings and in all written communication where appropriate.
  5. The last area that’s important is the dashboard or scorecard. This is the measurement tool that shows by company and by individual salesperson the existing and past performance against the stated objective. From a current status perspective the sales leader would want to track:

 

  • Number of net-new calls per week and per month
  • Number of net-new proposals per month
  • Number of net-new opportunities in the pipeline
  • Dollar value of all net-new opportunities in the pipeline
  • Number of net-new opportunities sold, QTD and YTD
  • Dollar value of net-new opportunities sold, QTD and YTD

 

The classic line, “What gets measured gets managed,” is the secret. If management pays attention to its objectives and pays attention to the execution and actions of marketing and sales, the desired results will be achieved. Each month both executive and sales management ask the questions: Are we on target? If not, why not? What are you going to do to fix the problem?

One other point we like to recommend: You should graph these numbers to show the trend analysis. This will help you link the marketing and sales actions to the results and will help the salespeople better understand the correlation between goals, actions and results.

The important element to understand is, once you have captured this net-new client, you now have the goal of earning a greater portion of their “IT Wallet Share.” The second, third and fourth sales will be easier and earn higher levels of profitability.

About the Author

Ken Thoreson is managing director 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.  www.AcumenManagement.com or www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com 

Sales Puny? Need a Workout?

July 6th, 2010

Is your organization and your sales team suffering from:

Puny Revenues?  Weak Results? It Maybe Time for a Sales Leadership Workout!

 A  one &  1/2 Day Regimen for Getting  Your Sales Organization in Shape  

Build a proactive approach to Sales Management 2.0 that creates predictive revenue and a self-managed sales team.  Learn how other top performing sales leaders have muscled up their teams to pump up predictable revenues. Here’s what they have to say about the event:

 “Great Content, Energetic Deliver, High Value.”     “Outstanding, just what I needed.” “Informative, educational, spot-on!”    “Inspiring” Information and tools you can use immediately” “Intense!” 

 The Skinny on Sales Leadership Workout:

 Schedule: Day One, 1:00 PM – 5:30 PM; Day Two, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

 Next Location: Waltham, MA August 4th & 5th,  Hasbrouch Heights, NJ August 19th/20th

Regimen:

  • 10 proven ways to boost sales in 90 days
  • The 9 Things Great Sales Organizations Do & How To Do Them
  • What you need to build predictable revenue
  • Building sales compensation plans that work
  • Creating a self managed sales team
  • Understanding how the “Cloud” will impact your organization
  • Building a salesperson’s business plan focused on results
  • Motivating your team to higher levels
  • Creating a self managed sales team
  • Strategies to help you hire, train and retain a top producing sales team
  • How to coach, mentor and hold more effective sales meetings

Your Workout Bag Includes $870 of Free Extras:

  • Your Personal Sales Leadership Assessment ($375.00 value)
  • The Sales Manager’s Tool Kit                    ($495.00 value)
  • Sales Management Guidebook                    (Priceless!)

 REGISTER to Earn Early Bird Discount : 

 www.resource-technologies.com/workout.php

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

Learning from Losing?

June 28th, 2010

Learning from Losing

In most of our client consulting engagements we strongly recommend that “win/lost” reports are completed. This is a process of reviewing all sales that occur and those that don’t!  We suggest this action is performed in two steps.

The first step is between the sales manager and the salesperson, during this phase the sales leader simply probes as to what the salesperson believes are the reason the prospect purchased or did not purchase your solution. Questions are asked regarding levels of communication, perceived benefits, pricing and competitive situations. We normally recommend this conversation takes place during a sales meeting-it is NOT a grilling.  This is a group coaching and training experience, the review should be designed to help the salesperson and the members of your sales team to share experiences or ideas as to what worked or what did not work.

The second step is a conversation between the “X-prospect or new client” and either the sales manager, president or an independent source.  If the sales manager was active in the sales process with the salesperson, then the President/independent source should conduct the interview. Most people may not be as honest or straight forward with an individual that had been involved in the process.  During this conversation more detailed questions should be asked to uncover the reasons you won or you lost.   I like to find out:  When did the prospect really make up their mind? What was the perceived benefit of your firm? What did we do? Or what could we have done to win the opportunity? Who won the opportunity? What were the price points?

During this research we have uncovered areas for additional sales training, enhancing marketing messaging and more closely monitoring the sales actions and strategy during the sales opportunity. In most situations the salesperson did not establish trust & confidence early in the sales process, skipped a step in the sales process or they failed to prove your value proposition during the sales process.

If you would like a copy of a Win/Lost Report template, send me an email. Ken@Acumenmgmt.com

What have you learned by losing?

Sales and Social Media-3 Keys

June 1st, 2010

Three Key Social Media Tactics for Sales

This week I thought I would share with my readers a “guest blog” from Tom Pick on Sales and Social Media…I have known Tom for a few years and he is top SEO and Social Media consultant… read and enjoy….

Although marketing departments tend to be the heaviest users of social media for business, sales groups aren’t far behind. Social media may have even more value in sales than in marketing, as marketers still generally deal with prospects in groups, while sales professionals deal with them as individuals—which is where the social media rubber really hits the road.

There are myriad ways to incorporate social media into sales cycles, limited only by creativity. However, here are three basic tactics that should be part of every complex sales cycle.

1. Stay current on what your company is doing with social media. Considering how social media has changed the buying cycle, most prospects will do significant research about your company online—including your firm’s social media presence and what your customers are saying about you—long before engaging with you. It’s critical to work with your marketing group to understand the messages and activities that are part of your organization’s social media presence in order to avoid any unfortunate “gotchas” during the sales process.

2. Research your prospect’s company on social media. Just as knowing about your own company’s presence is vital, so checking out your prospect’s social media presence can be very helpful as well. Use tools like Social Mention, Twitter search and UberVU to discover what your prospect’s marketing group, and their customers, are saying about the firm online. You may gain valuable insights into their strategies and challenges. At the very least, you’ll be able to have a more informed and interesting conversation.

3. Use LinkedIn. Check out your primary contact. How long has he/she been with the company? How do they describe their role? Look to see who else from the company has a profile there, particularly if you know or can identify other members of the purchasing team. Which LinkedIn groups do these people belong to? What kinds of topics are being discussed in those groups? What clues can you gain as to your prospect’s likely concerns and key business challenges?

The point isn’t to be “nosy” or any such thing; after all, you’re only viewing publicly available information. The goal, rather, is to be as informed as possible about your prospect and his or her company before engaging in a conversation, so that you can make that initial conversation, and every subsequent one, as productive as possible for both sides.

And remember that sophisticated buyers are doing their homework about your company and its offerings online before raising their hand for more information. Doing the same makes you look smarter, uses both your time and your prospect’s time more efficiently, and just may help you close more business.

About the author: Tom Pick is an online marketing consultant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He’s also the award-winning writer of the Webbiquity blog, which focuses on B2B lead generation and Web presence optimization — the fusion of SEO, search marketing, social media, content marketing and interactive PR. 

The Top 11 Sales Mgmt Actions

May 25th, 2010

                        (You must do more than just 10 these days.)

 In today’s investment world advice on portfolio management can vary from; “hold firm with your existing stocks”, to “take advantage of a great opportunity to buy at these lower prices”.  The first scenario of holding firm for the long term assumes that your existing portfolio contains quality securities, is properly diversified and has been managed with an appropriate, long-term perspective.

In the world of sales management and revenue generation we would like to make the same assumptions for taking a long-term perspective.  This would be true even if your sales team consists of quality people with good attitudes, records of success and has been properly managed. However, the timeframes on which sales mangers are focused are short-term.   Sales leaders face the need to keep their sales team focused on the goals and activities that make teams and companies successful. In today’s market, it is easy for salespeople  to be distracted.

In the present economic situation, there is an exciting opportunity to increase market share as your competitors lag, and build a better sales team through increased focus.  To win now we have defined a tactical program of eleven key actions that will lead to a winning approach and all sales leaders to take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime, during what we call the lifetime of the opportunity:

 1)    Build the Right Motivation

 It is critical to maintain focus and activity and decrease distraction by paying attention to the attitude and motivation of your sales team.  Build belief in your company, products/services by visiting your satisfied customers, asking for reference letters, or having customers visit  your office and speak to your entire organization as to their satisfaction. Create fun in your sales meetings and build sales contests/games that are focused on achieving the activity levels that will increase your sales pipeline and sales opportunities. Find out what rewards are important to your sales team and create rewards that will reinforce these.

 2.    Review your product/service packaging and pricing to ensure that you are capitalizing on your strengths and meeting competition.

 This is a perfect time to review your existing profit margins and sales cycle length by product line and make short-term adjustments to determine the elasticity of your product and increase revenues and margins.   Create or amend the features or offerings in your various packages or even create new packaged offerings! Confuse your competition with new offerings and you may even find new added value options you had previously overlooked.  Find ways to be different!

 3.    Analyze and profile the sales team and distribution channels that you need to penetrate your markets.

 First, list the attributes necessary to maximize sales of your product, and then determine if this is best accomplished through a direct sales organization or channels/partners or both!  Second, create a customer focus group and ask them how best to serve them, what they are looking for in a relationship and seek to understand the levels of support they require.  Third, make a decision on the five best attributes or profiles for your sales employees and channel partners. Analyze your existing strategy and each channel partner you as to how they match up to your profile. You may find new partners/alliances that will open up new accounts and even new markets.

4.    Muscle up your sales team

 Now is the perfect time to increase your recruiting and potential hiring. Today a Sales Manager must interview 25% of the time.  The reason? There are many very good salespeople now available and looking for the right opportunity.  Create the ideal five attributes of successful salespeople and establish a “tight” interview process that ensures you increase the quality of your team.

HINT: You can always interview, it doesn’t mean you must hire. Hire the best people for the job – not the “best available”.

 5.    Analyze and strategize each sales opportunity

 With perhaps fewer opportunities and increased competition, schedule time with each salesperson or in a team setting to “think though” each near-term sales opportunity.  Make sure your team is using internally developed or commercial tools to analyze the status of each opportunity and develop the various tactics to increase your probabilities. Specifically:

 

  1. a.    Pinpoint and develop ways to counter objections
  2. b.    Determine buyer decision criteria
  3. c.    Establish client decision makers and influencers
  4. d.    Initiate multi-level contact with multi-level influencers in the prospect’s company.

 6.    Seek out influencers that will recommend your product/service

 Analyze the type of organizations or people that impact your client decision process. These may be consultants that work in the same market or prospect base or other sales organizations that would benefit directly or indirectly from the sale of your product or service. Develop a plan to establish who are the decision makers at these organizations and create a campaign using your sales and management team to present these influencers with the benefits of your firm and seek to secure their commitment to work with you. This on-going action can lead to the equivalent of a normal salesperson’s quota value of sales!

 7.    Create an active marketing campaign to create new sales leads

 Create a smart campaign, not a blast or mass appeal plan. First, establish profiles of current clients – determine the five reasons they use your products/service. Second, hit your market with a stronger and clearer message. Focus on ROI and productivity gains. Third, establish a plan of action for the next six months and make sure you have included a sales follow up – execute your management review.

 8.    Review your current compensation plan to ensure it meets your companies goals

 Clearly document your current plan and tabulate payments against results over time. Is the plan achieving your original goals? Is the plan reinforcing desired sales activity behavior? If it is not, develop a new plan and gain internal buy-in from your team. Focus on shorter-term goals and implement a new plan with commitment to keep it in place for at least six months.  Use the existing market opportunity to focus on short-term achievements.

 9.    Increase your investment in training of sales skills, product/service knowledge

 In tighter times your team must perform more affectivity. Review your past efforts, take an inventory of training needs based on individual salesperson comparisons against your desired profile. Schedule on going training programs. Develop your own internal programs to ensure your salespeople fully understand and can sell your product/services and then arrange for commercial sales skill training programs. You will experience both short-and long-term benefits. Focus on increased levels of training for six months.

 10.  Develop an active program to contact every customer 

This is a great time to establish a program to make contact with each client to fully understand their situations, their use of your product/services, offer new “packages” and seek references for new potential clients.  Make sure you are effectively using your CRM or SFA programs and with each existing customer contact update your database with more up-to-date information. Verify your sales team is properly making the right contacts that have been recently made with every prospect and client.  Develop, execute and monitor a program of continuing contact with all targeted clients, prospects, influencers and partners. Review and measure your progress each week/month at your sales meetings.

 11.  Build better planning into your sales organization.

 Increase your effectiveness by implementing planning into your sales process.  First, define the specific steps of your sales process and ensure that each salesperson executes those steps effectively. Second, develop detailed 6-month individual salesperson business plans. Third, create specific named account  tactical sales plans for those key strategic accounts and follow up on your salespersons’ planned activities vs actual actions.

 We have used the word execute many times in this brief article, it is the critical word. Where we find successful sales management, we find individuals who can plan and who can successfully focus and execute their programs.  These 11 Actions will enhance your sales team, increase revenues and build a focus in your organization when it is critically important. Take Action…Stay Positive.

 

Ken Thoreson is the managing partner of the Acumen Management Group, Ltd; a North American based consulting organization focused on improving the sales management functions within growing and transitional organizations. For more information call (423-884-6328 or e-mail ken@acumenmgmt.com