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Add Advisory Boards to Your Sales Team

July 18th, 2017

Boost Accountability, Insight — and Sales Step back to get a better view of your partner relationships. More effective: Appoint an advisory board to help you gain better sales insight.

Our research shows that accountability — or, more accurately, the lack of accountability — is among the top challenges that partner-company executives face. We’ve also found that many partners are too close to their own organizations to have genuine insight into their own businesses, their marketplaces or their industries. Client Advisory Boards and Business Advisory Boards can help provide better visibility for both those blind spots.

Client Advisory Boards A Client Advisory Board — which typically includes five to seven current clients — can provide insights into customer needs from the customer perspective. For instance, the group might evaluate your sales and service functions or serve as a sounding board for new product ideas. Board members should be willing to meet formally with you at least three times a year and commit to at least two years of service. We recommend that you select not only your “pet” clients, but a cross-section of your customers.

At first, someone from your company should set agendas, oversee advisory-board meetings and take detailed notes. It’s critical for you and your own team members to avoid becoming defensive about issues that board members raise during their meetings. However, it’s equally important to remind all attendees that these sessions shouldn’t be viewed as complaint forums, but instead as opportunities to work together toward improved performance. If a meeting drifts toward becoming a gripe session, the partner-company representative should immediately redirect the discussion.

What’s the sales angle? The simple fact that you have an advisory board can be an important asset during the sales process. Chances are that prospects in your region will recognize some of your board members, and they’re also likely to be impressed with your commitment to the customer experience.

Within a vertical market, you might also create an Industry Advisory Board with members such as past trade-association presidents, respected industry consultants and current clients. This committee can provide market insights and ideas for future offerings, and, like a Client Advisory Board, it can serve as a differentiator.

Generally, members of such boards aren’t compensated, but you could acknowledge their contributions with small gifts or special product or service offers.

Business Advisory Boards A Business Advisory Board’s role is to recommend strategy, suggest solutions to business problems and advise on relevant regulations. Like a Client Advisory Board, it should include five to seven members, but all should be from outside your company. The best such panel will have a diverse mix of local businesspeople and specialists from key functional areas such as human resources, finance, marketing and sales.

This type of committee typically meets quarterly, but can convene more frequently if needed. Meetings should follow formal agendas sent to attendees in advance along with any supporting information that’s needed for discussion. Such preparation is essential because, otherwise, it may appear that the partner company doesn’t take the advisory group seriously or is unwilling to share important information with its members — and those members may stop participating as a result.

The two main benefits that you can expect from a Business Advisory Board are, of course, insight and accountability. For many partner-company executives, their current businesses are the only ones that they’ve managed and led, so outside expertise can be particularly valuable. Some Acumen clients work with their Business Advisory Boards to conduct regular operational reviews. This process not only helps the partner-company executive hold the management team accountable for results, but forces a situation in which the entire company team is accountable to the Business Advisory Board.

Keep in mind that members of these boards are normally reimbursed for their time; occasional gifts of appreciation are also appropriate.

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, boot camps 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

The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness

July 12th, 2017

The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness

-a book review-

I recently read Kevin Davis’s book, The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness, 10 essential strategies for leading your team to the top, published by GreenLeaf books.  This book hits the mark when it comes to setting the standard for successful sales management.

What I enjoyed about the book is Kevin’s writing style along with the very important topics he covers in each chapter and the many tools he provides.  The book is broken into Sections with sub chapters, it makes it easy to go to a topic of interest and read all the related content. The first section is:

  • Self-Leadership

In this section the author covers the difference between Management and Leadership and how to embrace the leadership mindset and why it is important.  Kevin spends a larger portion of the chapter on one of the most miss-understood or poor skill levels of most sales managers and that is coaching. My last book was titled SLAMMED! for the First Time Sales Manager, I titled it because we have found that new sales managers get Slammed after about 6 months because of time management and not focusing properly.  Kevin nails this challenge in Chapter Two when he covers “Focusing on Priority #1” and “Become a Master of Your Time”.

The second section is:

  • Elements of Excellence

After 20 years of consulting on sales management issues, I found this section a must read for any new sales manager or any sales manager that is struggling with success.  Kevin hits the key points necessary for high performance, with a focus on Driving Rep Accountability, Hiring Smart and Insert the Customer into Your Sales Process. What I found especially good in this section were the various tools, graphs and guides to help the reader learn to evaluate their current team, how to judge potential candidates and how to interview more effectively.  In the Sales Process chapter 5, he builds an excellent case for a sales process but more importantly why it is important to consider the “buyer’s or customers mode”. This chapter will increase your win/lost ratios.

The third section is:

  • Priority #1: Coach and Develop Your Team

Kevin covers his C.O.A.C.H. Model in great detail and again provides the reader with terrific examples but more importantly a framework and tools to help the Sale Manager develop talent.  This entire section has four chapters on coaching that serve to build  skill levels, motivate the team and coaching of sales strategy. Each will dramatically improve sales performance levels.  This section will help any sales manager at any level of experience.  Great content!

The fourth Section covers:

  • Taking Action

In this final section, in one chapter Kevin pulls together themes from throughout the book to provide a practical model for the reader to create a self-development plan as well as the sales team. The final tool that Kevin provides is worth the price of the book alone.

As a Sales Manager if you have not taken a course or read a book lately on sales management, this book should be added to your library.

 

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, boot camps 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

1st Half of the Year is Over! What’s Next?

June 26th, 2017

First Half of the Year is Over!

Steps to take to Ensure Success

It’s a wrap.  But everything must continue to move forward with increased levels of urgency. In many situations cash flow is tighter, pipelines have been impacted and sales cycles have grown longer.  That’s the reality, but as sales leaders and executives we need to take this week to reflect on the first half: “what went better than expected, what things didn’t work?”  Actions that need to be taken this week:

(A) Hold a 2 hour sales meeting with your entire team to: 1) brainstorm on what needs to happened to have a successful 2017, 2) each salesperson must report on their first half achievements and what personal commitments (sales, personal and professional) they are making for the second half and 3) how they will help the entire company to be successful.

(B) Next make sure your 6- month marketing calendar is completed with the necessary levels of activities to generate pipeline values.

(C) Complete your next 90 day sales training plan.  Then write out your personal vision and commitment statement for the next six months.  This paragraph should describe your objectives and goals and add a personal sentence or two that describes what you will commit to from a leadership position.

(D) Make sure you have an end of year sales contest set and announce it soon.

(E) Re-read all my past blogs for other idea’s that will propel your sales organization.

Summer is also a good time to improve your professionalism but creating your own Sales Management Training plan.  Something new is available to help you position your organization for growth, Acumen’s online Sales Leadership training program. You have access to our video library and value content that covers:

  • Sales leadership and Sales Management
  • Building a Sales Culture
  • Sales Compensation
  • Sales Management Systems that Build Predictable Revenue
  • Interview and Recruiting for High Performance

Take each course separately or take the entire line of courseware, check it out: https://www.salesgravy.com/online-sales-training/course_category/8

Let me know what other actions everyone could do to increase their success rate!

 

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, boot camps 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

 

Five Tools Every Sales Manager Should Use

June 21st, 2017

Five Tools Every Sales Manager Should Use

 

During a recent podcast interview I was asked what I thought were the top five “systems or tools” that a Sales Manager needs to be successful.  After thinking about all the possibilities and responsibilities that any sales leader faces I answered the question with the list below.  They are not listed in any order of priority.

However, let me first say this; the most important aspect of sales management is recruiting top talent. Having the very best makes everything else happen and it must be a major focus if you have sales responsibility.   Having a solid recruiting process both in finding candidates and interviewing systems is critical.  It is the reason my first book was about that portion of the job.

However the systems and tools that move beyond recruitment are the following:

Quarterly Sales Training Plan. Once you have a sales team, constant attention to an organized training program becomes critical. Frequent readers of this blog or sales managers that have attended our Sales Management Boot Camp, know how important this is and that  I stress this concept continually.  How does it work: at the first of each quarter a plan is created showing all dates, topics and individuals responsible for the training and handed out to all the salespeople.  This plan allows the Sales Manager to ensure that training is covered on 1) Sales Skills, 2) Product/Services and 3) Sales Operations.  Having this kind of plan will keep the sales team sharp and improve their professionalism.

Salesperson 6-Month Business Plans. Every January and July each salesperson should create a comprehensive plan, not simply a forecast, but a document that details how they plan to achieve their goals.  This plan includes their personal goals, training needs, activity plans, personal marketing and networking concepts.  This will achieve at least two objectives; 1) the salespeople will be more proactive vs reactive in the marketplace and 2) it will provide  the Sales Manager a coaching tool and build accountability into the team-it’s their plan!.

Individual Account Plans.   Much like the Business Plan, this tool allows the salesperson to be proactive in planning and understanding their Key Accounts.  We recommend at a minimum each account should have a strategic objective and five tactical steps that will support the strategy.  Any recommended cross-sell/up sell objectives should be defined as well. We normally recommend updating “X” number of Account Plans each quarter.

Weekly Sales Meeting Agenda. This may seem to be a minor tool, but having a disciplined well run sales meeting sets the tone for everything.  I have seen hundreds of sales meetings that are not organized, run too long or miss the objective of even having a team meeting.  Create a standard template and follow it.  The sales team will recognize the organization and begin to respond appropriately.  If you would like a sample: Ken@AcumenMgmt.com

Sales Dashboard.  The Sales Leader must have a quality set of metrics to manage the accuracy of the forecast, values of the pipeline, leading indicators of activity and win/lost ratios.  Obviously there could be 25 different ratios to track, we like to recommend that creating a dashboard with 5-8 should be sufficient. This allows the manager to coach individual salespeople based upon the team’s numbers and other individual performers.  The effective dashboard also will create a confidence in the sales team’s ability to perform and create the science of sales management. Understanding your dashboard allows you to build in predictability of current and future sales performance.

Agree with my list?  What did I miss?  By building a foundation of Sales Management tools-systems you can leverage your time, scale the size of your sales organization and hit higher levels of performance.

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, boot camps 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 EQ-a book review

June 13th, 2017

Sales EQ-a book review 

Twenty six page corners turned over!  Without checking that might be an all-time high, for my frequent readers you know that is how I judge the quality of the book I am reading—(how many page corners I turn over while reading any new book). Keeping it simple: if you want to “up your sales game”, buy this book today.

Jeb Blount’s latest book Sales EQ is a MUST READ book if you are in sales, especially if you have a desire to succeed at higher levels.  The author explores how the UHP or Ultra High Performers live, execute the sales process and what makes them tick differently than the average salesperson.  In reading this book I found Jeb’s maturity as a writer shows off as he brilliantly blending in stories, research and insights to make his points.

Right way in Chapter One: The Mysterious Brown Bag he captures the reader by telling a story that every salesperson can relate to and how the UHP can use the concept of “disruption” to improve the sales process and more importantly increase the buyer’s emotional connection to the sellers offering. This focus on EQ is the basis for altering a salesperson from being an average performer to one of high achievement.  The author moves quickly from chapter to chapter adding to his case but taking the reader on a fascinating journey towards both understanding his concepts and providing a pathway to practicing his recommendations.

In Chapter Five he begins to set the basis to ensure the reader understands the power of EQ by explaining the Four Levels of Sales Intelligence:

  • Innate Intelligence
  • Acquired Intelligence
  • Technological Intelligence
  • Emotional Intelligence

Understanding each of these topics and how they relate to the UHP salesperson’s activity will absolutely help the average salesperson that is focused on becoming the best they can be improve their capacity to win.

With 29 chapters it is impossible to cover all the golden nuggets Jeb has put into this powerful book, just a few winners:  Shaping Win Probability, Empathy, Self-Awareness, and Sales Drive.

The balance of the book covers specific concepts used by Ultra High Performers:

  • A nine-frame qualification matrix
  • How to measure prospects against the ideal qualified prospect profile
  • Testing an engagement by tuning into emotions and micro-commitments
  • 3-actions to move a stalled deal
  • Knowing the 5-stakeholders in every deal and how to deal with them

Ultra-High Performers also understand the power of knowing these three questions that Jeb explores in Sales EQ:

  • Do you like me?
  • Do you listen to me?
  • Do you make me feel important

I could go on and on but his Chapter on Discovery, (one of my most favorite sales topics) is outstanding and should be a topic of a major sales training program for any firm.  In the book Jeb explores the questions to ask, not to ask and the power of beginning with easy, broad-open-ended, moving to probing, clarifying and moving the sales to the next step.  As Jeb states:” UHP’s seem to know exactly what to ask at exactly the right moment while remaining engaged with the stakeholder. They never appear to be working very hard to come up with the next question or to keep the conversation moving and the stakeholder engaged.

In his final Chapter 29, AMACHE, Jeb closes this book with a powerful story that any salesperson that is or wants to be more successful can take away to improve their performance by learning to “listen”.  And then he lays it on you, the real secret sauce of UHP’s; I will let you in on it: Gratitude!  “Gratitude is the cornerstone of a winning mind-set and the spark that ignites self-motivation.

This absolutely must be a book that every salesperson should read, if you are a Sales Manager buy this book for everyone on your team and discuss two-three chapters a week in your weekly sales meeting, creating your own book club. You will see the acceleration and motivation build in your organization.

For more training check out Jeb Blount’s Online Sales Gravy University https://www.salesgravy.com/online-sales-training/

 

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, boot camps 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

A Sales Managers Recipe: What Cooking in 2017

June 6th, 2017

A Sales Manager’s Recipe: What’s Cooking in 2017?

Last week after presenting a keynote program called Gourmet Living, an attendee came up to me afterwards and discussed her challenges as a sales manager.  The last three years have been tough and she was looking for new ideas for 2017 to excite her team and also to simply change up the routine.  At the half way point of the year, there is time to continue to exceed your goals.

Since my keynote program had been about creating a Menu for Your Life with many metaphors around cooking I started thinking about what her sales management recipe should be, for about 30 minutes we discussed a variety of ideas. So if 2016 left a bad taste in your mouth, use the following ingredients to create a new recipe to make 2017 your best year ever.

Become a Detective: In sales management workshops we always talk about inspect what you expect.  Once a week; review your sales teams CRM system to ensure they are using it properly and casually ask each team member about their certain activities within their key accounts. Once they know you are actually reviewing their accounts they will be more precise and begin to be more accurate. Next, make two extra sales calls per month with each sales rep. Validate they can sell your firm and they are using the proper sales tools. These actions are not micro-management, they are designed to provide you greater opportunities to coach and grow your team.

Reduce Fatigue:  Recognize your sales team might be tired or somewhat challenged based upon the last three years of tight budgets and stress.  Fire them up with new products or packaging/pricing, change the game with new times for sales and sales training meetings-even re-arrange the sales offices. Once a month, take your sales team on a field trip to visit a customer, let the customer sell your team on your products/services.

Find Creative Dust:  Read a book on creativity and share it with your team. The truly great salespeople are the most creative and it is true that creativity can be learned!  As a sales manager, creative sales strategies will push you over your quota-get your entire team into a creativity fix.

Become an SOB:  That is a Student of the Business. Invest in sales management training, books, DVD’s. Create your own network of other sales managers where you can discuss ideas, learn what is working for others and explore new sales management concepts. Push yourself to become a professional in 2017, consider visiting other offices and view how their sales managers run their sales teams. At our website you will find free videos on hiring and training salespeople and other articles I have written on sales management, you might also go back and skim through our blog to look for other ideas.

While these are just a few ideas, I would enjoy reading your reactions or other recipes for success below.  As a team of readers, let’s  build up a complete for each as we work to make 2017 a feast we will always remember.

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 .

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

What Separates Ave Firms from High Performing Firms?

May 24th, 2017

What Separates Average Organizations from High Performing Organizations? 

Yesterday I was interviewed by Keith Lubner from ChannelEQ (www.Channeleq.co) on his Pod Cast Channel, while the theme of our conversation was focused on the IT Channel and Partner community as well as the Vendor environment, one of Keith’s insightful questions was: What separates the average or failing organizations from the high performing firms?.

While pondering my answer two words came to mind:  Brilliant Execution.

I want on to explain the following issue, leadership of the organization must be focused on creating a vision and philosophy of brilliant execution-at all levels.  If you are in an administration role, a product/service delivery role and certainly a sales role, every aspect of your daily responsibilities needs to be focused on this message.  High performing organizations simply seem to run better, with higher revenues/employee and lower costs of sales.

From a Sales Management perspective it means you focus on discipline, accountability and control (see past blogs for insights), but specifically Brilliant Execution means that you have a:

  • Quarterly sales training plan and you follow through with it
  • Quality interviewing and recruiting plan and you follow it
  • Detailed pipeline management and dashboard metrics analysis that you update
  • Focused quarterly Salesperson Development Plans designed to improve professionalism
  • Accurate and detailed sales process mapped out and you make sure your sales team follows it (Inspect what you expect!)

Those are just a few samples, for a list of the top 40 Actions Sales Managers must do to achieve predictable revenue download this white paper.

In my blog on Building the Emotional Formula for Sales Success I wrote about the need to pay attention to the details as one aspect of keeping everything working properly.  High performance leaders understand that salespeople need to feel leadership’s high energy level, their belief in the company/products/services and the need to share a positive vision.  Share it often and make sure you are on top of the details.

HINT: every sales team and organization need a yearly theme, if your organization does not have one, you might consider Brilliant Execution as a theme you can focus on during the coming months.  If you have another theme, I would enjoy hearing about it, please share with everyone on this blog.

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, boot camps 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

 

 

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

 

No Challenge, No Change

May 1st, 2017

No Challenge, No Change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Sales Management Thought Leadership:  efficient effectiveness

April 20th, 2017

Sales Management Thought Leadership:  efficient effectiveness

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have a plan?

       If you lose a salesperson

       If your sales team needs sales training

       To increase the sales culture of your team

       To increase your networking/partnering function

       That generates excitement for your products/services

       To say thank you to your support team

       That increases your level of professionalism/education

       To create a sales contest that drives revenue

       That adds net new customers to your base

       That drives the necessary sales leads for each month

       To say thank you to your existing customer base

       To increase your public relations exposure within your community or market

       That will increase/improve your vendor relations

       To improve your CRM effectiveness

       If your computer systems fail or are destroyed

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com