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Brain Waves: Transform your sales team

October 2nd, 2017

Brain Waves; Transform your sales team to higher levels of performance

Ok, let me confess right off.  Brain Waves is not my word, search on it and you will find many references to technical concepts that I have read about for the past 15 years. Recently I happened to have heard a sports talk radio host discuss Brain Waves in terms of what winning football players must exhibit, he specifically discussed using powerful Brain Waves to get into the head of their opponent allowing the one player to dominant.

Since I had studied the concept beginning years ago the  term stuck with me and during one of our recent Slammed! Sales Management Boot Camp online discussions the concept of hiring high level salespeople came up vs developing high level salespeople, in the group conversation I described the concept of Brain Waves as a separating factor in all high performing salespeople.

While we can always discuss the concepts if average salespeople can move up to “A” level salespeople, it is my firm belief a Sales Manager can move all salespeople up to the next level by following the next few steps and generating higher levels of production.  They all relate to having the correct Brain Waves.

  1. In hiring the right person, you need to assess their mental capacity in smarts, capacity to learn and mental toughness. Your interviewing process must have the questions, the evaluations and use of online assessments to validate these issues.  Smart salespeople can easily understand the “Why’s” of the sales process, evaluate the sales situation they are in and if they have a capacity to learn, product/services concepts will connect and they be open to coaching. Mental toughness relates to persistence and wiliness to do what is necessary to win.

 

  1. During one of my keynote programs I cover the process of building a high-performance culture throughout an organization. One of the key points I mention is the responsibility of Sales Leadership to build belief in the organizations people, services/products, customer experience and commitment.  This Brain Wave must be reinforced with specific and tactical actions and if done correctly the salesperson’s proper Brain Waves will be transmitted to the prospect during every sales call creating the positive emotion necessary to gain the prospects confidence.

 

  1. Confidence is a level of sales Brain Waves that is another Sales Leadership responsibility. Effective individual coaching along with a regular cadence of sales skills and product/service training programs will increase the level of salesperson confidence when handling any sales situation. Salespeople break down when they are unclear in executing the sales process, answering tough questions, unable to sell or understand the business benefits their products/service can provide to a prospect. If Sales Managers know how to coach and train and do it, the confidence level of the entire team will increase and therefore production will increase.

 

  1. The last point I will make is the Brain Waves of the Sales Manager, without the proper alignment at the leadership position points 1, 2, 3 will fail. I have found after many years of working with sales leaders that the alignment of their personal life and their professional life be in balance. While our training does focus on the tactical and strategic issues facing Sales Managers we discovered that if their personal life was not correct-for whatever reason- their level of performance on the professional failed. There are many aspects in both of these (personal/professional) topics but it can be as simple as having personal goals, a vision for their life, a personal action plan and linking it to their professional business plans and objectives.  I call this aligning the soul of individual to goals of the organization.

 

Check out your Brain Waves and what you are doing to increase the effectiveness of everyone around you.  Let me know if you other thoughts/ideas on this topic.

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

Folks: IT is all about Execution!

September 19th, 2017

Folks:  IT is all about Execution

During the past 12+ days we explored parts of the Western U.S. and drove nearly 1800 miles, we saw marvelous topography from the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, several cities in Montana and Wyoming plus we visited Mount Rushmore and the Badlands in South Dakota-it was a great trip.  That much time also gave me time to reflect, observe and think about our world of sales leadership.

Many organizations fail because they simply don’t focus on executing the fundaments of a sales process or management process. Its why our tag line was developed almost 20 years ago….Building Organizations Through the Execution of Strategic Sales Management. During our trip, I saw all sides of the “execution” issue.

Our second stop was Yellowstone, we chose a hotel in the center of the park, Canyon Village-don’t ever stay there, it is a bust.   Our experience, which is what hotels deliver, was far from even satisfactory; for over $300 a night we received a Motel 6 environment or less.  No TV, no Air/Conditioning, no internet service, limited cell access, but we did have a coffee pot, a small refrigerator and a small electric fan. When I inquired about the menu choice at the reservation only restaurant I was told “American comfort food”, since there was no menu in the room I asked if I could see the menu. I was told they had ONE copy and I had to walk to the main lodge lobby to see it, realize there are 590 rooms in this complex and when I got to the lobby, it took two people to find the menu! After deciding not to dine at that restaurant our party of four decided to go to the non-reservation dining room. Chaos.  People were dropped off to wander about and read menus on the wall and then picking up a plastic tray you were walked down a corporate cafeteria line choosing your “protein”, your meat, and salads, and eventually finding your way to a cashier.  The dining room was made up of plastic chairs and tables ooooo BTW you bused your own plates on to another stainless-steel counter. Now remember this is in the middle of Yellowstone National Park-no Lodge atmosphere, no warmth, no friendly faces, no attention to the environment- just more junk to buy alongside your corporate cafeteria experience.

After three days we went to Bozeman, Montana, that evening we went out for dinner in the downtown area.  We enjoyed the opposite experience, at the Montana Ale Works restaurant we had great service, our waiter even wrote down two recommended tourists spots to visit on Monday and we had an engaging conversation.  Food was terrific, atmosphere was fun and the place was packed on a Sunday evening!

I won’t make this a trip report, but my point is high performing organizations and sales leaders look and analyze their sales process, management processes and their prospect/customer experiences. A few questions to consider:

Are the sales teams executing a sales process properly?  Are you sure?

Are you as a Sales Manager organized? HINT: go to our website and take the free Sales Management Assessment. www.AcumenManagement.com

Do you have systems in place to Inspect what you Expect?

Are your sales teams trained to professionally represent your firm and its products/services? Are you sure?

Do you communicate with your customer base on an ongoing basis, as to their experiences?

Is there a quarterly review process in place with your management team to ensure you are remaining competitive and making money?

These are just a few questions to consider, the ultimate question is; are your focused-on execution?

Our Sales Management Boot Camp is filling up, it starts this Friday, September 22nd. https://www.salesgravy.com/online-sales-training/course/Slammed-Sales-Manager-Boot-Camp-9-22-17-259

 

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

 

 

Be a better Sales Manager, check out this Boot Camp Sept 22nd

September 12th, 2017

Be a better sales manager with Sales Management Boot Camp.

As a frequent reader and contributor to LinkedIn   I thought I should share with you an answer  to many challenges Sales Managers face. It is a Sales Management Boot Camp offering an online video library along with 8   interactive discussions with a limited number of participants-almost your own Peer Group. The sessions are by me, by Ken Thoreson from Acumen Management Group, a 20 year Sales Management consulting organization, www.AcumenMgmt.com  What will you get?

  • More than thirty self-directed video learning modules
  • Sales Management Tools, Best Practice Guides
  • Discussion forums to learn best practices
  • Plus you’ll get all four books in Ken’s Sales Management Guru series including Slammed! For the New Sales Manager

Anyone have problems with recruiting/hiring, creating compensation plans or building sales management systems that can predict revenue should check out the site in detail. I think the sessions on coaching/training look interesting.

For questions please give Sales Gravy, call 1-844-447-3737 and ask for April. Take a deeper dive here

http://ow.ly/vVQV30eAyqU

Thanks

Ken Thoreson

Acumen Management Group

www.AcumenManagement.com

SLAMMED! Sales Mgmt Boot Camp

August 9th, 2017

  Slammed! Sales Management Boot Camp- 8 weeks, online

We hear these comments all the time:

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

If you relate to any of these comments then SLAMMED! Sales Management Boot Camp maybe for you. We start September 22, 2017 Sales management is one of the most rewarding jobs in business when you know what to do and how to do it. This is what Sales Manager Boot Camp is all

about. Taught by sales management guru Ken Thoreson (one of the world’s foremost sales leadership coaches), you will get everything you need to crush it in your new role.

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

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

In the course you’ll learn:

  • Important time management strategies for sales leaders
  • How to recruit, interview, and hire top talent
  • How to motivate your sales team
  • How to build and lead a high-performance sales culture
  • Compensation and incentive strategies
  • Coaching and training strategies for improving performance
  • How to effectively onboard new sales reps
  • How to evaluate your team and plan for the future
  • Pipeline management strategies
  • Creating Sales Management business planning strategies
  • How to build and create accountability
  • How to monitor leading indicators
  • How to manage and leverage sales dashboards
  • How to use Salesperson Business Plans to lead a self-managed team
  • And continued access to all training material in the program for twelve full months
If you are new to sales leadership or never attended a sales management course this is a opportunity you must not miss. It is a rare opportunity to learn from one to the greatest sales management minds of all time. To ensure that participants get full attention class size is limited to 15 participants. Enroll now to get instant access to pre-work and initial training videos. For questions please give us a call at 1-844-447-3737.  To Enroll, click here.

What others say about their experience at Jammed!  Sales Management Boot Camp:
“Ken Thoreson’s Sales Management Training course is perfect for either the first time or the experienced sales manager. He covers a tremendous amount of valuable content in an easy-to-use, online format. I can’t wait to begin implementing some of his ideas.” Kris Director of Sales Cloud-based Saas Solutions Provider As a Sales Manager who is also new to sales, I’ve found the Slammed course invaluable. The experience, knowledge and documentation that is shared has been incredibly helpful. In a short period of time I’ve managed to successfully conclude annual remuneration conversations and  set our Sales plan for the coming financial year. Sam IT Tech Organization, New Zealand “Wow! In 8 short weeks, Ken Thoreson provided a strong foundation in sales management. The lessons learned in Slammed! Sales Management Boot Camp are essential to any new sales manager. I strongly recommend this course for anyone who is looking to transform into the best sales manager and coach possible to lead a sales team! Georganne Healthcare Software Company, US

The Lost Art of Closing

July 26th, 2017

The Lost Art of Closing

-a book review-

Frequent readers of this blog certainly are aware of the Acumen Book Club concept, for those new readers the Book Club is sales training program we discuss in our Sales Management Boot Camps;  essentially the idea is that twice a year every salesperson in your organization reads the same sales book and the team discusses one or two chapters each week during the weekly sales meeting. The goal is to improve the professionalism of the sales team.  Now that I have explained that, buy this book-immediately. The Lost Art of Closing fits the book club model perfectly.

Anthony Iannarino hit it on the head with his book The Lost Art of Closing published by Portfolio/Penguin.  Now let me tell why this book will be a bestselling sales book and perfect for any Sales Manager or salesperson that wants to add additional income to their W-2.

Not only does the author explore how to improve the sales process in a unique style but he provides a step by step approach how a salesperson can improve their working relationship with every prospect but also he provides the tools, examples and  working scripts that are ideal for any sales training environment.  Each week as you use this book, salespeople will see how they can accelerate their sales pipeline and improve their skills. As I read through the various chapters my head kept nodding, YES< YES< YES as he built his case that closing occurs at every step of the sale and without effective closing=commitment most pipelines are built on dreams.

Anthony’s 16 chapters cover the various aspects of moving through the stages of a typical sales process and the various actions a salesperson must do to increase their effectiveness. While many sales books attempt to accomplish this idea, this book will actually change the way you look at selling and interacting during the sales process. Where he will increase your Win/Lost ratios are in the nuances of what you as a salesperson will say, do and ask the prospect.  His scripts are excellent but his logic will drive your success.  His chapters on:

  • Commitment to Explore
  • Commitment to Change
  • Commitment to Collaborate

are worth the investment of the book alone.  However when you move to Chapter 10 and learn his secret to Commitment to Review and move to Commitment to Resolve Concerns strategy your sales will be guaranteed to soar!  If you sell B2B and especially items in a complex sale with the need to add value, this book is ideal for your next sales Acumen Book Club training.  This book does take a turn in Chapter 13, Commitment to Execute, Anthony describes in a special way what I always understood, but never had seen before in a sales focused book-that the salesperson is a key component in the successful implementation or execution that drives the end results of your product/services.  He covers both the need for “internal”- your existing company and “external”- your prospect/client needs to allocate resources to make it happen. Every new salesperson must read that chapter.

To find out more and to check out Anthony’s approach watch his video and his resource page here: www.thelostartofclosing.com

Let me know your thoughts on this book and what impacts it made on your sales levels.

 

BTW: our next Slammed!  Sales Management Boot Camp begins September 22nd, 8 weeks with online, interactive Peer Group sessions, this is just one quote from a recent attendee: “Wow!  In 8 short weeks, Ken Thoreson provided a strong foundation in sales management.  The lessons learned in Slammed!  Sales Management Boot Camp are essential to any new sales manager.  I strongly recommend this course for anyone who is looking to transform into the best sales manager and coach possible to lead a sales team!”

Georganne Healthcare Software Company, US

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

 

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