Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Think Better

November 13th, 2017

 

Think Better

An Innovator’s Guide to Productive Thinking

-a book review-

Published by McGraw Hill, this is must read for any salesperson, sales leader, President or any manager.  Author Tim Hurson does a masterful job in leading the reader through the entire mental process of challenging the reader to think better.

The sub-title uses the word “Guide” and indeed it is, I folded over23 pages with many underlined passages and marked up tools while I read this book, it is that engaging.

Tim begins the learning process by bringing the reader along with an understanding of the fundamentals of thinking by introducing The Productive Thinking Model and its potential impact on driving increased levels of performance along with increasing creativity.  What I also liked is the author’s ability to keep me active with an understanding of the Monkey Brain, Gator Brain and the Elephant’s Tether and how each example teaches the reader how they think and why the model/system must be used to be that innovator or creative solution solver.

Without giving away the book-as you will want to introduce this book to your entire organization- this sentence is one of the gems: Productive thinking requires us not to rush to answers but hang back, to keep asking new questions even when the answers to the old ones seem so clear, so obvious, so right.

With an understanding of the concepts, in Chapter 6, Tim begins to then develop the process;

  1. What’s going on?
  2. What’s success?
  3. What’s the question?
  4. Generate answers
  5. Forge the solution
  6. Align resources

The balance of the book explores these 6 points in detail along with various tools Tim has included to show you how implement this process to improve your organizations ability to address issues with better solutions. With an understanding of how we think and then by providing a process to follow with the examples/tools, this is the book that will change your level of professional success. HINT: He also addresses “personal” thinking as well.

In a challenging environment having better answers to tough questions separates high performance organizations from the average organizations-learn to think better-buy this book!

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 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

 

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

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

The 4 Levels of Sales Intelligence

March 20th, 2017

The Four Levels of Sales Intelligence

By Jeb Blount, Author of Sales EQ:  How Ultra High Performers Leverage Sales-Specific Emotional Intelligence to Close the Complex Deal

The speed and complexity of the modern marketplace is the domain of intellectual agility. Ultra-high sales performers possess four types of intelligence that are tightly intertwined, each connecting, affecting, and amplifying the others.

  • IQ—how smart you are. Fixed and baked into your DNA.
  • AQ—how much you know. Makes IQ relevant.
  • TQ—how fast you assimilate and leverage technology. Makes more time for human relationships.
  • EQ—your acuity for dealing with emotions. Your own and those of others.

Ultra-high performers combine high IQ, AQ, and TQ with high EQ to dominate their competitors.

Innate Intelligence

Your intelligence quotient (IQ) is an indicator of how smart you are. Innate intelligence is baked into your DNA. It is a talent no different than athleticism. You are either born with a certain IQ or you are not. IQ is immovable. In other words, you are as smart as you will ever be.

Ultra-high sales performers are smart people. They are keen observers and have insatiable curiosity. They have the innate ability to connect disparate ideas, data, facts and patterns to develop unique and original solutions to problems—a critical competency in sales for discovery, challenging the status quo, and developing unique solutions and recommendations.

In sales, however, where emotions rather than rational decision making carry the day, IQ is but part of the performance equation. Innate intelligence becomes relevant, useful, and powerful when combined with acquired, technological, and emotional intelligence.

Acquired Intelligence

I was delivering a two-day Sales EQ seminar for a client. On the first day, I noticed that a couple of the participants were disengaged. The rest of the group of roughly 20 people were participating and energetic. But these two were almost hostile.

At lunch, I asked the sales leader if there was something going on. He confided that everyone had been excited about the training except for these two, who had complained about having to go back to training. “They think they know it all. But trust me—these guys need this badly because they are struggling to hit their numbers.”

Average salespeople who think they know it all—I see it every day.

Innate intellect is useless on its own. It must be honed and developed. Unlike innate intelligence, acquired intelligence (AQ) is not static.

Regardless of your IQ, you can grow your AQ with schooling, training, reading, along with practice, adversity, and experience. Acquired intelligence makes IQ relevant and useful.

Technological Intelligence

Technological intelligence (TQ) is the ability to interact with technology and weave it seamlessly into one’s daily life. Those who fail to develop this ability or who resist developing it will be left behind.

As technology—especially artificial intelligence—becomes a ubiquitous part of daily life, humans with high TQ will thrive in ways that humans with low TQ will not.

It is essential that salespeople adapt quickly to working with machines. Salespeople can no longer afford to claim that they are “not computer savvy.” If you don’t get tech savvy and quickly, you will be left behind and out of a job.

In the future, there will be two types of salespeople. The first group will tell machines what to do. The second group will be told what to do by machines. Trust me, you want to be in the first group.

Emotional Intelligence

The ability to perceive, correctly interpret, respond to, and effectively manage one’s own emotions and influence the emotions of others is called emotional intelligence (EQ).

Today, the impact of sales-specific emotional intelligence (Sales EQ) on sales performance can no longer be ignored. Buyers are starving for authentic human interaction.

In our tech-dominated society, interpersonal skills (responding to and managing the emotions of others) and intrapersonal skills (managing your own disruptive emotions) are more essential to success in sales than at any point in history.

Emotional intelligence is the key that unlocks ultra-high sales performance.

Mastery of sales-specific emotional intelligence (Sales EQ) explains why one person becomes an ultra-high sales performer while another is just average, even though the intellectual ability and knowledge of the two people are equal. Sales professionals who invest in developing and improving EQ gain a decisive competitive advantage in the hypercompetitive global marketplace.

Jeb Blount is the author of eight books including Sales EQ Fanatical Prospecting, and People Follow You. He is a Sales Acceleration specialist who helps sales organizations reach peak performance fast by optimizing talent, leveraging training to cultivate a high-performance sales culture, developing leadership and coaching skills, and applying a more effective organizational design. Contact: 1-888-360-2249 or  https://www.SalesGravy.com

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Close

March 13th, 2017

The Perfect Close

-a book review-

21 page corners turned over! For those past readers of this blog and my book reviews you know that is an excellent rating.  For those of you that are new, whenever I read a new book, I read it with a pen in hand and I fold over the corners of those pages with high value. Believe me James Muir’s book, The Perfect Close is a great add to any sales library.

Early on James added a section titled “Why I Wrote This Book”, he writes of his history of sales and sales management-almost talking himself out of sale and coaching others in learning how to sell.  His stories are easy to relate to and James writing style is smooth and his content is spot on.  His 13 chapters flow logically, even though on page one he clearly states if you want to know his Perfect Close, skip everything and go to Chapter 12-more about that later.  This book is ideal for those salespeople that are new to selling or uncomfortable in a sales role. For those highly experienced salespeople, his ideas will rock you. They are new, scientific, tested and will add fresh concepts to your sales style.

What caught my attention in reading this book was how the author set up the reader by starting at the beginning of the sales process and how it allows The Perfect Close to work.  He starts by breaking down the closing mindset, but then locks you into the books focus by Chapter 3: Adopting the Right Mindset. This chapter was amazing, in it James moves into the buyers mind and the sellers mind with scientific descriptions as to how your mind can cause your mental, physical and even vocal interactions with a buyer to change. He goes in to great detail quoting various scholars and studies as to what key sales attributes are required for success, I will give them away-but you must buy this book to fully understand their importance.  They are warmth and competence. What signals are you giving out during that first stage of a sales interaction?  What questions are your buyers thinking and what are you thinking and how are your thoughts reinforcing these attributes?   This chapter is a MUST sales training program for any sales team.

As James continues to bring the reader to Chapter 12, he takes you into not only the logic but the science of what advancing the sale means and why a professional salesperson must understand what commitment/consistency and endowed progress means and how they lead to setting up the Perfect Close. Throughout the book his examples, tips and illustrations provide any salesperson with new thoughts on improving their skill.

Adding to his theme of a mental approach to selling, James covered in great detail the mentality of stimulating the buyers mind. Again, another chapter worth a sales training meeting. Just imagine how your sales will soar as you better understand how to had unique value and that your questioning techniques include a knowledge basis and cognitive style. The illustrations on this topic must be studied and reinforced to fully utilize this approach-they are certainly a sales differentiation technique that will change your approach and add thousands of dollars to your commission account.

Chapter 10 includes pre call planning and includes a long list of suggestions and a variety of sample forms. Chapter 11 then discusses setting up a sales call agenda, a tactic most salespeople don’t understand or more importantly don’t use.  The author’s examples make it easy to implement this ideas.

Finally in Chapter 12 James hits you with his Perfect Close. Just two easy statements or questions, brilliantly covered.   What really made this book is how he explains this idea and how he moves on with a variety and large number of examples on how to use his technique. He even created a sample sales scenario between a salesperson and a prospect to show how it works.  This chapter is golden.

If you are a professional salesperson, want to be one or a Sales Manager get this book. At the end of the book, James lists 5 pages of other top rated sales books that you should have in a sales library. PLUS James offers a robust list of resources associated with his book at www.PureMuir.com/resources

It makes the Acumen Sales Book Club, buy this book for each of your salespeople, cover one chapter a week during your sales meeting and during your Sales Training Meetings role play the concepts throughout the book.  At the end of the year you will be happy!

 

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

More Sales Less Time

January 24th, 2017

More Sales/Less Time

-A book review-

If want to exceed your sales goals this year-read this book…

I am not sure how some people do it?   Jill Konrath has written three other sales related books and now she hits the mark again with More Sales/Less Time published by Penguin books.

This book sets a different tone from her past books, Selling to Big Companies, SNAP Selling and Agile Selling.  In this book, Jill shares a highly personal story, sharing a lot of research that ends up providing every executive, sales manager and certainly all salespeople a formula to increase productivity. Her findings and action plans are a fresh approach to managing a salesperson’s business and personal life by creating a more productive time management plan. In the end, time is everyone’s most valuable asset.

What you will enjoy about this book is Jill created a story about her own professional sales life, with pipeline challenges, client work and worldwide travel challenges, plus including her active personal life. Everyone will relate to her realization that “things’ had gotten out of control. Everyone in sales will buy into her story, her attempts to increase productivity, her failures, this makes her “result” all the more real.  The other strong aspect of this book is the ton of research Jill had done along with many one on one interviews, that bring credibility and reinforces her thinking. (Jill has a complete appendix of available resources for you too…)

So what’s the meat in this book? In my opinion it is the essence first that in today’s crazy busy sales world, there are many distractions (CRM/Social Media/Internet, sales calls….) that eat into a salesperson’s key resource –TIME.  Jill takes you through her pathway of exploring various ideas, tools and even gamification to attempt to find her method to increase her productivity and time management.   I turned over the corners of 18 pages where I found major tips, new concepts and key points in her book.  You will find yourself nodding your head and say, great idea!

What you will gain by buying this book is a process to create a new time saving methodology for you! A personal plan that will:

  • Recover Lost Time
  • Learn to Get More Done
  • Make it Easier
  • Accelerate Sales

Those are just a few of the major sections of Jill’s book. The chapters I found most enlightening were Part 4, where Jill becomes The Time Master, her Time Master Manifesto should be hung on every sales room wall!  It’s worth the investment of the book.  Let me give you a hint: The Time Master becomes her avatar that possesses a deep knowledge and magical capabilities-like a wizard-a hero! 

Part 5 “Add the Secret Sauce” links everything together.

HINT: if you are a Sales Manager, Appendix 1 is for you: Leading a Highly Productive Sales Team

It’s a fun read with a lot of worthwhile content. If you are a sales leader, buy this book for every salesperson and run an Acumen Book Club-assign each of the 7 sections to a salesperson and then each week in your sales meetings, discuss the contents of that section with your entire team. Then follow up to ensure your team is working on Jill’s key points-I think you will be amazed at the increase in productivity.

Find it on Amazon, go to:  www.JillKonrath.com    a great site for content.

Let me know your thoughts?

 

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 Compensation Planning for 2017

November 28th, 2016

Creating a Sales Compensation Plan for 2017

When it comes to how businesses pay their salespeople, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. That’s especially true for many companies with diverse products and services that include: a mix of products and services. Some pay commission based on sales, while others only pay on margin; still others blend both with incentives and special bonus plans.

Your sales management team must understand your company’s overall goals and structure compensation to align with them. In short, sales compensation should be not just a tactical focus for your organization, but a strategic one as well.

Sizing It Up

Compensation plans shouldn’t be developed in a vacuum. You’ll need to factor in variables such as new product launches and major promotions, as well as consider your personnel structure.

You should also address these questions: Is your company a start-up or an established business? What are sales goals? How long are your delivery cycles? What are your objectives: to secure new clients, incr. ave order size, add margin? Do you want to open a vertical market, new products? Each answer will help you design a compensation plan tailored to your company’s specific needs.

Understanding Cost of Sales Of course, you can reduce selling costs and enhance profits by capping sales compensation, but in the long run you get what you pay for. If you hire good salespeople and compensate them poorly, expect high turnover, which comes with costs of its own. A sales plan that compensates strong performance will allow you to attract the best salespeople — and retain them as well.

Calculating the cost of sales (CoS) is an important part of planning a compensation package. For a quick CoS ratio, simply take an individual’s salary plus commissions earned at 100 percent of quota and potential bonus opportunities, then divide by that person’s revenues to obtain the percentage. A more sophisticated approach adds in marketing expenses, corporate overhead, direct expenses paid to the salesperson and expenses related to sales support costs. CoS will vary from industry to industry. 

 

Examining the Options Compensation plans vary widely, but all should include “accelerators,” that is, increased commission rates for employees who achieve target levels.

  • Profit-Based: Commission rates change as margin levels increase. These plans are generally based on invoice, product or monthly averages of margin generation.
  • Revenue/Quota: Compensation is based on sheer volume achieved over the previous sales period or on a percentage of a quota achievement.
  • Balanced: Compensation is based on margin, revenue and a third component, such as quota attainment.
  • Team: Bonuses go to all team members when quarter-to-date (QTD) sales goals are achieved.

There are many variations and we recommend multiple combinations based upon the objectives of the organization.

Tailoring Tips Here are a few final considerations to keep in mind as you customize your compensation plan:

  • In new organizations focused on expanding within existing markets, the compensation plan will differ dramatically from that of an established company in the same industry. A mature, market-dominant company that receives a large percentage of its revenues from a small, loyal customer base can offer lower commissions and, perhaps, lower overall salaries. But a newcomer to an existing market probably needs to offer higher compensation to attract top-performing salespeople who can build a strong customer base.
  • New organizations in new markets need compensation plans reflecting the volatile environment, usually with higher-than- average base pay.
  • Companies in transition or undergoing a turnaround typically experience a higher CoS ratio; they may be best served by flexible plans incorporating morale- and team-building components.
  • Organizations positioned for high growth should develop plans covering brief, six-month periods. This will let management test theories and change direction while allowing the sales team to adjust accordingly.

Take a sales compensation assessment to evaluate your current plan: www.AcumenManagement.com

No question about it: Creating an effective sales compensation plan is hard work, but the effort typically pays off in both improved sales performance and achievement of your corporate goals.

 

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

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

 

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

 

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

The Perfect Close

September 26th, 2016

The Perfect Close

-A book review-

The quality of new sales related books coming out is amazing and The Perfect Close by James Muir is another high quality book to add to your library. James writing style along with his content makes his book contemporary and a complete book to take an average performer to the next level. You can find it on Amazon.

He caught my attention when he thanked Mahan Khalsa for his initial introduction into sales.  For anyone that has not read Mahan’s books, you are missing a legend.

I especially enjoyed how James takes the reader from sharing  information on his personal sales background (helps everyone relate to the challenges in selling)  to  research on High Value Selling vs Lower Value Selling and how the closing process and the sales process must change with high value offerings with levels of success up to 42% . And then quickly even on page 32 the author brings further research on developing the proper mindset for selling and closing by discussing several psychologists and their work on changing the minds individuals. Having mental toughness is important but understanding the internal workings of individual’s minds gives the superior salesperson the edge.

James then takes the reader through the tactics that must be executed to build to The Perfect Close.  This book is a must investment for every salesperson simply because the author gives the reader:  Questions, Planning Concepts, Tactics and Methodology to execute the sales process at a higher level.

Are you working the right opportunity-4 Questions to Test the Deal

Do you have a Plan?-A Checklist to Validate it

Are you building value-Why Should a Prospect See You?

Readers of this blog know I am a firm believer in the art of discovery and James hit this out of the ballpark-a chapter that can’t be missed.

What makes this book dance is Chapter 12 when James gives you the two questions that gives the reader the perfect close-they are simply brilliant.  What make it better is he then provides potential scenarios, examples and test situations where any salesperson can relate to their current list of prospects. Buy this book for this chapter alone-it will increase the velocity of your sales cycle.

In his next chapter James then put’s it all together summarizing the entire book.  Make this book one of your Acumen Book Club sales training sessions going into the fourth quarter and watch your quota numbers get crunched.

 

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

He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!

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

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

 

The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need!

September 12th, 2016

The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need!
-a book review

It must be book time! And what a perfect time to up the performance of your entire sales organization.

Anthony Iannarino has brought together the ideal sales guide and without question this book qualifies for the Acumen Sales Book Club. It is a must read because it covers the essentials of what top performers already know and do. This book will lift the performance of everyone on your team. What makes this book a must buy for your entire sales team are the two “parts” to his book. In working with our clients, whether we are building a recruiting/interviewing process-we test for mental toughness and creativity, Anthony’s part one hits the mark by focusing on the right Mindset. After ensuring the salesperson understands the emotional portion of sales and success, the author then moves to the Sales Skills in Part Two.

The secret is the content, he’s boiled down everything Anthony learned and tested into one convenient book, packed with useful material for everyone from raw rookies to tested veterans. He focuses on the building blocks that all successful sellers, regardless of industry or organization, share: a mind-set of powerful beliefs and a skill-set of key actions.

He explores nineteen essential traits and skills that nearly all great salespeople have, including…
• Self-discipline: How to keep your commitments to yourself and others.
• Accountability: How to own the outcomes you sell.
• Competitiveness: How to embrace competition rather than let it intimidate you.
• Resourcefulness: How to blend your imagination, experience, and knowledge into unique solutions.
• Storytelling: How to create deeper relationships by presenting a story in which the client is the hero and you’re their guide.
• Diagnosing: How to look below the surface to figure out someone else’s real challenges and needs.

Anthony then blends these emotional aspects of selling with the skills necessary to master to win. He touches on key topics but moves the ball up a level and makes the content current to our time.

Chapter 11 focuses on Closing: The Ability to ask for and obtain commitments.

Prospecting: The Ability to Open Relationships and Create Opportunities follows in chapter 12.

In chapter 14, Diagnosing: The Desire to Understand, you’ll learn how to discover the truth of your client’s challenges and how to ask the questions that differentiate you, while influencing your client to take action. KEN HINT: This is a lost art in most sales teams.

Chapter 15, Negotiating: Anthony shows how to make sure your client receives the benefit of the bargain while ensuring that you capture the value that allows you to deliver.

Chapter 16, Business Acumen: The Ability to Understand Business Principles, explains why business acumen is the new sales acumen. At Acumen we call this Business Guidance selling and knowing business acumen separates the A performers from everyone else.

In chapter 17, Change Management: Building Consensus to Help Others Change, you’ll learn how to manage all of the stakeholder relationships necessary to overcome the status quo. This chapter is a road map to developing and leading change, a must in selling new offerings.

Once you learn Iannarino’s core strategies, picking up the specific tactics for your product and customers will be that much easier. Hit your end year numbers with what you will discover in this book.

Whether you sell to big companies, small companies, or individual consumers, this is the book you’ll turn to again and again for proven wisdom, strategies, and tips that really work.

preorder.theonlysalesguide.com

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 19 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.
He was recently ranked for the fourth year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015. His blog has been rated in the sales blogs in the world!
Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.
Ken@AcumenMgmt.com www.AcumenManagement.com
Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com