Archive for the ‘Sales Motivation’ Category

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

Sales Contests: Building a Culture of High Performance

May 23rd, 2016

Building a Culture of High Performance: Sales Games

At this time of year sales management must be looking at pipeline levels and goals for the 4th quarter and determining if there is the necessary level of activity to ensure targets will be exceeded. Organizations need to focus certainly on the short term-30 days sales cycle and end of year, but they also need to have a longer term perspective.  As an executive you must also focus on creating an atmosphere of fun, high performance and teamwork.

In this blog I wanted to share a few ideas from my books on sales management: Leading High Performance Sales Teams and Creating Sales Compensation Plans for High Performance.  In both books I share ideas for sales contests/games as well as how to properly roll them out and manage them.  In many cases I have seen great sales contest ideas poorly executed, it is critical you  think through what your objectives are and what you want the results to be and then CLEARLY write down the objectives, rules and incentives. The first rule, remember cash is not what you want to use during sales games-that is what your commission plan is designed to achieve.  The second rule is that creating fun in your sales culture is the main outcome-surely you may wish to add “net new client’s” or sell certain products/services and increase sales-but it is sales leaderships objective to make the sales contest is a fun experience. “If it isn’t fun, it isn’t selling”.

You might enjoy this video on Building a High Performance Culture:

Different types of contests will help you achieve different goals. Some should be held annually to address sales objectives, company business strategies and potential seasonal fluctuations. Others can be scheduled as needed to help launch new products or services, promote new releases or upgrades or tie into your customers’ larger campaigns. Still others can consist of short-term incentive games designed to motivate sales personnel to accomplish specific objectives by a specific deadline.

A Contest Sampler

Following are a few typical goals, along with ideas for contests that may help achieve them:

  • Increasing sales volume. Consider adding a cash      bounty for each additional new seat, new customer, or revenue sold beyond      a certain target value. Set a quarter-to-date objective above your sales      goal; that way, everyone on the team can win.
  • Improving customer service. Periodically survey your      entire customer base. If satisfaction reaches a certain goal—for instance,      when 95 percent of your clients say they’re “highly      satisfied”—and if your company is profitable, everyone gets a cash bonus.      Keep a visible scorecard of your goals and results so that everyone      maintains a constant awareness of your objectives.
  • Acquiring new clients.      To boost the number of new clients you add each      quarter, consider creating a “bounty bonus” plan. For example,      salespeople could earn a bounty bonus—either in cash or in points that can      be redeemed for rewards—for each new client or each competitive      replacement of a specific vendor’s customer. In addition, you could offer      bounty bonuses for salespeople who exceed their quarterly or annual quotas      for new accounts or net new revenues. You might even create and post      “Most Wanted” posters with the bounties prominently displayed to      help keep salespeople focused on contest objectives.
  • Overcoming seasonal slumps. If your sales typically      slow down over the summer, try launching a prospecting activity contest in      March, April and May. For instance, award sales team members points for      each new face-to-face call or sales demonstrations that they make during      those months, with accumulated points eventually eligible for prizes. Such      an effort can go a long way toward increasing the number of opportunities      in the pipeline from June through August.

Competition Considerations

Following are some issues to consider and questions to answer as you plan sales contests:

  • Determine what you want the contest to accomplish
  • Set the ground rules. Are all sales executives on an equal basis for the contest?  Be sure to put the rules in writing, making provisions for those and other situations that could arise.
  • Make the contest length the same as the      sales cycle.
  • Set specific goals that can be measured weekly or monthly.
  • Incorporate an exciting theme.
  • Consider making rewards gifts, rather than cash.
  • Boost team members’ motivation by getting their families involved.
  • Never run contests to the last day of the month or sales period.

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 for 2015. His blog has been rated as one of the top 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 Leadership: Why Winners Win!

March 24th, 2016

Sales Leadership Thoughts:  Why Winners Win!

Salespeople must be trained on the emotional elements of success at the same level that they are trained in pure sales skills training.

Last week after speaking at a conference a person mentioned to me she really enjoyed the topic; Why Winners Win.   It is one of my favorite parts of the keynote and the four points I make wrap up many of the beliefs I hold, so I thought I would share them with you today

The first element is: Winners Create Optimism.   One reason is they dare to dream what others can’t imagine.  In the past sociologists told us that you needed talent or hunger to succeed and win.  There was a study done of highly talented individuals and those people who worked extremely hard (hunger) that never became successful and those highly successful talented or hard working (hunger) individuals.  The result was the groups that were successful had an additional ingredient: optimism, not a simple happy go lucky feeling, but a real attitude that good things will happen. The secret to this ingredient is you can develop it. Work on the positives of life.

The second element is: they recognize fear as opportunity.  Winners aren’t immune to fear, but instead of stopping them, the go with it.  They treat fear as a signal and push through to experience new heights of living. Feel the fear-do it anyway!

The third is: they build dreams.  Winners can visualize, they create of the image of their dream into reality.  Our dreams shape us and we can’t do what we can’t imagine, people who get what they want often figure out what that is by letting their ambitions soar instead of censoring them before they emerge. Winners hang on to dreams…they are self fulfilling prophecy; positive illusions promote the capacity to productive work and a successful life.

The fourth action is: Winners reduce frustrations.   Winners focus on what will go right, not what will go wrong, losers see the sand traps around every green, winners see only the greens—go for the pin!   Remember that past frustrations build anxiety, while we must recognize frustration, it is a healthy by product of working towards your goals/dreams. Frustrations are simply steps to achievement.

Keep reading:  Two great books to keep your mind on track.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

My blog on Creating Intensity is also focused on the emotional aspects of sales leadership and sales team performance.

I hope these ideas will begin to make your week, month and year terrific!  Remember to build a Gourmet Life! Put the right ingredients in place and your Menu for Life will guide you to a highly successful and happy life.

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

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

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

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Creating Intensity

March 3rd, 2016

Creating Intensity

The Job of Sales Management
A Series of Tactical Actions to Drive Success

During the balance of the year I will outline 40 steps a sales leader can take to achieve predictable revenue. They are not listed in any priority- as every sales organization is at differing levels of maturity and needs. If you run a channels organization these ideas will be pertinent to your team as well as your dealers/resellers/partners.

Every player does not give 110% every day, it’s the coach’s job to increase their intensity and the effort they give”….. This quote came from Butch Jones, head coach at the University of TN.

This is part of what I call the emotional job of sales leadership, it is one thing to analyze data and create sales programs and systems, and it’s another to create the right culture. Last week my keynote at a sales conference was titled: Building a Culture of High Performance, during the program I discussed this side of leadership and the need for both personal and professional actions one can take to raise the bar of excellence.
In a turnaround situation this emotional aspect of sales leadership is critical, if you are building a new team it is a necessity. What does the emotional Sales Leader need to do?
1. Stay focused on energy-yours and your team’s
2. Pay attention to their plans, their daily/weekly execution and their intensity…
3. Be on top of everything…. Pay attention to the details to ensure EVERYTHING works.
4. If you expect them to work at 100%, your focus, your energy must be 120%.
5. Always be more aware than the team… of all aspect of the sales/marketing focus
6. As a leader in any organization recognize that your focus/intensity/enthusiasm must be above the ones your lead.

Your team wants to feel the energy and belief, as a Sales Leader work on this emotional transfer. Being a leader and having vision and communicating emotional is a Critical Success Factor in Sales Leadership. In my book on Leading High Performance Sales Teams I cover the tactical steps build this belief.

Notice, in this blog I used the word Sales Leadership not Sales Management, there are two different aspects to building a high performance sales team, leadership and management- you must know the difference and you must be both!
When I spoke with Josh Dobbs, Quarterback of the Univ. of TN this summer (at the airport) his biggest comment was that Butch was a motivator, not a coach, not a buddy, but a motivator.
What are you doing to increase the intensity of your team?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 18 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.
He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.
Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.
Ken@AcumenMgmt.com www.AcumenManagement.com
Blog: www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

Increase Your Summer Energy-6 idea’s

July 6th, 2015

Increase Your Summer Energy

6 idea’s

Every salesperson and all sales leaders at this time of year must focus on maintaining or even increasing their levels of energy-especially for the months of July/August.  With vacations, a summer attitude of relaxation and with the first half of the year completed many sales teams take a deep breath and coast.  Just the opposite should be true, this is a great time to accelerate sales during the summer and focus on activities to position the organization for the end of the year.

What can you do when the natural tendency is to take time to enjoy the time of year?

  • Focus on attitude. I have written often that if it isn’t fun-it isn’t selling so include team building activities into your plan. One idea is for the sales team to host and serve lunch for the rest of the employees at the office (as a ways of saying thank you. Plan a fun activity during or after lunch as well. Or if that is not possible, increase the level of celebration of any sales/wins, perhaps having the VP or President of the company reach out to the salesperson to say thank you.
  • Visit your current customers. If possible socialize with them at a Customer Appreciation event or one on one dinners. Some of my clients have rented a boat for the evening with a buffet dinner-taking time to enjoy the summer evening along with seeking a better understanding of how your services benefited the client and keeping an eye out for additional sales opportunities or referrals to other prospects.
  • Put a bounce in your step. When someone asks me: How are you today? Depending upon the day of week: Monday’s I am Marvelous!, Tuesday is Terrific!, Wednesday is Wonderful! Thursday’s are Tremendous! And Friday’s are Fabulous! Your prospects need their energy boosted as well-become the energizer.
  • Increase the levels of activity that will lead to a huge pipeline in September and into the fourth quarter. This could be a sales game or just an increased letter of attention to make 5 additional calls each week.
  • Hold salesperson team strategy meetings. Once a week assign salespeople to work in teams of 2 or 3, encouraging them to coach and challenge each other on individual sales opportunities or sales activity campaigns.
  • Start early. In many companies summer hours start early and you might discover you can talk to prospects earlier in the morning. Best day to prospect BTW is Thursday.

I am certainly not saying you should not enjoy summer and take advantage of golf, boating, hiking, camping or whatever your enjoyment is, but remember, selling is about emotion. You must have it, you must transfer it and orders are signed because of it. What are you idea’s to increase your energy level?

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.

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

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

The One Must Do Action Step to Ensure a Great 2015

December 29th, 2014

The One Must Do Action Step to Ensure a Great 2015

What is the first action all salespeople must do to begin each year? It’s simple, but many times overlooked. The first action they need to do is reach out to every one of their existing clients, in a physical meeting if possible, and discuss with them their use/satisfaction and impact of the salespersons product/services on their company.  We call it the Annual Client Audit Review.

The objective of this meeting is actually made up of many sub-steps.

  • This will reinforce in the mind of the salesperson the benefits the products/services that were delivered-this builds belief in the company and belief by a salesperson is the most important emotion they must carry with them each day. It’s the inner desire to serve clients that separates the average performer from the top producer. When the salesperson truly believes in their product/services and their impact on their clients business -they will go the extra mile to win the order.

 

  • The second action, during this meeting is to discus with the clients “the client’s strategic objectives over the next 24 months”. This will help the salesperson plan a strategic sales roadmap as to how their products/services can potentially be used to assist the client in achieving their goals.

 

  • The third action with each client is to work them through an Account Plan. One portion of the entire plan is based upon mapping the current utilization of the existing product/services used by the client. Next the salesperson would walk the client through a Cross Sell/Up Sell program, showing them additional benefits of new offerings they have not taken advantage and how these additional products/services will leverage the clients existing products/services and bring new benefits. After the meeting the salesperson can then develop a strategy for the account and then create 5 tactical steps to further penetrate this account.

 

  • Don’t forget to ask for Reference Letter or a quote from your client.

 

  • Lastly, always ask for a referral, who do they know that you can serve?

These five actions will help the salesperson get off to a fast start-by working with and selling existing clients where they have trusted relationships and proven solutions. Immediate revenues, larger pipelines and increased levels of belief along with better customer relationships is a positive way to start the year.

What is your plan to get a jump start on 2015?

HINT: This Action Plan is assuming that in December the salesperson has already completed a 6 month Salesperson Business Planning exercise.

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 16 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.

He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2014.

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.

Ken@AcumenMgmt.com  www.AcumenManagement.com

Blog:  www.YourSalesManagementGuru.com

 

January 29th, 2013

Sales Management: Keeping Your Team On Top

On Sunday I was reflecting on what might be a good topic for this week’s sales management blog, when the idea was right there in front of me!

On Friday afternoon, one of my client’s two new salespeople called me individually to practice making a telephone sales call and performing a sales discovery call. We wanted to make sure they knew what questions to ask a prospective customer and if they could role play effectively.  They have been going through our  3-week new hire training program which is a prescriptive approach to ensuring new salespeople know everything from how to sell their company, and products/services to how to use the copier and telephone system.

Next, on Monday morning I lead a client’s Sales Meeting, where we discussed the concept of Account Planning and learning to “Cross Sell and Up Sell” to increase their sales revenues. Each salesperson will create 10 Accounts Plans in the next two weeks. Tuesday I am speaking at a Sales Kick-Off Meeting on the topic of “Changing Times-means changing tactics”.    Because of commitments I couldn’t attend one of my other clients sales meetings where the all the salespeople (and management) are reading a sales related book and discussing one chapter a week-kind of a book club approach to sales training.  How are all of these actions inner-related?

They are helping drive a higher level of professionalism within their sales organizations.

  1.    They are focused on sales training, while we are not a sales training firm, we are focused on ensuring our clients execute on a holding a minimum of 2 hours of sales training a month.  We have a quarterly objective that each client creates an entire quarter plan for training sales on: Skills, Operations, and product/service knowledge. This includes dates/times, topics and what salesperson is responsible.  If you want a copy of the outline, send me an email:  Ken@Acumenmgmt.com 
  2.       Role playing is a must. Connecting the brain and the tongue are essence of ensuring your salespeople can communicate effectively. During the new hire training program the salespeople have to “sell” their company to other salespeople, the sales manager as well as the President of the organization before they can hit the street! 
  3.    New Ideas are important to keep fresh. Creating a learning environment and building training programs to introduce new ideas will re-invigorate sales the atmosphere.  Even when old ideas are reviewed or when new concepts are introduced the brain cells will kick in. I have heard it a hundred times: “I remember that from a long time ago, I had forgotten about it, (sales skill) but I will start using that again”. I like to suggest your team read at least two books a year and discuss one chapter a week.  If your sales team is following the sales process it has used for the past 5 years, it is time to shake it up-it will be good for them, your prospects and your revenues. 
  4.       Increase your professionalism.  This is the ultimate sales/marketing differentiator, ensuring your sales team presents themselves in front of a prospect at a higher level than your competition will impact your revenues faster than anything else you can do. Record them making tele-sales calls, video record them selling your company/products/services and ‘inspect what you expect”.  Keep a record of how many sales calls you make each month with each of your salespeople;  watch them make new calls, discovery calls and  proposal calls-even if they are top performers (you might learn something) or if they have worked for you for 10 years! 

Bottom line: Develop an attitude of high performance and high expectations but increase your commitment to training

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

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

 

Sales Leadership: 2013 Sales Theme

December 3rd, 2012

Sales Leadership:  2013 Sales Theme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sprint to the Finish–It’s that time of the year…

October 16th, 2012

Sprint to the Finish—–It’s that time of year… 

An upcoming election. Roller-coaster days on Wall Street. Middle East issues,  Budgets being cut.  There are many distractions.

With that economic domino effect affecting us all as 2012 begins to wind down, ending the year on a high note will be more challenging than ever. At Acumen, we’ve been offering the following advice to our clients and their sales teams:

Keep it in perspective. Recognize that if you are in the information technology sector, it is the best place to be in tough economic times. You sell what’s especially in demand right now: Solutions that can increase efficiency, cut costs and enhance customer relationships.

  • Stay optimistic. Remember that clients and prospects are seeking help and you’re in a position to both reassure and assist them.
  • Work harder. (Sorry, but that’s what’s needed.) Try to stretch yourself both in terms of attracting new customers and better serving existing ones. Sell professionally; execute brilliantly.

Meanwhile, the standard end-of-year scenario still applies, too. As always, this is when accelerated compensation programs kick in. More importantly, it’s when many management bonus systems take effect, rewarding executives for driving certain levels of pretax income to the bottom line or attaining their revenue targets.  and it’s no wonder that, just like every year at this time, sales teams feel like they’re in the last 100 yards of a big race.

Following are five additional steps to help you stay out in front as you approach the 2012 finish line:

  1. Count the days. In the same way that consumers track holiday shopping days, know how long you’ve got left to sell this year. Doing the countdown adds urgency to the process for you and your prospects. (Hint: How can you use the remaining weekends to boost business?)

 

  1. Consider all your resources. Can you turn to colleagues to strategize about opportunities and develop winning tactics? How about doing site visits? Can an existing client or a vendor contact help create credibility with prospects?

 

  1. Plot-closing strategies. Think about why prospects need your solution and exactly how they’ll benefit from implementing it, whether it’s generating revenues, improving productivity or better serving customers. Then figure out a reason for them to act now. You may have a sense of urgency driven by end-of-year deadlines for quotas or bonuses, but you need to show prospects how moving forward at this point will benefit them.

 

  1. Make contact twice weekly. Never let a week slip by between meetings with prospects. If you see them on Tuesday, see them again on Thursday. Stop by at a convenient time-but always have a valuable reason to visit, such as providing an implementation plan or a reference letter.

 

  1. Keep prospecting. Sales organizations often drain their pipelines by the end of December. January may be strong with leftover business, but February, March and April typically lag. It’s important to ensure that marketing and prospecting levels remain constantly focused on future pipeline development. We recommend that you take your calendar and block out specific times for prospecting between now and year’s end.

One last tip for coping with today’s economy: In the downturn following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I developed a short personal motto that successfully reinforced the need to keep moving forward. It was: “Take action. Stay positive.”  I suggest that you develop a similar slogan to help you navigate these difficult times. Having a strong foundation can make all the difference in how you end the year and position yourself for 2013

Ken Thoreson. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 14 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for clients throughout North America. Ken’s latest book is:  “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”. 

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

 

Sales Management: Finish Off October, Set Up November!

October 8th, 2012

Sales Management: Finish Off October, Set Up November

Wow, I was shocked when October’s calendar flipped over and now it’s the 9th!  During the past few days I have been suggesting to my clients several idea’s to ensure they finish off the year in a strong style.  I thought I would offer them and ask for more ideas from our team of readers!

During October:

  • ·         Increase your days per week for one on one sales strategy coaching time to validate all salespeople know “where” they are in the sales cycle and have asked the proper questions.  Add an extra phone call where you can coach and question sales actions.
  • ·         Encourage your salespeople to work together on challenging each other’s sales strategies-team them up. 
  • ·         Create an end of year sales contest, with individual and team goals.
  • ·         Add two mornings of telephone blitz day’s for prospecting, invite people to a November seminar/ business breakfast meeting.  Increase your prospecting ratio to load up December and January pipelines
  • ·         Create a fun event, there is a lot of stress and pressures in the End of Year push… Halloween parties, Fall seasonal events, etc…  Thank your own team.
  • ·         Assign a certain number of customers (10) to each salesperson each week, make sure they have a good reason/strategy and product/service offering for each client-make sure they make the calls to the appropriate person at the client’s office. INSPECT this….

Setting up November

  • ·         Create a Customer Appreciation Event-it’s the Thanksgiving month! Create a post card, letter from the President, etc… Invite everyone to your offices-add a few vendors as well and offer additional services/product offerings.  Invite your best end of year prospects as well.
  • ·         For those early stage prospects in October who will make a decision in November, a special Thanksgiving discount/promotion code that ends on November 23rd can be suggested and then launched in November.
  • ·         Roll out a 25 point weekly sales game where each salesperson must earn 25 points a week based upon activity; i.e. 5 points for a presentation, 5 points for an order, 5 points for prospecting, etc… (send me an email and I will send you a  sample: Ken@AcumenMgmt.com
  • ·         Make each salesperson review their entire 2012 calendars from January to October, ask them to look for missed appointments, suspects that did not make a decision or any  networking individuals that need to be follow up with.  Missed opportunities??

Let me hear what other idea’s you might have, let’s all work together to make 2012 finish off strong!

Ken

Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 12 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. His latest book is titled: “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”.

 

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

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