NCAA Sales Management: Developing Winning Sales Strategy

NCAA Sales Management: Developing Winning Sales Strategy

Last week it was about golf and putting, this week after indulging in men’s and woman’s NCAA games all weekend it’s all about strategy.

In my view there are several levels of strategy to consider. First, putting the right players on the floor to match up against the competition is key, and is the reason my first book was written: Hiring High Performance Sales Teams. Without talent, you have not chance to win. The good basketball teams are deep with talent and can go “large or they can small and fast” or they can focus on defense as well as offense. Assessing and developing talent is what coaching is all about, watch the Final Four’s next week and evaluate your team and its ability to win.  Are you accepting weak players or can your team push through the tough times and score. I stress that recruiting is the most important job for sales management, build a continuous hiring program to find top talent.

Secondly, strategy and execution during the sale or game time must be brilliant! This is where from a sales strategy your value proposition must sold, your prospect relationship developed and where you must out maneuver the competition.  If they come out man-to-man or in zone defense can your salespeople adapt, if a full court press stresses out your team, can they break it with quick passes and move down the court for an easy layup?  Do you have them trained well enough to react to the situation and not simply lose the sale or give up a turnover?  During this phase Sales Managers also must coach. This is when your experience and creativity must take over by providing advice, insights and hopefully the right tactics to assist your sales team during this phase.  If you would like Acumen’s four page Sales Strategy Guide, send me an email: We use it with our clients during their pipeline review and sales strategy meetings.

The third phase of strategy is the last two minutes. During the sales process this could occur during the last week or two when everything is on the line.  The prospect could be confused, undecided or leaning towards your competition; what play would you call? Would you camp out at the prospects office? Have your president call their president? Drop your price?  The best coaches in the NCAA would call a time out and make sure the next two plays are drawn out, ensure everyone understands whom to foul, how many timeouts are still available and who should take the last shot… Those situations are actually rehearsed during normal practice times; nothing is left for chance when the game is on the line.  Do you have your sales training plans designed for a rolling 90 days with all aspects of sales strategies built in? The best sales managers do!

OK, I promise next week, I won’t use a sport’s analogy in my blog, but team work, practice, selection and development will win the 2011 NCAA Final Four.

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

Ken Thoreson provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. 



Building Belief-a key job of sales management

Building Belief

This week’s blog is an excerpt from my latest book: Your Sales Management Guru’s Guide to: Leading High Performance Sales Teams. You can purchase the book on Amazon or at

Are your sales inconsistent? Are you losing more opportunities than ever before? Does your sales team seem weak compared to those of your competitors?

Any number of reasons-from rapid growth to hiring mistakes-could be responsible for a “yes” answer to any of those questions. But in working with our clients, we often find that the underlying problem is actually an emotional one: lack of passion. Individual team members or the entire sales organization-or both-simply don’t have the combination of enthusiasm and belief that’s essential for success.

Salespeople have to be emotionally invested in their work with a burning desire to achieve. They must also believe that the company they represent is the best and the solutions or services they sell are of the highest quality. That belief must be genuine. It’s not just a marketing message, and it’s not something that they can fake.

With all the new products many vendors have launched in recent months (and will continue to release this year), that type of authentic belief is more important than ever for partners. Most sales organizations don’t do any belief-building activities, though. Or if they do, they only do so occasionally. Our experience shows that the most successful sales teams constantly undertake belief-building initiatives. Examples include:

Storytelling: People from different cultures and generations pass along stories about their ancestries, traditions and lore. Companies need to take a similar approach to capturing and preserving their histories. To do so, write down customer success stories when they occur. Put together detailed descriptions of your company’s role in helping customers implement new technologies, launch or salvage important projects or earn recognition from Microsoft. Then share these stories at sales meetings and other employee events. You can also use the best stories to recruit top performers and help orient new employees.

Monthly Meetings: When a company launches, its first employees typically feel that they share a mission. Everyone knows everything that’s happening and what’s needed to succeed. But when the staff grows beyond about 15 people, that sense of mission-along with clearly defined expectations and common beliefs-can be difficult to maintain.

We believe that monthly employee meetings are crucial for keeping everyone engaged and informed. (Larger organizations and those with remote offices may want to opt for quarterly day-long events instead.) Such gatherings give you a chance to remind your staff about your business philosophies, plans and expectations. You can also use them to recognize outstanding employees, perhaps honoring a Most Valuable Player chosen by the team at each session. Remember to make the meetings fun as well. Consider sponsoring games or offering door prizes. One company meeting I attended featured a surprise visit from an Elvis impersonator, who sang several songs.

Customer Visits: Each quarter, have your entire sales team visit a customer company that’s successfully implemented your solutions. Ask the customer’s executives to describe the impact your company has had on their competitive position or to review the savings they’ve gained from your products and services. You might also invite customers to share their experiences at some of your monthly meetings.

Reference Letters: Ask your best customers for testimonials. While such letters are, of course, highly useful as tools for future sales presentations, they’re also valuable for building belief in-house. Frame the letters and display them in your lobby or sales presentation area. Have new employees read them as part of the orientation process.

In our business, it’s all too easy to get bogged down with lost sales, missed project dates and other problems. Regularly reinforcing the positives goes a long way toward keeping everyone’s belief and passion strong and moving in the right direction.

 Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 13 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America.

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.   


Zen and the Art of Snow Shoveling

Zen and the Art of Snow Shoveling

What does that title have to do with Sales Management? After spending 20 years growing up in Wisconsin and another 30 years in Minneapolis, I finally connected the dots after waking up this morning in East TN and having to shovel my driveway!  At 22 degrees, and enough snow to make my rather steep driveway a challenge to “get out of”, I put on the Volunteer stocking hat, gloves and began the process.

At first the brisk air and crunchy snow felt like old times but then the pattern began and the Zen and Art kicked in. As I pushed the snow down the drive and reversed my pattern shoveling up the driveway, dispensing the snow, the vertical shovel paths defined my movements. As I cleared the lower portion of the driveway  which is much wider and designed to allow  backing up my car to turn and make the drive up the hill, the pattern changed, clearing one segment diagonally, the other in almost swirling  triangle pattern.  Each area of the driveway required a different approach. As I was finishing and looking back on the driveway and tossing handfuls of salt, it occurred that sales leaders must look at a variety of situations and develop unique patterns to solve their problems.

Shoveling snow allowed me to think about the week’s priorities, sort through the various client projects and make decisions regarding what actions to take. I was amazed how clear the objectives were defined. The shoveling patterns allowed my mind to work on a totally unrelated problem, yet my sub-conscious mind was automatically ranking and stacking each client project.  This is much the same effect that is achieved in the Zen sand gardens, where you can rake different patterns.  The impact of releasing your mind will allow your mind to actually work more effectively. Several weeks ago I wrote a blog on sales leadership time management, it has had over 1,000 reads; taking the time to create time to focus on unrelated actions,(like shoveling)  can help sales leaders, refocus, re- charge and re-aligned priorities or even help solve personnel problems or specific sales strategies.  Find your time and action to that allows your mind to work independently, your results will astound you.

As sales leaders plan for 2011, break out of the standard traditional pattern, explore something new, consider the alternatives, the options and even try different approaches to your budgeting and sales/marketing strategies.  You might re-read my blog on creativity to help you create new patterns for growth!

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

Ken  provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.       Blog:

The Power of Impact: what is your plan for 2011

The Power of Impact; what is your plan for 2011

An interesting Thoreson theorem; the more you personally impact the lives of others, the more you succeed professionally.  One of the points I make during my keynote program is the need for a person to find balance in their lives=both personally and professionally.

When you find an individual that is working on improving others lives, you generally find a person that is also successful from a professional perspective. This does not necessary mean simply financially successful, but successful in manner of a completeness in life. The name of my program: No Regrets: A do-over recipe for success defines a 3 step process to create a better life.  One of the three steps in building a Menu for Life is the need to make this a better world by finding ways to increase your personal ability to positively impact the lives of others.

I actually have created an IMPACT Hall of Fame where I collected names and stories of individuals that I have met or read about; like Michelle Nichols, who has started “National Hug Your Child Day”, or Millard Fuller, from Atlanta that started a program called “Habitat for Humanity” and Ken Haught, who started a small program in St. Louis program called Stephen Ministries, that has now impacted the lives of thousands across North America.

These kinds of individuals have had impacts beyond their wildest visions. Yet others do it in smaller ways; one of my neighbors is active in a program called “Hugs for Soldiers”, another donates hours at the animal shelter, and still another has each grandchild propose each year at Christmas one charity that the entire family will focus on during the New Year. The entire family votes on the best proposal-what a way to teach the power of impact.

 As 2010 ends and we begin to define our new goals for 2011 I challenge our readers to not only set your goals professionally, but seek out an idea designed to have an impact on the world or even on a single person’s life and then act on it!  It will surprise you how you feel and how it will improve your life. For more information:

Let me know what thoughts are for 2011 or if you someone you would like add to my IMPACT Hall of Fame.

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

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. 


Sales Leadership: Time Management Tips

Sales Leadership: Time Management Tips

 How to Manage a Successful To-Do List

  •  Get in Habit of Doing a To Do List every day
  • Be Realistic and Aware of Your Limitations
  • Don’t Over Schedule Events
  • Allow for Time Cushions
  • Review Your  List Every Morning
  • Ask yourself; “why me?”  Is there someone else that can do this?
  • Group Related Activities: Am I prepared to lead the event?

 How to Analyze Your To-Do List 

Necessity: Scrutinize each task to be sure it is necessary. All to often we hold items past their usefulness.

Appropriateness: Who should perform the task, reassignment to work beneath your skill level helps you and the organization.

 Effectiveness: Once satisfied you are doing necessary, appropriate, and effective work, ask yourself; “is there a better way?”

 Special Tips

  •  Set Life Goals: Limit activities that contribute to those goals
  • Plan Your Day: One hour of planning saves you three
  • Use Your Prime Energy Time for Priority Tasks:
  • Don’t Schedule a Meeting without Start or Ending Times
  • “Work Expands to Fill Time” Parkinson’s Law
  • Skip Useless Meetings
  • Continually Ask Yourself: “What is the best use of my time
  • Know Your Hourly Billing Rate

 Be Greedy about your time.

 Calculate what your time is worth?  If you waste time or are not being productive, this is what it could cost you.  Guru Hint: This exercise is worth doing at your next sales meeting  to impress your salespeople as to their need to be efficient and more productive.

   (A)What is your Hourly Rate?

  (B) How many Management or Sales Hours in year

  • l  Number of hours/week/month
  • l  Number months per year?(10.5 Months)

(C)Yearly Income Goal


 If you manage to save one hour every business day, you’ve created 245 new hours for yourself in one year. This is 6-40 hour work weeks. How much more money can you make with 6 more weeks added to your year??

 One last Guru Hint:  Set a “weekly goal” for completing a major project.

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

Ken  provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.     Blog:

Sales Leadership Workout! Dec 8th

Is your organization and your sales team suffering from:  Puny Revenues?  Weak Results?

 It’s Time for a Sales Leadership Workout!

 A 1.5 Day Regimen for Getting

Your Sales Organization in Shape for 2011

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

“Great Content, Energetic Deliver, High Value.”     “Outstanding, just what I needed.”

“Informative, educational, spot-on!”                       “Inspiring”

Information and tools you can use immediately” “Intense!”


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

 The Sales Leadership Summit will begin at 1:00 PM on December 8th and concludes at 4 PM, December 9th, 2010.  This will allow you to get in and get out with only one night’s stay and minimize your time away from your sales team.  Seating & rooms are limited.  Make plans today to attend this powerful sales management development program. 

 This your opportunity to leverage the sales leadership skills and experiences of some of today’s top sales executives in order to prepare for sales success in 2011

Your Personal Trainers:


 Ken Thoreson, President                                Frank Chamberlain, President

   Acumen Management Group                       Resource Technologies, Inc.


  • 17 Yrs Sales Leadership Experience                   30 Yrs Award Winning Sales Career
  • 15 Yrs Sales Management Consulting                 18 Yrs Sales Consulting & Training
  • 15 Yrs Sales Management Consulting                 International Sales Consultant
  • Author, Speaker, Consultant                                New Hire Assessments & Coaching


Your Workout Bag Includes: $870 of Free Extras:

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


 Registration Fee Only:      $995.00

Don’t Delay-limited seating; this is an intimate hands on event, register now:

December 8 – 9, 2010
Davidson Village Inn
117 Depot St. Davidson NC 28036 (Charlotte)

Start toning up your 2011 sales teams now.  Make the commitment to increase Your Personal Development.

For more information, contact:

Ken Thoreson at 423-884-6328 or

Frank Chamberlain at 828-478-9822 or

Sales Leadership: The importance of a 2011 Sales Kickoff Meeting

Sales Leadership: The Importance of a 2011 Sales Kick Off Meeting

 Perhaps 2010 was great year for your sales team or perhaps it was a struggle and a disappointment.

In either case starting to plan your 2011 sales kickoff event is an important action during November. Why?   There are many reasons to make sure this event is properly orchestrated.

  1. Keeping your team excited and motivated is essential, a new year means all your sales numbers go back to zero -that can be emotionally draining for salespeople who for the past few years have struggled with challenging economic conditions.
  2. A new year means you can celebrate your success stories from the previous year. You MUST focus on building belief that your team has “moved” forward and make note of all successes-even the minor ones.
  3. You can announce your yearlong sales contest at your kickoff meeting. This needs planning and arrangement. The Guru is a big believer that every sales team should plan a trip or event for all quota achievers. If you would like a copy of a magazine column I wrote on sales contests, send me an email; There will also be a chapter dedicated to it in my upcoming book.
  4. Have fun. The event should include a speaker, music and an upbeat mood. The speaker could be a sales trainer or motivational program or even an existing customer how can provide a testimony of your great product/services. This will show your commitment towards investing in your team.
  5. Create a theme for the sales kickoff meeting and use the same theme for the entire year. This theme should be your motto and something you can build on during the year at all your sales meetings. You could tie the theme into your #3 sales contest.  Let me know what you think are the best theme’s you have heard or used in your sales career.
  6. There may be a new sales compensation plan announced. This is crucial and if the changes are somewhat new or perhaps negative to the salespeople, you must plan the roll out carefully. Never announce the new compensation plan at the end of your sales kick off meeting; you will want to roll out the plan half way through the event. The Guru is just finishing his third book on sales compensation planning, if you have questions on the roll out contact me.
  7. You might consider having members of the technical or sales support teams attend portions of or all of the meeting. It builds teamwork and they may also be part of your program.
  8. Arrange for the company president to speak and provide their vision for 2011 and commitment to the sales team.

Whether it is a half day event or a full day, a well planned, exciting sales kickoff event will go a long way towards “kick starting” your 2011.

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

Ken Thoreson. provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. 


No Regrets: Your Recipe For Personal/Professional Success

No Regrets: Finding Your Recipe for

Personal and Professional Success

 (This is an excerpt from my upcoming book: Success Simplified with Stephen Covey


Ken, tell me about your idea of no regrets, finding your recipe for personal and professional success?


 It began in my professional life, working as a sales leader and vice president of sales for more than fifteen years. For the past thirteen years, I have been consulting with clients helping develop high performance sales teams. In those roles as a sales leader and con, I had to understand both personal and professional goals; in addition, I had to understand their business objectives. I like to say: if you align the soul of the individual to the goals of the organization, it leads to success. Tying all of that together is a very critical step in understanding what the right personal and professional recipe must be for success. From a professional perspective, the no regrets concept moves into the personal level of assisting people to do more in their lives.


Tell me how your sales management consulting moved you to a “no regrets, do-over recipe” strategy for success program.


In developing individuals, both in the field and in the classroom, the coach must observe and correct the actions of the person he or she is developing. One of the greatest training statements a manager can learn to use is: if you had it to do (the action) over again, what would you do differently, if anything? In our workshops or in our consulting role we work with sales managers on re-enforcing the use of this statement.

 Typically, in sales role-play situations or after a sales call, the sales manager would ask that question. As a result, the salesperson would begin to self-assess what actions he or she would do differently. The reason this question is powerful and must be used constantly is the act of questioning one’s work it will create a self-managed team and personal development plan.

 From that perspective I recognized that we were developing people—not just sales teams—we were developing them personally. The concept of no regrets for personal and professional success came about by realizing how we influence people outside of the sales world and how to

motivate people to move beyond where they are today and improve both their personal and professional lives. My goal is to enhance the success factor for everyone.

 That’s how the idea moved from developing salespeople to focusing on how to live life with no regrets. If it were possible to do your life over you might change; unfortunately, none of us have that opportunity. My goal is for everyone to live their lives better!


What would you say would be the greatest contribution to your professional success?


My professional success breaks into four areas.

 1. Mentors. Personally, I’ve been fortunate to have individuals who shared great ideas, concepts, and have provided leadership during my life. Finding the right mentors becomes a critical issue for success and leveraging knowledge to improve your life.

 2. Risk. Understanding the affect of risk on one’s life is important. Learning to make that critical decision, taking the risk, and learning its affect is important. For example, imagine being in the Olympics and standing on the top of the ten-meter board just before you are to dive. What would you be feeling? You’d be feeling scared, worried, or most likely confident because you had practiced and competed for years. If you had never attempted that dive in competition it would be a risk—that leap—to make the dive. If you took the risk and made the dive, you would know the feeling of what I call “pushing through”—the idea of taking the risk and learning more about yourself, pushing yourself a little bit more. Pushing yourself beyond where you are in life allows individuals to experience the possibility of doing more and expanding your internal belief system.

3. Work. Personal and professional success require focus and work; that is reality. For success, you must commit yourself to achieve predefined goals and objectives in a timeline that is important to achieve. Achieving success through effective work habits and exceeding your success factors in your professional life become critical.

 4. Creativity. Creativity is coming up with unique solutions to problems and developing new ways to achieve better results. (I will cover this in more detail later.) The good news is that creativity can be learned!

 Creativity, work, risk, and mentors are four categories that each of us can develop.  They’ve been a significant influence in my professional and personal life.


In your program, you use a concept of a “Thoreson Theorem.” Tell me more about that.


 That phrase was conceived by another individual many years ago when I first began to speak about the power of positivity. Those who know me know I believe: Mondays are marvelous, Tuesdays are terrific, Wednesdays are wonderful days, Thursdays are tremendous, Fridays fabulous, and Saturdays are super. When someone asks me, “How are you today?” I’ll simply refer to the day. For example: “I’m Wonderful; it’s Wednesday.” That puts a positive spin on my life and my attitude. The person who perhaps asked me that question will also feel that positive emotion come back to him or her. My daily/weekly mantra became the first Thoreson Theorem.

 I have picked up certain phrases from other individuals. One is: there are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic time frames. In other words, it is a great idea to set objectives or goals but many times we are unrealistic in the timeline that it will take too achieve them. Create a difference in your surroundings and develop a passion. Having an influence on the lives of others and having the opportunity to become passionate and excited about something becomes an important theorem. This action adds another layer to your life and is a key component to personal and professional success. The excitement and involvement brings individuals a new perspective on life.

 Another theorem is: your own actions create your own reality. You are responsible for your life and personal outcomes.

 A theorem is defined as an idea that’s accepted or proposed as a demonstrable truth; often, part of it is a general theory. I believe these kinds of statements become demonstrable truths as you live your life and experience life.

 I use Thoreson Theorems to reinforce my belief that it is important for people to understand the concept of self-improvement and personal responsibility. While the theorems above are general theorems and concepts that others may have created, I think it’s important to create your own personal mantra or motto for building your own successful life.

 KEN THORESON, Acumen Management Group, Ltd. founder and principal, offers 25-plus years of sales leadership and management and an energetic, interactive delivery style that fully engages audiences. He infuses keynotes and presentations with real-life anecdotes and client examples that impart philosophical and operational inspiration.

Over the past 12 years, Acumen’s consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated and rejuvenated the sales efforts of hundreds of early stage, turnaround and major corporations companies throughout North America. Acumen is adept at “operationalizing” its expertise in business and sales execution, channel management, revenue generation, sales analysis, forecasting, recruitment, and sales training to help organizations move up and move ahead.  

Prior to founding the Acumen Management Group, Ltd., Ken led development stage, entrepreneurial and national vertical software sales organizations as the Vice President of Sales.

Major Speaking Engagements

  • Microsoft World Wide Partner Conference(s)
    • Sales and Marketing Executives International Conference (SMEI)
    • Microsoft Business Solution Partners Meeting
    • Ingram Micro VentureTech
    • Arrow Support-Net May Days
    • TechData/TechSelect Member Conference(s)
    • CAWorld
    • Cisco Systems World Wide Conference
    • CMP/VARBusiness XChange Conference(s)
    • Gartner IT Vision Share Conference(s)
    • SolidWorks World Partner Conference
    • SAP Partner Conference


For more information.

Ken Thoreson, President, Acumen Management Group, LTD



Planning Your Sales Training

Planning Your Sales Training

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. 


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

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

 A shaky banking industry. Roller-coaster days on Wall Street.  Budgets being cut. Purchasing decisions being delayed.

With that economic domino effect affecting us all as 2010 winds 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 2010 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?)
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 2011.

Ken Thoreson. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull

revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 12 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for clients throughout North America. Move up and move ahead!

Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.                   Website: