Sales Management Blog

Sales management tips and advice on how to improve your sales team.

Why Beefing Up Commission May Not Change Behavior (& How to Fix)

Posted by Gretchen Gordon on Thu, Oct 01, 2015 @08:47 AM

I had a great conversation with a CEO today where we were discussing the merits of refining their compensation plan. It seems the CEO was disgruntled over the fact that his salespeople were comfortable making six-figure incomes, but they weren’t pushing to really knock it out of the park. Maybe you have witnessed the same thing.

These salespeople tend to sell roughly the same amount each month to maintain a certain standard of living, but don’t put that extra effort in to make more. In some cases when this happens, you may know that they could make significantly more if they just focused a bit more. Unfortunately, they take their foot off the gas when they get in their comfort zone. Does this sound familiar?

The CEO is correct that we might be able to influence behaviors with a reconstructed compensation plan. But, then again, we might not. We just can’t know without knowing the salespeople's underlying motivations. I know it seems obvious that people who work in heavily commissioned jobs would be extremely money motivated. Well, I am here to tell you that it is just not necessarily the case.

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Tags: Sales Growth, For CEOs, By Gretchen Gordon

Sales 2.0. What the Heck is That?

Posted by Gretchen Gordon on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 @12:33 PM

If you are like most business leaders you have been around a bit and know the value of growing business through personal connections and referrals.  You may also understand the need to cold call when referrals don’t generate enough business.  But, how do you help a less tenured salesperson gain enough referrals?  Enter Sales 2.0, which is just a slick term for using social media for sales generating purposes.   Many company leaders disregard the use of these tools, especially in the B2B market, because they falsely lump Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn together.  It is the savvy leader who understands the power of the different social media vehicles and causes his sales team to harness that power.  This is NOT going to be an article about social media for marketing purposes.  Rather the purpose of this article is to open eyes to the potential of social media for selling.  Specifically I am going to explore the power of LinkedIn. 

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Tags: Sales Performance, Sales Growth, Sales Force Effectiveness, By Gretchen Gordon

Dumping the Crisis Management Burden on Sales Managers Dampens Growth

Posted by Gretchen Gordon on Thu, Feb 06, 2014 @11:45 AM

In my last article, Crisis Management Hampers Sales Managers’ Effectiveness, I discussed the shocking amount of time that many sales managers are spending on crisis management. I conducted a rough poll of business owners regarding this topic and provided a list of possible ways that the sales manager could be spending the bulk of his or her time. Much to my disappointment, the vast majority of the business owners polled indicated that their sales managers spend the bulk of their time in crisis management. This is valuable time that they could be spending coaching and motivating their salespeople to improve results, or holding their salespeople accountable to agreed upon activities to produce better results. Instead, they are caught putting fires out.

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Tags: Sales Management, Sales Growth, For CEOs, By Gretchen Gordon

Motivation Alone Will NOT Predict Sales Success

Posted by Gretchen Gordon on Thu, Jan 02, 2014 @01:28 PM

In my last article, I wrote about the fact that it is the manager’s job to help motivate their employees.  But, I do not want any misunderstanding.  Just because a person is motivated, or even highly motivated, does not indicate that they will actually be a successful salesperson.  For instance, I know of company owners who believe that if they just hire athletes, whom they deem to be highly motivated (and competitive) they will magically have success.  Oh, if it were just that easy.  Unfortunately, there are so many factors that go into predicting success with a salesperson that motivation alone will not predict success. 

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Tags: Sales Management, Sales Performance, Sales Growth, For CEOs, By Gretchen Gordon

Have Your Sales Team Go for No and Watch Sales Results Soar

Posted by Gretchen Gordon on Thu, Sep 19, 2013 @12:45 PM

I just finished a great easy read book by Fenton, Richard, and Andrea Waltz. Go for No!: Yes Is the Destination, No Is How You Get There. [Vancouver, WA]: CourageCrafters, 2008. Print.  It is a great book, not just for salespeople but for anyone who is letting self-imposed limiting beliefs get in the way of success.  One of the common weaknesses we find in salespeople when we evaluate them is that they have a high need for approval.  They need to be liked more than they need to close the business.  

You may have some of those folks on your team as well.   They don’t hang in there and ask “why” when the prospect says “no” or says “I need to think it over”.  Frequently it is because they are allergic to the word no.  “No” symbolizes failure and as described in the book, we tend to avoid failing believing it will lead to becoming a failure.  The book points out that failing and success are not on opposite ends of the spectrum.  Failing is a stop on the path to success.  Well-known examples are Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Edison.  They both failed a number of times before attaining that ultimate success, but neither would view themselves as failures, nor would the general public.  Clearly their “failures” were stops on the way to great successes.

Our salespeople can learn from this lesson.  If we just slightly shifted their mindset to focusing on how many “no’s” they needed to get each week as opposed to how many “yes’s” they would keep plowing through even if they met their quota of sales for the week.  If they got more than the usual number of sales, they would have to keep working hard to get those turndowns.  If our salespeople kept pressing forward even after attaining their goals, think about the massive over-achieving that could happen. 

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Tags: Sales Management, Sales Performance, Sales Growth, Sales Force Effectiveness, For Sales Managers, By Gretchen Gordon

Reduce the Fluffy Pipeline Syndrome

Posted by Gretchen Gordon on Thu, Jun 06, 2013 @09:10 PM

Okay, so if you are monitoring your salespeople’s pipelines then that is a start. Many managers focus on getting opportunities into the pipeline. This is also a start. If you want to be ultimately effective predicting closings and therefore revenue growth then you need to stop focusing on the pipeline value and focus on the pipeline velocity. What I mean is that salespeople will typically behave in a manner that provides them reward and/or recognition.  Many salespeople seek the approval and recognition of their managers. If you are focusing on patting people on the back for putting deals into the pipeline then that is what they will do.  Their pipelines will become bloated and closings will not necessarily follow.

could_your_sales_pipeline_be_a_bit_fluffy

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Tags: Sales Management, Sales Growth, Sales Force Effectiveness, For Sales Managers, By Gretchen Gordon

9 Things that Motivate Employees More than Money

Posted by Gretchen Gordon on Thu, Sep 13, 2012 @10:34 AM

I recently read this article on Inc.com. The title caught my eye, so I read it.  While some of the concepts would typically be considered good ideas, like #7 Give recognition and small rewards, the article totally misses the point of motivation. I write about it here, because it is especially crucial for sales teams.   Let us look at the word motivate. From the Merriam Webster dictionary, motivate is defined as :  to provide with a motive : impel.  While the idea that recognition and small rewards might stimulate some, it will not motivate everyone.  Money motivates some, but does not others.  Some are provoked by the satisfaction of doing a job well, others are not.  The trick is not to motivate to the masses.  The real masters of motivation, know what inspires the individual and provides the purpose for them to individually excel. In previous blog posts, I have written about this area of motivation.

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Tags: Sales Development, Sales Growth, Sales Force Effectiveness, By Gretchen Gordon

Cold Calling – Is There Not a Better Way?

Posted by Gretchen Gordon on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 @12:25 PM

I have many conversations with sales managers and CEOs who want to know the answer to the question, “How many cold calls should my salespeople be making each day?”  They do not always like the answer I give, which is, “Zero.”  Now before everyone goes apoplectic, recall that the question refers to how many they SHOULD be making. The truth is that your salespeople should not be making any cold calls, but they probably HAVE to make many.  Let me explain. In the perfect world, your salespeople are using all the tools available to them to connect with likely prospects. Those tools include referrals from clients and prospects, referrals from business partners and identified referral sources, and using LinkedIn and Reachable to enable those requests for introductions. Now add in any marketing that might pull prospective clients to your company and realistically, your salespeople may not need to make any cold calls.  Now it does not mean they do not need to make any calls, they just need to use the phone in a different manner. They can use the phone to make more warm calls, and to follow up on introductions made for them.

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Tags: Sales Performance, Sales Growth, By Gretchen Gordon

The Power of Habit for Sales

Posted by Gretchen Gordon on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 @01:00 PM

I just finished reading a great new book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.  It is a fascinating glimpse into our brain and the power that habits can have on us, both positively and negatively.  As I was reading I could not help but think of the application to your sales force.  Do you have salespeople who routinely execute at the top of the pack?  It is almost like a habit that they will perform.  As you watch your salespeople, are there some that seem to have a morning routine, socializing with work mates, a couple stops at the coffee pot?  Do they read the paper?  Answer emails before other activities?  Are these also the salespeople who struggle to reach their quota?  Could it be that a simple change in their habits could change their sales success?  Maybe instead of a morning filled with two hours of fluff, maybe you could intervene.  Ask them to come in your office at 8:30 tomorrow morning.  Throw a wrench in their routine.  Inspire them to jump in to serious prospecting before 9:00.  But before this can be successful, you must understand how habits work.

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Tags: Sales Performance, Sales Growth, By Gretchen Gordon

Differentiate Yourself and Focus on Your Target Market

Posted by Gretchen Gordon on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 @10:52 AM

I found this article interesting and thought I would share.  The bottom-line advice given by the author is:  Differentiate yourself and focus on your target market.  This is good advice whether interacting via email (as highlighted in this article), by phone, or in person.

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Tags: Sales Performance, Sales Growth, By Gretchen Gordon

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