I was at a conference in sunny La Jolla, CA last week presenting to a group of very successful business owners in the security industry. Most have owned their companies for decades and have already built thriving recurring revenue businesses. Still, every single one of them has a keen interest in sales expansion. Each of them wants to better understand how to keep moving their sales teams forward on the path to increased selling efficiency.Read More
Sales Management Blog
Sales management tips and advice on how to improve your sales team.
I am just concluding the process of leasing another new car. Even though I study and teach selling and negotiating techniques, I don’t like the process any more than most people do. But I have approached this particular experience as a student of their process and I believe I have observed some things that may help other sales teams.Read More
It seems that I have been in many conversations lately about Customer Relationship Management Systems, or CRMs. I have spoken with a variety of business owners and sales team leaders who are inquiring about the “best” CRM for their situation. What most are really looking for is a magic bullet to make their salespeople do the right activities to generate enough business. I am not a highly technical person so I cannot share all the ins and outs of the different products on the market. And, I haven’t actually found one that MAKES a salesperson do what they are supposed to do. So the system alone won’t fix this problem.Read More
I have written a bunch about the need for sales managers to hold their salespeople accountable to certain behaviors. As a matter of fact, it is essential that there be an agreed-upon sales activity plan which the salesperson has agreed to be bound to and which the sales manager has agreed to hold them accountable to. The accountability piece is essential in improving sales effectiveness.
We first have to set the standard of activity. Once the salesperson is doing the appropriate activity level then we can work on the coaching their effectiveness. But - and this is a big but - I do not want any miscommunication about activity. Let there be no doubt about it: results are the scorecard for salespeople. Do not allow salespeople to get sidelined with just doing activity.
I frequently see sales teams where the salespeople have been assigned the task of making so many outbound calls, or a specific number of contacts. Which is fine when it is part of a bigger goal, and we know that a certain number of calls will produce the right outcomes. Unfortunately, I typically see a random activity goal being assigned and then salespeople haphazardly making the calls. They just go through the motions and waste a lot of time and energy.Read More
I just had a conversation yesterday with a high performing Sales Manager about the use of assessments with her sales team. This is a frequent conversation I have with company and sales leaders so I thought I would share. Those of you that know me, know I am a devotee of the Objective Management Group (OMG) battery of assessments for many reasons. I want to highlight the differences between OMG sales assessments and personality-type tests, to help clarify why I trust OMG sales assessments above all the others.Read More
I have written before about the need for sales managers to focus on activity goals with their salespeople as opposed to being only focused on the outcome goals (or closed business goals). There are many reasons for this:
- Nobody can control whether or not the prospect or customer actually buys, so focusing exclusively on sales goals allows salespeople some room for excuse making. “The guy was never going to buy.” “He was such a jerk. It’s probably good he didn’t buy.”
- If the sales manager gives direction to the salesperson to sell more, frequently the salesperson doesn’t really know how to make that happen. They sometimes think they are doing everything right and then are paralyzed because they don’t know what to change.
- Salespeople commonly think they are doing far more productive activity than they actually are. They believe they are as busy as they can be to generate sales, so they sometimes need help detailing out exactly what the appropriate activity is to generate enough business. Salespeople get distracted, and having an activity plan can help them stay focused.
I have recently had multiple discussions with business owners and CEOs about appropriate compensation plans for their sales teams. Clearly there is not a “one-size fits all” plan, but I thought I would share some thoughts that I use as guiding principles to help business leaders construct the right plan for their situation.
There are a couple of basic foundations that might seem obvious, but don’t always translate well to a good plan.
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.
I was recently interviewed by BusinessInterviews.com and one of the questions was “What are some common mistakes you see sales managers making that can be easily avoided or corrected?” Well the real answer is that if they were easily avoided or corrected then the sales managers probably wouldn’t be making them, but I didn’t say that exactly. You can read that interview here. It got me thinking though about those common mistakes that sales managers make and I have come up with my Top Five List.
Have you ever had a sales rep who was emotionally volatile? Okay maybe you are saying, “Is there any other kind?” We find it to be a problem that is not necessarily acknowledged or respected. Instead we tend to accept volatile behavior from salespeople as part of the territory. If you do, you are doing your reps a disservice and you are allowing them to miss out on sales that they otherwise might make.
I get it. We expect our salespeople to be animated, charismatic, even emotional. The reality is that if they are emotionally volatile, then they are likely missing opportunities with prospects and customers because they are too wrapped up in their emotion and not focused enough on the prospect. The symptoms are jumping to conclusions, assuming they know what the prospect is thinking, accepting at face value what the prospect says. The outcome is that they don’t ask enough pertinent questions and, therefore they don’t learn enough about the prospect. Frequently this lack of emotional control gets intensified when the person is in a stressful situation or selling to people that are intimidating to them.