Sales Management Guru
Ken Thoreson, Acumen Management president, is a sales leadership professional who helps companies pull sales results out of the doldrums into the fresh zone of predictable revenue. His consulting, advisory, and speaking services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated sales efforts for companies across North America.
Find him on facebook at facebook.com/ken.thoreson
Your July Sales Training Tip: YouTube.com
Normally at this time of the year, I am reminding my clients that it’s time to begin building their 3rd Quarter sales training plans. Those of you who are regular readers know that Acumen Sales Mangers plan their entire quarter sales training plans at the beginning of each quarter. Each sales meeting schedule is defined by date/time, topics and assignments—as to who is training on what topics. Topics should include: sales skills, product/services knowledge, competition and sales operations (CRM, contracts, etc…) BTW: During the first six months of 2013, I have used: Question Based Selling and Demonstration to Win books for many of my clients “book club” study groups.
But what about July! With the 4th of July and Summer time upon us, here’s a fun idea to launch your summer sales training plans.
- Set your date for your July sales training date.
- each salesperson to review YouTube.com to find what they consider their best sales training video lesson
- At your sales meeting, each salesperson would introduce the You Tube video and discuss why they felt it was pertinent to your sales organization.
- Then watch the YouTube video as a team and discuss it.
It will be a fun meeting, but also, each salespeople may end up watching 4-6 YouTube videos on sales training as they evaluate their recommendation and they will learn to use You Tube as a resource for idea’s and as a sales resource.
Simply have them go to www.YouTube.com and in the search bar enter: sales training.
Make July a jubilant month. Focus on sales pipeline building, sales...
The Renaissance Society
I had the opportunity to read this book during a long flight to the West Coast, written by Rolf Jensen and Mika Aaltonen and published by McGraw-Hill I was expecting a futuristic perspective on how our society will evolve, this book delivered much more.
The authors build their business case for predicting the future by reviewing the past and our existing economic conditions and comparing them to emerging markets (East). They do this convincingly, creating 3 clear, distinct and interconnected scenarios:
- The Renaissance Society; where a new society renounces the existing organizing principles and begins to reorganize themselves from the bottom-up in daily practices and communities.
- The Green Society: a must scenario as societies that destroy their environments, destroy themselves.
- The Risk Society; changes in technology will push our knowledge further, but we will take advantage of them for industrial use.
Throughout the book they take into consideration looking at the US market, but also all of the Western economies as compared to developing countries and Eastern markets and the trends that will drive change. Increasing wealth, GDP and the rise of the middle class in non-Western markets will cause major shifts and as the Western economies mature they must and will re-invent themselves. This will drive the “happiness factor” that rising GDP brings, but with the wealth of the West a new focus on positive emotional well-being in increase.
The greatest three sentences in the book, especially for our sales/marketing readers, are: “My advice is to ask what kind of emotional appeal your product has. If the answer is none, you are in a commodity market; you are most likely engaged in fierce price competition. Add emotions, add a story, and make your product...
Earn Your Success - Pay the Price
A good friend of mine always told me that you “earned success” and you had to accept the fact that there normally was a price to pay for that success. When I work with my client’s sales teams I always inquire about their goals, actions and commitments to achieving their objectives—and what doesn’t surprises me anymore is this lack of fully understanding of the “price to pay”.
I am not suggesting that our lives are so consumed with achieving success that all other facets of life are out of balance. Those of you who have taken my “Personal & Professional Pizza” assessment understand my focus on life balance, if you haven’t take the assessment, view my Gourmet Life video: http://www.acumenmgmt.com/KeninAction123
However, if you are leading a sales organization or if you are a professional salesperson understanding that there is a price to be paid to achieve success must be clearly understood and accepted. I see salespeople showing up Monday and simply coming to work—sales leadership and sales roles demand more.
First; it’s creative time. Taking time on a quiet evening or on a Saturday to review each active sales opportunity and thinking through your sales tactics/strategies demands extra time. What else can you do to win?
Second; it’s professional. Are you actively taking the extra time to review LinkedIn groups within your market to better understand what issues are being discussed? The Sales Association group in LinkedIn and their VP Sales Group are good groups to join. I am actually leading a series of monthly sales leadership web casts for the VP Sales Group.
Achieving the Balance Between Having Your Sales Team Respect You But Not Fear You
Every good sales team manager knows that a delicate balance must be maintained between having your team respect you without having them fear you. We’re going to address why this balance is so important to maintain, and how to achieve and maintain it.
Fear breeds contempt. If your team is living in fear of you, or in fear of making a misstep, this can easily breed resentment. No one likes to feel as though they have someone on their shoulder watching their every move or waiting for them to fail.
Additionally, when your team fears you, they may make more missteps because they aren’t acting naturally and instinctively, but are trying too hard to please you. Trust them to do what they were hired to do.
You want your employees to have a healthy respect for you, and not to fear you.
Be stern but relatable. Don’t be a frosty manager. This can create a bit of fear, as people always wonder what the cold manager is thinking about them. It’s okay to be human and to have a laugh with your team to put them at ease a bit.
The trick is not letting the team in too close. When they start to feel as though they are your good friends, they start to feel as though maybe they can get away with a bit more than they would if they weren’t.
Reward success—employees appreciate the acknowledgement.
Incent and reward success. Everyone likes to have something to motivate them. Your team will appreciate and respect that you reward their success.
Don’t reward every single thing, because then rewards become less...
Programs to Add Value to Your Professionalism
This week I thought I would use this forum to let my readers know of two sales leadership training programs in May that you should plan to attend.
- The first is Friday May 10th, Building Predictable Revenue: Sales Management Systems
- The second is May 28th, 1pm EST: Creating Sales Compensation Plans for High Performance
Building Predictable Revenue: Sales Management Systems, Forecasting and Building a Self-Managed Sales Force
Friday, May 10, 2013 12:00pm Noon EST
The purpose of this interactive workshop will be to review techniques that all executives, sales leaders and sales professionals can use and to introduce a sales management process that ensures you are positioned for success. Learn to build predictable revenue. This session is designed for Owners and Sales Managers. As partner organizations have had to fight to survive, this session is designed to “tighten the ship”, and put into place the systems and controls to fine tune the organization and prepare for growth. As other organizations shrink or cut back learn to take advantage of the opportunity of the lifetime, during the lifetime of the opportunity!
Acumen’s 14 years of consulting Ken has determined that the vast number of organizations can quickly improve discipline, accountability, and control by implementing the concepts and tools during this session. This tactical program will provide insights and tools to help the Executive or Sales Manager easily increase the productively of their management meetings, sales meetings and sales training events.
This session will:
- Review the importance of forecasting tools, their design, how effective sales managers use them to ensure monthly revenues are attained and appropriate content.
- Assist attendees in developing sales management measurement success indicators, their use in...
Old Ways of Doing Business No Longer Work
I believe that most of us accept that the old ways of doing business no longer work: the increasingly intense competitive challenges of the world economy, plus the recent financial meltdown, challenge everyone, everywhere to adapt in order to prosper under new rules. Those who cannot - or will not - change are withering.
For example, in the old economy, hierarchies pitted labour against management, with workers paid wages depending on their skills, but that is eroding as the rate of change accelerates. Those same hierarchies are being replaced by networks; labour and management are uniting into teams; wages are coming in new mixtures of options, incentives and ownership; fixed jobs melt into fluid careers.
As business changes, so do the traits needed to survive, let alone excel, and all these transitions put increased value on emotional intelligence.
Competitive pressures put a new value on people who are self-motivated, show initiative, have the inner drive for outdoing themselves, and are optimistic enough to take reversals and setbacks in their stride. The ever-pressing need to serve customers and clients well and to work smoothly and creatively with an ever more diverse range of people makes the ability to empathize all the more essential.
At the same time, the meltdown of those old hierarchies increases the importance of traditional people skills such as building bonds, influence and collaboration. And that is as true for employers as it is for employees.
The task of the leader draws on a wide range of personal skills. Research has shown that emotional competence makes the crucial difference between mediocre leaders and the best. Indeed, emotional competence makes up about two thirds of the ingredients of star performance in general, but for outstanding leaders emotional competencies –...
Learning by Observing
This past week I had the opportunity to participate in what is called a Speakers Showcase, 10 professional speakers had an opportunity to stand up in front of 100+ National Speakers Association managers and give a 15-minute program based upon your desired topic. I used the topic: Gourmet Living: Building a Menu for Your Life!
The real opportunity for me was to sit back and observe other individuals not only to hear their message, but more importantly see how they:
- opened their presentation
- energy levels
- body language
- vocal tones
- how they closed
I also asked several of the other speakers to provide feedback on my session. I know every year when I attend the National Speakers Association conference I pick up so many great ideas to build my professionalism. So what does this topic have to do with Sales Leadership?
In many situations sales managers are the key coach, mentor and trainer of their sales teams, whether it’s in the field or in sales training environments. It is the second most important aspect of your job. (Hiring correctly is #1). To many times when we are meeting with sales managers in our peer groups or one on one coaching, I have found that many sales managers have a challenge keeping their mouth closed during an onsite sales call with one of their team members. Certainly, there are occasions when the manager SHOULD TALK, and those should be defined during the pre-calling planning process. However during any sales call, the manager must be acutely aware of the 5 items listed above when observing their salesperson. GURU HINT: You might keep that list and put a ranking behind each one 1-5, 5=great and prepare a short report card...
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