What Hawks Can Teach Us About Consultative Selling & Management Skills

What Hawks Can Teach Us About Consultative Selling & Management Skills

I was driving to the airport the other day on a busy stretch of the highway when overhead appeared a red-tail hawk that ultimately perched on a light pole. It made me realize how much more frequently I now see hawks in our area. Over the last few years, the population seems to have ballooned. Prior to maybe seven or eight years ago, I don’t recall ever seeing hawks in or around the city. I live in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio — which is a fairly populated place — so it isn’t like I live out in the country or […]

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Sales Manager Checklist for the New Year

Sales Manager Checklist for the New Year

It’s a new year filled with hope and promise, a clean slate, and new sales goals. Hopefully you experienced a good year and got to celebrate a little bit, but it is time now to move on to attacking this year’s goals.

 

Here is a quick checklist for sales managers to make sure everyone is focused correctly.
1. All individual salespeople must know the expectations of them with regard to sales, including where the sales need to come from – new clients vs. expansion of existing clients or some combination thereof.
 
2. The compensation plan must be clearly articulated to each of the salespeople on […]

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A CRM Alone Won’t Fix Your Sales Management Problem

A CRM Alone Won’t Fix Your Sales Management Problem

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 […]

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Sales Managers: Never, Ever, Ever Give Up

Sales Managers: Never, Ever, Ever Give Up

I was in a conversation with a friend and sales manager yesterday and we were discussing their fantastic year— including all the changes that have occurred and the great sales growth they have experienced. He shared with me that he felt a little guilty because he let off the gas. The team was hitting on all cylinders and they were beating sales expectations. He eased up a little. Sales faltered for a few months. He felt bad that he failed his sales team because they probably didn’t sell as much as they could have had he stayed focused.

This is a common […]

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Long Sales Cycles, Large Transactions: Activity Plans Still Important

Long Sales Cycles, Large Transactions: Activity Plans Still Important

Of the dozens of sales teams I work with each year, there are always a few that sell large scale services or products with longer sales cycles; typically at least 6 months and as long as 18 months or more. Generally, the salespeople in these cases are paid larger base salaries because it is so long between sales and the upside variable compensation is less than it would be more transactional types of sales. In some instances, all the salesperson needs to do is close one or two deals a year and everyone is happy.

It seems that in these situations, […]

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Sales Leaders: The Next Step is Most Important in the Sales Process

Sales Leaders: The Next Step is Most Important in the Sales Process

I was working with a sales team last week that we have been working with for just a few months. They have, on the whole, a pretty strong group of salespeople. We were discussing certain deals in their pipeline and where they were in the process. Many of the conversations were similar. “They really liked what we had. They need to talk to their boss and then they are supposed to call me back tomorrow.” Or worse, “They were supposed to call me back last Wednesday and I have called, but they don’t call me back.”

There are two common flaws […]

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Salesperson Promoted to Sales Manager: Watch Out for This

Salesperson Promoted to Sales Manager: Watch Out for This

I find that when I work with sales managers who were previously high-performing salespeople, they tend to run into a couple of challenges. It is not unusual for their management style and abilities to be impacted by their previous role as a salesperson. Here is one example of a common problem when a sales star is promoted to sales manager, and how to resolve it.

The Typical Scenario:

The sales manager was a strong producer when they were a salesperson. They were likely highly motivated and maybe did whatever it took to get the job done. They were a self-starter, had a strong […]

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What Works for Sales Contests? How to Build a Sales Contest That Wins

What Works for Sales Contests? How to Build a Sales Contest That Wins

I had a discussion the other day with a sales manager at a client site. He was crafting a contest to try to spur some additional activity and business. He asked for my thoughts on how to structure a sales contest that wins, so I thought I would share.

Here Are Three Concepts That Will Help You Create A Winning Sales Contest:

1) Reward The Behavior You Want:

When constructing a sales contest, be sure that you are rewarding the behavior you want. If your goal is to increase sales, then the reward could come from the number of first appointments. If you […]

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Good & Bad News for Sales Managers Looking to Hire Quality Salespeople

Good & Bad News for Sales Managers Looking to Hire Quality Salespeople

It appears that the unemployment rate is going down. That’s a good thing, right? It means the economy is growing. Consumption is up causing demand to go up, which will help sales teams sell more. This is good news right? Well, yes and no. While it may make it easier on salespeople to sell when demand increases, it makes it harder on sales managers to find quality salespeople to do the job.

I hear the cry of many an employer stressing over the difficulty they have in hiring good quality salespeople. I have witnessed countless clients struggle with this. Even during […]

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Do Not Be Confused: Sales Activities Do Not Replace Sales Results

Do Not Be Confused: Sales Activities Do Not Replace Sales Results

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 – […]

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