Naro Notables

The Sales Manager’s Recipe Book

One of the most powerful ways to learn is through real stories. The sales management book entitled, “The Sales Leader’s Problem Solver,” by Suzanne M. Paling ( , captures a great deal of what sales managers need to know and do through real life stories. Sales managers need to be effective problem solvers on a day to day basis. They must be able to quickly identify when sales people are struggling, what kind of help they need, and immediately put a plan in place to improve performance. This sounds simple but requires multiple skills, from comparative data analysis through communication and coaching. For a lot of us who are or have been sales managers we know that many of these skills are learned through experience and mentoring, with knowledge transferred through discussions with our peers, and with some amount of formal training. Suzanne has taken her experience and developed a formal approach from problem identification through problem resolution for some of the most common sales issues, like: The Inconsistent Sales Rep, CRM Non-Compliance, Misaligned Territories, and Loosely Defined Sales Cycle, just to name a few. While the book reflects best practices learned over many years of managing it is not about concepts and theory but real life sales problems and a recipe for solving them.  I would also add that the use of comparative analysis is a very powerful tool used as part of that recipe. The book has great value for both experienced as well as new sales managers in any industry. For experienced sales managers there are plenty of peer sharing ideas that you can reference as you address your own management issues. For new sales managers it gives you a sense of what sales management is all about. In fact for anyone thinking of getting into sales management I would highly recommend reading this book as a way of understanding the day in the life of a sales manager.


Two Key Elements to Successful Sales and Marketing Transformation

If you want to read  a great success story about a high-profile sales and marketing transformation effort, check out this article about  Sungard in the publication Selling Power. There are two key elements of this story I find consistent with other successful sales transformation efforts. The first is that there is an “advocate”, someone who is vested heavily in the outcome of the project, and secondly, the company is leveraging change management practices.

The executives at Sungard realize they have to change in order to grow market share. The initial self assessment is very hard, especially when you are a $1 billion plus company. For advocates, it’s also clear that the more work you do up front regarding change management the easier it is to get support and funding for a project. If you are ready to get started on your own self assessment, visit the Naro Group Knowledge Center and read the article entitled, “Self Assessment for Driving Revenue Growth.” Or if you are ready to create your own sales and marketing transformation, check out these consultation options I offer for driving optimal sales performance.



New Selling Behaviors May Compete with Familiar Selling Behaviors

A lot of sales kick off planning for next year will focus on ways to develop the sales team and motivate them to improve results for the upcoming year. Unfortunately, much of this effort will be wasted as the likelihood of desired behaviors gets diminished once the sales team returns to the field. Typically the sales kick off environment has a structure to reinforce desired behaviors, while there is little change to the day-to-day infrastructure in the field. And, in fact, the infrastructure in the field may make it easier for the sales team to fall back on less effective but familiar behaviors. Based on my experience working with sales managers, I have included tips for implementing behavior change in the field:


Coaching and Developing Sales People Trending as Focus

Two recent announcements show growing interest in developing and coaching sales people, as well as the need for sales managers to reallocate their time to not only complete their own tasks but also help their sales people improve their performance.  Included in Sales Dot Two Inc.’s announcement of the agenda for its upcoming Sales Performance Management Conference  is mention of a Sales 2.0 Impact Survey showing “that the number one challenge for B2B sales leaders this year has been training and coaching.” And, from CSO Insights 5th Annual Sales Management Optimization study we find that “The best-in-class companies’ managers spend less time selling and more time coaching. And they focus their coaching less on specific deals and more on their reps’ development using metrics, not hunches, to do so.” Based on my experience working with first line sales managers, I have included tips for refocusing sales mangers time for specific coaching and development areas:


One of the top weekly activities for sales managers – the field ride-along

One of the top weekly activities for sales managers includes the field ride-along for coaching and developing sales people.  Having sales managers use a balanced assessment for this activity provides an opportunity for sales people to learn within context and build confidence and become more motivated. For more about a balanced assessment see I do hear from clients that the ride-along can sometime be impractical due to geography and time constraints. The alternative for some clients has been call recording. Call recording has been used extensively to handle quality control for service and support. Clients I talk to say call recording is also convenient and easy to use for sales coaching.  If you want to learn more about using call recording for sales you might find this article interesting : “How Call Recording Helps Marketing, Sales and Support Quality”:


Linking Sales Training to Revenue Growth

I read an interesting report linking stalled revenue growth to the lack of formal sales training. While 35% of the companies surveyed for the report say they missed their revenue goals, 55% of sales leaders said they spent $10,000 or less annually on sales training. The conclusion of the report is that company’s need to invest more in training on critical selling skills. While I agree with the conclusion, my experience has been that company’s first need to remove several barriers to leveraging their investment in sales training. I’ve outlined those barriers and how to deal with them in the following article:


Ready to Drive More Revenue?

The Naro Group's free Sales Performance Assessment uncovers revenue-blocking obstacles within your sales organization. Using the core capabilities of high-performing sales organizations as a baseline, the assessment will discover where your organization's proficiency falls short in these areas of sales effectiveness:

Sales Readiness

How quickly and efficiently are your sales people moving qualified pipeline opportunities to closure? Do your existing sales methodologies and processes fully support your sales team? Do your sales people have the skills, pipeline models, forecasting capabilities, opportunity management, and planning tools that they need to succeed? Are they engaging in the right activities throughout the sales cycle?

Sales Enablement

Do your sales people have all the intelligence they need about your products, markets, and the competition? Do they have access to the right knowledge-based support tools? Is each member of your sales team fully prepared to sell your specific offerings? Can your sales people have conversations that engage buyers and lead them into sales cycles?

Learn what gaps might be hindering your sales organization.

Schedule your free Sales Performance Assessment now. Call The Naro Group at 603.881.7712 or email us today.