Naro Notables

Posts Tagged ‘Sales Management’

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: http://www.thenarogroup.com/tngwps/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/TNG_Refocus-Sales-Managers-and-Drive-More-Revenue.pdf.

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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 http://www.thenarogroup.com/tngwps/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/TNG_Feedback-A-Powerful-Tool-for-First-Line-Sales-Managers.pdf. 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”: http://www.business2community.com/marketing/how-call-recording-helps-marketing-sales-and-support-quality-0558554#Pljz3mLxvWuAe0lV.99.

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Qualifying Pipelines Early and Often

During the last sales management training session I facilitated, one of the mangers in the room stated that based on analysis of their pipeline data, “We win in 61 days, and we lose in 186 days.” This reinforces the importance of establishing qualifying criteria early on for both marketing and sales to ensure that only “real” opportunities enter the pipeline. When I work with clients and help them put qualifying elements in place, it’s not uncommon for them to flush 50% of the opportunities out of their pipeline. Often there are engagements that were never going to close anyway or ones that had aged to over 12 months. That means that 50% of your pipeline may be creating a tremendous false expectation that will have a major impact on your forecasting and budgeting processes. Plus, pipelines full of erroneous expectations can be demoralizing to your sales force. So instead of managers spending time “closing” deals with their sales people, I suggest they spend time helping them better qualify opportunities early on. The reality is if someone is going to buy from you anyway (as in, they are “qualified” properly), they don’t have to be closed – they will “buy.”

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Accountability is Key to Motivation

When sales managers are asked to name their top challenge, they consistently say it is holding sales people accountable and motivating them on an ongoing basis. What I find is that sales managers tend to focus on managing their sales people to results from month-to-month, or quarter-to-quarter. There is little understanding of how to help sales people link their day-to-day activities to achieving results, which causes confusion and apprehension. Helping sales people map out a clear path to success through planning and holding them accountable on day-to-day or week-to-week activities creates a sense of urgency. And I can’t think of anything more motivational than creating a causal link between activities today that result in rewards one, two, or six months down the road.

See my article in the Knowledge Center under Sales Management entitled Motivating Sales People through Accountability for further insight.

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Get a Jump on 2013 Sales Planning

December is a bear. Not only is everyone immersed in the holidays, but as a sales or marketing executive, you and your team are driving yearend revenue.

And of course, there is next year’s sales strategy to plan, and a kick off meeting to organize.

By this time of year, you probably have a long list of organizational and process changes that you think will increase the effectiveness of your sales team – and drive more revenue. You know what worked well this year and what didn’t.

Some sales executives think that the kick off meeting is the perfect place to introduce change. But did that work last year?

There’s a Better Way

Man jumping over the year 2013.

For 2013, why not launch a continuous improvement strategy that initiates at your sales meeting, but goes on throughout the year in a very delineated, effective way?

Your first step in this plan is give me a call. I’m offering a two-hour consultation – at no charge – on how to effectively introduce change into your 2013 sales plan. With a comprehensive exchange of ideas, you and I will review your sales plan, analyze changes in your buyers’ behaviors, and discuss how to expand the role of marketing. I will also introduce opportunities for closing sales faster, and discuss how to manage change throughout 2013 in a way that is most effective.

Here’s what your hands-on, one-on-one consultation for will cover:

  • A Sales Plan Review: What strategies, tactics, and activities will you need in 2013 to succeed?
  • Changes in Buyer Behavior: What changes are needed to provide the best buying experience for your prospects?
  • Sales Stages: What activities are needed to keep moving opportunities to closure?
  • Marketing & Sales Connect: What qualifying criteria constitutes a sales lead? Sales Management: How can you motivate your team to execute the plan?
  • Change Management: What critical improvements are necessary for a successful execution of your sales plan?

This is normally a service that I would charge $1,250 for, but it’s yours free if you sign up by December 31, and schedule your meeting before March 29, 2013.

The Reserve Your Time button takes you to an easy scheduling service – you can see the times I’m available and can pick the one most convenient for you.

I want you to have a successful 2013, so let’s start it off right. Call me today and schedule your consultation. It may just be one of your best investments for 2013!

reserve your time button

 

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Managing Selling Activities Versus Revenue Results

I recently read “Cracking the Sales Management Code: The Secrets to Measuring and Managing Sales Performance” by Jason Jordan and Michelle Vazzana. The authors present a central premise that is so obvious but it’s one I see routinely ignored in sales management: You can’t manage to revenue results. Or, as one of the selling programs I use says, “Relying on revenue results to learn about sales problems helps you discover that you are too late to fix them.”

I believe sales leaders are conditioned this way because they are managed to revenue results. And that’s the way they then in turn manage down. A good example is when a sales manager pressures his or her staff people into committing to a public revenue number during monthly or quarterly sales meetings. The reality is, if sales cycles are four months or more, those results are already pretty much determined. So what’s the point?

In fact, most sales are won or lost in the first one or two calls, right at the very beginning of the sales cycle. So, shouldn’t management focus its efforts on making sure sales people are doing the right things early in the sales cycle? This is where sales people can best position themselves, your offerings, and your company with buyers in your target markets. Isn’t that what really should be shared with the rest of the sales team – the activities that lead to results?

Unfortunately, I think it’s easier to manage to results than dig down and understand any real correlation between activities and revenue results. I know firsthand working with clients that the myriad of pipeline reports, forecasts, and dashboards just adds to the frustration of identifying what’s really important to focus on for improved performance.

The authors of the book do a very good job of bringing order to the sometimes chaotic world of sales and business performance measurement. But more important is their straightforward framework for connecting sales activities to objectives and then to business results. The concept seems simple. The difficulty is the execution when you are under the gun to produce results. I recommend you read the book and think about what you can do in your own environment to bring focus to those activities that you can better manage to achieve breakthrough results.

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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.