The Coach's Corner

Archive for August, 2020

Sales Management 11.0, part 2

August 24th, 2020 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

This blog is a follow-up to my last post, which highlighted the common issues Mike Weinberg, author of Sales Management Simplified, experiences when he works with his clients.

Part Two – Practical Help and a Simple Framework to Get Exceptional Results

  1. The 4 Rs of sales talent management: Put the Right People in the Right Roles, Retain Top Producers, Remediate or Replace Underperformers, and Recruit.
  2. If I confidentially polled your salespeople, would the majority say the leadership of your company is “for” the salespeople or against them?
  3. According to Weinberg, sales managers “invest” (waste) most of their time: They’re slaves to emails, they have a ridiculous number of meetings, they get caught up playing assistant general manager, they focus too much on administrative items and unnecessary reports, and they don’t protect their calendars.
  4. Sales managers’ top three activities should be: 1) Conducting monthly one-on-one meetings with individual salespeople, 2) Leading sales team meetings, and 3) Working alongside (observing, coaching, helping) salespeople when they’re with customers and prospects.
  5. During monthly 20-minute one-on-one meetings: 1) Compare actual sales results with goals, 2) Quickly review the salesperson’s pipeline of potential deals and sales opportunities, 3) Review sales activity going forward, especially in situations where the salesperson fails the first two tests.
  6. Two great sales activity questions to ask: 1) Can you name the new opportunities that are in your pipeline that weren’t here last month? 2) Can you name the existing opportunities that you moved forward in the sales process since last month?
  7. Sales team meeting agenda potential items: 1) Give brief personal updates, 2) Review sales results and highlight outstanding performance, 3) Share stories, 4) Conduct product training, 5) Share best practices, 6) Brainstorm deal strategies, 7) Have an executive or other department guest presentation, 8) Conduct a book or blog review, 9) Work on sales skill coaching/training, 10) Give business plan presentations, 11) Have a brief, controlled bitch session, 12) Share some non-sales-related inspiration, and 13) Talk about takeaways.
  8. Riding along with your salespeople provides an opportunity to observe them in action.
  9. Working in the field presents a priceless opportunity to coach a salesperson before and after sales calls.
  10. Windshield time and mealtime provide a rare opportunity to learn more about your salespeople; this will make you a more effective sales manager.
  11. Getting out of the office provides you with a firsthand look at what’s taking place in the market.
  12. Fieldwork helps you develop important relationships with key customers.
  13. When with your salesperson, be present with your salesperson.
  14. Don’t do your salesperson’s job.
  15. Free up your excellent sales hunters so they can maximize their time hunting.
  16. Most sales managers wait too long to address underperformers.

Hopefully you’ve identified a tip or two that you can incorporate into your business. My suggestion would be to get a copy of Sales Management Simplified and use it like an owner’s manual. Pull it out when you have a specific issue with your sales team, and take advantage of Weinberg’s wisdom on the subject. He obviously has seen it all.

Sales Management 11.0

August 12th, 2020 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

If you’re looking for practical, actionable ideas to help your sales team land new clients/customers, I would highly recommend Sales Management Simplified by Mike Weinberg. On a scale of 1 to 10, this book is an 11. To be clear, this is about “new” clients/customers, not cross-serving existing relationships. I found Weinberg’s stories to be very relevant, and he describes situations I frequently observe with my clients. He divides his book into two sections: Part One – Blunt Truth from the Front Lines, and Part Two – Practical Help and a Simple Framework to Get Exceptional Results. In this post, I’ll present Part One. The blog could be used as a checklist for you or your sales manager.

Part One – Blunt Truth

  1. Today, sales managers are often distracted by trying to appease their overly involved private equity group (PEG) owners. (Editorial comment: The CEOs and sales managers of my PEG-owned clients spend endless hours estimating and re-estimating the projected annual EBITDA.)
  2. Playing CRM “desk jockey” doesn’t equate to sales leadership. (Editorial comment: I had a CEO client whose parent company required my client to have the general ledger agree/match the salesforce.com records. I’m not kidding!)
  3. Top sales producers tend to exhibit a characteristic Weinberg would describe as being selfishly productive. (Editorial comment: This is a tricky one, but the point is the best “hunters” know how to spend their time.)
  4. The player-coach sales manager role can create mistrust and bad feelings. If a small company can’t afford a full-time sales manager, Weinberg recommends that the owner, president, or another key senior executive serve as a part-time sales manager.
  5. If there’s anything guaranteed to deflate the heart of a salesperson, it’s when the sales manager steals the glory and limelight. Often, the sales manager’s competitive nature and strong desire to solve all problems gets in the way of doing their primary job: leading the sales team.
  6. Hunting for new business involves risk, conflict, and rejection. Think carefully before putting account managers, sales support, or sales engineers in new business development sales roles. (Editorial comment: Based on my observations of hundreds of companies, most sales professionals are not hunters, but many of them are in hunter roles.)
  7. The leader who is constantly preaching about holding people accountable for results and doesn’t follow through does more damage than if he hadn’t said anything in the first place. Sales. Is. About. Results. Period. Salespeople aren’t paid to do work, or to be busy. Their job is to drive revenue — specifically, new revenue.
  8. Weinberg would argue strenuously that keeping your lowest sales producers around does cost you, even if you’re not shelling out commission dollars.
  9. In his work providing new business development advice to companies, Weinberg observes many counterproductive sales compensation plans. He would also say there’s nowhere near enough difference between what the very top and the very bottom performers earn.
  10. Weinberg says other team members tend to be more jealous or unappreciative of those in sales than in other roles. (Editorial comment: I’ve observed where hunters are expected to complete too much paperwork. Often, they don’t have the time or the aptitude, which creates tension with the operations, service, and accounting departments.)
  11. Sales managers are working less in the field and not developing their team. The best mentoring happens out in the field, where they join their salesperson on trips to see the prospective client/customer. They can coach and prepare them before the sales call and, following the meeting, they can discuss what went well and where they could improve. (Editorial comment: I can still remember sitting in my mentor, Ken Kunkel’s, car before and after sales calls. He would always ask me what I thought. Then he would ask me if I noticed the prospect’s reactions to certain comments. He would explain why he went in a particular direction after the client had provided some facts.)
  12. Poor salespeople talk too much and listen way too little. Discover the customer’s real issues before making a presentation — always. Poor salespeople give off the vibe that they’re there to “pitch at” the prospect.

 

I’ll end Part One there. On pages 100-101, Weinberg summarizes 21 common causes for sales teams’ underperformance. Hopefully I hit a hot button or two. In the next post, I’ll summarize Part Two, which offers some practical advice for the issues identified above.

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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