The 4 Top Sales Leadership Articles to Boost Sales Today

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Aug 05, 2016 @ 11:08 AM

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There have been at least 2 lists published of the sales books you should read on the beach this summer so we are not going there!  But summer is for sun and fun and some of the best things in life happen during the summer.  As a result, we miss some of the best work-related things because we aren't working as many hours, may be in catch-up mode and not have the time to get to everything we would get to during cooler months.  With that in mind, some of the best articles you haven't read were published this summer!

I'm going to share four of them right here, tell you why the article will help today, and you can decide whether or not to read it.

Buyer Who Has No Use for Salespeople - This has been the most popular article of the summer.  It started with a buyer who contributed an outrageous comment on another article and this article began as my formal response.  But many readers commented, attacked him and he returned and attacked back so it morphed into a very entertaining read.  The key here is that it exposed what happens when weak salespeople fail to bring value to their customers and prospects.  This article is a must read.

Sales Process and Shoes Analogy - This sounds stupid but this short article links to the finest article I have ever written on sales process.  You must read it if you have even the slightest doubt as to whether your sales process is perfect as it is.

Ineffective Sales Managers - This is really two articles and the link on your left links to the second.  The link to the first article appears in the first sentence.  The first article discusses the many reasons why most sales managers are so ineffective and the second article provides examples of how they do things wrong, and what they could be doing instead.  There is also a great baseball analogy and you know how I like those!

Digital or Analog - This is an interesting read on the different approaches that newer companies - often in the technology space - take, versus older, traditional companies - often in manufacturing or distribution - and how they get to a common middle ground.  Read this is to compare what you have in place to best practices.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, sales management, sales leadership, top articles on sales and selling

A CEO's Guide to the Differences in Sales Leadership Roles

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 @ 14:06 PM

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Image Copyright 123RF Stock Photo

I was reviewing a sales leadership evaluation with my client, a CEO, who was a bit confused over how this was different from a sales management evaluation.  He wondered, "Aren't sales managers and sales leaders the same?"

He has a sales force that was typical of a mid-size business with a Sales VP (the sales leader), 2 sales managers, and about 15 salespeople between them.  In my experience, there is a boatload of confusion over the differences between Sales Managers, Sales Directors, Sales VP's, Regional Sales Managers, National Sales Managers, Senior Sales VP's, Worldwide Sales VP's, Sales Operations VP's, Sales Enablement VP's and Chief Revenue Officers.

Let's attempt to explain some of the important differences between Sales Managers and the other Sales Leadership roles.

At Objective Management Group (OMG), we evaluate both Sales Managers and Sales Leaders as well as Salespeople.  To use the proper evaluation, we often have to ignore titles and pay more attention to reports and function.  

Who are the Direct Reports?  One of the most obvious differences between Sales Managers and other Sales Leaders is who reports to them.  Typically, salespeople report to Sales Managers and Sales Managers report to Sales Directors or Sales VP's.  One of the reasons that executives get confused is this example where, in one company, the manager of 5 salespeople is a Sales Manager, while the company across the hall with 3 salespeople has them reporting to a VP Sales.  Sometimes, the very first hire a company makes is a Sales VP whose role is to sell.  Titles do not tell the story, but reporting structure does!

What is the Primary Function?  The primary function of a Sales Manager is to coach salespeople, so the focus is on tactics.  The primary functions of a Sales VP's are market penetration, building an effective sales organization, systems and processes, and revenue growth, so the focus must be on strategy.  Small companies, looking to hire their first Sales Leader, often want both - someone who can bring strategy as well as tactics.  They must choose between hiring a Sales VP who is willing to perform Sales Management functions, or a Sales Manager who may be completely unproven when it comes to strategic thinking.  A compromise is not usually the solution, so we need to look at who will be reporting to this person and recognize that a proven Sales Manager with a passion for coaching salespeople will have the most impact.

What is the Compensation?  While this can vary wildly depending on the industry, there are some common range differences.  Most Sales Managers earn between $125,000 and $175,000 in total compensation while most Sales VP's earn between $250,000 and $350,000 in total compensation.  When a small company hires someone to perform in the Sales Management role, but awards a VP title, the cost goes up significantly!

What about those other Roles?  Sales Enablement VP's, sometimes known as Sales Operations VP's, arrange for the tools and training.  Sales Directors sometimes report to Sales VP's while in other companies, the reverse is true.  Both positions are necessary when there are too many of one of those titles.  For example, if we have 6 Sales Directors, each with 3 sales managers reporting to them, the Sales Directors would report to a VP.  Or, if we had 6 Sales VP's, each with 3 sales managers reporting to them, the Sales VP's would report to either a Sales Director, a Senior VP Sales, or a Worldwide VP Sales.  And finally, the senior sales leader and the senior marketing leader would report to a Chief Revenue Officer.  In some companies, Sales Managers are the salespeople (think territory managers) while Sales VP's are the sales managers with some expanded responsibilities.

So back to the Review of the Sales Leadership evaluation.  One of the interesting findings that confused the CEO was that while his Sales Leader scored 81% on Sales Strategy and 77% on Sales Coaching, the leader's tendency was to default to Sales Accountability (get tougher) and Sales Recruiting (hire better salespeople) despite having much, much lower scores on those competencies.  We see this a lot with Sales Leaders - using skills where they aren't that strong and failing to use skills in which they are really good!

There are many different styles of leadership and when it comes to Sales Leaders, you may have a preference as to the style and how well that style fits into your culture.  Be warned though. Pick the style you like after you have determined that the sales leader has mastery over the competencies for that particular sales leadership role.  A great style makes it easier to work with someone.  When style trumps capabilities, your new sales leader could be the skipper of a sinking ship.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales leadership, sales VP, Sales Director

How Coyotes are at the Heart of Sales Motivation

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 @ 06:04 AM

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My family lives west of Boston where it is not uncommon for us to see lots of squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, deer, the family of foxes that live on our property, and on most nights, we hear coyotes.  We usually hear them in the early morning hours, and always thought they were celebrating a kill.  Recently, I did some research and learned that this is how coyotes greet each other when they are assembling before going out to hunt - before the kill!   For those of you who don't live in or alongside a forest, a group of wild coyotes usually looks and sounds just like in this 1-minute video that I found on YouTube. That got me thinking about the connection to sales motivation and more.

 

Not too many decades ago, sales teams were very local and met weekly and sometimes daily as a group.   The purpose of a typical meeting was to share information and motivate the troops.  Most meetings ended with a motivational cheer - similar to what you might expect from a modern-day pep rally!

It got me thinking that pep rallies, coyote gatherings and sales meetings are all very primal and we, as people, need the rallying.  It provides external motivation and while that tends to be short-lived, it improves confidence, gets everyone focused and aligned, and creates a sense of urgency. 

Most sales teams don't meet as frequently anymore and while adults are capable of performing without the pom-poms and cheers, providing some external motivation certainly doesn't hurt.  It builds team and spirit.  That's why, in lieu of being able to gather and meet each week, daily huddles can fill the gap.  They aren't designed to motivate as much as they are to align, develop a laser focus, report on KPI's, uncover coaching opportunities and hold the team accountable.

When the team does come together, there should be at least one motivational moment - in the form of an awards ceremony, a keynote motivational talk or an event that gets everyone excited.

Today, there are three ways that people are motivated to perform on a day-to-day basis.  I've written about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and we still need to consider a third, altruistic type of motivation.  I believe that the third group is represented by a very small minority in sales, but as Objective Management Group (OMG) begins to measure and analyze the presence of the third group, I'll bring that science to the discussion.  As far as intrinsic motivation goes, OMG measures 7 additional ways that salespeople are motivated.

At my annual Sales Leadership Intensive, in addition to 2 comprehensive days on how to master the art of coaching salespeople, we also teach sales leaders how to effectively motivate their salespeople.  It's the best two days of sales leadership training you can get - anywhere - and we would love to have you attend.  Seating is limited to just 26 and as of today, April 21, 2016, we have 5 seats remaining for our May 17-18 event outside of Boston. Register with this link and embedded discount code to automatically receive a 30% discount. [Update - Sold Out]

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales leadership, sales motivation, sales management training

Is it OK if You Lose Customers Because of the Evolution of Your Product?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 @ 10:01 AM

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Did you ever look for something you haven't used in quite a while, only to be dismayed when you couldn't find it?  Where could it be?  Did you lose it?  Did the cleaners throw it away?  Was it stolen?  Did you tuck it away somewhere, but can't remember where?

Did you ever lose a long-time customer?  Did it happen overnight or was it a long time in coming?  Did you try to save them?  Were they savable?

One of the inevitable facts of selling is that the Law of Sales is much like the Law of Gravity.  "What goes up must come down" loosely translates to "Who you sell will eventually go away."  The only question is whether that will be days, weeks, months, years or decades from now.  

In 1990, Objective Management Group (OMG) began selling what would eventually become an elite, world-class suite of sales force evaluation and sales candidate assessment tools.  We helped companies through third-party resellers who would eventually be called partners.  We started with 6 charter partners, all of whom remained active until last week when 1 of them made the decision not to continue with us after 25 years.

Partners come and go.  For the last 15 years, the number of sales consultancies we have partnered with has averaged around 150 partners worldwide.  So why would a long-time, loyal partner or customer go away?

In this case, it's evolution.

Companies evolve. Products evolve. Customers evolve.

However, when companies, products and customers do not evolve together, there is an opportunity for a competitor to swoop in and fill a void.  And here is the million dollar question:  Is that OK?

Maybe.

There is a fine line between leading and listening.  Of course, you want to listen to your customers and provide them with win-win solutions.  At the same time, you can't stop evolving because a customer does not want to join you on that journey.

For example, suppose a printing equipment manufacturer had made the complete transition from mechanical printing to digital printing and one large customer wanted to continue printing with mechanical equipment. While the manufacturer saw the coming trends, technology, promised efficiencies and new opportunities, the customer was married to his mechanical equipment and didn't want to make the investment in new digital equipment.  Does the manufacturer listen to the large customer and slow its own evolution, or do they allow that one large customer to leave, while continuing to lead the way to the future?  And if the manufacturer did listen and slow down, how long would it be before the customer went bankrupt and the manufacturer no longer had the lead over their competitors?

OMG is committed to continuing to create, innovate and provide amazing, insightful, powerful, timely, accurate and predictive evaluations and assessments for sales forces and leadership teams.  This isn't some sort of marketing slogan either.  This is what we have been doing every day, all day, since 1990.  Selling has changed dramatically in the past 7 years and our evaluations and assessments have had to evolve as well.  For example, some of the many things that we have added or enhanced include:

  • Social Selling proficiency
  • CRM proficiency
  • Inside Sales
  • Lead Gen
  • Appointment Setting
  • Intrinsic Motivation and How Intrinsics are Motivated
  • The Buyer Journey
  • Enhanced Sales Process
  • Ideal Roles
  • Ramp up Time
  • Longevity
  • Sales Posturing
  • Sales Messaging
  • Sales Leadership Effectiveness
  • Sales Management Effectiveness
  • Pipeline Analysis
  • Modification of our 21 Sales Core Competencies
  • Perfect Fit Analysis
  • Much, much more.

It's disappointing when a partner isn't willing to take the next step into the future.  At the same time, when partners stay and applaud our work, it validates that we are doing the right things, going down the right path and leading the way. The many consultants who email, wanting to partner with us because of what we are doing, further validates our actions.

Will you attract more customers than you will lose or will you lose more customers than you will attract?  Will you suffer in the short-term, but prosper over the long haul or will you achieve a short-term gain at the expense of long-term results?

Think about all of the customers who moved to Apple because Apple knew what people would want to have.  And think of all of the people who left Microsoft and Windows until they innovated and introduced the Surface Tablet and Windows 10.

Innovate, evolve, push, lead and perfect your life's work.  It won't be right for everyone at every moment, but that's just the validation you need that you are doing it right.  Customers may leave when they aren't happy with your service or your perceived value and that needs to be addressed.  But when they leave because they can't or don't want to keep up, it means that you are doing the right things.  

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales leadership, Apple, CRM Application, Windows, innovation, microsoft

Latest Debate Had Some Great Sales Leadership Examples

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Dec 17, 2015 @ 07:12 AM

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You didn't need to watch too much of the debate or watch for too long before hearing some bizarre examples of what some of the GOP candidates would do if they were elected as the Chief Leader of the United States.  Carly Fiorina doubled down and said she simply would not talk to world leaders, like Vladimir Putin, until she could talk to him from a position of strength.  Chris Christie said he would draw a line in the sand and if Putin crossed it with one of his war planes, Christie would shoot it down.  Trump said he would kill the families of terrorists.  Rand Paul was smug - he knows more than anyone else on the stage and has known it for longer.  Cruz and Rubio debated details of the law.  Carson said the right things - all night - but has very little in the way of outward presence.  He isn't animated enough, passionate enough, or dynamic enough to be the Chief Leader.  Jeb Bush stumbled.  So out of this cast of characters, who was the "leader" who didn't say the wrong thing?I believe that it was Chris Christie with his line in the sand.  He's talking about setting clear expectations and holding accountable those who didn't meet those expectations.  Trump was talking about that too, but Trump's KPI is not within the law!  Christie's line in the sand is a no-fly zone in Syria - and a violation would be a very reasonable KPI to which every country could and should be held accountable.

In other news, today, Rapid Learning Institute sponsored two presentations where I commented on the hidden reasons why your next sales candidate might be a bust.  Both sessions were a big hit!  They posted this article which talked about the takeaways from the first session. 

Evan Carmichael, of EvanCarmichael.com, a great site for entrepreneurs, named me one of the Top 100 Leadership Experts to follow on Twitter, coming in at #59.

Last week, I posted the top 5 Articles from my blog in 2015.  Readers voted and the winner is:  Rebuttal to What Elite Salespeople Do Differently 

This relatively short and simple article turned into the most lively online debate that I have witnessed in the 10 plus years of authoring this blog and I was very proud of all the supporters who took the time to write, explain their positions, and set the record straight.  Thank you all for reading in 2015.

Finally, TopSalesWorld.com is holding their annual Top Sales & Marketing Awards for 2015.  This year I am proud to be nominated and be a finalist in 7 categories:

  1. Top Sales and Marketing Article
  2. Top Sales and Marketing Blog Post
  3. Top Sales and Marketing Blog
  4. Top Sales and Marketing eBook
  5. Top Sales and Marketing Webinar
  6. Top Sales Assessment Tool (Objective Management Group/OMG)
  7. Top Sales and Marketing Thought Leader

The winners will be announced in the December 22 issue of Top Sales Magazine. If you don't subscribe (it's free) you can subscribe here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales leadership, topsalesworld, chris christie, GOP and sales, Evan Carmichael, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina

Connecting the Dots on Sales Management

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, May 28, 2015 @ 09:05 AM

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Copyright / 123RF Stock Photo

Do you remember the morning that you couldn't find your keys, but they were right there on the counter?  Or the time that you couldn't find an article of clothing, but it was hanging right there in your closet the entire time you were looking for it?  Or the time you couldn't find your car in the airport parking garage?  And yes, it was right where you parked it.  Sometimes, things are right in front of you and you don't notice them!  And that brings us to this sales management topic.  

Last week, I wrote about the sales force where half of the salespeople resigned and why that happened.  If you didn't read that, please read that now.

And earlier this week, I wrote about the similarity between the 2 main characters in the movie Whiplash and a salesperson with a difficult prospect.  If you didn't read that article, please read that now.

So it was right in front of me and I missed it completely.  Until now.

The tormentor in Whiplash could have been the sales manager in the first article!  He didn't have relationships, he wasn't trusted, and he wasn't respected.  He may have confused respected with feared - he knew his students feared him and he believed - incorrectly - that it was respect.  He didn't take the time to know what motivated his students, although he assumed, like most sales managers do, that he knew.  In this case, he assumed it was greatness or stardom.  He didn't have any need for his students to like him, he put tremendous pressure on them and was hated!  Fletcher and Jeff are the same person!

Objective Management Group's statistics show that 18% of all sales managers should not be in sales management, 34% of them cannot be trained to become effective sales managers, and only 7% are elite at their role.

You should know by now that half of a sales manager's time - 50% - should be spent coaching their salespeople.  Unfortunately, most sales managers don't allocate that kind of time for coaching and aren't very effective at it.

That's why we hold our annual Sales Leadership Intensive where, among other things, we spend the major parts of two days on how to master sales coaching.  Assuming that you and your sales managers are not among the elite 7%, this two-day event is the fast track to joining that elite group.  Learn more about our August Sales Leadership Intensive right here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales leadership, Sales Coaching, training, whiplash

Verne Harnish's Rant and 3 Sales Leadership Issues

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 @ 09:02 AM

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The one newsletter that I never fail to read each week, rain, 7 feet of snow, sub-zero temperatures, or shine, is Verne Harnish's Weekly Insights (subscribe here).  If you are not familiar with Verne (The Growth Guy), he wrote Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and his latest book, Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make it and the Rest Don't, is another must-read best seller.

Yesterday, I received his weekly newsletter and just loved the message in his rant.  I asked him if I could reprint the rant, not so much to help him fill his upcoming Leadership  Summit, but to illustrate how important it is to get the words right.  Here is the rant:

Ruckusmaker Day -- today would have been Steve Jobs' 60th birthday. In honor of Steve, marketing guru Seth Godin has declared it the first annual "Ruckusmaker Day." Seth announced this yesterday in his blog, encouraging people to have a point of view, the genius capacity he pins on Jobs. Take one minute to read Seth's inspirational blog and then speak up about something.

OK, so my Ruckus! -- or really a question. Given that Mark Cuban reads three hours per day; given that Warren Buffett reads 500 pages per day; given that Mark Zuckerberg has set his personal goal in 2015 to read a book every two weeks; given that the most successful are learners; and given that we work tirelessly to identify the best biz authors of the best dozen books (Lean, Sales, Tribes, Billionaires, etc.), from the thousands printed each year, and bring these authors (listed below) to an affordable resort setting where you can absorb their ideas in 48 hours! - my question - why are some of you missing this opportunity to learn and network with some of the best mid-market scale-ups around the world? Are you nuts (OK, maybe a little strong, but I'm passionate about the power of learning)? We see the same super successful teams each time - so wondering if you simply don't feel invited or welcome. Please email me at vharnish@gazelles.com - I would love to learn. And read on to see if I can make a case for dropping everything and getting you and your team to our Summits twice/year - four days out of 365!

But We Can't Implement Any More Stuff -- yes, we're all busy - and I imagine Zuckerberg and Buffett and Cuban have plenty on their plates. So why do they keep learning? It's about making sure you avoid the mistakes that come with NOT knowing. Nothing creative can come out of your brain that wasn't put in first. And learning isn't linear. It's about piling in as much as you can (Bill Gates' infamous Think Weeks) and then letting the magic happen. I never know when I'm going to need to access an idea - but I have to know about it in the first place.

We Don't Repeat Content -- miss a Summit; miss an entire body of knowledge. We don't invite a speaker back unless they have new and original content aka a new book (like David Meerman Scott's new book on sales). And the goal is to bring gurus that have gone deep in a narrow topic, like Adam Grant with givers and takers. We promise more practical ideas per minute to scale up your business and life than any other executive education program you can find in the world (and several CEOs have tested this and confirmed).

Village of Gurus -- Our belief is that it takes a "village of gurus" to scale-up a company. The Rockefeller Habits 2.0 doesn't have all the answers. Instead, it provides a framework upon which additional ideas can be layered. The Summits expose leaders to the authors of the most recent books, like The Self-Made Billionaire Effect, which just published a month ago. And it's much more powerful (and fun) to learn directly from the authors - and then read the book for additional details if warranted.

I spoke at the first Sales & Marketing Summit and heard all of the other great speakers and strongly believe that there is no other event where you can learn from as many experts as The Fortune Leadership Summit.

I feel the same way that Verne does when we don't have standing-room only attendance at our powerful and unique annual Sales Leadership Intensives, when we don't have overflow attendance for our helpful sales recruiting and selection webinars (register for the free February 26, 45-minute webinar) and when we aren't overwhelmed in response to the other offers that take place during the year.  

My experience is that sales leaders, the very people in my audience who need the most help, have 3 challenges preventing them from getting the help they need:

  • SOW - They feel as though it is a sign of weakness to get the help they need,
  • KIA - They don't realize they need the help because they think they know it all,
  • DIY - Their super-sized egos get in the way and make them feel like they can "do it yourself."

You know how much you want and need to grow.  You know why.  You know what you need to do.  But you may need help building the sales culture, finding the people, integrating the systems and processes and training and coaching the people who must execute your plan.  The help is out there and taking advantage of it versus attempting it yourself is like the difference between taking a transatlantic cruise ship and taking a transatlantic flight.  What's holding you back?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales leadership, verne harnish, self-limting beliefs, the growth guy, fortune growth summit

Earthquakes Hold the Key to Accurate Sales Forecasts

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 @ 10:01 AM

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I love finding cool new apps for my iPad and I'm always looking for the next great weather app.  I recently downloaded eWeather HD and as I poked around, I found something I had never seen before and it has a huge tie-in to sales management, the pipeline, and accurate forecasts!

Appearing right next to the tab for weather alerts, eWeather HD has a tab labeled Quakes.  What the...?  Yes indeed, it logs earthquakes!  Did you know that today, as I write this at 10:18 AM, there have been 6 earthquakes in the past hour?  There was a quake in Eastern Turkey 31 minutes ago that registered 2.1 on the Richter scale, and in the past hour, there were 5 more:

A 2.8 in San Juan, Argentina, a quake in Eastern Turkey that registered 2.3, a 2.4 in the Ionian Sea, a 3.0 in Oklahoma and a 3.1 in Alaska.  And if we go back just 8 hours, there were 14 others, including a 4.3 in Mexico, a 4.5 in Japan, and a 5.0 in Vanuatu.  I don't know about you, but I had no idea that our planet experienced non-stop quakes.  I thought that the ones we heard about on the news accounted for all of the known earthquake activity.

If you run a company, lead a sales force or manage salespeople, you are probably in the dark about salesquakes in much the same way I was in the dark about earthquakes.  The salesquakes registering 5.0 and up on the Kurlan scale - issues that your salespeople come to you with - you know all about those.  But how many of the issues do you hear about when they register below 5.0?

You hear about the deal that's about to close, but then it falls apart.  That's a 6.0.  You hear about the big customer that doesn't renew because they are moving to a competitor.  That's a 7.0.  But do you hear anything at all about opportunities where a salesperson:

  • doesn't get to the decision maker and is talking with the wrong people?  A 4.0
  • doesn't get a firm budget and proposes something the prospect can't pay for?  A 3.9
  • presents or demos to gain interest instead of having a conversation to uncover compelling reasons to buy?  A 4.2
  • is competing against an incumbent and is told the only thing that matters is price?  A 3.4
  • doesn't identify the competition?  A 3.1
  • doesn't tell you that a good opportunity has stalled in an early stage of the sales process?  A 2.9

There are dozens more, but you get the point.  You should know about these salesquakes!

If you have the right CRM solution, and it was configured properly, it would be alerting you to salesquakes in much the same way that eWeather HD alerts me to earthquakes.   If you are using one of the most popular solutions, you probably couldn't identify these quakes even if you were looking for them.

That's one of the things I like so much about Membrain.  There's a ready-to-use version with my Baseline Selling process, Visual Pipeline and methodology built right in that you can get here, or you can contact Membrain for their loaded version with everything you need to run a sales force.

We may not be able to stop earthquakes or even forecast them, but we can put an end to salesquakes and improve the accuracy of our sales forecasts.

Top Sales World and LiveHive have gotten together and published a terrific ebook on getting a jump start to your 2015.  You can download the book here.

You can download the latest issue of Top Sales Magazine here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Baseline Selling, sales management, sales leadership, sales pipeline, sales forecasts, eweather HD

Keys to Improved Sales Performance - Part 4 of 4

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Sep 05, 2014 @ 07:09 AM

sales force dominationThis is the last in a four-part series that ran this week.

See Part 1 here
See Part 2 here.  
See Part 3 here.

If you are like most folks, you were away for at least part of the summer, took as many long weekends as you could, and worked fewer hours on the days you actually did work.  As part of getting the work done, you deleted as many emails as you could where a reply wasn't required and visited fewer websites and blogs.

That means you missed a lot of what we were discussing this summer.  This series was written to catch you up in a hurry.

Four days, four categories, with related articles.  Easy.
 

The Sales Leadership Articles

Sales Leadership and sales management are the keys to successful sales performance.  Without good sales leadership, management, coaching, motivation and accountability, we have salespeople left to their own devices.  You've all seen that show before and for all but the top 6% of the sales population, that show is one that will cause you to change the channel and tune out because you can't stand what you're seeing.  Think Reality Television.
 

Starting with the Sales Management Team - Is it a Bad Decision? 

Why You Must Understand This about Desire for Sales Success 

Does Efficiency or DNA Help to Increase Sales? 

My Top 21 Keys to Help Your Sales Force Dominate Today 

United Airlines Uses Customer Service This Way to Impact Sales 

Fine Tune Your Sales Force as You Optimize Your Computer 
 

Please tell us what you think and share your opinions about how these sales leadership topics impact you, your thinking and your sales force. 
 

Image Credit Lightspring via Shutterstock.com

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales leadership, Sales Coaching, sales team

How to Run a Killer Sales Incentive Contest

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Feb 05, 2014 @ 23:02 PM

contestYesterday, we had a fairly sizable snowstorm that dumped a foot of snow and it reminded me of this article from last winter.

Also yesterday, in my article on the importance of rallying cries, I promised to discuss incentive programs.

Incentive programs are still very powerful as long as you make sure they don't last for more than 90 days.  There are other factors that can make the difference between an effective and ineffective program.  Consider the three most important concepts:  Everyone must believe that they can win the contest, there should be more than 1 winner, and the rewards must be motivating enough for them to go into overdrive to win one.

Let's begin with how you get them to believe they can win.

It's easier than you think.  Just don't base your contest on revenue.  When a contest is based on revenue, everyone knows, well in advance, who the likely winner will be.  So if not revenue, then what?  That's also easier than you think.  What would you like your salespeople to do more effectively?  Find new business?  Fill the pipeline?  Then base the awards on behaviors that you want to change.  And when you base it on more than one behavior, your salespeople will believe they have a chance to win!  Consider some or all of the following:

  • Most new meetings scheduled,
  • Most new opportunities added to the pipeline,
  • Most referrals and introductions received,
  • Most new accounts or customers,
  • Most new sales (that's number of new sales closed, not revenue),
  • Most leveragable new account, and/or
  • Biggest new opportunity added to the pipeline.

Won't every salesperson believe that there is at least one of those that they can win?

What about the award or prize?  How can you make that compelling enough so that they WANT to win?

That's also much easier than you think.

Eliminate any award, reward or prize that they can buy for themselves.  That gets nobody motivated.  Instead, focus on things that either wouldn't be practical, or wouldn't be safe for them to buy with family money.  For instance, some of your salespeople would simply love to participate in a week-long sports fantasy camp, but most of them would feel way to guilty to actually spend the money and go away for a week of fun.  However, if they were to win it, that changes everything.  Another way to get them excited about the payoff is to ask them to choose their prizes.  Give them a range and have them pick!

Finally, there are websites that will run your contests for you.  They're called gamification sites and you can find some of them here.

So keep it short, have multiple winners, reward the behaviors you want to change, don't reward revenue, offer guilt-free prizes and you'll have the killer contest that gets everyone motivated, excited and working hard.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales leadership, Sales Force, sales motivation, sales contest, gamification, sales incentives

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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