Popularity Polls are Just Like Sales Management Tracking Metrics!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 @ 21:01 PM


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Have you ever watched a news program where they presented poll results, like the number of people in favor of legalizing marijuana?  The poll shows popular opinion, but not the facts, logic, or impact on arrests, the economy, traffic accidents, unemployment, addiction, death rates, etc.  There is a huge difference between people's often uninformed opinions, versus what the facts might suggest.  That's the problem with the statistics I'm going to share in this article.  The stats show what sales managers are doing but those managers are largely uninformed. They don't know what's good for them, haven't been asked or held accountable to doing it differently, and aren't in any way shape or form following best practices.  John Pattison, Objective Management Group's COO, mined some data on salespeople who report to sales managers.  I was appalled by what I saw.  Check this out!

I reviewed data from 17,000 salespeople who reported to 4,000 managers in companies across more than 100 industries and here are some of the most interesting findings (see how 500,000 salespeople score in 21 Sales Core Competencies here):

Tracking, Reporting and Pipeline:

  • Margins are the metric tracked most frequently. 65% of sales managers track that because they need that metric to calculate commissions!
  • 3% of sales managers don't track or report on anything
  • Only 6% of sales managers track cost per sales call
  • Of the 5 pipeline metrics that could be tracked, an average of only 32% of sales managers track 1 or more of them
  • Only 33% of sales managers track closing percentage
  • Only 41% track average order size

I have news for you.  If you don't track closing percentage or average order size, you can't identify the number of opportunities that are required to be added to the first stage of the pipeline each month!

Coaching Environment

The data shows that it's more important that sales managers believe their salespeople trust their intentions, and have strong relationships with their salespeople than what the reality might be.  When sales managers believe there is mutual trust and a strong relationship, it is 300% more likely that their salespeople will be strong or elite.  That's because sales managers with these beliefs coach more frequently, coach longer, and coach more effectively.  See this article for the data that shows that how sales managers who coach frequently and effectively see a 27% increase in revenue.

If you want to become super effective at coaching salespeople, register to attend my Sales Leadership Intensive on March 19-20.  If you want to attend, use DKSLIMAY17 at checkout to receive a $100 discount.  Seating is extremely limited (only 20 seats remaining). If you're like the hundreds of other sales leaders that have attended this event over the past 8 years, you'll quickly recognize that it's the finest training you've ever received.

Sales Leadership CoverSpeaking of sales leadership and coaching, order Keith Rosen's terrific new book, Sales Leadership, from Amazon.com.  You won't be disappointed.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, sales leadership, self-limting beliefs, sales metrics, tracking

Verne Harnish's Rant and 3 Sales Leadership Issues

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


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

Does Fear Prevent Salespeople From Executing Your Sales Plan?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Apr 22, 2011 @ 06:04 AM

Do you have those dreams?  No, not the one where you become wealthy and can buy anything you want; the dream where you're in the elevator and it begins a free fall from the highest floor.  Or the one where you go to school without your clothes on.  How about the one where you can't control your car?  How about the one where you are being pursued by a bad buy and you can't run?  These are some of the dreams that people have on a recurring basis and they tend to be quite scary while we're having them.  But, despite how real they seem and how scary they are, do those dreams prevent you from riding in an elevator, driving a car, or attending your kids' or grandchildren's school?  Probably not.

dreamSo if these powerful images don't get in the way of life, why do you let simple self-limiting beliefs - negative thoughts - prevent your salespeople from selling more effectively? At Objective Management Group (OMG), some of the data on more than 500,000 salespeople we have assessed suggests that most salespeople have a collection of self-limiting beliefs that would knock your socks off.  These negative thoughts prevent them from executing on a range of core, sales best practices that let sales opportunities slip through your fingers, delay closings, shrink margins and maintain a skimpy pipeline.  The three beliefs that burden more salespeople than any others are, "I must make a presentation", "It's not OK to ask a lot of questions", and "It's OK if my prospects shop around".  How does that make you feel?

Did a self-limting belief pop into your head just now?  Was it something along the lines of, "I can't do anything about that"? Or, "I can't confront all of my salespeople"?  Or, "Makes sense but I don't know which self-limting beliefs they have"?  Or, "That's their problem.  I just have to worry about myself"?  Or, "I'll add that to my list - I have too many bigger problems than than to worry about"? Or, "There isn't anything I can do about that - I'm not a therapist!"?

Those are just a few examples of self-limiting sales management beliefs!  Is it possible that you or your sales managers have some of them?

Topics: sales management, Sales Coaching, record collection, fear of failure, dreams, self-limting beliefs, sales fears

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

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