Sales Team Leaders: The Way You Say It and Your Intentions Matter

Sales Team Leaders: The Way You Say It and Your Intentions Matter

I was on a plane today and ran into an old friend who is also a very successful business leader and has been running organizations for years. She is similar in age to me and at one point we had been managers together inside a large organization. At the time we were unique in our organization in that we were both female and young – under 40 running large segments of the business. Needless to say, the two of us have spent many hours over the years talking about management issues.

On this particular plane trip, we were able to arrange […]

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Are You Guilty of These Common Sales Management Missteps?

Are You Guilty of These Common Sales Management Missteps?

I hear from sales managers all the time that wish they had known certain things way back when they first started managing salespeople. Some of the common misconceptions I hear are these:

The top salespeople just need to be left alone.
It isn’t my job to motivate the salespeople. I am not going to babysit them.
It isn’t my place to “micro-manage” them. I don’t need to know what they do every day as long as they are producing the results.
I can’t get my senior salespeople to use the CRM but that’s okay, they do a good job.
My people work as hard as […]

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6 Rules to Help the CEO Who Also Manages the Sales Team

6 Rules to Help the CEO Who Also Manages the Sales Team

If you own your own company and also manage the sales team, this article is for you. I have written before that it is not the optimal situation when the CEO also directly manages the salespeople, but I recognize that it is sometimes a requirement until sales support a different structure. It is not ideal because you as the company leader have to pay attention to numerous other activities and cannot devote the attention necessary to drive sales. You may have been the driver of sales earlier in the company’s history (and you may still be) so you may be […]

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What Hawks Can Teach Us About Consultative Selling & Management Skills

What Hawks Can Teach Us About Consultative Selling & Management Skills

I was driving to the airport the other day on a busy stretch of the highway when overhead appeared a red-tail hawk that ultimately perched on a light pole. It made me realize how much more frequently I now see hawks in our area. Over the last few years, the population seems to have ballooned. Prior to maybe seven or eight years ago, I don’t recall ever seeing hawks in or around the city. I live in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio — which is a fairly populated place — so it isn’t like I live out in the country or […]

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Sales Manager Checklist for the New Year

Sales Manager Checklist for the New Year

It’s a new year filled with hope and promise, a clean slate, and new sales goals. Hopefully you experienced a good year and got to celebrate a little bit, but it is time now to move on to attacking this year’s goals.

 

Here is a quick checklist for sales managers to make sure everyone is focused correctly.
1. All individual salespeople must know the expectations of them with regard to sales, including where the sales need to come from – new clients vs. expansion of existing clients or some combination thereof.
 
2. The compensation plan must be clearly articulated to each of the salespeople on […]

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A CRM Alone Won’t Fix Your Sales Management Problem

A CRM Alone Won’t Fix Your Sales Management Problem

It seems that I have been in many conversations lately about Customer Relationship Management Systems, or CRMs. I have spoken with a variety of business owners and sales team leaders who are inquiring about the “best” CRM for their situation. What most are really looking for is a magic bullet to make their salespeople do the right activities to generate enough business. I am not a highly technical person so I cannot share all the ins and outs of the different products on the market. And, I haven’t actually found one that MAKES a salesperson do what they are supposed […]

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Sales Managers: Never, Ever, Ever Give Up

Sales Managers: Never, Ever, Ever Give Up

I was in a conversation with a friend and sales manager yesterday and we were discussing their fantastic year— including all the changes that have occurred and the great sales growth they have experienced. He shared with me that he felt a little guilty because he let off the gas. The team was hitting on all cylinders and they were beating sales expectations. He eased up a little. Sales faltered for a few months. He felt bad that he failed his sales team because they probably didn’t sell as much as they could have had he stayed focused.

This is a common […]

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Long Sales Cycles, Large Transactions: Activity Plans Still Important

Long Sales Cycles, Large Transactions: Activity Plans Still Important

Of the dozens of sales teams I work with each year, there are always a few that sell large scale services or products with longer sales cycles; typically at least 6 months and as long as 18 months or more. Generally, the salespeople in these cases are paid larger base salaries because it is so long between sales and the upside variable compensation is less than it would be more transactional types of sales. In some instances, all the salesperson needs to do is close one or two deals a year and everyone is happy.

It seems that in these situations, […]

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Sales Leaders: The Next Step is Most Important in the Sales Process

Sales Leaders: The Next Step is Most Important in the Sales Process

I was working with a sales team last week that we have been working with for just a few months. They have, on the whole, a pretty strong group of salespeople. We were discussing certain deals in their pipeline and where they were in the process. Many of the conversations were similar. “They really liked what we had. They need to talk to their boss and then they are supposed to call me back tomorrow.” Or worse, “They were supposed to call me back last Wednesday and I have called, but they don’t call me back.”

There are two common flaws […]

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Salesperson Promoted to Sales Manager: Watch Out for This

Salesperson Promoted to Sales Manager: Watch Out for This

I find that when I work with sales managers who were previously high-performing salespeople, they tend to run into a couple of challenges. It is not unusual for their management style and abilities to be impacted by their previous role as a salesperson. Here is one example of a common problem when a sales star is promoted to sales manager, and how to resolve it.

The Typical Scenario:

The sales manager was a strong producer when they were a salesperson. They were likely highly motivated and maybe did whatever it took to get the job done. They were a self-starter, had a strong […]

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