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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Sales Goals: Activities Don’t Necessarily Produce Results

Sales Goals: Activities Don’t Necessarily Produce Results

I have written before about the need for sales managers to focus on activity goals with their salespeople as opposed to being only focused on the outcome goals (or closed business goals). There are many reasons for this:

Nobody can control whether or not the prospect or customer actually buys, so focusing exclusively on sales goals allows salespeople some room for excuse making. “The guy was never going to buy.” “He was such a jerk. It’s probably good he didn’t buy.”

If the sales manager gives direction to the salesperson to sell more, frequently the salesperson doesn’t really know how to make […]