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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Revenue Development Ideas to Transform an Annual Business Plan from Roadmap to GPS

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It is the time of the year for sales managers to finalize their business plans for the upcoming year. Plans will soon be approved by the cheese (boss) upstairs or the cheese (VP of Sales) in the tower miles away. Most agree that it’s smart to develop a business plan with details on how to exceed goals—some call them a roadmap to success.

By now, most business plans (encased in a binder) have made their way to a shelf, tucked away for safe keeping like a roadmap in a glove box. Roadmaps are pretty worthless these days, especially if they are tucked away in a glove box—kind of like a business plan in a binder on a shelf.

Travelers know there is a better way to keep from getting lost than a roadmap; it’s called a GPS. It’s about time managers figured out how to keep from getting lost by transforming their annual business plans from a roadmap to GPS. Following are 5 ways to help in this process...

Topics: Management

3 Things Great Sales Managers and Parents Have in Common

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It’s not uncommon for a salesperson to want to be a sales manager. In fact, one could easily see a promotion to sales manager as an indication that one has excelled in his or her sales career. If you’re thinking you should pursue a position in management because you are a successful salesperson, I’d like to propose an alternate idea: being a great sales manager has much more in common with being a parent of small children than it does with being a great salesperson.

At The Center For Sales Strategy, we have proof that not all salespeople are meant to be great sales managers. The talents required to succeed in each position are very different. It’s a big mistake to think that just because you have been with your company for a long time and have “paid your dues," you will be happier if you were suddenly promoted to manager.

Ask yourself: On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest), how do I rate my desire to do the following?

Topics: Management

Pay Attention to Your Best Customers

Sales_Team2.jpgYour best customers are your competitors’ best prospects. At The Center for Sales Strategy, we have long said that it’s much easier to fill the bucket if it’s not leaking from the bottom. Many companies have an incredibly large need to go out and get new business every month—mainly because they are losing 33% or more of their current business.

It's true… and while new business is certainly one of the solutions for curing the problem of not retaining existing business, it’s really only a bandage. The problem of account attrition needs to be addressed and quickly solved. Churning through clients quickly and not getting any sort of renewal will fatigue your sales team. Over time, they will lose confidence in what they are selling. Just imagine the revenue growth you might be experiencing today if you did not have all that attrition—and you still had the same amount of new business coming in.

Topics: customer satisfaction customer focus Management sales strategy Sales

The 8 Essentials to a High Performing B2B Sales Organization

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There is a lot to get right if you are trying to build a high performing sales organization. That's because sales organizations are complex systems, like the nervous system. The nervous system contains a network of specialized cells called neurons. Nerve impulses have a domino effect. Each neuron receives an impulse and must pass it on to the next neuron and make sure the correct impulse continues on its path. If something goes wrong in this process, you have problems.  

In a sales organization, there is the same domino effect. If you don't get all 8 essentials right, you will have problems.  

Topics: Management sales performance sales management Sales

The 4 Most Important Key Performance Indicators for Sales Managers

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Sometimes I wonder if our ability to measure almost everything is what gets in the way of us actually paying attention to what might be the most useful metrics. I’ve spoken with plenty of sales managers who are frustrated these days because someone upstairs has fallen in love with a new measurement, a new report, or a new way to look at familiar data. All these midstream changes result in plenty of heat and plenty of smoke, but not necessarily the light of new insight. Not much actually changes, especially at the bottom line.

Don’t get me wrong. I love numbers as much as the next person and I agree that measurement improves performance and is essential to success. But I also know we can’t keep changing the rules of the game. Performance improvement comes only when we focus on the same metrics over time. We need to follow the right measurements and stay focused.

What if you could only measure four things? Which would you choose?

Topics: Management

Lack of Leads Hurting Your Revenue? 5 Reasons Why You Need a Lead Generation Strategy

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The hardest job in sales these days is getting an appointment with a new prospect. As a sales manager, it's fairly easy to stand up in the sales meeting and tell your salespeople that they need to do a better job prospecting or that they need to just commit more time and energy to getting appointments. But they already know those things, and they're facing huge hurdles that their counterparts of a few years ago didn't face.

Here are five of those hurdles. Feel free to add to the list in the comments section below.

Topics: lead generation Management Sales

A Sales Strategy to Double Time Spent Selling

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When a colleague conducted a "time spent selling audit" for one of her clients, the data showed the organization's best sellers spent slightly over 20% of their time actually selling. Keep in mind, the audit included the best sellers in the organization! Here are five reasons why this happens:

Topics: Setting Appointments new business development lead generation Management Sales

Improve Sales Performance with In-Field Training

Generally when most people think “training” they envision a classroom with an instructor, a workbook, and some Power Point slides. For most jobs, this is not training — it’s classroom education. By the way, there is nothing wrong with classroom education. Just don’t confuse it with actual training.

Training is really a one-on-one activity between a manager and the person he or she is looking to develop, whereas classroom education is a group activity — big difference. Training is best accomplished on the job. In The Knowing-Doing Gap by Jeffrey Pfeifer and Robert Sutton, they point out that the best companies “Embed more of the process of acquiring new knowledge in the actual doing of the task and less in formal training programs.” 

Topics: Management Sales

2 Reasons Some Managers Can't Activate Their People

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Why have a manager who cannot move their people to performance?

That would be useless, right?

But the reality in today’s business is there are too many managers who fit this description. Why is that? Why would a manager, despite his or her best effort, be unable to activate their people? There are two primary reasons, and they have an interactive relationship with each other:

1. The Manager Doesn’t Have a Lever (a Powerful Relationship)

Lots of managers have a friendly, or at least cordial, relationship with their people. But not what we call a robust relationship. A robust relationship is one that’s useful to the manager wishing to improve the salesperson’s performance, and, therefore, the organization’s performance. It’s a relationship that gives the manager the power to accomplish this essential aspect of his or her job.

Topics: Management leadership

The 10,000 Foot View Provides New Insights

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On my final approach into the Atlanta airport recently, I noticed how interesting the view was from 10,000 feet. The planes moving about, the cars arriving, the Porsche Experience Center, and all the surrounding hotels (the new Renaissance Atlanta Gateway is pretty cool by the way). So much to observe.  

This made me think about how the 10,000-ft. view is often more interesting and illuminating than the proverbial 30,000-ft. view. This is true when looking at a sales organization as well. The 30,000-ft. view that you tend to take with something like a SWOT analysis or other strategic exercises is good, but the 10,000-ft. view might be more appropriate.

Topics: Management sales strategy Sales