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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Stop Working So Hard And Sharpen Your Axe!

 

Stop Working so Hard! And Sharpen your Axe.

If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe.

-Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln's productivity secret was to work smarter rather than work harder by simply using sharper tools to get the job done more efficiently. Inefficient tools waste your time and energy, and simply knowing what to do is never enough. It’s the matter of actually doing it that makes all the difference.

Great leaders grow themselves and their organizations by deliberately managing the present, letting go of old beliefs and behaviors, and purposefully creating a future by adopting new practices.

So, how does Honest Abe's philosophy apply to sales management today? 

Topics: new business development Management Talent Sales

The 4 Most Important Key Performance Indicators for Sales Managers

4 most important kpis for sales managers

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

lead generation strategy

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

Manage the Big Rocks: How to Become a Time Management Pro

become a time management proIs it just me or does there not seem to be enough time in the day to get things done? I knew it wasn't just me! My life has been going 1,000 miles an hour lately, and I've been asked how I get it all done.

Manage the Big Rocks

I have a method that I follow religiously to get things done, and it doesn't really have anything to do with time management.

Topics: Management time management Sales

One Thing You Can Do to Become a Better Leader

become a better leaderWhat if your greatest opportunity to grow as a leader was right in front of you every day? Your team may hold the key to unlocking new opportunities for your professional development, and there is one simple thing you can do to make sure you don’t miss out on information that could make you better. Ask for feedback.

The best leaders feel there is always an opportunity to grow, so they consistently ask for feedback on their performance. A study of more than 50,000 executives done by leadership development consultants Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, found that "Leaders who ranked at the top 10% in asking for feedback were rated, on average, at the 86th percentile in overall leadership effectiveness." Bottom line – asking for feedback can help you become a better leader.

Topics: Management sales management Talent

Management Secret: You Can Change the Behaviors of Others by Simply Changing Your Own

sales management secret - change behaviors of teamWouldn't it be great if you could snap your fingers and change the behaviors of those you manage? Well... maybe... but you can't. Since you can’t directly change the behaviors of others, it is vital that you concentrate on changing your own behaviors. This will make the biggest difference in your relationships with others and will help propel them to success. 

This isn’t some top-secret tip that we've been hiding all this time, but it is an important one to keep at the forefront as you move into a new year and evaluate your management style. Think about this, "Are you conscious of your own behavior and how it's perceived by those you manage?"

Topics: Management sales management Talent coaching

Sales Performance Happens When Everyone is Maximizing Their Strengths - Including the Manager

sales performance maximize strengthsCoaching is a hot topic! Makes sense... people who use their strengths every day are 12.5% more productive in their work. Any strong manager knows they need to coach their people to maximize their strengths, so they can benefit from that natural lift in performance.   

Topics: Management developing strengths sales management Talent

It’s OK to Say You Are Sorry

In fact, it’s better than OK. The reality is, in the course of any business relationship, something is going to go wrong at some time and it’s smart to get out front of it and to be very transparent.

Here’s a recent example of a problem we encountered in our own company we had to deal with, and an email we sent to the affected clients shortly following the incident as an apology: 

Topics: business relationships Management sales management marketing strategy company culture

Five Ways to Create a Sales Culture

sales team cultureWhat is your sales culture? Do you even have one? I frequently hear from sales managers the need for a “sales culture,” but often they don’t really know what their own sales culture is or how to build one.

Topics: Management sales performance sales management sales culture Sales coaching

Set Your New Hire Up for Success: Continuous Strength Development

providing detailed sales feedbackThis is the fourth and final post in a four-part series on how managers can set new hires up for success. You can click to view the previous posts on providing detailed feedback, building relationships that will lead to stronger sales performance and maximizing strengths and working around weaknesses. 

Ongoing coaching and strength development are key factors in retaining people long-term, yet statistics show employees often feel as though they don’t have a specific development plan. According to a Saba survey, 60% of leaders believe they provide employees with a clear career path, but only 36% of employees agree. The very best managers spend time coaching their people and have an individualized development plan for each person. 

Topics: hiring salespeople Management developing strengths sales management talent dashboard