More ProActive Sales Management: Avoid the Mistakes Even Great Sales Managers Make -- And Get Extraordinary Results

Overview

This book is filled with mistakes. Big ones. The mistakes that cost sales professionals their cus­tomers, their top line results, maybe even their careers. But you should read More ProActive Sales Management anyway.

Because Skip Miller has packed this follow-up to his best-selling ProActive Sales Management with uncanny insight into why even excellent sales man­a­gers make those very errors—“the stuff you wish you’d never gotten into.” And more...

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More ProActive Sales Management: Avoid the Mistakes Even Great Sales Managers Make -- And Get Extraordinary Results

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Overview

This book is filled with mistakes. Big ones. The mistakes that cost sales professionals their cus­tomers, their top line results, maybe even their careers. But you should read More ProActive Sales Management anyway.

Because Skip Miller has packed this follow-up to his best-selling ProActive Sales Management with uncanny insight into why even excellent sales man­a­gers make those very errors—“the stuff you wish you’d never gotten into.” And more impor­tantly, he tells you how to get yourself out of it—and what you should do now.

Quite possibly the most practical guide to improving your sales management approach that you’ll ever read, More ProActive Sales Manage­ment offers use-it-now solutions to the universal challenges of finding and retaining customers, building your team, structuring territories, breeding motivation, and streamlining efficiency across your entire sales operation.

This book represents an unprecedented oppor­tu­nity to learn not just from your own mistakes but from those of hundreds of other sales manage­ment professionals who spent months or even years developing new ideas, then ran with them—and failed, sometimes spectacularly. Their losses are your gain.

Divided into the five areas in which most bad (and good) sales management decisions are made, More ProActive Sales Management has got you covered concerning:

—-Internal team decisions: The day-to-day decisions you make as a manager of the individual members of your team. Are you doing the right things when it comes to hiring, firing, training, coaching, counseling, and motivating? (Mistake #3: Salespeople Are Self-Motivated)

—Upward decisions: Do the decisions you make on behalf of your team reflect the needs of the entire company? And does your input on larger company decisions demonstrate that your team is well equipped to help realize company goals? (Mistake #8: I’m the Boss)

—-Sales decisions: In the field or in the office, are you making the right daily decisions that will increase sales? (Mistake #13: I’ll Show Them How to Do It)

—-Infrastructure decisions: Have you ideally struc­tured territories, compensation and rewards programs, goals and quotas, and other facets of the sales operation? (Mistake #15: It’s Their Territory)

—Self decisions: Are your choices and decisions career enhancers or career limiters? (Mistake # 21: The More I Work, the Better the Example)

Each of the twenty-two mistakes—ranging from troublesome to catastrophic, harrowing to hilari­ous—is accompanied by down-to-earth, proven ways to recognize bad decisions before they happen, make better choices from the start, and do your job (and help your people do theirs) more easily, efficiently, and profitably than ever.

“The ramifications [of bad decisions] are far reaching,” writes Miller. You lose not only individual sales, new and long-standing accounts, and the money that goes with them; you also stand to lose the confidence of your colleagues and employers. Luckily, those who came before you have already made history in their own way—it’s up to you to learn from their mistakes, lest you repeat them!

William “Skip” Miller is the President of M3 Learning, a sales and management development company, and a sales manage­ment trainer for the American Management Association. He is the author of ProActive Sales Management and ProActive Selling.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814410905
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 2/18/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

William "Skip" Miller (Los Gatos, CA) is president of M3 Learning, a sales and management development company, and an instructor for numerous AMA sales management training programs. He is the author of ProActive Selling (978-0-8144-0764-6), ProActive Sales Management (978-0-8144-0545-1), and Ultimate Sales Tool Kit (978-0-8144-7400-6).

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Read an Excerpt

M I S T A K E #1

We Are a Prospecting Machine!

“Of course my salespeople prospect. That’s what they

are paid to do. At least that’s what I tell everyone.”

Reality is a hard state to deal with. Rationalization is so much easier. Even people who aren’t in sales know it is the salespeople’s job to go find customers. Who else? Marketing generates leads a customer service keeps the customers happy, shipping makes sure the customers get what they ordered a finance collects the money, and so on throughout the organization. It’s up to the sales department to go find and close new business.

Sales management agrees. Sales management creates compensation plans, contests, and rewards for salespeople who go out and find new business. They have 33 motivational speeches on why their organizations have to go broader and deeper in current accounts, as well as take business away from the competition. They spend gobs of money on training their sales teams to get new business. Their companies are counting on sales to get new revenue streams from new customers. Someone needs to tell this to the salespeople, because:

Salespeople hate to prospect.

Take a look at the salesperson in Figure 1.1. She’s friendly, has a great smile, and seems stress-free. She’s having fun, right? Prospecting’s cool—and everyone always calls back. Yeah, right. Let’s get real. The fact is, salespeople would rather do anything than cold call—and they usually do.

Sales management doesn’t want to alienate the sales team. It wants to empathize with them.

After all, the managers were once in the same place; they too issued the same proclamations:

“Marketing needs to get us better leads.”

“The market is very competitive right now.”

“Getting new business is getting tougher and tougher.”

Making these proclamations is a huge mistake. Huge. However, sales management has been known to listen to these voices and:
• Develop a prospecting-only sales department, also known as a lead-generation team. (This is different from a qualifying team a which works quite well for passive prospecting—leads that come into your organization.)
• Compensate salespeople more for generating new business.

• Actually believe that retaining business is harder than getting new business and designing rewards accordingly.

• Measure and reward for overall revenue and not break out new sales to new customers as an important company goal.

• Designate two groups of salespeople in the organization: Hunters and Farmers. Hunters hunt for new business, and Farmers maintain current business. (Great idea, until your competitor sets its Hunters against your Farmers. Then, of course, you have to deal with Trappers and Skinners—way too much classification.)

Sales management beware: Some of this organizational thinking may lead you to make decisions that will come back and haunt you.

• THE FACTS •

Progressive sales management in successful companies knows that customers churn.

“How did my pipeline dry up?”

“I thought my hunters were hunting.”

“When I looked at it, my salespeople were using less than

5 percent of their time proactively prospecting.”

“I asked my sales team, ‘Who has asked for a reference in the past 60 days?’ No one raised a hand, and the prospecting funnel is empty at the top for what reason?”

In addition, sales managers know that most customers do not buy all they can from one vendor, because they are not aware of the scope of the problems that exist in other departments within their own organizations. Opportunity abounds.

Calling high—that is, calling on people who are in upper management—

with questions that let prospects think broad and wide within their organizations a and then creating a culture around this solid prospecting effort, takes sales management years to figure out. Let there be no mistake: The sales team that stops prospecting within its own customer base loses.

• LEAD GENERATION VERSUS PROSPECTING •

It is important to know the difference between lead generation and prospecting.

Lead generation is the act of targeting resources. It means figuring out where to hunt, what gun to hunt with, what to hunt, and when to hunt. Prospecting is the act of hunting. It means going through many fields and bushes to flush out the game, finding the game, taking aim, and pulling the trigger.

Prospecting = Hunting

A good lead-generation machine is no excuse for a lack of prospecting.

Last time I checked, game doesn’t just fall from the sky or knock on the door of the hunting lodge and say, “Here I am. Shoot me.” The Internet has done a good job getting some game to knock on the door, but the really big game is still out there.

- Prospecting Machine: A company in which the sales department is doing well.

- Nonprospecting Machine: A company characterized by a weak sales forecast, a bad sales forecast, a weak pipeline, longer sales cycles, is closing bad business, or is closing deals based on price because the customer does not see value.

Sales teams, and especially individual salespeople, have the right to expect the company to do its part in lead generation. This could range from efforts to generate potential target markets and prospects, to qualifying teams (Q-teams) that qualify hundreds of leads, working them down to the most likely—the golden nuggets for salespeople to pursue. Great sales organizations have committed resources, up to 20 percent of their sales budgets, to lead generation a be it marketing dollars or sales dollars.

Taking the hunting analogy a bit further, you’ll need to do some preparation before you grab your gun and head for the woods. Without putting together a strategy and culture around prospecting, you are looking at Mistake

#1: Assuming that salespeople prospect, when they don’t. Salespeople and sales teams need to generate leads. In fact, the sales team’s focus on prospecting is the most measurable item of success or failure that I have seen inside of companies.

You get the point, right? The biggest mistake you can make is not to have a prospecting and lead-generation culture. The second biggest mistake is to have one but not measure it. You have to measure prospecting even more than you measure revenue.

• THE CURE •

Sales management must do one or more of the five “its” to ensure an aggressive and effective prospecting culture exists.

1. Measure It

If you can’t measure it, why do it? Your sales team is not above being measured on:
• The number of sales calls or qualified leads per week
• The number of executive prospecting calls or leads/month
• The number of prospecting attempts/connects/meetings per week/month
• The number of new deals per week/month/quarter
• The number of new deals in a current, installed, base account per month/quarter
• The number of new deals above $X per quarter

Sales managers who do not have a dashboard metric for prospecting are

20 to 30 percent less effective than the ones who are. This is a big number and should grab your attention.

Prospecting metrics need to be tailored to your individual situations. But the point is, measure it.

2. Reward It

The saying is true:

“It’s rarely the size of the reward that is most important;

it’s the accolades and the praise that come with the reward that end up being of most value.”

How are you rewarding your sales team today? On what goals? Revenue and percent of quota to be sure, but what other rewards can you offer so the members of your sales team will feel good when they do something you want them to do?
• Do you have a gong or a bell people can ring when they close a new piece of business? (The Internet has gong e-mails.)
• Do you have your president personally acknowledge every newcustomer deal? Do you have your president call the new customer’s president or owner to thank that person for his or her business?
• Can you start your weekly sales meetings off with a “New Business

Report” or something that recognizes the people who have contributed?
• Do you have a “New Business Thermometer”? That’s where the salespeople who have brought in new business during a month get their photos on the New Business board. The salesperson’s picture gets placed at a higher level for every new customer the salesperson obtains. This is great for the salespeople who achieve and also for those whose pictures never leave the “Holding Area” (or whatever you want to call the bottom of the thermometer). It’s better than a

$50 check. Oh, and place the thermometer in the company cafeteria so everyone can see which people are doing their jobs, and which people are not.

3. Assign It

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Table of Contents

C O N T E N T S

PREFACE ix

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xi

INTRODUCTION xv

P A R T 1: INTERNAL TEAM DECISIONS

MISTAKE #1: We Are a Prospecting Machine! 3

MISTAKE #2: It’s All About Luck 12

MISTAKE #3: Salespeople Are Self-Motivated 23

MISTAKE #4: I’ll Focus on My B and C Players and Make Them Better 33

MISTAKE #5: Salespeople Are Motivated by Money 40

MISTAKE #6: I Am the Team Leader 48

P A R T 2: UPWARD DECISIONS

MISTAKE #7: My Management Lets Me Do My Job 57

MISTAKE #8: I’m the Boss 61

MISTAKE #9: Things Are Always Tough at the End of the Quarter 68

MISTAKE #10: It’s All About Revenue 77

P A R T 3: SALES DECISIONS

MISTAKE #11: My Team Needs Me for This Important Deal 91

MISTAKE #12: Sell, Sell, Sell . . . Right? 97

MISTAKE #13: I’ll Show Them How to Do It 105

MISTAKE #14: I’m Superman 113

P A R T 4: INFRASTRUCTURE DECISIONS

MISTAKE #15: It’s Their Territory 121

MISTAKE #16: I Have a Sales Process . . . I Think 128

MISTAKE #17: Metrics and Dashboards Are for Rookies 142

MISTAKE #18: Forecasting to 60 Percent Accuracy 154

MISTAKE #19: The Stack Ranking Behind Hire and Fire Decisions 168

P A R T 5: SELF DECISIONS

MISTAKE #20: Culture? I Already Have One, Thanks 183

MISTAKE #21: The More I Work, the Better the Example 192

MISTAKE #22: I’m the Manager, Right? 200

EPILOGUE AND CALL TO ACTION 207

INDEX 209

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