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

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

by William "Skip" Miller

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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


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.


Product Details

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6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)
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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,

customer service keeps the customers happy, shipping

makes sure the customers get what they ordered,

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,

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.


Progressive sales management in successful companies knows that customers


“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


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

with questions that let prospects think broad and wide within their organizations,

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.


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,

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


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.


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


• 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


• The number of new deals per week/month/quarter

• The number of new deals in a current, installed, base account per


• 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


• 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

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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