ProActive Sales Management: How to Lead, Motivate, and Stay Ahead of the Game

ProActive Sales Management: How to Lead, Motivate, and Stay Ahead of the Game

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by William "Skip" Miller

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Are you so pressured to make your numbers each quarter that you rarely think about the future of your organization? Do you spend a significant chunk of your time fielding requests from your weakest performers? Is there a steady flow of top talent OUT of your sales office?

If the answer is “yes,” you’re probably

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Are you so pressured to make your numbers each quarter that you rarely think about the future of your organization? Do you spend a significant chunk of your time fielding requests from your weakest performers? Is there a steady flow of top talent OUT of your sales office?

If the answer is “yes,” you’re probably a reactive sales manager, ensnared in a daily barrage of messages, demands, and emergencies. But truly successful sales managers aren’t stuck in reactive mode. They’re proactive, with clear-cut goals, measures, strategies, and follow-through. They have their eye on the future, and they know how to get there.

ProActive Sales Management will completely transform the way you and your sales team work. This updated edition of the sales manager’s success manual is packed with hard-won insights into how to efficiently and effectively manage both the big-picture strategic decisions of your department and the day-to-day tactical operations, including hiring, motivating, forecasting, measuring, and performing sales reviews. Written by an experienced sales manager and seminar leader, and filled with original tools and useful examples and exercises, the book’s powerful, proactive approach helps you:

• Transition from making the sales to managing the sales team, and create a proactive culture where goals and objectives are clearly defined and communicated.

• Refocus your attention from the C players to the A players, turning them into A+ players who stay on board and drive revenue up.

• Break your addiction to phone calls, text messages, pagers, and other beeping devices, and devote thoughtful time to prioritizing and planning.

• Measure performance based on objective and subjective metrics that communicate exactly what you expect your salespeople to do and which skills they need to master.

• Hire the right person the first time by using tactics such as reading résumés vertically for telltale clues and treating the interview like a selling situation to evaluate the candidate’s sales abilities.

• Deploy your sales team strategically, and design highly effective long-term and short-term compensation plans.

In today’s high-pressure, complex sales environments, it’s easy to get caught in a panic mode, always jumping from one emergency to another. ProActive Sales Management helps you take control of the sales process and consistently achieve your revenue goals—with no more lost time and wasted effort!

William “Skip” Miller 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 and More ProActive Sales Management, Ultimate Sales Tool Kit, and co-author of Knock Your Socks Off Prospecting. He lives in Los Gatos, California.

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One of Selling Power Magazine's Ten Best Books to Read in 2010.

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Second Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Preface to the Second Edition

‘‘If you don’t know how you are going to do one month into

the quarter, head for Las Vegas, You have better odds of making

money there than you do with your sales forecast.’’

—Skip Miller

Sales managers are still doing the wrong thing, same as they

were 10 years ago. Oh, some managers are very successful: Year

after year, they achieve their revenue goals, lead successful

teams, and enjoy successful careers. They are working late,

working weekends, traveling up to three weeks a month, and

they tell themselves they are doing the job. They are not. The job

is doing it to them.

They are reactive and cannot see any way out. So they work

like dogs. They end up looking dog-tired because of it. There

has got to be a better way, and of course there is. A simpler way

to be more effective than ever before. A ProActive way.

ProActive Sales Management clearly identifies what qualities

are needed for the successful sales manager. It provides a stepby-

step method you can use to change the way you manage—

and begin to manage ProActively. By reading and implementing

the tactics and processes in ProActive Sales Management, you will

be able to:

• Accomplish more in less time.

• Be ProActive and live in the future.

• Motivate salespeople to highly motivate themselves.

• Focus on A players and turn them into A players.

• Establish a ProActive culture and let the people manage


• Increase the effectiveness of your day-to-day management


• Decrease the time you spend on noneffective tasks and


• Predict and forecast the future with greater accuracy.

• Increase your ability to interview and hire correctly.

• Successfully implement a set of metrics that you can use

in a ProActive and behavior-predicting manner.

• Effectively use coaching and counseling techniques.

• Manage to metrics that make sense.

Why There Is a Burning Need for Managers to Change

Stephen Covey states, ‘‘I expand my personal freedom and influence

through being proactive.’’ He is right, and this kind of

thinking needs to be addressed within the organization that is

required to be forward thinking, freedom loving, and ProActive:

the customer-centric sales organization.

Sales managers, however, never receive the training they

need or require to do their job ProActively. Successful people

who are soon to be effective sales managers need to know what

is expected of them before they enter the world of sales management.

Current sales management needs to go ‘‘back to the basics’’

and focus on getting things done through others rather than

using the reactive characteristics and behaviors that got them

promoted into management, such as being a super salesperson.

It is the reactive nature of their sales job that permeates the sales

management ranks today, and that reactive culture has become

the norm.

These days, speed is the name of the game. It’s no longer

how many sales calls, but how many customer or prospect

touches. Not how long does a sale take, but how long are you

spending at each step. ProActive tools are no longer just nice to

have. ProActive selling is the way to sell in an increasing competitive,

cost-efficient manner.

Is being reactive the nature of the sales management beast?

Are most sales managers reactive? How much time do you

spend being reactive on a day-to-day basis? How reactive are

you? Let’s take a simple test to find out. Please circle the response

that applies to you.

QUIZ: How Reactive Are You?

1. How many voice mails, e-mails, or text messages do you get a


a) Less than 5

b) Between 5 and 10

c) Between 10 and 15

d) Between 15 and 25

e) More than 25

2. Of the last 10 sales situations you were involved in as a manager,

how many times did you have to interject a vital piece of

information or even ‘‘take over the call’’?

a) None

b) 1 to 3

c) 4 to 6

d) 7 to 8

e) All of them, are you kidding, that’s what I am there for!

3. Do you have:

a) One phone and one e-mail address

b) One phone, one e-mail address, and a cell phone

c) One phone, one e-mail address, two cell phones, and a


d) Office phone, cell phone, pager, two cell phones, e-mail

address (office), e-mail (home), fax machine, laptop, and a

palmtop or PDA or Blackberry

e) Multiple of any items of d above

4. If you ranked your sales team members on an A, B, or C scale

(with A being your top performers), which of the following

patterns most closely resembles the proportion of time you

spend with each group?

a) 80 percent on As, 10 percent on Bs, 10 percent on Cs

b) 60 percent on As, 30 percent on Bs, 10 percent on Cs

c) 40 percent on As, 30 percent on Bs, 30 percent on Cs

d) 30 percent on As, 20 percent on Bs, 50 percent on Cs

e) 10 percent on As, 20 percent on Bs, 70 percent on Cs

5. What percentage of your office time per week do you spend

planning one to three months or three to six months out?

a) 25 to 30 percent

b) 20 percent

c) 10 percent

d) 5 percent

e) Have to make the number today! No time for the future.

6. What percentage of the day do you spend with your Asalespeople?

a) 25 to 30 percent

b) 20 percent

c) 10 percent

d) 5 percent

e) Let them do what they do the best. I’ve got a ton of other


If you answered d or e to any or all of the items, you need

to be more ProActive, and this book is required reading for you.

Quit having useless meetings. Give up focusing internally

on past revenue numbers. Stop having those quarterly reviews

that focus on what happened the last three months. Quit guessing

on what you need to hire and fill those open head counts

within 30 days. Start being one step ahead of the game.

Three things before we begin.

• We use the terms ‘‘sales manager’’ and ‘‘sales management’’

interchangeably throughout the book. When we

say sales manager or sales management, we mean all

management levels, from first-line sales manager to executive

sales management.

• We spell the words ‘‘proactive’’ and ‘‘proactively’’ as Pro-

Active and ProActively to remind you that there is a new

way to manage: a ProActive way; a better and more effective

way. The tools in this book are going to change the

way you manage. The way you look at your job. The way

you think. It will put you one step ahead.

• This is the second revision to ProActive Sales Management,

and you will find very few changes from the original

book. But we made additions where they were needed to

adapt to the current times. And we added some new

ideas. If you already own the original, these additions

should make rereading this book worthwhile.

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