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Be a Top Performer...And Then Some

Whether it is a January kickoff event, a Monday morning sales meeting or a quarterly salesperson review session, sales managers must sell the need to plan for success.

Planning for success means you build a sales organization that is not opportunistic in account management, prospecting, et cetera, but focused on a methodology to ensure success. It also means that there is an expectation or attitude from management that is transmitted to the team that "we" will be successful, "we" are winners, "we" are better and "we" work together. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on August 11, 2014 at 1:30 PM0 comments


What's Your Motivation?

A friend of mine recently asked me where I had been lately. When I mentioned that in July I had been in San Diego, Washington, D.C. and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and that I was leaving again this week for Las Vegas, he just shook his head and said, "I don't know now how you do it!"

I seem to have a lot to juggle, as do many people, but what keeps me on a fairly busy travel schedule is more than simply work -- it's a passion. It has been 16-and-a-half years since I started Acumen Management Group and the basis behind the company still drives me. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on July 28, 2014 at 3:10 PM0 comments


Creativity for Leaders

One of the traits that leaders must have or develop is a mind that is creative. In many of my keynote programs, I discuss creativity and the need to "break out and grow" as you build a "Gourmet Life."

The day-to-day pressures and various situations that you face are ever-changing and appear at a rapid pace. The ability to consider various options, offer unique perspectives or provide your team with fresh ideas is critical to your success. The great news is that you can develop your ability to be creative.  More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on July 07, 2014 at 3:28 PM0 comments


Slammed: The First-Time Sales Manager

In my eight years selling for two different companies, I experienced four or five sales managers. As you can imagine, they each had a different style, patience and skill level. I can remember that those first six months as a new sales manager were a challenge. I took over from two previous sales managers who were now reporting to me and three other salespeople, for a total of five on my team.

I had participated in various sales training programs and I had a few perceptions of what a sales manager should do, but obviously I was scrambling and, at the same time, trying to achieve sales objectives. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on June 10, 2014 at 9:47 AM0 comments


Creating a Sense of Urgency at the End of June

How do you capture the attention of your sales team on a Monday-morning sales meeting? You need to plan the meeting effectively and make sure your opening has impact. Today, I announced: "There are only 10 days left in June!" I did this for several reasons:

  1. I wanted to wake up and shake up everyone's thinking at the outset of the meeting.
  2. It was important to create a sense of urgency in everyone.
  3. I created a theme for the month.

If you are a first-time sales manager or even an experienced one, having a Monday-morning sales call for any size team takes preparation. You cannot begin without thinking about the outcome and intent of the meeting. With my clients, we use a sales meeting agenda and stick with a standard format. This keeps everyone on task. Also, keeping everyone involved is important and getting to the point is critical.   More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on June 02, 2014 at 9:58 AM0 comments


Life Enrichment: Giving Back

"Giving back" means how you help make the world a better place. People who use the mantra understand that doing what is expected -- and then some -- makes the difference in improving others' lives, as well as their own.

During the last few months, I have been writing about life enrichment, which is a descriptor for the general message of my keynote program, "Gourmet Living: Building a Menu for Your Life." This week, as I fly to San Diego, I'm reflecting on the "giving back" portion of life enrichment. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on May 05, 2014 at 2:20 PM0 comments


Time for Summer Pipeline Building

This week, I had two conversations reminding clients to make sure that they are focused on building their summer pipeline. In one case, the client was excited about the event it just completed and the opportunities it found, but it had no events scheduled for May or June.

It is the job of sales leadership to have a 90-day-and-beyond vision into their company's pipeline and planning. Now is the time to make sure you are making extra efforts in your sales and marketing plans to increase your visibility. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on April 29, 2014 at 2:28 PM0 comments


'Make It Happen Now' as a Sales Mantra

A sense of urgency and creating momentum are critical to the success of any sales organization. As a daily mantra for my clients' sales teams, I like to suggest "What can you do today to create an order?"

Many sales teams wait for situations to occur to eventually close an order. Great sales teams create situations that cause orders to occur. These situations may be chaotic or a well-planned series of events, others are developed with the skill of a brain surgeon during discovery, and others are just plain salesmanship. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on April 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM0 comments


Creating a Culture of High Performance: 6 Pointers

For the past 10-plus years, I have focused on improving the performance of organizations, emphasizing their business strategy and sales leadership function. The end result is creating a culture of high performance throughout the organization.

In preparation for a keynote program, I tried to identify what high-performing organizations look like. One, their leadership team communicates openly. Two, they seem to have their personal and professional lives in balance. I have written often of my personal/professional pizza analogy, so I won't bother you with that, but if you have not taken my pizza test, send me a request. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on March 18, 2014 at 1:26 PM0 comments


Your Second-Quarter Plan

It's the middle of March -- are you ready for the second quarter?

For many of my clients, we have each member of the sales team prepare a six-month business plan and a shorter quarterly action plan. As I was preparing a client audit today, I realized it was time for this client's sales team to evaluate their performance. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on March 10, 2014 at 1:19 PM0 comments


Onboarding Salespeople

This is a hectic period. Next week, I am offsite all week for a 2014 client strategy and planning meeting. This week, I am assisting another client with onboarding two salespeople that are remote from the main business office. Everything needs to be lined up and organized for a successful experience.

The onboarding step is normally a very weak link with many organizations, but it is a critical success factor, as well. I wanted to share my thoughts with our community.  More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on October 22, 2013 at 2:48 PM0 comments


Quick Ideas To Hit Fourth-Quarter Goals

Let's make this interactive -- I will start the list, and then it is your job to add to it. Let's all work together to increase each other's success during the last few months of 2013.

These ideas can be designed for sales leaders or individual sales performers:  More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on October 01, 2013 at 10:27 AM0 comments