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Summer Sales Management

And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high...

It's early June, so I thought it would be good to help sales managers with some additional insights as we head to summer time, when sales can be a challenge. I recently posted a question in a forum on LinkedIn at Top Sales Experts International: What are the top three challenges that sales management faces? While time management was extremely popular as a response, responder Craig Klein came up with a real good answer:

"I'd have to say that #1 is motivation. Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial to selling effectively in any economy. Having a glass half-full approach during tough times can be magnetic to customers who are facing bad news all around them."

I would add to Craig's comment that sales management must work to maintain sales team motivation as well. Schedule fun events, tagged to customer onsite visitations. During every interaction, successful sales leaders must focus on being positive.

Here are two others that he offered up:

#2: Managing revenue expectations. If you're chasing quotas that were set last summer, you're probably having a very tough year. Sales management needs to be able to set executive expectations based on the real world today and then align sales expectations accordingly.

Right on again, we have been creating more dashboards/scorecards for sales/marketing organizations than ever before. We like to use: 1) salesperson forecast accuracy %, win/loss rate % by salesperson and pipeline to quota ratios. See my column, "How Do You Measure Sales Success?"

#3: Maintaining price. Competitors will be low balling, sales staff will want to "get aggressive" to meet their quota. Staying in value selling mode is going to be very difficult.

Craig stated it well -- your action plan for summer is actually to "tune-up" your sales training programs with increased levels of role play. This means increasing intensity during a seasonal time where "things" begin to slip.

In summary, reflect, evaluate and test new programs during the summer and make the process interesting for your sales team, for your prospects and yourself. One last comment: Focus on weekly results, not monthly results, and always probe your sales team on "when is the prospect leaving for their summer vacation?" Many quotas are missed as a result of not knowing that question. Check out my blog soon for a great value brought to you by Acumen and Top Sales Experts International, called Choices!

For more insights visit our Web site or send me an e-mail.

Ken Thoreson is managing director of the Acumen Management Group Ltd., a North American consulting organization focused on improving sales management functions within growing and transitional organizations internationally. Ken also motivates organizations with enlightening keynotes.


Posted by Ken Thoreson on June 02, 2009


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