Find a Cause for 2013

During most of my keynote programs, I discuss my three rules for creating a "gourmet life." In most of my client engagements I've also been discussing the elements for creating a culture of high performance. In both situations I like to reinforce that there is a need to align the soul of your team to goals of the organization.

Focusing on the soul is critical for creating an environment that drives success. Certainly, building emotion is a major objective in leadership; having it and creating it must be a focus for all leaders. In previous blogs I discussed "Building Belief" (if you want a copy of it, send me an e-mail at [email protected]). While that blog discussed how to build belief in your product/service and company, I also believe there needs to be a focus on the greater good. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on December 17, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Using 'Drive Statements' To Create a Sales Theme for 2013

Last week, I was speaking at a conference on "Building and Maintaining Sales Motivation." After the program, several people came up to discuss my concept of a "drive statement."

At this time of the year, everyone is working on their sales business plans for 2013 and finishing budgets and forecasts. While every plan should include goals and objectives for training, marketing and sales incentive programs, this is also the perfect time to consider how you will maintain your sales team's emotional focus on exceeding your goals. Creating a drive statement can assist you. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on December 03, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

How Not To Get Fired: A 4-Step Plan

On a recent flight to Seattle, I pondered what this week's blog might contain. While reflecting on the past year and looking forward toward 2013, it occurred to me that a quick summary of a few basic actions sales leadership must take to succeed would be of value.

Step One: Build an Active Recruiting Plan 
Most sales managers get fired for not hitting the desired sales goals. Normally, the reason is because they have a lack of salespeople selling their products/services. You must know your average transaction value versus your yearly or monthly sales objectives. The key question is: "Do you have enough salespeople on board to achieve your monthly number of required sales transactions?" More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on November 26, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Book Review: 'Nine Minutes on Monday'

My speaking and sales leadership consulting practice causes me to work with many people who are experiencing stressful situations, like having to learn to manage a sales team for the first time or realizing that their organizations are not performing at optimal levels.

James Robbins, the author of Nine Minutes on Monday, captures the reader immediately by building on the story of him climbing a mountain -- at one point, almost at the summit, he becomes unsure if he can make it to the top. As the book moves forward, Robbins continues to share stories that make his points and describe his easy-to-follow plan to enhance your leadership and the performance of your team. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on October 22, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

It's That Time of the Year Again

An upcoming election, roller-coaster days on Wall Street, Middle East issues, budgets being cut...there are many distractions.

With that economic domino effect hitting us all as 2012 begins to wind down, ending the year on a high note will be more challenging than ever. At Acumen, we've been offering the following advice to our clients and their sales teams: More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on October 16, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Finishing Off October, Setting Up November

During the past few days, I have been suggesting to my clients several ideas to ensure they finish off the year in a strong style. I thought I would offer them below and ask for more ideas from our team of readers.

During October

  • Increase the number of days per week you perform one-on-one sales strategy coaching to verify that all salespeople know where they are in the sales cycle and have asked the proper questions. Make an extra phone call where you can coach and question sales actions. More

    Posted by Ken Thoreson on October 08, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Preparing for 2013

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in another conference -- my 14th of the year. Conferences are always a great time to hear other speakers, learn new ideas and meet new people. During the session, I led a panel discussion titled "Killer Strategies for Prospecting" and spoke separately on "Leveraging Your Business by Partnering." I thought I would highlight a few points from both sessions since they are pertinent for everyone as we move into 2013.

Panel Discussion
There were four panelists, all with real-world experience in selling and marketing. We talked about a variety of topics, but specifically discussed the topic of what marketing's contribution and responsibility to growing the sales funnel is versus what is expected from the sales team. As you would expect, there was a lot of give and take and great audience interaction on this topic. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on October 01, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

The Impact of Creating a Sales Process

This occurs almost every time I speak or at every initial client visit. Whether the organization is using CRM or not, chances are it has not taken the time to define, write out and train the sales team on how to use prescriptive a sales process. 

Why is this important enough to write about? A sales process gets results! More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on September 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

The Need for Fresh Air

Last Tuesday around 10 p.m., after getting back to my home from a neighborhood activity, I turned on the TV to catch the last news of the day and checked my phone for e-mail. The latter is not an unusual routine for me as our client base can be in multiple time zones around the world. On that night, I had two e-mails from a sales manager from the Eastern time zone that had come in after 9 p.m.

While there are always instances where our jobs require us to put in the extra time, it is important to find balance -- the time to clear your mind and seek fresh air. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on September 18, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

Book Review: 'Five Proven Strategies from the World's Sales Leaders'

Over the Labor Day weekend, I picked up a book titled Sales Growth: Five Proven Strategies from the World's Sales Leaders. It was authored by Thomas Baumgartner, Homayoun Hatami and Jon Vander Ark, with a foreword written by CEO Marc Benioff.

What makes this a great read for sales leaders at any size organization is the real case-study examples the authors used to prove their strategies. Within each defined strategy, the authors broke out the specific steps required to achieve the stated goal. This provided a detailed description of how specific sales leaders approached a problem. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on September 06, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

5 Steps To Get Sales Teams Focused

During a meeting with a new client, several old topics cropped up. Since I seem to run into these issues quite often, I thought it would be good to address them on this blog.

The client has been growing -- not at an aggressive pace, but slowly -- and the sales organization was in chaos, working opportunistically on various sales deals and randomly in the marketplace. The result: The delivery organization is bogged down, low profitability and no insights into the pipeline or sales activity. More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on August 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments

The Power of the 'Influencer'

I normally don't focus on specific sales training topics, but after several sessions of training sales managers on how to create effective sales strategies -- and even experiencing several sales situations within my own business -- I thought I might raise this topic via three points: More

Posted by Ken Thoreson on August 22, 2012 at 11:59 AM0 comments