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A Sales Manager's Recipe: What's Cooking in 2012?

After giving a keynote program called "Gourmet Living" recently, an attendee came up to me and discussed her challenges as a sales manager.  The last three years have been tough and she was looking for new ideas for 2012 to excite her team and also to simply change up the routine.

Since my keynote program had been about creating a "menu for your life" and used many cooking metaphors, I started thinking about what her sales management recipe should be. If 2011 left a bad taste in your mouth, use the following ingredients to create a new recipe to make 2012 your best year ever.

Become a Detective
In sales management workshops, we always talk about "inspect what you expect." Once a week, review your sales team's CRM system to ensure they are using it properly and casually ask each team member about their certain activities within their key accounts. Once they know you are actually reviewing their accounts they will be more precise and begin to be more accurate. Next, make two extra sales calls per month with each sales rep. Confirm that hey can sell your firm and they are using the proper sales tools. These actions are not micro-management -- they are designed to provide you greater opportunities to coach and grow your team.

Reduce Fatigue
Recognize your sales team might be tired or somewhat challenged based upon the last three years of tight budgets and stress. Fire them up with new products or packaging/pricing, change the game with new times for sales and sales training meetings, or even rearrange the sales offices.  Once a month, take your sales team on a field trip to visit a customer and let the customer "sell" your team on your products/services.

Find Creative Dust 
Read a book on creativity and share it with your team. The truly great salespeople are the most creative and it is true that creativity can be learned. As a sales manager, creative sales strategies will push you over your quota. Get your entire team into a creativity fix.

Become an SOB (Student of Business)
Invest in sales management training, books and DVDs. Create your own network of other sales managers where you can discuss ideas, learn what is working for others and explore new sales management concepts. Push yourself to become a professional in 2012. Consider visiting other offices and view how their sales managers run their sales teams. At our Web site you will find free videos on "hiring and training salespeople" and other articles I have written on sales management. You might also go back and skim through the blog to look for other ideas.

While these are just a few ideas, I would enjoy reading your reactions or other recipes for success below. As a team of readers, let's build up a complete recipe for each as we work to make 2012 a feast we will always remember.

Posted by Ken Thoreson on January 24, 2012


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