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Sales Leadership and Preparedness

I have always considered the Boy Scout motto of "Be prepared" in all aspects of my life.

It's a difficult time for many people in the South, which was recently hit with massive tornadoes and rain. During the storms, I was in Kansas working with a client, while my wife was at our home in Eastern Tennessee facing the storm alone. The good news for us was we did not suffer any real damage. During many phone calls between my wife and I, we discussed the situation and developed action plans -- moving to our lower level and taking cell phones, batteries, radios, water and blankets. We also discussed the actions that had to be done outside the home during the short breaks between the four storms that hit us that evening. I was watching live radar and she was working the various issues -- positioning the generator if we lost power, cleaning the drains that kept being blocked with leaves, sticks and grass, and protecting portions of the house from rising water.

In the end, it all worked, thankfully.

Sales leaders face challenges every day, and being prepared as much as you can is critical success factor.

Organization skills are important aspect of being prepared. While many times salespeople are less organized than many other job roles, good sales management must be highly organized because of the random nature of events that can be disruptive on a daily basis. It is not unusual for sales leaders to walk into their offices on a daily basis and learn of: 1) a sales opportunity that might be lost, 2) an unscheduled meeting with the president, 3) a salesperson leaving the company, 4) a customer problem that needs to be addressed immediately, and a host of other issues.

So what can a sales manager do to help themselves? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Create a 90-day sales training plan, with dates, times, topics planned in advance.

  2. Use an effective "to-do" list to maintain priorities. HINT: I actually use a sheet of paper with my short-term/high-priority goals and longer-term goals visible. Then I draw a line down the middle of the paper and list them on either side.

  3. Focus on effective communication. Much time is lost on follow-ups if people are unclear as to your directions. Re-read your e-mails before sending, ask others to proof important documents to ensure they're clear, and at the end of a meeting, ask the other person for their understanding of the actions they are to take with deadlines.

  4. Always recruit! Every 60 days, place advertisements and interview constantly.

These are just a few tips for improving your preparedness. I always stress in my workshops and consulting that a proactive approach to sales management will always succeed over a reactive approach. What other ideas do you have?

Reminder: 2011 Sales and Marketing Success Conference
From May 9 to 13, the world's top sales experts will present a variety of programs designed to train and motivate your sales teams.

This conference, which represents the most ambitious online event of its type ever staged, will feature 35 sessions over five days. The sessions will be all about succeeding, winning and exceeding expectations.

But this is more than a sales conference. Just four weeks after the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and a tsunami that produced 46-foot waves, we learn that the death toll is likely to top 25.000. Recovery is going to take not years, but possibly decades and maybe even a generation, and cost at least $250 billion. This is an opportunity for anyone operating in the sales space to make a meaningful contribution to the Japanese Disaster Fund (via the Red Cross). Can I count on your support? Together we can make a worthwhile contribution.

Register for this event here.

Posted by Ken Thoreson on August 01, 2013