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How Good is YOUR Sales Force
by Dr. Rick Johnson
March 04, 2013

Recently I met with one of my favorite clients. Our objective was to introduce a sales effectiveness program to ignite a culture of accountability so that the company could meet a sustained growth rate of 8-10% per year for the next five years. We included the Vice President of Sales and the Director of Sales in that meeting. (Sales Manager) Before we started to discuss our objectives, I asked each the CEO, The VP of Sales and the Director of Sales to write down on a piece of paper how they would grade the Online Outlet, Cheap Replica Watches UK Store, Swiss Replica Watches Sale, Free UK Shipping!! effectiveness of their current eleven sales people in the field on a scale of 1 to 10; 10 being excellent and 1 saying they needed to be replaced. They rated the sales force as follows: CEO rating of sales force -------- 3.5 VP of Sales -------------------------- 6 Director of Sales (Sales Manager) – 8.5 What’s the Problem Do you see the problem here? First of all the CEO seems to have very little confidence in the sales force. The key question becomes – is that opinion validated by the numbers. You be the judge. This sales team was not growing sales at an 8-10% rate but sales have grown consistently over the past three years by about 3%. The VP of Sales obviously felt the sales force was a little better than average while the Sales Manager thought his sales force was above average. With this mind set by all three, what do you think the company’s potential to reach a consistent growth rate of 8 to 10% is? This gap in perception of sales effectiveness goes to the root cause of sales and sales management failure. Change will not occur until there is an agreed upon conclusion based on factual data and not intuitive judgment on exactly how the sales force is currently performing. A 3% growth rate may be exceptional if the actual market the company penetrates has shrunk by 10% in the past few years. On the other hand a 3% growth rate in a market that is growing by 15% per year is disastrous as it illustrates a significant loss of market share. Growth is a Team Effort The sales team at most companies consist of all the individuals involved in the sales/marketing channel that serves the end user. Ideally, it should be a coordinated network, with strong alignment of individual activities with focus Excellent Quality Online, Luxury Brands Like: Tag Heuer, Breitling, Rolex, Hublot, Omega, Panerai, Free Shipping, Lowest Price Guarantee.
on objectives, process for continuous improvement, discipline toward utilizing best practice throughout the sales process and accountability for performance at all levels. Treating dealers, retail outlets, big box or direct customers as partners, rather than customers, means that you must be interested in what they are selling, and how they make money and not just how much they buy. Your sales objectives must be in alignment with corporate objectives and your customer’s objectives. Selling includes more than just the outside sales force. Everyone must be on the same page with the same objectives. That includes: • Outside Sales • Inside sales • Counter Sales • Custer Service • Marketing • Purchasing And Of Course…… • Operations • Logistics • Accounting EVERYBODY is part of the Sales Function --- Everybody Sells Creating an effective sales process includes Online Outlet, Cheap Replica Watches UK Store, Swiss Replica Watches Sale, Free UK Shipping!!
planning sales growth, profiling targeted accounts, executing account strategies and using objective feedback to continuously improve performance and drive accountability. Creating this process supports a structure and mechanism by which the network listed above can be managed as an integrated whole. It consists of processes, measurements, training and tools to improve the sales performance of the selling team. The processes and measurements create discipline so that the training and tools are actually used and performance is continuously improved. To be truly effective and follow best practice involves focus, process, discipline and accountability. The sales team at most companies consist of all the individuals involved in the sales/marketing channel that serves the end user. Ideally, it should be a coordinated network, with strong alignment of individual activities with focus on objectives, process for continuous improvement, discipline toward utilizing best practice throughout the sales process and accountability for performance at all levels and all departments. The Secret is Simple --- It’s a Process The secret is simple but often misunderstood. The secret behind effective sales management is simple: manage activities and measure results. Sounds simple but the misunderstanding lies in the fact that the link between activities and results is very short in demand fulfillment functions (entering customer orders today means shipping more orders today and tomorrow). However, that link for demand creation is much longer and tedious. It involves strategic selling, building relationship equity and the creation of tier level penetration strategies (relationships take months or longer to deliver revenue). In demand creation, attempting to manage results is like watering a plant after it has died from dehydration, because the current results were determined by activities performed months in the past. The only way to create an effective sales process is to define the activities that will drive results and then manage those activities. Targeting Targeting is a critically important sales practice - the difference between reactive selling (demand fulfillment) and strategic, proactive selling (demand creation). It is the process of selecting high potential accounts, creating tangible penetration plans for each, and translating their potential into achievable, numeric objectives. Targeting becomes an important driver for call planning and time management, as sales reps shift their focus to improving share of customer spend. In today’s competitive market, sales personnel must learn about their customers’ needs, how they make money, their pain and be able to provide real business value through consultative activities even if the solution is not related to the sale of their products.. sallywatch.org The Opportunity Pipeline Pipeline/Opportunity management refers to a structured process for identifying and acting on high potential, high probability sales opportunities. This activity is critical for visibility of potential future sales trends and encourages team selling and the engagement of the appropriate company resources to support growth in market share. It also eliminates the need for weekly or monthly call reports which are often fictional diatribes that could qualify the sales rep for a Pulitzer Prize nomination in journalism. The T.O. A. D. The Territory Opportunity Action Planning Discussion (TOAD) is the most important element in the process. It is the mechanism that ensures timely feedback and a focus on setting and meeting objectives. Sales managers should center these monthly discussions around performance Online Outlet, Cheap Replica Watches UK Store, Swiss Replica Watches Sale, Free UK Shipping!! improvement, coaching on best practices and providing support to the sales team. The Territory Opportunity Action-planning Discussion (T.O.A.D.) can be as powerful as the kiss of the princess that turned the Toad into a Prince. It can be the cornerstone of sales effectiveness that maximizes revenue, improves profitability and increases market share for your company. And don’t forget, this process which involves territory specific coaching and mentoring is a best practice. Sales Success Anybody can sell to some degree and we all do it without exception. However, to be a professional sales person, accepting these concepts as truths are the starting point. Getting up out of bed in the morning; doing what has to be done to excel in sales; keeping records, updating your materials; planning the direction of further sales efforts; and all the while increasing your own knowledge – all this definitely requires personal motivation, discipline, and energy. Being a professional sales person is not easy. It demands creativity and innovative thinking. Once you understand basic sales best practice and Online Outlet, Cheap Replica Watches UK Store, Swiss Replica Watches Sale, Free UK Shipping!!you have trained your entire sales force, it’s really about execution. Execution involves the day-to-day activities of the salesperson. For most industries, this entails both planned, proactive tasks and opportunistic, reactive events that the salesperson uncovers by doing the right things in the right place at the right time. A sales effectiveness process will circumvent the most common mistake made in sales today, trying to manage results. We have to manage activities because it’s the activities that produce results. www.ceostrategist.com – Sign up to receive “The Howl” a free monthly newsletter that addresses real world industry issues. – Straight talk about today’s issues. Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution’s “Leadership Strategist”, founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com. Don’t forget to check out the Lead Wolf Series that can help you put more profit into your business.

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