Viewing Posts for: Gino Auletto
This three-part series on the sales management process began with Part I: Why Sales Leaders Need to Craft and Control It and Part II: Team Cadence Builds Accountability and Results. Now, I’ll address the remaining, critical element of communicating upward by scheduling one-on-one reviews with senior leaders.
There are many reasons for maintaining regular and scheduled one-on-one meetings with your senior leader. Within the hierarchy of your organization, your leader is an essential link to the next higher levels of management, often to the C-suite itself. Rule of thumb is to never surprise your boss, positively or negatively; but, beyond that guidance, you need to keep them informed of your plans, your progress, and how you are addressing any challenges. Think of your leader as your champion, representing your work and value to higher levels of the organization. At the same time, your leader is your conduit to those higher levels, funneling key information from above and providing key updates on initiatives back to you.
One-on-one meetings allow you to have a consistent touch point in which you can convey the status of each component involved in the sales management process. Your updates should be comprehensive, spanning what your team has accomplished since the last meeting, pipeline results, and activities underway that will lead to future results and provide value.
Meetings provide a framework to discuss how you are managing your team, what your people do, where they » Continue Reading.
In my previous post on the Sales Management Process — Why Sales Leaders Need to Craft and Control It — I talked about the necessity for sales leaders to have such a sales process and the foundational element of account planning sessions.
In Part II, I’ll focus on the people factor and developing a sales team cadence of engagement that builds accountability and results. There are a number of elements involved in developing a regular and reinforcing rhythm of events to refocus every member of your sales team on what needs to be done and when.
Pipeline and forecast reviews provide regular touch points to track the progress of opportunities in the pipeline, improving the accuracy of forecasts. As a sales leader, these reviews offer the chance to assess how well your people are performing, their strengths and skill gaps, along with the ability to coach in the moment as deals move or get delayed in the pipeline. Additionally, such reviews allow you as the leader to hold your people accountable by setting the right expectations around forecasting.
Individual development planning sessions are a natural extension of annual development plans that should be developed collaboratively between sales leaders and their direct reports, although such development should ultimately be owned by the sales professionals themselves. They are the ones who should be responsible and accountable for their own professional development, proactively identifying what they want to focus on in the » Continue Reading.
I am such a hard-core believer in the value of having a sales management process because I know without it, long-term success will not happen. My loyalty stems from watching a mentor from earlier in my career construct and implement a process that became a motivating force for achieving results. When I transitioned from sales into management, I followed his lead and began incorporating this critical element into my work. I now credit it for my success.
How to Control your Team with a Simple Sales Management Process
Simply put, a sales management process is a disciplined approach to driving multiple facets of performance, with regularly scheduled touch points along the way. By defining such a process, specific to the goals and culture of your own organization, you can drive both execution and accountability over the long term.
I recommend this type of a process for any sales leader, whether you are responsible for a team of direct-reporting individuals or a larger global team. Even senior sales leaders should institute their own consistent, repeatable management process so that everyone can under them — every individual, every line of business, and every division — becomes aligned and committed to the same strategic path.
Sales Management Process Implementation Priorities
When you introduce a defined process into your organization, know that it’s not a short-term exercise running over a 30- or 90-day cycle. It takes discipline » Continue Reading.
Sales Prospecting Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint!
It’s OK to want immediate results from sales prospecting. In an ideal world, every call would lead to an appointment and the start of a beautiful business relationship. A more realistic view, however, is one that recognizes sales prospecting as the long-term activity it most often becomes.
Too many people gauge sales prospecting success by the number of appointments scheduled. Yet, if your two-minute call only focused on getting in the door and your conversation didn’t cover any meaningful ground, you won’t be well prepared for any appointment that might result. So, your first meeting could easily be your last with that prospect.
I judge sales prospecting success by engagement, the kind of dialogue conducted, and whether I was able to gain a greater understanding of the prospect’s needs. Success is being able to take the next step in forming a relationship or, better yet, a partnership. An appointment may not come out of the first or second or third conversation. But, when I do finally get in the door, it will be because I have engaged the prospect in learning more about how I can solve the needs or problems at hand.
When you bring value to conversations and put the prospect first, it becomes easier to schedule follow-up calls. And your calls tend to get answered. At least, that’s been my experience with a high percentage of » Continue Reading.
Do’s and Don’ts of Sales Prospecting
During my 20 years in sales, I’ve seen more than enough examples of best practices, fair practices, and I-can’t-believe-it practices related to sales prospecting. I’ve worked in technology sales, leading high-performance teams, and I’ve been responsible for generating engagement with clients who weren’t actively in partnership with me or my then-employer.
Based on my experience, I’ve developed a short list of things that you should do to be effective in sales prospecting and, conversely, things not to do.
DO: Be disciplined. If you are methodical in using a consistent process over time to contact prospects, you will be more successful with your prospecting. It is as simple as it sounds. Set aside a certain amount of time each week to reach out to prospects, be it an hour a day or a half-day each week. By scheduling the time, you can develop a rhythm that includes pre-call preparation and follow-through dedicated to specific clients.
DO: Leverage your account-planning process. Specifically, use the process to understand two things about each targeted account: 1) What is relevant to that organization? What is happening internally and also within the industry? 2) What messaging can you put together that will resonate with those factors in mind? What this information will give you is a roadmap for how to prepare for your prospecting call.
DON’T: Lead with your product or capabilities. Your opening should focus on » Continue Reading.