ACTG Sales Management Blog

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Increasing Sales: The G2 Formula

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Dec 30, 2020

Lots of people talk about goals and having a plan to achieve said goals. And there is lots of information out there about how important it is to have an tracking system in place to make sure you execute your plan effectively. But what about the GRIND required to increase sales and achieve success?

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There is a sales production target out there – somewhere. It’s different for every person and every organization but it’s out there. And for every person and every organization there is the actual sales production result that is being achieved today. That is the Sales Opportunity Gap. 

The Objective Management Group Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis is the guide that makes you the hero to close the sales growth opportunity gap. The findings in this analysis clearly lays out the current status of the sales team in these areas:

  • Will to Sell and Will to Manage Sales
  • Sales DNA, Sales Management DNA
  • Sales and Sales Management skills
  • Systems and processes that support sales growth
  • And more

These items are critical to understand if you ever hope to strategically and intentionally grow sales in your organization (or for yourself).

But this alone is not enough. Goals and Grind are also 2 requirements to get you from where you are to where you could be.

I'm reading Bob Rotello’s “How Champions Think in Sports and In Life”. I am in the middle of the chapter: Goals, Plans and Process. Lots of people talk about goals, goals setting and having a plan to achieve said goals. And there is lots of information out there about how important it is to have an accountability system in place to make sure you execute the plan. But the thing that struck me about Bob’s chapter is the discussion about the GRIND.

GRIND: it’s not talked about enough when it comes to discussing how to achieve a goal. The grind is the day-in and day-out stuff that you have to do to leverage your natural talents. The grind is the hard stuff, the stuff where we have a tendency to procrastinate.

So, what’s the grind in Sales?

  • Making the prospecting effort on a consistent basis
  • Pre and post call sessions
  • Practicing your sales skills
  • Inputting data in your CRM
  • Going to sales meetings
  • Having 1-on-1 coaching sessions with your manager

This is the grind. This is the stuff day-in and day-out that, when executed properly, leads you to your definition of success. This is what leads you to accomplishing your goal. Without the grind your goal is just a dream.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: reaching sales goals, sales prospecting, sales goals, increase sales, prospect outreach

It's Goal Setting Time: How to Turn Your Personal Goals into a Business Workplan

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Nov 19, 2020

Money should be looked at as a vital resource. A resource like food, air or water. In other words, you cannot live without them. Money buys you freedom of time and the freedom to choose. So, in order to choose and then achieve your personal goals, you must have money!

Here are some specific steps to help you translate your small, big and important personal goals to a business workplan that will help you achieve these goals.

Break down your goals into these 3 categories: short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. And then within each one of those categories, identify your goals as either urgent, somewhat urgent or not really urgent at all. This process will help you narrow down the types of goals you need to focus on first and foremost.

Typically, when people think of goals, they think in terms of things they want to have or things they want to accomplish like eliminate debt or pay for a wedding. More challenging goals that we also need to consider are those types of goals that we call ‘freedom to choose’ goals. An example might be the ability to work 4 days a week or the ability to take a month off to do ministry work in a third world country. Those goals also require financial freedom. So, at the end of the day regardless of the type of goal, there is normally some sort of financial requirement attached to the ability to achieve that goal.

Your second step is to identify at least 12 freedom to choose goals and identify their associated financial requirement.

Next, we have to become laser focused. We want you to identify for the next 12 months from all the goals that you identified, which are the 12 non-negotiable goals. You can't miss these come hell or high water - you're going to achieve these goals! Now, what behaviors will you need to do to make these goals happen – break it down into steps and set some deadlines. A goal without a due date is just a wish.

You just completed the easy part! Now its time to roll up your sleeves and translate these individual personal goals and their financial requirement into a business work plan. We call it a work plan because in order to achieve success you must have a plan AND work the plan.

Here are the Workplan components:

  • Your Success Formula
  • Your Market Niche
  • Your Prospecting Strategy
  • Your USA

The Success Formula is the math that helps you understand the amount of activity in each step of your sales process that you must execute to get to your revenue goal. Keep in mind this one very important idea – your goal has to be YOUR goal. It must be a number driven by your needs and not the needs of the company. But here is the catch – your number should always be higher than what the company requires from you. Remember these are your personal goals to reach.

The best way to identify your Market Niche is to take a look at the top 20% of your current book of business and identify the common demographics. That is who you serve well and the trick will be finding more of them!

If your business is like most, your larger, top 20% clients probably generate North of 70% of your revenue and the rest of your book of business is made up of a smattering of various size accounts. To refine this into your workplan, you want to identify approximately the number of accounts you want to sell at each size. This will give you an idea of the number of sales at the various levels you need to make in order to reach your goal.

Your Prospect Strategy to reach out into the market place is the key to your success. The best way to meet a new prospect is to ask your current clients for introductions but you must have multiple strategies.

Your USA or Unique Sales Approach to the market place is critical. How will you stand out? Here is the test of the effectiveness of your USA or elevator pitch – If you heard your pitch, would you respond with one of the following?

  • Tell me more about that.  
  • That's me.
  • How do you do that?

Most of us believe that in order to get a better outcome we need to start doing something. In reality sometimes the first requirement is to stop doing certain things. To complete your workplan, identify those things that you are doing that are killing your business and killing your ability to be more effective – then stop them!

Take a minute now and review this newsletter. Ask yourself - what are the top three things you need to execute because you believe that when you do, they will have the most dramatic and positive impact on your business.

Now go plan your work and Work your plan!

Need a Goal Setting Workshop?

Topics: personal goals, setting goals, sales goals, how to hit goals in sales

It's Goal Setting Time, Start Here

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Nov 12, 2020
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Video Transcript:

I want you to think about your success over the last 12 months. This assessment isn’t complicated.  Just break down your life into two areas:  Your work success and your personal success and think about your answer to these three questions:

Question 1: Over the last 12 months what was the most important thing you wanted to achieve in your personal life? 

    • Rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 10, (1 is not even close and 10 is I blew it away)
    • How did you do?

Question 2: Over the last 12 months what was the most important thing you wanted to achieve in your business life?  On the same scale - how did you do?

Question 3: And Last question – why did you get these results?

That one will take some reflection. Now as we get started on this meaty topic, I want you to think about this question:
What would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn’t fail? 

Goal setting is more than just thinking about and writing down goals. Goals without actions are just thoughts you have about what might happen.  Writing goals with action items is a waste of time if you don’t commit to time frames.  And ultimately you have to inspect what you expect. The joy of accomplishing goals is what will keep you moving forward.  This course is about goal accomplishment and not just goal setting.

There are many wonderful books on the topic of setting goals and achieving your personal best and I hope you are reading them!  We know that salespeople who accomplish their goals do these things consistently:

  1. Their goals are written down
  2. They have a time frame to achieve them
  3. Their goals are defined and measurable
  4. They have an accountability partner or a coach to keep them on track
  5. They set too many goals
  6. They stretch and set extraordinary, big hairy audacious goals

Mark Victor Hansen challenges people to write 100 goals so that you have more opportunity to announce VICTORY when you achieve a goal. And instead of just establishing reasonable goals make room for those that are extraordinary.  All the resources you need to have an extraordinary life are available to each of us.  Quoting Mark Victor Hansen again, “There is normally only one person between you and your greatest achievement.”   YOU

Your success is really about you versus you. It has very little to do with your company’s strategies or the economy or the competition.  This really is all about you and your desire and commitment to make your dreams, your plans come to fruition.

One of the challenges that people have when they attempt to write goals is a lack of process to create the plan.  My suggestion now is for you to take out your calendar and identify at least two hours of time for writing out in detail your goals/your plan for the future.  

OK, Remember the question - What would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Keep these things in mind as you get started on your 100 goals.

There are no goals that are too small, too, large, too far out, etc.  Don’t edit your thoughts – write down any and all goals that come to mind.  Don’t limit yourself because you think a goal is too big, too foolish, not foolish or big enough.

Next go through your categories of life and begin writing those things that are in your head and on your heart – goals for family, community, spiritual, work of course, financial, fitness, things you want to have and want to do. Write them all down and remember – no self edits!  Spend some time on this – don’t short cut it!

And keep in mind Steven Covey’s famous quote:  Begin with the end in mind…

Need a Goal Setting Workshop?

 

Topics: personal goals, reaching sales goals, sales goals

Hitting Your Sales Goals – 3 Challenges to Overcome

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Sep 06, 2017

In the last 30 days, I’ve talked to more than a dozen company executives, sales people and sales managers.  I’ve asked them “What is the #1 constrictor to hitting your sales goals?”  The answer every time was: getting more qualified leads.  I know this is not a large sampling and I would be concerned about the validity of this finding if only 25% of them said that getting more qualified leads was the main problem. But that isn’t the case.  The consistency of answer in this survey indicates a trend to focus on.

There is further validation of the current finding:

During training discussions over the course of more than 20 years, I’ve asked sales executives, presidents and sales teams to complete the following statement:  I (we) would sell more, be more productive, more effective if only I (we) …  The #1 most common answer consistently over the years has been “If I had more / better prospects to call on.”

In order to address the problem of gettin more qualified leads, sales leaders and salespeople need to first understand these three challenges:

  1. Will to Sell
  2. Sales DNA
  3. Sales Skills

Let me use an example to explain.  We are currently working with a financial institution that is hiring a new private banker in an expanded market.  Using the pre-hire assessment from our partner Objective Management Group, we created a ‘tailored fit model’ based on the performance of the top and bottom current private bankers and then assessed the 5 candidates they were still considering.

Take a look at these findings:

Figure 1 – How well did the candidates match the clients’ work history criteria for success?  The client created a profile that indicated that the non-negotiable sale success criteria where: 1) must be competition resistant (successfully sold in a competitive environment), 2) Successfully sold value rather than price, 3) Sold to executives, 4) Has successfully hunted and sold new business (this addresses challenge #3 sales skills – specifically skills for hunting/ prospecting), 5) Is an entrepreneurial seller.  As you can see all the candidates being considered marginally met the client criteria for success with 3 of the 5 having an 80% match.

But when we look at the other findings, we find the 3 challenges most common to organizations that are trying to consistently hit / exceed their sales goals.

Figure #2 -When we look at Challenge #1 – ‘Will to Sell’ we find the following:

Only 1 candidate meets all the criteria for Will To Sell. The question becomes:  How important is the will to sell when attempting to overcome the challenges of finding qualified prospects to talk to? If 1/3 of your current team lacks the will to sell what is the likelihood  - despite all the ‘prospecting’ training you provide them – that they will actually execute?  Also note that one of the candidates with strong desire, commitment and outlook will still be prone to making excuses for not prospecting, asking for introductions and networking. (Desire for Sales Success)

Figure #3 – Sales DNA (Sales DNA Audio) findings for the 5 candidates looked like this:

This post won’t go into the definitions of all the criteria you see here but understand that green is good and red is not so good.  If you look to the right of the graph and look at the Total Sales DNA the scores in green and red told our client what they needed to know.  If everything else is equal in the equation then your people with strong sales DNA are more likely to do the activity of prospecting and will be more successful.

*Candidate #2 meets the criteria of the client, has a very strong will to sell and has the highest sales DNA score.  How many of the people on your sales team measure up to this ‘elite’ candidate?

The world of selling is certainly different today than it was just 5 years ago.  Your prospects in the market place have more ways to find more information about you, your products and services. They have more ways to compare you against your competition and all of this happens without you or your sales people even making contact.  (See ZMOT – Google Research – Zero Moment of Truth).

To meet the challenges of today, you need a sales team with the right stuff.

 Find Out More about our Fall Sales Workshops

Topics: Prospecting, sales goals, sales prospects, qualified leads, sales leads, generating leads

In Managing Salespeople, as in Life, Failure is Not an Option

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Aug 26, 2016

A year ago this past August, I was released from University Hospital here in Cincinnati.  Doctors Augsburger and Correa had performed radioactive plaque surgery on my right eye.  The plaque stayed attached to my right eye for 5 days with a lead eye patch covering it.  I was confined to a lead-lined room.  On the 25th, they removed the plaque (disc), sutured the eye and then sent me home for recovery. I was back to work the following Monday.

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I share this story in an attempt to relate “life happens” to sales management.

Life happens in sales and sales management.  When attempting to manage a sales team, “life happens.”

  • The economy tanks
  • A top producer leaves
  • A new producer that you thought would set the world on fire is going on a PIP
  • The company has changed its product mix, offerings or pricing
  • A new competitor has come to town
  • A new compensation plan is being implemented
  • A new CRM tool is being implemented
  • The Department of Labor passes new regulations, changing the sales landscape for an entire industry 

Despite all the changes and all the “life happens” events that come your way as a sales manager, you are left with one ultimate objective – meet/exceed the sales targets established by the company.  Despite all the obstacles and challenges, at the end of the day, someone in the company is going to look to you and want to know if your team is going to hit the sales goal.

A month after my departure from University Hospital, I met with an oncologist.  Prior to the meeting, I had a blood test completed and a CT scan.  Both tests are designed to look for cancer cells possibly lurking somewhere in my body.  I am to continue this testing every 6 months for the next three years.  I will see my ophthalmologist once every 6 months.  At the end of each time period, all that matters is this: Did I go another six months and stay cancer free?

So, what do you do to get from diagnosis – life event, business event, etc. – to whatever happens next?  Answer: You do everything possible to improve the odds for success. That is what you do.

I have another doctor.  Dr. Peter Shang practices eastern medicine and is a former practicing oncologist.  When I visited with him the first time, he told me one really important thing:  Cancer hates a healthy body.  He told me that we needed to find out how healthy my blood was and make it healthier so that it could effectively fight any cancer cells.  He also told me that cancer loves sugar.  And he told me that regardless of how healthy I thought I was, I needed to get healthier.  This meant exercising 5 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes a day.

Here are steps that are similar in personal health related problems and business problems:

  • Pay attention to the symptoms
  • Get a diagnosis to identify the root cause
  • Analyze the root cause and identify solutions
  • Determine if the outcome for doing nothing is acceptable
  • If doing nothing is unacceptable, take action
  • Check your commitment to stick to the plan – you must have a non-negotiable reason to stick to it

I just had the second of my six-month checkups for eye, blood and body scan.  All are good.  Also, I’ve continued to work, play tennis and golf.  I monitor my steps, my workouts, and my food intake.  I’d like to report that I’m completely off of all sugar, but I have my lapses.  I was in a great habit of not eating sugar and then, when I hit a body weight target, I allowed myself to celebrate with my greatest food weakness – ice cream.  (If you see me and we are dining, don’t let me eat dessert!)

I work out consistently, and I am healthier now than I’ve been in at least 30 years.  Every time I work out, I talk to cancer.  I tell it that it had better be ready for a fight because that’s what it’s in for.  I work out and think about others who are fighting the fight.  Doug, Ray, Cherie, Brooke and Jerry all are fighting the fight for health.  But… the major motivation is my wife, Linda. She is my non-negotiable reason to stay the course and fight the fight.

In business, you have to have that non-negotiable reason to fight the fight, to overcome the obstacles, challenges, and setbacks.  You are not always going to win the battle every second, every minute or every hour.  But, win the battle every day. Then your days become weeks and the weeks become months and the months become the first year.

In the words of the flight director of Apollo 13, “Failure is not an option!”

Additional Resources:

10 Uncomfortable Deeds that Will Make You More Successful

Download our free eBook, The Extraordinary Sales Manager

Sign up for a free demo of Hire Better Salespeople

Topics: sales management, sales goals, Sales Strategies

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

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