ACTG Sales Management Blog

Sales & Sales Management Expertise Blog  

Creating Your Ideal Week: The 6th Sales Productivity Tool

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Nov 08, 2019

In our next edition of Football & 9 Sales Productivity Tools That Will Change Your Results, we bring you our 6th tool, which is "Creating Your Ideal Week". 

Crafting your Ideal Week is essential for success in selling as barriers and "fires" often get in the way of accomplishing your goals.  While things rarely go as planned during the week, it's important to set yourself up no matter what and stay committed to the process.  

action-activity-balls-day-296302

I graduated as an Education Major from the University of Connecticut specializing in Secondary Physical Education.  In short, I was a gym teacher.  I thought that gym teachers just picked a sport they wanted to teach students, put the equipment out on the gym floor, spent some time explaining what they had to do and stood by with a whistle.  Little did I know that they spent week nights and weekend hours putting together lesson plans and class schedules.

When I went to the University of Cincinnati to coach with Ralph Staub and David Zimmerman, I found that they too put together coaching plans and practice schedules.  They would look at film from the upcoming opponent and from our last game, determine what we needed to work on the most and develop a practice and game plan to execute that week. 

But a lot can go wrong that would throw off an Ideal Week practice plan. And so, it is with professional selling.  One of the reasons that most “Time Management” programs fail is because the participant fails to understand that they must stick like Velcro to the Ideal Week they have planned. The key lies in their ability to discern what Steven Covey defined as urgent and important events and important and not urgent events.

Schedule a Meeting With Our Team

So here are the keys to creating and making an Ideal Week work for you and or your sales team:

  1. Identify the must do weekly activities. Remember that about 20% of your activities generate roughly 80% of your results so identify and pursue only those activities.
  2. Prioritize your most impactful activities.
  3. Allocate either hours or a % of your total work week to be spent on those activities. Keep in mind that if you are in sales, there is no such thing as a 40-hour work week.
  4. Begin blocking out time to perform your priority activities.
  5. Block out time for ‘fires’ (the unplanned, important but not urgent events that are sure to pop up in your daily life).
  6. AND THE HARDEST PART – Stay committed to the schedule:
    1. Only urgent and important events should throw you off your Ideal Week. Urgent and important events are things like a top 10% client having a must-fix, can’t wait problem or a personal, unavoidable emergency.  Ignore the gnat bites- pay attention to the alligator bites!
    2. Deal with the important, but not urgent events in the time you allocated to "fires".

Also, as supporting material, here is a graphic of what an Ideal Week would look like on paper or in a calendar:

tony

 

tony 2

Sign up for our Sales Brew today to receive regular, beneficial sales tips and tricks that you can implement immediately.

Sign Up for our Sales Brew 

Topics: Sales Coaching, increase sales, sales performance management, sales productivity tools, sales effectiveness training

Sell Better. Coach Better. Hire Better.

Posted by Patrick Kollmeier on Tue, Nov 05, 2019

In today's blog or "vlog", we bring you our newest Anthony Cole Training Group's brand video.

Give it a watch below as we show you how we help build sales organizations into selling, coaching, and hiring better and what that means for their success: 

 

Topics: hiring salespeople, Sales Management Training, hiring sales managers, hire better salespeople, sales performance management, sales management tools, consultative selling, consultative sales coaching, online sales training, hire better people, insurance sales training, brand video

Goal Setting is a Crucial Sales Step: Our 4th Sales Productivity Tool

Posted by Tony Cole on Tue, Oct 22, 2019

In our fourth installment of the 9 Sales Productivity Tools, we bring you the next tool in our series, Goal Setting.  When we talk about goal setting, we start with personal goals and then help our clients convert those personal goals into business plans.

Those business plans have goals for activities that need to be performed, as well as practice management objectives to be accomplished.


ben-hershey-nu4h8sMqees-unsplash

I remember when I set my first goal at 9 years old.  I had just walked off the field from my first day at football practice, and my dad asked how it went. I told him that I loved it, and that someday I would go on to play college football. He asked me if I was sure and I said YES. Then, he told me to take off my helmet and shoulder pads and to start running laps around the field. He said, "If you are going to play college football, then you have to be in great shape." So I started running and didn’t stop until the end of my career at UConn.

To this day, winning is still an important goal for our clients and my team and I here at Anthony Cole Training Group.  However, to think that winning is the only goal that needs to be set, and that everything else will take care of itself, is faulty thinking. When we talk about goal setting, we start with personal goals and then help our clients convert those personal goals into business plans. Those business plans have goals for activities that need to be performed, as well as practice management objectives to be accomplished.

What are the personal things your people want to achieve in their lives and what are the daily tasks they must accomplish in order to achieve the BIG things? If the big thing is to be the top producer in the company, then they need specific sales goals for:

  • Increasing their average size sale
  • Improving their closing ratios
  • Asking for and getting more introductions

But these goals don’t drive the behavior the commitment, desire or motivation to succeed. Those goals look more like:

  • Send my kids to the college of their choice without debt
  • Have a cabin on the lake
  • Provide enough income so that my spouse can make a choice about being a stay-at-home parent or not
  • Eliminate all debt
  • Have a financially independent lifestyle at retirement

Goals have to be non-negotiable. They have to be shared with others that care enough to give you a slight correction when you head off course.

These are goals that the sales manager must know about so that they can more effectively keep individuals motivated.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t operate this way.  In your sales organization, anywhere between 7% and 25% of your team do not need you to create an environment where a goal setting session takes place. But, and this is a BIG but, that leaves at least another 75% of your sales team that does need this type of environment and guidance.

If you're interested in conducting a personal goal setting workshop, shoot me an email at tony@anthonycoletraining.com with the Subject - Personal Goal Setting Workshop and we can get started!


Additional resources below: 

 

Sales Productivity Tools Resource Page: 

Sales Productivity Tools

 

 

Check out our 2MSM Video on Motivation That Works: 

 

Topics: Sales Training, Sales Management Training, Leadership Training, increase sales, sales performance management, consultative selling, sales productivity tools, consultative sales coaching

What is the Most Powerful Management Question Ever?

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Jul 31, 2019

In most companies, we find that the bottom 40% of producers are responsible for less than 20% of the total sales production (in many cases less than 10% of new business- even when we take out new hires with less than 2 years of service).

So the question must be asked– did you hire them this way or make them this way?

pexels-photo-1483907

While driving into work a few years ago, I heard an incredibly powerful performance question while listening to the Dan LeBetard with Stugatz ESPN radio show. An ardent Michigan Football beat writer asked this question during the Big 10 media day

“You came to Ann Arbor with perhaps the most hype of any coach in the history of the Big Ten. Maybe in all of college football. A few years later you’ve got a third place, a third place and fourth place finish. And you’re 1-5 against Michigan State and Ohio State. What do you have to do this year to demonstrate to the Michigan community that you are on the path to achieving what they hired you to achieve?”

I immediately thought about all the sales managers we’ve worked with over the last 25 years and the challenges they faced getting their salespeople to perform as expected. Let me explain for just a minute:

  • New hires are not hired hoping/expecting that they will be average
  • Hiring managers search for, find, interview, screen, and contract new producers thinking/expecting them to be great
  • According to Geoff Smart in his book Topgrading – 75% of new hires are no better and often perform worse then the people the replaced.

In most companies, we find that the bottom 40% of producers are responsible for less than 20% of the total sales production (in many cases less than 10% of new business- even when we take out new hires with less than 2 years of service).

So the question must be asked– did you hire them this way or make them this way?

So let’s look again at this reporter's brilliant question:

Reporter's Question: “You came to Ann Arbor with perhaps the most hype of any coach in the history of the Big Ten. Maybe in all of college football. A few years later you’ve got a third place, a third place and fourth place finish. And you’re 1-5 against Michigan State and Ohio State. What do you have to do this year to demonstrate to the Michigan community that you are on the path to achieving what they hired you to achieve?”

Your Question: “You came into ABC company with high expectations and a strong track record of success that we thought you would continue here. Here we are two years later and in our stack ranking for new business you have finished 9th and 10th. And your pipeline is consistently 66% of what it is supposed to be and your average size sales is $10,000 instead of the anticipated $15,000. What do you have to do over the next 120 days to demonstrate to yourself and to the company that you are on the path to achieving what we hired you to achieve?”

This is the question you should be asking your non-performing people NOW!

This question should have been asked of an underperformer within 6 months of the end of the expected ramp-up period. In other words, if your ramp-up period is 18 months and Jamie is at 12 months and not projecting to meet and exceed expected performance, this conversation needs to take place.

Be brave, ask the tough questions about performance, improve your coaching and get better results.

If you liked this article, please share it with friends, family and colleagues below!

Topics: management, sales performance management, self management, questions for sales teams

Sales Management Tools: The Performance Formula

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Aug 17, 2016

Performance management is a major component of our Sales Management Certification program.  When we graphically represent a sales managed environment, the pyramid below is how we communicate the components, how the environment is built and the order of importance.

sme-pyramid.png

A great friend of mine, Keith Walker, has let me borrow a video series by David Cook PhD called “The Mindset of A Champion”.  In the introduction, Dr. Cook describes the formula for performance as:  Performance = potential – interference.  I found this interesting and I would like to share my thoughts with you today.

Years ago, when we would discuss the potential of a new recruit at Iowa State University, our head coach would tell the rest of the staff, “Potential will get you fired.”  I didn’t understand it then, but over the years I have learned to understand it as it relates to performing not just in athletics, but also in business, particularly in the business of sales.  This all ties very well into Dr. Cook’s equation.

When you think about all the salespeople you have on your team today, there isn’t a single one that you hired or have been keeping on staff with the thought that you really need some people on the staff to not live up to their potential.  Nope, this is not the case, now or ever.  Every hire, every person on the team, has potential and, if you are like most sales managers, you live for the day that they live up to their potential.

Are you disappointed?  Are you surprised?  Are you frustrated?  Are you out of different tactics to take to try and get them to perform at their potential?  If so, then read on and I believe you will find some great solutions.  If you are not sick and tired yet, then come back to this article when you are ready to make changes.  For the people who are ready now, here are some suggestions to correct the problem.

  1. If you hire for potential, then set a realistic time frame for the potential to be reached.
  2. If you hire for potential, that means you are hiring a project: a project that requires an investment of time, money and resources. If you don’t have the bandwidth, the right systems and processes in place or the required bias toward coaching and developing people, then don’t hire people with “potential”.
  3. Hire people that are plug and play.
  4. To find those that are plug and play make sure you use a pre-hire assessment tool that is specific to sales success and has a high predictive validity score. (Objective Management Group’s pre-hire assessment is THE only one we use and recommend.  It tests exactly what needs testing and has a 92% predictive validity.)
  5. Evaluate your own contribution to the problem.
  6. Understand these two really IMPORTANT truths
    1. Your recruiting, on-boarding and development programs are perfectly designed for the results you are getting today. If people in your charge are not performing, then something in your system has to change, including you!
    2. The people that are underperforming – you either hired them that way, tolerate them being that way or made them that way. (This last item is kind of like the Olympian that finishes last.  No one trains to be last). There isn’t anyone on your team that has the intention of being last.

Let’s go back to the pyramid.  Performance management is THE base for the entire SME process.  It supports everything else that needs to be done within the sales environment.  If people are not being held accountable, then you have a problem.  If people are able to perform at an average level without consequences, then you have a problem. If you have people that are un-trainable and un-coachable, then you have a problem.  If you don’t have a system data collection – both observed and collected – then you have a problem(s). Actually, two problems:

  1. You don’t have anything to hold them accountable to.
  2. It is virtually impossible to conduct intentional coaching if you don’t know how effectively they are executing the sales process. Only data can tell you that.

Lets go back to the formula from Dr. Cook.  I believe what he is trying to tell us is that the performance of all people trying to do anything will suffer when there is interference.  In order to improve performance, the sales manager must first understand that performance management is the most important job they have.  This does not mean that they have to spend most of their time in this area – that is reserved for coaching.  But it does mean it is the priority. 

Given that it is the priority means that you, as the sales manager, must have systems and processes in place to help you determine the “interference”.  And, finally, when assessing yourself, you must determine if you have the strength of conviction and commitment to succeed in your role.  In other words, what is interfering with your potential as a sales manager? 

In my next post, I will identify – using the Objective Management Group's sales management assessment findings – common interferences for sales managers.

Additional resources:

Postwire Sales Portal link to access helpful information about:

  • Hiring Better Sales People
  • Coaching
  • Performance Management
  • Assessing Sales People
  • Sales Management Certification

Topics: successful sales teams, sales management, sales performance management, performance formula, sales management tools, david cook

    Follow #ACTG

     

    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.

     

    Subscribe Here

    Most Read

    Recent Blogs