Archive for the ‘Management’ Category

Goal Achievement in a New Sales Leadership Model

Noted business guru Peter Drucker is quoted as saying “Leadership is all about results.” For those in sales leadership including sales management roles, results happen through consistent goal achievement.

sales-leadershipYet sales research continues to reveal consistently achieving quotas is not the current reality.  Back in 2011, Inc magazine suggested 50% of salespeople miss their sales goals. A more recent article in 2014 at e-Marketer stated only 63% of salespeople made their sales quotas.

We only have to look at failed New Year’s resolutions to understand why so many people consistently fail to achieve their goals.

How can people achieve professional goals such as sales quotas when they cannot achieve personal goals?

Realistic personal goal setting is measurable talent.  When this talent is combined with other talents such as self starting ability, personal accountability and results orientation, there is a far greater likelihood of consistent goal achievement.

sales-leadershipAnother reason for including goal achievement within this new sales leadership model is one of execution.  Failed execution is still a major limitation for sales management to executive leadership.  When a proven goal setting process is embedded within the sales culture of the business, then execution gaps can be more quickly identified and closed.

The failure to include goal achievement is evidenced in many sales training programs.  How many of these sales training programs include how to consistently plan, set and execute sales goals?  From my experience these last 40 years, very few.

These sales training programs talk about goals, but rarely invest the time to walk through a proven goal setting process with a doable tool such as a goal worksheet.

Yes there is probably more to failed sales quotas than just goal achievement. However if this gap was closed, my sense is identifying what is really limiting the ability for the salespeople to achieve their sales quotes might be far easier to identify.

If you want to learn more about your own talent for realistic personal goal setting, CLICK HERE to schedule a brief call with Leanne Hoagland-Smith.

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2 Tips to Improve Your Sales Management Leadership Styles

According to some research by Ken Blanchard Company, 54% of managers only use one of the four management leadership styles when working with their direct reports:

management-leadership-styles

  • Directing
  • Coaching
  • Supporting
  • Delegating

This research goes on and reveals the following about the use of these management leadership styles:

  • 25% use two of these four successfully
  • 20% use three of these four successfully
  • 1% use all four successfully

What was also interesting was the corrective action (Tip #1) to improve using more than one of these management leadership styles:

Create a written list of goals and tasks for each direct report

Amazing, committing goals to writing and then monitoring the progress of these ongoing goals.

How long has this discussion being happening with the small business and management worlds?

This is where it is imperative for those in sales management roles to employ WAY SMART goals instead of just SMART goals.

The other aspect that was not mention directly was emotional intelligence specific to relationship management.

Employing coaching and supporting is very much about recognizing and understanding the emotions of others while recognizing and understanding one’s own emotion. (Tip #2)  Those who are successful by employing more than one of these leadership management styles probably are more emotionally intelligent than those who employ only one style.

If you are in a small business sales management role, then consider reading this article. Afterward if you want to acquire greater clarity around your own management and leadership  talents along with your emotional intelligence, then consider learning more about these performance assessments tools.

Veterans-Day

 

 

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Values Are the Key to How to Increase Sales and Business Success

Credit L Hoagland-Smith

Yesterday, I invested some time to illustrate how values are the key to increase sales and achieved business success.  This illustration is based upon the following premises:

  1. The purpose of business is to serve the community
  2. Organizations are the natural place for innovation and growth
  3. Teams do more than individuals working alone
  4. Having individuals with strong positive core values begins a natural alignment
  5. Behaviors must be identified and linked to positive core values

There is much written on business ethics and positive core values. Yet very little is demonstrated through illustrations as to how this all works together to create organizational or business success as demonstrated by a high performance culture from the customer service to sales to production to upper level management.

For it is the behaviors that are observed when things do not go right in the organization. How many times have I witnessed these scenarios:

  • Employees are sent to training to overcome a challenge. Within three to six months, the poor behaviors returned as evidenced by the lack of results.
  • Employees are hired by the small business owners.  He or she fires them within a few weeks because they are “idiots.”  Who was the idiot who hired them?
  • Management wants to increase sales.  Then keeps moving the goal post line for the sales team and changes the rules every 5 minutes.
  • The community welcomes a new company only to find some of its practices are wasteful and not sustainable.

All of these scenarios are because there was a lack of  values alignment from some of the individuals to the community. This is why it is so critical to have a solid values statement within the strategic plan and most importantly shared, communicated and reinforced by the small business owners to the C Suite management. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Read From Values to Action by Harry Kraemer to understand why values based leadership is critical to your organizational or business success.

Poor performance is evidence by behaviors. Yet discussing behaviors seems to make people uncomfortable.  Until the acceptable behaviors are identified and those are in alignment throughout the organization, poor and inconsistent results will continue. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, no organization or business can afford to waste any resources be them:

  • People
  • Energy
  • Money
  • Emotions

Consider now as the time to construct a positive core values statement and share it with all of your team members. Just make sure you as a values based leader model those desired behaviors and enforce it when necessary to ensure consistent performance by all within your business.

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Measure Thrice; Hire Once To Increase Sales

Let all small businesses and management adopt this motto “Measure Thrice; Hire Once” when looking to increase sales.   By adopting this corporate motto or better yet behavior, management can avoid costly redo$ when it comes to:

  • Hiring sales people or any employees
  • Promoting salespersons or any employees
  • Outsourcing firms such as marketing, sales training, etc.
  • Changing strategies

Hiring

Hiring new sales people or any employees appears to be like a throw of the dice.  There are several strategies to ensure your hiring success including a performance appraisal assessment as well as documenting references.  Additionally, all procedures and policies should be in writing along with expectations. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  One key talent is the ability to consistently set and achieve personal goals.

Promoting

Promotion of salespersons again requires measuring three times.

  1. Measure current performance against stated goals.
  2. Measure customer satisfaction and retention.
  3. Measure teamwork and overall interactivity using tools such as DISC, EI or Values along with personal observations.

Outsourcing

Yesterday when being interviewed by the Michigan Business Network, I was asked this about what to look for when considering engaging the services of any marketing firm. My response was quite straightforward:

  1. Request  3 references with telephone numbers
  2. Ask what results do your solutions provide?
  3. When can I as a customer expect to secure a positive return on my investment?

After the interview, I received two new followers on Twitter.  I followed them in return. Then both sent me direct messages telling me for $35 or $69 monthly they could improve my SEO ranking (search engine optimization).

To the first message at $35 a month, I asked what were the results this firm delivered as my Alexa.com ranking was around 160,000 and theirs was 2.3 million. The other firm had a 12.4 million Alexa ranking.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Alexa.com is ranking based on people using the Alexa.com toolbar.  However as a trending tool it does over time suggest Internet marketing effectiveness.

The response I received was typical “Alexa is Okay; it only measures visits when the toolbar is installed.”  Then I was asked to send an email for more information.  Hmm, scratching my head I thought, he could not share me even a general result?  My next direct message asked about Compete.com another trending tool.  That response has yet to be received.

My problem when outscourcing any solutions especially with the limited resources of time, money, energy and emotions is the inability to clearly articulate the results.  In marketing, there is talk about impressions.  Who cares? Really?  Businesses want results to demonstrate a positive return on investment. Otherwise, why should they invest their profits into any outsourcing firm?

In reading the  SEO ranking copy on the $69 a month site, there was a lot of discussion about organic growth specific to SEO ranking and Internet marketing. This is very true that organic growth is much better than paid ads. However, organic growth does take time and this is where slow and steady wins the race.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Leave the sprinting in marketing for the Olympics.

Sales training is another area where measure thrice, hire once should be applied.  When looking to hiring a sales training or sales coaching firm or individual, ask about references.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  If the sales coach asks this question:  What are the desired results you are seeking?,” this is a step in the right direction. Of course, if the sales cycle is 6 months or longer, then expecting results in 30 to 90 days may be unreasonable.

Changing Strategies

How many times do organizations begin changing strategies because the current strategies are not working to increase sales?  What happens is the “Flavor of the Month” appears to be driving change and the results are less than impressive.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Failed execution happens usually because awareness has not been assessed leading to a lack of clarity.

The old adage measure 3 times cut one time is just as true when considering any of these internal actions to increase sales.  By measuring thrice and hiring once, you can better avoid this truism as well:

Marry in haste; repent in leisure

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Aircraft Carriers, Change and Organizational Success

This morning I heard this statement:

Turning an aircraft carrier requires 5 miles

What this means from my non-nautical perspective is to turn an aircraft carrier successfully requires:

  • A predetermined course to ensure the turning does not collide with other ships, land masses, etc.
  • Allotment of time to ensure the turning of the aircraft carrier
  • Many resources human capital talent resources
  • Physical resources such as the fuel
  • Ongoing maintenance to ensure a successful turn

Credit www.picsicio.eu

After compiling this mental list, I realized that aircraft carriers and organizations share the same change issues.

How many times does management attempt to make changes and expect them to be completed in an unrealistic time frame, without all the necessary resources, without a plan of action and without a thorough understanding of the organization’s culture?

Maintaining today’s status quo leaves management and thus the organization in a non-competitive position. No matter the size of any organization, making sustainable change is much like turning an aircraft carrier.

Those organizations who are successful in enacting sustainable change truly know they have the following in place:

  1. The right people
  2. In the right seats
  3. Using the right talents and resources
  4. Making the right decisions
  5. Achieving the right results
  6. Within the right time frame
  7. And within in the right environment

When we analyze turning an aircraft carrier, all of these 7Rs are present.  Yet when we examine the reason for failed sustainable change by management, my guess all 7Rs are not present or actively engaged.

Years ago Jay Galbraith designed the 5 Star Model for Organizational Success. This model provides incredible and simple clarity about why organizational success alludes so many businesses.

Also this model helps to me truly determine the real problems for the lack of sustainable change.  Sales Training Coaching Tip: Many problems such as the inability to increase sales are truly symptoms of more severe and hidden actual problems.

So if the management of your organization or if you are seeking organizational success through customer loyalty, increase sales, improve employee retention, new product release, higher profits, reduce resources or a highly engaged workforce, then remember it takes 5 miles to turn an aircraft carrier or your organization.

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CEO Succession Planning Who Would Have Thought?

Credit www.genesismediation.com

Mention the phrase “CEO succession planning” or even  “succession leadership planning” to many mid size and small business owners and you may receive a plethora of comments beyond the surprised looks.  These remarks range from “CEO succession planning or succession leadership planning is for those ‘big’ companies” to “Yeah, maybe it is important, but I don’t have time for human capital talent management.”

A new research report, “Homegrown CEO: The Key to Superior Long-Term Financial Performance is Leadership Succession,” just released demonstrates that embracing “succession leadership planning” can dramatically increase the bottom line.  The Keller School of Business along with the consulting firm of A.T. Kearney studied non-financial S&P 500 organizations from 1998 to 2007.  Their analysis suggested that those companies who promoted their CEOs from within (translation CEO  succession  planning and leadership development) outperformed those firms that hired outside CEO’s in seven key measurements:

  1. Return on assets
  2. Equity
  3. Investment
  4. Revenue growth
  5. Earnings growth
  6. Earnings per share (EPS) growth
  7. Stock-price appreciation

The chairman  of A.K. Kearney, Paul A. Laudicina, made this insightful observation:

“Boards of directors often fail when it comes to CEO succession planning. Rather than focus on leadership development and creating a qualified stable of internal CEO candidates, boards too often end up going outside the organization to fill the top spot. Unfortunately, their stakeholders more often than not pay a big price for their star search.”

Kearney’s remark say a lot about internal leadership development and human capital talent management. For many companies, they believe it is cheaper to hire from the outside than to develop from within.  Beyond sending the wrong message (don’t stay here you will never reach the top), such hiring behaviors are now proven to be detrimental to the bottom line.  This behavior of not investing in CEO succession planning and leadership development is highly counterproductive.

What this research report now reveals is leadership development is crucial to maintaining a healthy organization. Possibly this is why executive coaching for some firms has become a standard internal practice.

In doing a quick Google search, many of the firms listed such as Abbott Laboratories, Johnson Controls and Nike all appear to have instituted some executive coaching.  This approach to executive leadership development continues to demonstrate a positive return on investment through various metrics. One research case study report developed by MetrixGlobal LLC indicated executive coaching had a 529% return on investment.

Mid size to small business owners who want to have revenue growth, earnings growth (more profits) to even additional equity can no longer afford not to put together a CEO succession plan less alone leadership development.  Human capital talent management is expensive and when developed properly what was once viewed as an expense now becomes a critical investment.


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Inconsistent Behaviors Anyone?

Peaks and valleys in sales happen due to the cyclical nature of many businesses.  This inconsistency can be softened by better forecasting, strategic thinking and the implementation of WAY SMART goals.

For those in sales management, the peaks and valleys of their sales force in many cases is far more about inconsistent behaviors that the industry cycles.  If your are in sales management or a sales manager, possibly you have experienced these inconsistent behaviors through these questions:

  • How many times do salespersons wait until the last few weeks to make their numbers?
  • How many sales people consistently follow-up on ALL sales leads?
  • How many crazy busy sales people execute the sales process flawlessly?
  • How many salespersons meet their sales goals or sales quotas each month, quarter or year?
  • How many sales people consistently make their daily calls?

Inconsistent behaviors torpedo the overall sales process and these behaviors will not increase sales.

When sales people jump the gun and dive into the selling phase of the sales process before successfully completing the marketing phase, the result is inconsistency.

Courtesy www.igniteyouressence.com

When sales people begin to “know” what the potential customer needs and then fails to listen to what the prospect wants, inconsistent results surface.

Vince Lombardi I learned when researching Be the Red Jacket had only 5 offensive running plays. However he practiced his team to execute these plays flawlessly or without any inconsistencies.  This is why the Green Bay Packers under his direction won so many games because inconsistent behaviors were removed from his success formula.

If you wish to increase sales, then look at the behaviors of your individual sales team members.  Discover the “why” behind the inconsistent behaviors.  From my experience, more inconsistent behaviors are not due to a lack of knowledge or skills, but rather due to a lack of attitudes and habits.

Then look at your sales training coaching programs and identify how much time is invested on developing the right attitudes and the right habits.  What you may find is an over emphasis on the technical skills and not enough focus on consistently developing the right attitudes and habits.

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The Winning Advantage for Sales Managers

Being a sales manager is very much akin to being a sports coach. Your team does the actual physical work with the goal to increase sales, but you as the sales manager provide the strategic advice and in some cases share wisdom from all of your experiences.

Sales management teams should always be improving their results and leveraging their competitive skills for that winning advantage. Yet sometimes to secure that winning advantage comes from within the sales manager.

In a recent interview (2/1/2011), Mike Tomlin, the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, shared the key to getting the most of out his team, the Steelers, that being Listening. He expanded upon this “key ingredient” with these words:

“As coaches, a lot of time we don’t listen very well. I think if you do, it’s a winning edge for you.”

Sports coaches are not the only ones who fail to listen. Yesterday at at unique business to business networking group, South Shore Business Networking, the rotating monthly facilitators for February, Jacki and Paul Kennedy who are Pre-Paid Legal Associates focused on this critical skill of listening.

They asked this great question:

“What do you do to improve your listening skills when interacting with a potential customer?”

Everyone shared their active listening strategies. These included:

  • Pinching a thumb nail to refrain from talking over the other person
  • Just remaining quiet as silence is golden or what I labeled as “silence is green (dollars)” in Be the Red Jacket
  • Securing permission to ask questions
  • Watching and observing body language
  • Restating what is heard to ensure CLEAR* communication

Communication is a two-way process between a sender and a receiver. Both are responsible respective to using this skill of active listening.

Within sales, in many instances, top performers actually heard what others failed to hear. By being great listeners, they address both the wants and the needs of their potential customers (a.k.a. prospects) thus truly earning the sale.

This skill set of active listening for me reaffirms that in today’s global marketplace sales managers and sales people are more than ever before buying partners. Their goal is to work with and focus on the buyer’s decision making process first and then the goal to increase sales will follow provided they:

  1. Did not violate any of the 3 sales buying rules
  2. Placed a lid on as many of the 5 sales objections buckets to prevent sales objections
  3. Followed a proven sales process

Listening can be the winning advantage for sales managers. This is a skill set that requires continually honing because being complacent in this one critical area will create a quick disadvantage.

*CLEAR is an acronym for C=Clarity; L=Legitimize; E=Emotions; A=Agreement; R=Retention.

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People Leave People Is Why Leadership Development & Talent Management Are Critical

Fact #1 – People leave people.

Fact #2 – People do not leave companies.

Unfortunately, there is far less people or leadership development than necessary. This lack of attention to people and talent management has gone beyond creating a drip, drip, drip, but more like a steady gushing stream of water (think profits) being drained away given that only 1 out of 5 employees is actually working 8 for 8 (8 hours of work for 8 hours of pay).

Today I came upon this quick list of 14 management do’s and dont’s.

What would you add after reading this list?

From my perspective, I would include the following:

#15 – Do add a Chief People Officer at the C-Suite Table because failure to do so shows you truly do not care about human capital and talent management
#16 – Do provide a personal leadership development process that is aligned to organizational leadership to all employees because if they cannot lead themselves, they cannot lead others
#17 – Do terminate those who fail to demonstrate through their behaviors the agreed to values within your organization because one rotten apple will spoil the barrel

Please list your thoughts as well because I believe the list is far closer to 100 than to 20.

Graphic courtesy of Bing Images

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How Management Should Consider Going Beyond Being Financially Business Fit

One of my clients and colleagues, Rick Gosser of Gosser Corporate Sales recently shared one of my postings on how to increase sales by dressing for success with his email list. After sending him a quick email thank you,  Rick also let me know he has shed a significant amount of weight. I will not share the actual number, but it was more than 10 pounds. And I must add, he looks terrific.

Rick made an observation about Undercover Boss and how the CEO of Choice Hotels could not keep up with his employees.  His insightful comment was “He has success, maybe even more if he paid attention to himself.”

He is so right. How often do we in management whether we are  small business owners, sales professionals or even C Suite executives become so entangled in the day to day grind to keep the business or organization financially fit, we forget to take care of our own minds and bodies?

Recently, I have engaged a nutritionist, Jodi Barnett of Harvested Health to help me with improving my physical health.  I think my next step will be Yoga because I need to stretch my muscles. Also, part of my personal development includes reading both fiction and non-fiction books,  making time for friends and being involved in my church.

As authentic leaders, working on our own minds, hearts and bodies is just as important as working on our businesses. Balance is required to ensure proper alignment between our professional and personals worlds.

Also in management, it is important to model the desired behaviors you expect of your employees or your clients. Management Coaching Tip: Just imagine if all your managers demonstrated living a healthy life. What impact would that have on your workforce. When someone is in a leadership capacity and is asking employees to be healthy, but his or her physical appearance is just the opposite, would they be credible or believable?

Some say that 60 is the new 40. (I will let you know next year if that is true.) Due to better nutrition, increased health awareness and the evolving use of technology, human beings are living longer. Unfortunately, many including those in management are not taking care of their own health and this is a potential leadership disaster waiting to happen. If you think this is not true, just pick up the paper and read about obesity or just observe those around you.

Today, professionals who are really authentic leaders need to go beyond being business financially fit. They must get out of their comfort zones, leave the status quo and become physically, mentally, socially, and ethically fit as well. By taking these actions, they will have the energy to increase sales not to mention to truly enjoy their families and friends.

Graphic courtesy of Bing Images – www.stabroeknews.com

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