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TSE 124: Sales Management & Developing High Performing Sellers

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The Sales Evangelist; Ken Thoreson, Sales Management Do you absolutely, truly, definitely want to slam your way to sales success? Our guest today will show you how. Ken Thoreson is a speaker, author, and consultant with extensive expertise in strategic sales management.

Ken Thoreson, Acumen Management Group, Ltd. president, is a sales leadership professional who “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes to pull sales results out of the doldrums into the fresh zone of predictable revenue. As a sales management thought leader Ken is recognized as an expert in sales execution, channel management, revenue generation, sales analysis, compensation, forecasting, recruitment, and training within the sales function.

Over the past 14 years his consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for companies throughout North America—from emerging, transitional to high-growth. Prior to founding Acumen, he led development-stage, entrepreneurial, and a $250-million national vertical software sales organization as vice president of sales. As a speaker, Ken energizes audiences and recharges their personal commitment to professional excellence to help drive personal and organizational change and growth.

In addition to the four released books based on his Sales Management Guru series, and Success Simplified, co-authored with Stephen Covey, Ken’s many articles and nationally recognized blog are excellent resources for executives who want to revitalize their organizations. He has been published in Selling Power, VARBusiness, Reseller Management, Business Products Professional and SmartReseller. He is currently a columnist for Redmond Channel Partner Magazine, a publication for Microsoft channel partners. Ken’s blog has been rated in the top 10 sales blogs in the United States and ranked a top sales industry social media user by Top View.

Ken is an author of four comprehensive, information-rich books about sales management. The latest of which, SLAMMED! For the First Time Sales Manager, is a fun book made for people jumping into sales management. Kens books are guide books with great tips, ideas, and tools for sales managers.

In this episode, Ken talks about how recruiting is a critical component of sales leadership and how it’s really about hiring the best candidate and not the best available candidate.

Ken is a leader at the Acumen Management Group that focuses around programs in place, alignment of compensation plan, marketing messaging issues and other issues that are preventing growth.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Ken:

Ken’s coolest sales experience when he was the customer

Ken’s books on Sales Management:

Your Sales Management Guru’s Guide to:

Leading High Performance Sales Teams

Creating High Performance Sales Compensation Plans

Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams

SLAMMED! For the First Time Sales Manager

Why break it down to 4 books instead of condensing it into one:

  • Sales leaders are busy
  • Designed as quick books with a lot of pertinent, textual information
  • Designed for sales managers to grasp the idea, see the examples, utilize the tools, and execute!

What separates high performance salespeople from the rest:

  • Creativity
  • Empathy
  • Ability to adapt
  • Take selling as a profession
  • Constantly refining their skills and investing themselves
  • High levels of energy
  • Intelligence
  • Passion and Commitment

How his book on Recruiting High Performance Sales Teams is different from others:

  • Focused on sales managers’ creation of interviewing process
  • Taking the emotion out of hiring
  • Creating a scorecard defining 5 specific work experiences and 5 personality traits you want the person to have
  • Interviewing questions that you ask salespeople
  • Sample of a new-hire salesperson on-boarding plan

The top 3 most important points on recruiting:

  1. You are always recruiting: 20% of the sales manager’s time is to recruit
  2. Taking the time in the interview process to get it right: Interview at least 5 and at least 3 people in your company interviewing the candidate
  3. Social Interview/Case Study

The biggest mistakes people make when they’re hiring:

  1. Taking too long to make the decision
  2. Improper on-boarding
  3. Getting emotionally involved with the candidate

Success in companies vs. stagnant growth in others:

  • Leadership: Creating an environment of high performance
  • Having the right culture
  • High expectations
  • High accountability
  • Having fun!
  • One element commonly missed: VISION

Building your personal business vision:

  • Identifying your business plan and understanding your goals
  • Defining your personal training goals for products/service and personal self
  • Making sure the manager understands the salesperson’s vision and goals

The importance of VISION for business growth:

  • Motivation
  • Having a mantra for your life

On creativity: It can be learned.

How a manager can be effective as a coach or mentor:

  • Establish a formal one-on-one and face-to-face conversation at least once a month
  • Coach around performance, not the person
  • Creating an environment and then the tool set and the mindset that coaching is a critical element
  • Using the word “feel” in asking questions

Current projects Ken is working on:

  • Working with individuals, organizations, and major corporations selling independent distribution and helping them build programs to drive more products (Ex. Cisco, Microsoft)
  • Sales Manager’s Tool Kit
  • Doing keynote presentations and sales performance workshops at conferences

Visit their website www.acumenmanagement.com for free information, videos, programs, and downloadable white papers. Also, find free information from his blog Your Sales Management Guru.

Or send him an email at ken@acumenmanagement.com

Ken’s Major Takeaways:

Think about what the definition of a professional is and make a commitment to increase your level of professionalism every quarter.

As a sales manager, focus not on the numbers; focus on the relationship and creating an environment that’s fun and with high expectations with accountability.

 

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