The Fisher

Strategy is About Choices – Make the Right Ones

Why is it that people can give more thought to a fishing expedition than they do their business?

If you want the best chance of catching fish you go where the fish are and you use the most appropriate bait. Good fishermen (and women) research this before wetting a line. Poor fishers don’t. It’s the same in business. If you want to catch clients you have to be prospecting where your ideal client ‘hangs out’ and have the right bait – what will your target customer value? How will you deliver ‘gain’ or help reduce ‘pain’? It all comes down to strategy.
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Every successful business, large and small has a strategy. A strategy is a means of giving clarity, focus and direction to your business, and to your staff. Working to a strategy helps ensure that your time, resources and actions are not wasted and you achieve the best returns on your investments. Read more

Wellbeing in Sales Main Shot

Wellbeing in Sales, Business and Life

My friend Kitty Scheperman recently wrote a post entitled ‘7 Habits of Highly Successful Sales Leaders’. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth a visit. As I read Kitty’s article I realised that the habits Kitty was describing went beyond being applicable to sales leaders; they applied not only to sales leaders, but all salespersons, businessmen and women generally; and they applied to life.

The fact that these qualities are applicable across all areas of our lives reaffirms my strong belief that sales has matured significantly over the past decades from that of the cliched slick ‘snake oil’ salesperson to one of collaborative relationships where salespeople look to help identify and deliver sustainable solutions and benefits to their clearly-targeted customers. Read more

Wayne Moloney

A sales manager is a Performance Supervisor

A Sales Manager has many roles, with another being a ‘performance supervisor’. View Wayne’s latest appearance on Strategic Selling Group where he explains that management means measurement of processes and procedures in order to achieve outcomes.

 

TALKING SALES 97-A sales manager is a team captain

A Sales Manager is a Team Captain

A Sales Manager has many roles, including Team Captain.

View Wayne’s latest appearance on Strategic Selling Group where he explains why the team captain role is vital and how it needs to be conducted. It is great advice for sales managers old and new.

https://youtu.be/cvjVvfd8c7k

Snapshot of a Successful Sales Manager

Snapshot of a Successful Sales Manager

Over the past few months I’ve posted a number of articles on the roles that successful sales managers must perform. I’ve written about leadership, coaching, planning, performance management, reporting and hiring. All critical roles that accomplished sales managers must master and continually develop.

But I’ve often been asked to summarise what I believe makes a sales manager successful – to sum it up in a few succinct sentences. A few sentences to summarise such a diverse and important role is difficult. But I have put together my thoughts that hopefully highlight to key elements of sales management success.

“You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by lighting a fire within”…Bob Nelson

However, let me start by sharing with you the key reasons I have found sales managers are NOT successful:

  • Selling is what they know best and they want to stay in their comfort zone – they spend more time selling than managing
  • They don’t realise that managing is less about personally meeting performance objectives; and more about assisting and allowing others to develop to meetpersonal objectives and contribute to team objectives
  • They take ownership of top-end accounts
  • They take over sales situations
  • Delegating is less comfortable for them – many managers want to do everything themselves
  • They don’t trust members of their team to handle important accounts
  • Worse than not trusting team members, they play favourites
  • They are fire-fighters who cannot provide a clear sense of direction for members of their team to follow
  • Their compensation plans are not structured to make it in their best interest to manage their team to deliver
  • They don’t give credit where it’s due. Worse, they take credit not rightfully theirs
  • They do not like being bearers of bad news – particularly up the management line

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Sales Managers are Agents of Change

Sales Managers are Agents of Change

I have been in sales for over 4 decades and I have seen more change in the last 10 years than the previous 30. In fact, I expect we have probably seen more change in the role of sales and how it is conducted in the last decade than in the last century.

Change is inevitable and it is happening at an accelerating rate. Staying abreast of the changes taking place, not just in the sales world, but across business generally is a daunting task and one that, I believe, is beyond most mortal salespeople and managers.

It is not the strongest who survive, but those most adaptable to change…Charles Darwin

We’re operating in the fastest changing technology and communications environment ever known and it has on-going significant impacts on how we are going about the business of selling – from finding prospects and new staff to sharing information and nurturing relationships. Sales managers cannot expect to be experts in each of the emerging technologies that are becoming part of everyday sales, but they do need to understand their application. They need to be at the forefront of what applications are being developed and how these can improve the way their team interacts with the market.
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Sales Managers are Master Communicators

Sales Managers are Master Communicators

It is not just the role of sales (and marketing) to deliver the message of the company to the market, but also to be the eyes and ears of the company. No one in the organisation is better placed to understand the markets perception of the business, the product or service offerings and the quality of service delivered pre-, during and post-sale than the sales team.

The sales manager’s role in this communication process is to communicate the company’s vision, strategy and objectives to the sales team in an appropriate manner so the team’s and individual salesperson’s efforts are focussed on achieving the expected results. The sales manager must use his knowledge of the company, it’s objectives, his team’s capabilities and the market to craft and communicate appropriate plans and actions to guide his teams performance.

Likewise, the sales manager needs to translate the feedback received from the market via his sales team into appropriate messages to the various areas of the business to ensure they are focussed on delivering the value the market is demanding. Operations, production, R&D, marketing and other areas of the business need to be focussed on what the customers value and the most appropriate people to deliver this message are the sales team.

But here’s the thing – when you ask: “Are you a good communicator?”, most people think about whether or not they have their say. Most answer ‘yes’. But communication is a a two-way street – it only happens when your message is received and understood, and you listened to receive and understand the other person’s message in return. Miscommunication happens more than many of us acknowledge and it is expensive. It can result in mistakes being made, lost time, goodwill and trust.
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I love being sold to - when its done well

I love being sold to…when selling’s done well

This is an unusual post from me as it relates specifically to a personal B2C experience, but one so good I had to share…and as you’ll see, when done well, delivering customer value is immune to B2B and B2C boundaries.

The story starts in December last year when, being the well organised guy that I am, I was shopping for a Christmas present for my wife on December 22nd (well at least it wasn’t Christmas Eve!). Knowing pretty much what I wanted I wasn’t expecting a problem, but I was in for a surprise; in fact a couple.

I was looking for a small, high-quality digital camera with zoom and a view-finder. My wife wanted something better than a phone camera but didn’t want to be dragging around her SLR digital when on holidays. I’d done the research and had a clear idea of what I wanted. However, while the internet provided me with good knowledge of what I should be buying, allowing only 2 days to complete the buy, wrap and place under the tree ruled out an online purchase (Note to self – shop earlier). So off the local retailer with my short-list of options and a good idea of what I’d have to pay.
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Was-I-A-Premature-Challenger

Was I A Premature Challenger?

In today’s B2B sales environment, more informed, connected buyers are driving a very worthwhile change to a more professional and principled, smart and mutually valuable way of engaging in the buying and selling process. Through this we are seeing a continual evolution of sales methodologies that focus on what the customer sees as value.

But just how different are the latest trends in sales methodology to the foundations of the past? How different are they to the best practices of successful sales people who pioneered non-manipulative selling in years gone by?

A sales is not something you pursue, it’s what happens to you while you are immersed in serving the customer

One of the more recent ‘trends’ in selling is based on the book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. According to Amazon, the authors present a case to show… “classic relationship building is a losing approach, especially when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions.” Further, we are told… “Instead of bludgeoning customers with endless facts and features about their company and products, Challengers approach customers with unique insights about how they can save or make money. They tailor their sales message to the customer’s specific needs and objectives. Rather than acquiescing to the customer’s every demand or objection, they are assertive, pushing back when necessary and taking control of the sale.” Read more

The-Best-Sales-Managers-DELEGATE

The best sales managers ‘DELEGATE’

There are sales managers who want to do everything themselves and spend more time selling than helping their team develop and deliver.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone, particularly if you’ve been promoted to the role of sales manager from the ranks of salespeople.

With so many hats to wear and ever-increasing pressure on a sales manager to deliver results, those that seek assistance from inside and outside their team enjoy the greatest success.

Delegation allows you to focus on the key outcomes of your sales team and can be a basic driver of business growth and success.

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men (and women) to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it” Theodore Roosevelt

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