Joining me once again on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Ken Thoreson, President of Acumen Management Group, and author of several books on sales, sales management, hiring, and personal development. Ken’s latest book is, SLAMMED!!! For the First Time Sales Manager.
Acumen Management was started 19 years ago, focused on strengthening sales management, through workshops, blogs, and books, around leading an organization, sales compensation planning, and hiring a high-performance team.
Sales managers are often promoted from sales, with no management training. They have a list of management responsibilities, but continue to stick to sales activities, don’t set priorities, and fail to create business and sales plans.
The biggest challenge facing sales managers today is their inability to build a process, so they can focus on the execution. Most organizations have poor sales execution.
Ken quotes Butch Jones, Football Coach, U of Tennessee, “Every player does not give 110% every day; it’s the coach’s job to increase their intensity and the effort they give.” Coach to align the soul of the individual with the goal of the company.
Salespeople need to believe in the company, in the product or service, and in how they can impact their clients. The sales manager needs stories, with real examples of people being helped. Salespeople leave if they don’t believe.
“Don’t swing at the first pitch.” If you mis-hire, it costs four times what you paid in salary.
Build the right candidate profile, and involve other managers, people in the sales team, and maybe customers, in the choice.
Look at your product or service, the client you need to influence, who you want to have approaching them, and what kind of training they will need. You may hire a non-salesperson with product expertise.
Assessments are a tool, and they should be more of an indicator, than a screen. Testing is essential. An interview is no place for trust. Let the candidate give a presentation, write a pitch on your product, or be tested in a social situation.
Hire slow; fire fast. Take everyone through the hiring process. Do not skip a step. Just like the sales process, it’s there to qualify the candidate.
Ken gives sample interview questions, and the reasons for them.
Ken recommends clients start a book club, and discuss the book for 15 minutes in every weekly sales meeting. Andy mentions his 15-minute daily reading program for clients.