Guest post Monday and we have Ken Thoreson, Your Sales Management Guru. He operates Acumen Management Group, a sales leadership consultancy, where he uses 25 years of experience to help companies explore creative sales management strategies. Today he talks about what it takes to build a culture to increase profits and sales motivation.
Did you know that when you lose a salesperson, it costs you 4 times what you paid that person during their employment?
These costs include not only salary, but benefits, lost sales/profits, time of management support, training costs, and in many cases lost market presence and bad company image with repeated new salespeople calling on the same accounts. If you want the entire formula, send me an email at Ken@AcumenMgmt.com and I will send it to you.
In a recent Wall Street Journal column, a graph showed the level of discontent of workers that are “seriously considering leaving their jobs.”
They surveyed 2,400 workers and compared a study from 2005 to 2010 showing the percentages of discontent.
Ages 2005 2010
25-34 25% 40%
35-44 24% 33%
45-54 20% 28%
These numbers are significant for two reasons: One, as the economy gets better and more jobs open up, plan and expect to lose people. Two, why are people so discontent?
As readers of this blog should know, my answer to point number one is to build an on-going sales recruiting program. (For more resources on this, visit my website).
The answer to number two is more challenging, but is a critical role in the job of sales leadership. How do you create a positive culture of high performance?
In many of my keynote programs, I discuss the need for leaders to “align the soul of the individual with the goals of the organization.” This means that the leader must know the individual goals of each person and then be able to show that person they can achieve their personal and professional objectives by assisting the organization in achieving its goals.
If the salesperson wishes to purchase a boat, show them how they can earn the extra commissions to pay for the boat (HINT: Create a poster with a picture of that boat with a bar chart that reflects the sales goals required to hit the required cost of the boat). If their goal is a college fund for their children, you should know this and help them visualize what it will take to achieve it.
In addition to the personal skills required by sales leaders, you will need to create the atmosphere where you reinforce belief in your organization. Focus on sharing success stories where your product/service has greatly benefited your client base. Do this every quarter.
Next, are you creating a fun atmosphere? An office where people enjoy each other, laugh, share ideas, talk about their lives and work together for the common good is essential.
One idea I have recommended is to have your sales team and/or management team cook a picnic lunch for all your employees (or do it indoors if the weather or season is colder). Whether you do something like this occasionally or every month, it’s a genuine way to say thank you. You can even create a theme. And definitely allow the president or others to simply give a short talk about a positive event(s) within the company and then positively encourage everyone to “get back to work!”
If you have other ideas on building culture, please post them below and let’s build a library of ideas.
A culture of increased profits is a culture where your salespeople are earning top commissions, you have set expectations for high performance, there are controls in place for accountability, and the environment is positive.
Make these your priority and your turnover will reduce and your profitability will soar.
Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 13 years, his company’s services have illuminated, motivated and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America.