Plan to Win Software http://www.plan2winsoftware.com Sales Planning Simplified Sun, 26 Jul 2015 05:00:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 10 Steps for Getting More Sales from your Team http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/10-steps-for-getting-more-sales-from-your-team/ http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/10-steps-for-getting-more-sales-from-your-team/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 00:27:54 +0000 https://www.plan2winsoftware.com/?p=6763 10 Steps for Getting More Sales from your Team... harvesting more of the opportunities within your key accounts and across your sales territories.

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Account Planning for more salesIf you want to make more money, you need to look at how you are harvesting the opportunities within your key accounts and across your sales territories!

Research shows that World Class Sales Organizations performed 25% better on key sales metrics by using sales planning methods like these:

  • Using specific criteria to define a strategic account
  • Having a method for deciding on opportunities to pursue
  • Allocating the right resources to pursue large deals
  • Being highly effective at advancing opportunities
  • Leveraging the best practices of top performers

(Source: Miller Heiman Sales Best Practices Study)

Sales organizations can maintain top performance by consistently developing and effectively executing sales plans for all of their accounts, opportunities and territories. Salespeople who handle account planning well are 41% more likely to achieve quota, according to the TAS Group.

If you sell in any of these types of settings, then doing a better job of sales planning will translate into higher sales:

  • You manage proactive selling – as opposed to responding to inbound calls and requests.
  • You are involved in complex selling – your sales process touches at least two buying influences.
  • You are in a competitive selling environment.
  • You are first to market with an innovative product/service – you need to convince people that your approach is better and you need to plan out how to penetrate the market.

How can you make the shift to more effective account planning and territory planning?

  1. Establish a company-wide focus on account planning, opportunity planning, and territory planning and execution, which includes having templates for each rep that reside in your CRM system.
  2. Explain to your team why this focus on planning is so important and how it will help them achieve their objectives. Identify accounts from which the team could have brought in additional opportunities with better planning.
  3. Identify the types of accounts that need account planning and/or that should be incorporated into a territory plan.
  4. Train the team on how to use the account/territory/opportunity planning templates.
  5. Require everyone to create some starter account plans or include a few accounts and opportunities in their territory plan.
  6. Within a few weeks, review these account/territory plans with each salesperson.
  7. A week or two after that, review the progress on these account/territory plans with the whole team. Encourage group feedback to help everyone be even more effective.
  8. Continue building more account and territory plans as you work with your team on their accounts.
  9. Build regular plan review meetings into your monthly/quarterly calendar.
  10. Reward successes and encourage the team to regularly share best practices.

With planning templates and methods in place, you and your team will bring in more opportunities and consistently earn a greater share of your accounts’ spend. For more insight on effective sales planning, go to:

Contact us for a free 30 minute consultation on how to improve the effectiveness of your account planning and territory planning: 650-508-0622 or info@plan2winsoftware.com.

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4 Questions Leaders Must Answer When Managing Change http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/4-questions-leaders-must-ask-when-managing-change/ http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/4-questions-leaders-must-ask-when-managing-change/#comments Wed, 03 Jun 2015 21:03:57 +0000 http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/?p=6562 This article helps leaders and managers answer 4 questions to lead change efforts and engage their user teams more effectively.

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Celebrating successful changeThink back on an important change effort that you were involved in; implementing a new direction, system or process. Though some changes go smoothly, most change efforts experience resistance.

Why is it an uphill battle?

One reason is that we’re biologically wired to resist change. The human body is designed to be homeostatic – stable and balanced. When change occurs, our body makes every effort to restore its original state. The human brain forms neurological patterns that inform our behaviors. The path of least resistance (both neurologically and psychologically) is to continue our current behavior.

Another reason is that old habits die hard. Most people prefer to do things “the way we’ve always done them.”

With a reasonable effort, however, you can forge a new path… and with it, achieve new results.

People react differently to change. Some are open to it; even thrive on it. Others are more risk-averse and resist change. Typically, the people who drive change are more visionary. They can see the benefit of taking a new course. Visionaries need to realize that, even though they see the potential positive impact of a change, it may not be so obvious to others. To be effective, visionaries must sell their vision and the need for change… and have to work harder at maintaining the momentum than they expect!

When considering change, our thought process is very similar to how we make a buying decision. We work through a similar set of questions:

  1. Are we motivated to solve this problem?
  2. Is this the right solution?
  3. Is it worth the effort or cost?
  4. How do we succeed?

If you are a leader executing and managing change to drive results, you need to go through this process yourself first, then with your management team, and finally help the people involved realize that the value is worth the effort.

Let’s explore these questions and how to answer each of them to help those involved embrace the change.

  1. Are we motivated to solve this problem?

People need to understand the rationale and come to the conclusion that this is important enough to act on. For example:

  • We really need to do something to improve sales!
  • Our sales funnel is weak and we need to fill it.
  • Our win ratio is too low. We are losing to a major competitor too often!
  • It is taking too long to close sales. Too many deals are languishing with no decision.
  • We are missing big opportunities in our territories or major accounts!

Another factor is whether people see this as an issue that directly impacts and thus motivates them.

  • If the issue is hampering their ability to achieve quota or MBO objectives, they will want to solve it.
  • If it is intended to help the business as a whole, people need to believe that this change will accomplish the promised outcome. There is incentive if people share in the results, such as through profit sharing or if part of their performance review or compensation is based on organizational performance.
  1. Is this the right solution?

The team needs to believe this is a good solution to the problem. Such as:

  • This is a good way to improve sales.
  • Implementing a new sales methodology or tool will really help us.
  • We do need sales or product training.
  • Focusing our efforts on a new target market will make it easier to reach our goals.

At the end of the day, people need believe that the solution will help them do their job better, faster or more easily… or is it important enough for the organization as a whole. The management team making the decision must go through this process first and then present their conclusions to the team in a credible manner so they buy into the solution.

People also need to know that management has listened to the needs of the team and have taken them into account when establishing the selection criteria and choosing a solution. It is a good to have a few members of the team participate in the selection process, thus lending credibility that the solution will work well for the users.

  1. Is it worth the effort or cost?

In order to prioritize the required actions into their activities, people need to feel that the change will lead to achieving the intended outcome!

Sometimes this is obvious; especially if the problem is having a significant impact on the business. Other times the team members do not have visibility into the impact the issue is having on the business. In this case, it is incumbent upon the management team to show the importance of taking action… and how the selected solution will accomplish the objectives.

If the organization has started and stopped programs in the past, people will question management’s commitment and often will not take the change effort seriously. Ironically, this creates a self-fulfilling prophesy and the effort fails. Management must demonstrate its commitment by using the new solution themselves and building its use into daily operation.

  1. How do we succeed?

People need to know exactly what is needed to make the new solution successful and that they will be supported when they need help.

  • Make sure everyone knows how to use the new solution and how it helps them do their job. Users must be trained on the basic use of the system.
  • Establish the business rules and guidelines for using the system. For example, what accounts require an account plan.
  • Management must know how to use the new method/tool from the user’s perspective.
  • Managers must use it to manage the team. The best way to do this is to incorporate the use of the solution into their calendars and daily/weekly/monthly operation and require that team members do the same.

For more on this, see our Management Guide and Checklists.

Conclusion

Once you have answered these questions, it is important to keep the goal in front of you and the people who must make the change. This will provide a rallying point that excites the team and drives you to a sustained change that enables you to accomplish your objectives!

For more on how to make your efforts at managing change successful, see our article: “Seven Steps to Ensure Software Adoption.”

Subscribe to our Newsletter and access 2 of our most popular White Papers as well.

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Being Likable is the Key to Success http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/being-likable-is-key-to-success/ http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/being-likable-is-key-to-success/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:44:46 +0000 http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/?p=6291 Check out the 12 Habits of Extremely Likable People. How many of these do you exhibit regularly? As I reflect on the people who I have really enjoyed working with, they have had many of these characteristics. Sales and management has become so much more collaborative over the past 20 years. It is even more important in […]

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Check out the 12 Habits of Extremely Likable People. How many of these do you exhibit regularly?

As I reflect on the people who I have really enjoyed working with, they have had many of these characteristics. Sales and management has become so much more collaborative over the past 20 years. It is even more important in complex sales. You must successfully interact with so many people… in the customer account, working with partners and with your internal resources and executives. If you are a manager today, you must inspire people and earn their respect. Being likable certainly can be a key to success in that area.

One executive I have worked with has always been able to ramp up his team in any new role he has taken on. Why? Because he has a long Rolodex of people he has worked with in the past. Whenever he calls any of us up asking if we want to work with him in his new role, we are happy to jump on board. Why? Because he has these characteristics!

Share your stories of likable people.

 

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Scorecard for Managing Strategic Accounts http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/insight-driven-strategic-account-management-scorecard/ http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/insight-driven-strategic-account-management-scorecard/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:46:30 +0000 http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/?p=6276 Today, the big focuses on having insight into your customers’ issues and how you uniquely solve them to drive your sales efforts. This is what the “Challenger Sale” model (by the Corporate Executive Board) is all about. Likewise, if you focus on strategic accounts, you need insight into how well your team is working with […]

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Today, the big focuses on having insight into your customers’ issues and how you uniquely solve them to drive your sales efforts. Man playing chessThis is what the “Challenger Sale” model (by the Corporate Executive Board) is all about.

Likewise, if you focus on strategic accounts, you need insight into how well your team is working with these accounts in order to optimize your results. Having a scorecard enables you to carefully evaluate your key account strategies and use of sales enablement resources to ensure you are getting maximum return on your sales efforts. Keep in mind that there is a huge cost of chasing the wrong deal and wasting valuable resources that could have been used elsewhere. Also, good account planning ensures that your team is driving their sales efforts by insight into the customer’s situation- with the support of key players in the account.

We have developed a scorecard designed to help you do this. It is called the Strategic Account Management Scorecard. It measures a sales organization’s effectiveness compared to Best Practices in six critical categories:

  1. Market Focus
  2. Target Accounts
  3. Account Strategy
  4. Account Planning
  5. Sales Execution
  6. Customer Perspective

The scorecard includes total scores for each category, an overall score and a brief analysis of the results. The assessment worksheet provides space for sales leaders and account managers to annotate action items to improve account management. The assessment is intuitive and only requires about three minutes to complete.

This tool is designed for sales leaders who are committed to developing and managing strategic accounts as a critical element of their revenue portfolio. The benefits of knowing where you stand are many – and the cost of not knowing can be dramatic. While the scorecard provides you important data, the ultimate objective is to help you use the insights to improve your strategies and thus results.

Here is a pdf of the Scorecard.

Please let me know if you would like to participate in our beta test and use the scorecard to get feedback re your organization… rsnyder@plan2winsoftware.com, 650-508-0622.

The Strategic Account Management Scorecard was designed by AchieveCorp and Plan2Win Software with contributions by Gary Summy, Founder of MoveTheNeedle, LLC.

You may also be interested in our White Paper: A Manager’s Guide to Account Planning.

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Are you Getting the Best Results from your Sales Territory Plans? http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/get-best-results-sales-territory-plan/ http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/get-best-results-sales-territory-plan/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 21:31:58 +0000 http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/?p=5996 As posted on the Selling Power Blog March 3, 2015. How can you best manage your sales territories? Here are seven steps you can use to get the best results from each sales territory. 1. Establish a process. Determine how you will establish and monitor the progress of territory plans each quarter. A clear set of action steps helps […]

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As posted on the Selling Power Blog March 3, 2015.Creating Territory Plan

How can you best manage your sales territories? Here are seven steps you can use to get the best results from each sales territory.

1. Establish a process.

Determine how you will establish and monitor the progress of territory plans each quarter. A clear set of action steps helps each member of the team understand what’s expected as the quarter unfolds. This includes having territory managers:

  • create and update territory plans

  • and review the plans at the regional and then national levels.

Support, marketing, and other functions should be included in review sessions as appropriate. In addition, you need to include steps to maintain continuity from quarter to quarter, such as working on territory, account, and opportunity plans that take longer than one quarter to implement.

For more details on the implementation of the process across the quarter, see our Manager’s Checklist for Territory Planning.

– See the article on Selling Power Blog.

Here are the other 6 steps:

2. Review significant trends in your territories and vertical markets in the past quarter or year.

3. Set goals for the quarter or year.

4. Review territory alignments and make adjustments.

5. Help each territory manager and salesperson create individual territory plans.

6. Link the plan to your sales strategy.

7. Execute action plans.

When you plan your territories correctly, it greatly enhances your probability of success. As the legendary college football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant said, “It is not the will to win that matters. Everyone has that. It is the will to prepare to win that matters.”

– See the article on Selling Power Blog.

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Account Success Using a Team Approach http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/account-success-using-team-approach/ http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/account-success-using-team-approach/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 20:14:57 +0000 http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/?p=5959 Success in selling to your most important accounts requires a team approach. Whether you classify customers as “strategic, major, key, target, or focus,” your probability of success in meeting your goals with an account will increase substantially when you assemble a team of supporting resources to supplement the work of the Account Manager. The Account […]

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Success in selling to your most important accounts requires a team approach.account team members

Whether you classify customers as “strategic, major, key, target, or focus,” your probability of success in meeting your goals with an account will increase substantially when you assemble a team of supporting resources to supplement the work of the Account Manager.

The Account Manager and a supporting cast of sales, technical specialists, and other internal and external resources working together will result in the greatest return from your relationship with your important customers. The customer’s cross-functional decision teams will find value from this approach too, as the “right” resources are applied to addressing all business issues related to a purchase from all impacted groups.

It is not economically feasible to employ a team of people to all accounts. Only those accounts that you designate as “important” qualify for consideration for a team approach. Your most important customers include:

  • Your largest customers
  • Accounts with the largest opportunity potential
  • Accounts that have both short term and long term need for your product/services
  • Accounts that give you access or credibility in a given market
  • Accounts that can serve as “lighthouse” customers for new products

You may define your most important accounts using these or other criteria that you choose. If they are important to your business, you need to ensure that you succeed with these accounts. To do so, you must assemble your winning team.  However, simply having a team of people working on an account does not guarantee success.

What is the successful team model for account management?

The account team may be thought of as a layered set of “teammates,” each with defined and different responsibilities and varying levels of engagement.

Consider the image of a stone thrown into a lake and the resulting waves that radiate from the center, across the water…

  • Core (“stone”) – This is the Account Manager who is the primary sales resource assigned to the account.
  • Wave 1 – “The Core Team.” Systems Engineer(s) and/or remote location based Account Managers who may also be assigned sales resources on the account.
  • Wave 2“The Extended Team” consisting of other resources in the company with special expertise (e.g. Product Specialists, Solution Architects, Product Managers, Customer Success Managers) who may be employed as-required, in the customer engagement. This may also include sales leaders such as the immediate sales manager, or VP of Sales.
  • Wave 3 “The Partner Team.” When partners are involved, their sales, service, and field support resources are also working on this account.
  • Wave 4“The Corporate Team.” Other staff and resources from your company may be used on a periodic basis at the account.  They will help execute specific aspects of the sales process.  Examples include finance, legal, engineering, operations, and order entry.

The full “account team” functions better, whether some are engaged in on-going activities or only periodically, by having a defined role. This allows each member to execute specific responsibilities associated with the designated role they play on the team. They will be most effective in their role execution when they know about account strategies and activities before they are asked to act or to take a lead in a specific stage of engagement with the customer.

Collaboration regarding the Account Plan initially and over time is essential to streamline the in/outs of involvement for each team member. Only when team members are fully aware of the strategy, tactics, and status of each sales and relationship activity with the account, can there be synergy and effectiveness in implementing the plan. Maintaining a regular cadence of account communications with the entire account team is the responsibility of the Account Manager.

Who “owns” the customer relationship in this team model?

The Account Manager “owns” the (sales) results and impact of the team in achieving account goals. However, each member of the team has levels of ownership consistent with the wave in which they operate. Each teammate holds everyone else on the team accountable to execute on specific assigned account responsibilities with direction and guidance provided by the Account Manager.

Independent action by each team member is encouraged with their efforts bound by and synchronized with, the Account Plan. Their activity is overseen by the Account Manager who ensures focus on sales results to be achieved from each team member’s execution within the plan. These are the guiding principles of the team-based account success model.

Everyone has a role or position on the team. Identified teammates are on the “starting team” while others “come off the bench.” An agreed upon “game plan” is executed by everyone on the team. The objectives of the team effort are known and regular status (“score”) is reviewed, communicated, and visible to all. Implemented in this way, a team approach with an account will be extremely effective in developing and growing your business. How do you start this process? By developing a comprehensive Account Plan.

How do you keep the team on-track and meeting its objectives when changes occur with the account? By ensuring the Account Plan gets revised with inputs from all team members.

How do you communicate to your company and teammates about account status, changes, challenges, and needs? By using the Account Plan as a current single reference document regarding the account that is available to all.

Do you have an Account Plan? You’ll need one to optimize your success as an Account Team.

You may be interested in a related article: Seven Strategies for Maximizing Account Success.

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Strategic Account Management: A Leadership Perspective http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/strategic-account-management-leadership-perspective/ http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/strategic-account-management-leadership-perspective/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 22:41:14 +0000 http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/?p=5818 Here is what Victoria Hibbits, VP of Imaging Sales at McKesson had to say about the importance of account management and how to do it effectively.

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This is a summary of an interview with Victoria Hibbits, VP of Imaging Sales, Government and Complex Accounts at McKesson.Vic Hibbits Headshot 2014 small

Victoria Hibbits is the VP of Imaging Sales, Government and Complex Accounts at McKesson. She is responsible for Government and Key Accounts for Imaging Workflow Solutions. She has played leadership roles, directing national account and government account efforts at a number of other medical equipment manufacturers, including Siemens, Acuson, Stentor and Vital Images.

Here is what she had to say about the importance of account management and how to do it effectively.

How important is account management- relative to everything that a sales leader needs to do?

Account management is critical. Here a few critical elements:

  1. An account plan. We create an account plan for each federal agency and buying group we deal with.
  2. An understanding of the customer’s roadmap; their goals, weaknesses. Look for new standards, new technology, new requirements and applications that they can’t perform that are causing them to give patients a way to competitors, or are impacting their business in other ways.
  3. Look for ways you can help them accommodate new business models. For example, the healthcare industry is moving from a payer to an outcome-based-population model. Many healthcare providers are struggling with this. If you can help them through this transition; they are all ears.
  4. Align the two corporate roadmaps to understand how your products and services can help them address new requirements and methods for delivering care.

How do you successfully implement an account plan?

  • Work with the customer until you clearly understand what they are looking for. Talk with a wide range of people to understand the political landscape, pricing constraints, and compelling events.
  • Understand their specific problems, workflow gaps, etc. See where you can provide a solution and even deliver more than they expected.
  • Show them how they can meet the needs in the market place they didn’t realize they could meet- through the benefits of your offering.
  • Sometimes you need to partner with a third-party to bridge the gap between your product capabilities and what the customer’s is looking for. Team effectively and deliver it in a timely manner.
  • Use experts and luminary references to establish the credibility of your approach. Secure clinical quotes from industry experts. Leverage third parties who support your strategy and solution.
  • Find people within the customer network to guide you through the buying process.

What is the biggest challenge?

Receiving an RFP when you haven’t met the customer. This means you’re coming from behind because another vendor has likely been in before you and influenced the decision criteria. If this happens, you must get up to speed quickly. Quickly review the RFP, research their needs, talk with third-party partners, learn about the incumbent, understand the historical maintenance cost, etc. And then decide if it is worth investing the time and resources to pursue the opportunity.

How do you forestall being in that position?

It’s critical to complete the “pre-work” mentioned above before the RFQ/RFP goes out. In the medical industry- especially when dealing with a government agencies- once the RFP is released, it is very difficult to influence it.

So, you must get in early and stay on top of what is going on in the account at many levels.

  • Find out who is involved in setting the requirements from the different perspectives and who is on the selection committee. Secure access to each of them to understand and influence their requirements.
  • At the corporate level; go to national meetings.
  • In government accounts, like the VA, there are tools to identify when a bid posts. You must know who administers the contracts and do everything you can to ensure your contract is current, and on the price list, etc.

Early efforts can make the difference between winning and losing!

How important is selling internally?

This is just as important as selling to the customer. You need internal support and so must approach this as you would any other sale, for example:

  • Identify market opportunities or clinical applications that your company can address.
  • Quantify them and create the business case. Look for the largest potential ROI.
  • Compare the requirements to your product roadmap.
  • Identify sponsors in your company to get support for your proposal.
  • Find resources to meet the new requirements.
  • Present the business case and how to deliver on it to move the new requirements up on the internal roadmap.

What was your most surprising win?

We tried to secure a contract with a large GPO buying group for 12 years. Each year they would renew with the current vendor and not really consider our products or competitors.

Finally, there was a new CEO. When the bid came out, they did not invite us to participate. Though I don’t like to go over someone’s head, I felt it was our only choice. I called the new CEO and explained that we were the market share leader and yet had not been allowed to bid in the most recent solicitation. I asked, “Don’t you think it’s worth it to at least take a look at number one in the industry?” He said, “OK, I will extend the bid by a few days, go ahead and submit your offer.”

We had 7 days to turn around a major bid. I had to rally our internal resources. I got every function in the company involved; responding to their part of the RFP. We submitted the bid on time, and we were exhausted.

We flew to the account to conduct presentations and demonstrations. The opportunity represented a 50 facility purchase of ultrasound scanners- average price $250K to $350K- over the next year. It was a grueling 3-day process. It came down to the incumbent and us. We each had a final presentation and then had to wait for them to meet and give us the results. When the representative from the buying group went to the incumbent first to tell them the results, I knew we had won… and we did!

The surprise was that we found a way to compete in an account that we had been locked out of for 12 years.

What advice would you give to account managers and their leadership teams?

  • As one of my advisors told me long ago, “support a customer when there’s no sale on the line.” This includes: delivering on promises, delivering equipment on time, helping them when they least expect it. This will earn you the repeat business you need to be successful.
  • Having an account plan and staying on top of it is critical to making this happen in large accounts and in complex selling environments.
  • Finally, maintain integrity in all that you do. It produces long-term credibility, which is critical in strategic accounts with multi-year business relationships. When all else is equal, this will separate you from the competition.

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Territory Management: A Leadership Perspective http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/territory-management-a-leadership-perspective/ http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/territory-management-a-leadership-perspective/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 17:49:06 +0000 http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/?p=5785 How can you and your team manage your sales territories better to produce better sales results? This article summarizes an interview with Tim Henning, who has held many senior sales leadership positions. He talks about how to the pay-offs and the challenges that come with sales territory management... and what to do to maximize sales results.

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Tim Henning 1 small

Tim Henning is a Senior Sales Leader with 25+ years of experience in the medical capital equipment space, leading sales efforts for Philips Medical, ADAC Laboratories, DFINE and Alliance Imaging. He helped ADAC earn the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award and he has transformed many poor sales performers into winning teams, leading them to peak levels of sales excellence.

Here are the highlights of an interview in which Tim gives his take on the pay-offs and the challenges that come with sales territory management.

How important is territory management compared to all the responsibilities a sales executive has?

Territory management should be 75% of what sales leaders concentrate on, because it includes the strategy and tactics that they need to execute to achieve their objectives. The rest is minutia. But many sales managers would put it at only 10% because they don’t realize how impactful it can be.

Why do you think might be resistance to putting a territory management process in place?

  • It’s hard work at first. Those who haven’t done it probably don’t realize that there will be a big payoff if they stay the course.
  • Sales teams can be very short-term oriented, so the motivation for sales planning must come from management.
  • In today’s world, sales teams are so busy reacting to all the digital input that they don’t make time to be proactive and really think about what they need to do.

What do sales leaders need to do differently to support territory management?

Sales leaders must drive the discipline of using the territory management process by:

  1. Convincing top management and then sales managers to support and use the process.
  2. Engaging sales people to learn the company’s process for territory management and accept that good planning and reporting is expected.
  3. Being out there with their team, “leading from the front” and showing them how to create and execute solid territory plans.
  4. Making territory management and plan review a regular practice.

How can a sales leader be successful implementing a territory management process?

  • Establish a territory management process and template. This makes it easier to generate effective sales plans. You can do this by creating your own template or using and adapting one that is commercially available.
  • Provide training on the process, how to use the template to create and how to manage plans.
  • Ensure the sales management team uses and reviews territory plans and reports.
  • Most importantly, use it yourself.

What examples can you share that show how territory management improved sales results?

Example 1:

I put a new rep into the Houston area where there were no customers, no support people…nothing! I worked with her to create a territory plan. Because she kept working and fine-tuning her plan, her territory became the top-performer in the country for five years in a row.

You might be able to achieve good sales results for a year if you’re lucky. However if you want to produce sustainable results, you must have a plan that outlines how you will maintain your current account base and add new accounts to build market share. If you neglect either, you will miss big opportunities.

Example 2:

The planning process has also helped me allocate resources appropriately. For example, as soon as I took over our European operation, I did an analysis and realized that we didn’t have a prayer in Germany. So I pulled the resources from there and deployed them elsewhere, which enabled us to win big across the rest of Europe.

What are your top tips for sales executives and sales managers today?

  1. Make the decision to install a territory management process and be a champion for it.
  2. Get the support of your senior management and your sales management team
  3. Take the process implementation one step at a time – baby steps will lead to success.
  4. Find a mentor who has been successful with territory management and learn from them.

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Sales Territories Are Like A Box Of Chocolate… http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/sales-territories-are-like-a-box-of-chocolate/ http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/sales-territories-are-like-a-box-of-chocolate/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 23:27:28 +0000 http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/?p=5603 You should always know what you’re gonna get! Unlike Forest Gump, who never knew what he was going to get from life, best-in-class territory managers have a plan for achieving the results they want.  They set clearly defined goals for their territory.  More importantly, they create a plan and engage in focused activities to accomplish […]

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box of chocolates

You should always know what you’re gonna get!

Unlike Forest Gump, who never knew what he was going to get from life, best-in-class territory managers have a plan for achieving the results they want.  They set clearly defined goals for their territory.  More importantly, they create a plan and engage in focused activities to accomplish their territory objectives.

Success for them is not by chance or based on random activities.  These sales people are most likely to meet their goals because of their preparation and the execution of defined territory plans. They win because they have made good choices about what to focus on, they know what must be accomplished, and they make deliberate decisions on how to invest their time to develop and win business.

Sales territories are like a box of chocolate.  With twenty-four varieties to choose from, which ones do you select and in which order?  Do you consume thousands of calories quickly or do you manage your consumption?  It all looks so good!  What do you do when someone else takes one of your favorites?

Know your territory, have a plan, execute by making considered, deliberate choices!

The best sales territory managers start by analyzing their territory to understand its revenue profile and potential.  S/he determines which accounts and which opportunities are most likely to result in wins.  Quantified objectives for each of these are established.  A detailed plan of activities is created and executed upon with focus.  They recognize the necessity for regular review and modification to the plan and they allocate time for that.  They are aware that others will try to eat their favorite chocolates (e.g. revenue, account, opportunity, deal).

Here are the fundamental elements and considerations that must be included in your sales territory plan:

A.  Accounts – know the “right” accounts and the reasons to invest in them

  1. Industry trends and market conditions
  2. Customer business conditions, direction, and key personnel
  3. Your company’s products, execution support, and business priorities
  4. Competitors activities

B.   Opportunities  – determine which are the  “best” to commit to

  1. Current opportunity pipeline
  2. Existing business with expansion potential
  3. Undiscovered business
  4. New leads

C.   Challenges – anticipate obstacles and changes

  1. Industry trends and market conditions
  2. Customer business conditions, direction, and key personnel
  3. Your company’s products, execution support, and business priorities
  4. Competitors activities

There is no one set of rules for effective territory management.  However, we know that sales goal achievement improves when sales leaders use a standardized planning model and conduct regular plan reviews.  A requirement that all sales territories have a plan must be established.  Each sales manager must be held accountable for creating their territory plan and executing consistently with that plan.

It is clear that the effort to carefully plan, establish goals, and to define the essential sales activities within a territory ensures the greatest likelihood that sales managers achieve the expected results.

Few sales managers can be effective using the Forest Gump approach with their territory.  Don’t be a “gump!”  Know what you’re gonna get.

Marty Levy is an advisor to Plan2Win Software on strategy, marketing, and sales app development.  He has been a VP of Sales for several Silicon Valley companies and is a thought leader on sales best practices.  You can find more at his website www.martylevy.net or see his profile on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/martylevy .

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Is Your Territory Managing You? http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/is-your-territory-managing-you/ http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/the-sales-success-blog/is-your-territory-managing-you/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 00:32:18 +0000 http://www.plan2winsoftware.com/?p=3220 We have worked with many senior sales executives who have set up, ramped up and turned around a number of sales organizations; enabling them to achieve dramatic growth even in tough selling environments. One of the common elements of their systems for sales success is installing a good territory management process and template to ensure the sales team is making the most of the opportunities in their areas of responsibility; including territories, vertical markets and channel partners.
Read about the three key elements to do this.

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“Are your territories managing you… or are you managing your territories?”

Are your territories managing your team… or are they managing their territories?

This is a question that has helped improve the results of many sales organizations.

We have worked with many senior sales executives who have set up, ramped up and turned around a number of sales organizations; enabling them to achieve dramatic growth even in tough selling environments. One of the common elements of their systems for sales success is installing a good territory management process and template to ensure the sales team is making the most of the opportunities in their areas of responsibility; including territories, vertical markets and channel partners.

Further, it is important to always look for ways to “connect the dots”… to understand what was happening in a territory, who the power brokers are, how they affect opportunities across the territory and how to leverage our contacts to make progress in target accounts and sales opportunities.

How do you know if your sales people are being managed by their territories?
They…

  • Find out about opportunities late in the sales cycle.
  • Are always in react mode.
  • Don’t use resources effectively… either on the wrong deal or at the wrong time.
  • Lack important strategic relationships to identify and guide opportunities.
  • Are not leveraging partners, colleagues and key opinion leaders in their territories.

What can you do about this?

1.    Prioritize it

If you want to improve sales results via effective territory management you must make territory management a priority. As with any important endeavor, the first step is committing to making it happen.

Require territory managers to have territory plans with clear goals, strategies, tactics and action plans. Review them on a regular basis. Refer to them when you review individual and team progress.

2.    Analyze it

Sit back and take an honest look at how your sales people are managing their territories.
Identify the important territory management practices. Create a chart of best practices and how each of your people is performing them. Identify the top few practices that the entire team needs help with. Work with the people who are doing the best job with each of those practices and create a summary of the key elements of each best practice. Cover these best practices over your next few sales meetings/conference calls; having that member of team present the best practices and lead a discussion with the team.

Work with the people who need additional help. Leverage the above best practices and work with them on other territory management issues to improve their overall performance.

3.    Process-ize it

Create a quarterly process for territory management. This should include steps you can take each week of the quarter to drive better territory management. Here are some key elements to include:

  • Month 1: Territory review (last quarter’s results) and planning for this quarter
  • Month 2: Territory and target account/opportunity action plan implementation
  • Month 3: Close target opportunities, actions to achieve objectives for this quarter

In the first quarter you do this, have each territory manager review last quarter’s results and generate a territory plan with a few target accounts and target opportunities. With each subsequent quarter, add the next most important accounts, opportunities and strategic relationships.

It is important to have a common tool for conducting territory reviews. This makes it easier to conduct territory reviews; ensuring that everyone is covering the same key elements and capturing similar information. Further, this makes it easy to aggregate results, identify issues and course-correct. It is ideal if this tool resides within and uses data from your CRM.

For a more detailed look at the key elements of the process of managing a territory-oriented sales team across the 13 week quarter, click here for our Sales Manager’s Territory Planning Weekly Checklist.

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