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Archive for December, 2011

100% Responsibility

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 30, 2011 No Comments

Too often we find that we blame others for issues that impact us and our lives. We suggest that our life is the result of what others have done or are doing and we eliminate our responsibility towards those events. My suggestion to any possible resolution is to take 100% responsibility.

Take responsibility for what you are contributing.

Take responsibility for what you are acting upon.

Take responsibility for what direction events are taking you.

This reminds me of a merry-go-round. As a child, the charm of the merry-go-round was that it did not go far, you could see your parents every 15 seconds or so and that there was reassurance in their support as you went round and round. The problem with the ride is that it did not do much else. Too often, we find our life, both personally and professionally, not much different than that merry-go-round. We just continue going in circles and are afraid to get off the ride.

Taking responsibility for everything is our first step towards getting off this ride. So, what are you doing to get off the ride? Are you happy with your life? Your marriage? Your family? Your spirituality? Your health? How about your professional life?

You cannot expect any other outcome without changing your ride!

Opportunity Management

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 27, 2011 No Comments

The first component of Sales Cycle Management (SCM) is Opportunity Management. In traditional sales pipelines, salespeople and managers do not spend enough time focusing their efforts on the most promising sales. Instead, effort seems to be misplaced or spread evenly over all possible sales, even the ones that will probably not close. To counteract this, Opportunity Management is the process of tracking the work done before the sale, and adjusting resources and effort accordingly. It may seem at first to be more work than it’s worth, so let’s take a look at the benefits of OM.

First, tracking the work before the sale allows you to focus on the most promising sales. In traditional pipelines, even the “maybe” sales or the ones that may never close seem to stay in the pipeline. By focusing on the most promising, the effort goes full steam into closing and creating a relationship. Along these lines, OM allows sales managers to create a budget based on the expected return and expense on the client. Since you’re tracking the work the salespeople are doing, sales managers can look at that work and specifically coach to it. This specialized coaching will lead to improved results for the entire organization. But how can you go about creating an OM system? (more…)

Account Planning

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 23, 2011 No Comments

You’ve spent time in Opportunity Management and Sales Forecasting. You know which clients are the “top ten” probable sales – and you know how many sales you need to make to be profitable. Without account planning, your hard work may go to waste. Account planning is simply the act of applying a precise, project management approach to the individual client – and the sale. What are the benefits of a well-built account plan?

As we’ve briefly discussed, account planning brings your Opportunity Management activities full circle. You’ve got your top possibilities and now you’re going to create a specific plan to make the sale – and keep the client. Account planning allows salespeople and sales managers to closely analyze the sales process – and readjust as necessary. Because you create a detailed plan, sales can be transitioned into a relationship, client-based orientation, versus a hard sell. Here are some steps to take to create your account plan. (more…)

Do you have Passion?

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 23, 2011 No Comments

Last night I attended the Party for Mercedes-Benz USA. It was a beautiful event, on their beautiful corporate campus. It was attended by some 700 staffers. Near the start of the event, the head of North America, was on a stage addressing the staff. After some general pleasantries, he started to share with them the accomplishments of MBUSA.

He recounted a number of mind-numbing set of numbers. Sales, were higher. Productivity was higher. It went on and on… for about 4 minutes, when he reported… Passion was higher!

PASSION? Mercedes-Benz measures passion? WOW.

I was floored. I have spoken about many companies and their metrics. To imagine that a large behemoth like MBUSA measures passion was just too much. This is a company with an entire corporate culture that is hell-bent on succeeding. They created and measure the passion that their clients have for their product.

Which got me to thinking. How many companies out there are measuring the Passion of their Clients? I would bet that you could maybe count them on one hand [Apple, and maybe Google]. Yet, it seems to me, the the new light of day, that passion SHOULD BE a metric for EVERY company. The new world we live in causes us to be extraordinary or extinct. Any company that seeks to be extraordinary would want to measure their raving fan-base. They would seek from them the future of the company and would rely on their feedback with religious zeal.

It has caused me to consider how I would measure ‘passion’ for myself.

Sales Forecasting

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 20, 2011 No Comments

The second component of Sales Cycle Management (SCM) is Sales Forecasting. Many times, salespeople and sales managers do not take a realistic view of how many sales they can undertake during a particular time period. This view makes time spent on Opportunity Management less worthwhile, and makes a traditional sales pipeline stale. What are the benefits of Sales Forecasting?

When you take the time to forecast, you’ll be able to analyze past sales, annual growth, and sales and growth as opposed to industry competitors. In addition to this, forecasting allows you to more closely analyze your price and cost structure, which means you have a better idea of where profit starts to kick in. In other words, a realistic sales forecast can allow you to virtually guarantee profit. When you look at the numbers, sales forecasting is a great way to look at the future from an objective standpoint. But how do you go about creating a sales forecast? (more…)

Sales Performance Analysis

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 13, 2011 No Comments

Sales Performance Analysis closes the gap on your entire Sales Cycle. Essentially, performance analysis is a deep look back over certain elements of your sales cycle, from Opportunity Management to Account Planning. Looking at the numbers, ratios, and time frames of your sales cycle provides many useful benefits.

To begin with, analysis allows you to question the entire cycle – and adjust it accordingly. You can determine if sales goals are too high or too low. Analysis gives you an accurate picture of your forecast – is it realistic or does it need to be adjusted? You can also decide if the time and money spent on clients in Opportunity Management was worthwhile – as opposed to the profit gained from the sale. But consider the effects of analysis from the human resources point of view: a thorough analysis gives you hard data that can be used to coach and train the workforce more effectively. Let’s look at how to use sales analysis to close the gap on SCM. (more…)

Aligning Performance with Results

By Bryant Nielson, Managing Director On December 6, 2011 No Comments

Aligning performance with results can be achieved with a few overarching steps. By doing this, each person will be clear what his or her role is – and you can truly measure and adjust the organization’s performance at regular intervals.

The first, and most obvious step you must take when aligning performance with results is to determine concrete results measurement. For some organizations, this is a “done deal”, but for others, this is a necessary step. Does your organization measure success based on production, sales, operational efficiency, net income, or a combination of all factors? Would each job have a direct responsibility to these measurements, or are some more appropriate to certain measurements than others? In order to align correctly, you must determine what your measurements are. Once you know how the organization measures success or failure, you can move on.



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