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In preparation to speak at a sales award banquet this week I was thinking about what kind of message I wanted to leave with the audience. After thinking through a variety of ideas I realized a common concept that all sales leaders must reinforce to their teams. Whether it is a January Kick Off event, a Monday morning sales meeting or a quarterly salesperson review session, sales managers must sell the need to Plan for Success.

Planning for success means you build a sales organization that is not opportunistic in account management, prospecting, and other activities, but instead is focused on a methodology to ensure success. It also means that there is an expectation or attitude from management that is transmitted to the team that we will be successful, we are winners, we are better and we work together. This is part of the emotional make up that creates an atmosphere that separates the average performing organizations from top performing sales teams.

What do you need to create this environment? A sales management system that reinforces what you expect and a leadership and management style that is focused only on accepting high performance — in all aspects of life. This means every salesperson must have a:

  • A yearly salesperson business plan
  • A Top 15 Account Plans –if appropriate
  • A rolling 90 day sales training plan
  • Formal monthly/quarterly salesperson reviews
  • Sales contests that drive fun, recognition and teamwork
  • Measurement systems that promote success and show effectiveness

Every salesperson wants to be successful, as does every sales manager. Everyone has good ideas, but execution becomes the key differentiator in success. You must work on the methodology, but you also must focus on the emotional aspects of success. I think you can summarize it this way: the difference in success is 3 simple words: “and then some.”

The difference between average performers and top performers are:                

  • Top performers do what is expected… and then some
  • They meet their obligations fairly and squarely … and then some
  • They are good friends, helpful neighbors… and then some
  • They are thoughtful of others, they are considerate and kind … and then some
  • They can be counted on in an emergency…and then some.

As you go about your week, make sure you do what is expected…and then some.

Ken Thoreson is one of the resident experts at The ASCII Group, which provides its MSP/VAR members  with community sales strategies.  Thoreson is also president of Acumen Management Group Ltd. which operationalizes sales management systems and processes to increase revenue.