Sure… 2017 is going to be a challenging year. No one who reads this will disagree with that.
And yes, there are lots of factors that are beyond our control.
But leaders focus on the things they can control, and there are things that you can do to make a difference in 2017.
Here’s my Top 5 list:
1. Get your LSM on the street for coaching mornings at least 1x per week. A coaching morning is different than a sales manager going out to try to rescue a piece of business. It’s a morning of observing (and NOT taking over the call). So it’s important that the morning be spent watching 1-2 diagnosis calls and 1 call that asks for money.
How do you know which skills your AE’s need to improve if you aren’t watching them.
Bonus idea… have each day end with a lunch with the decision maker for a KEY account on that AE’s list before the manager heads back to the office insanity.
2. Have a system for new business that doesn’t wing it. A system that doesn’t have ambiguous processes or goals.
Most of us have clear-cut new business goals. But we miss by not managing activity. I also see a lot of managers fail by not having any consequences for an AE not hitting their new business goals.
Want to immediately improve your new business effectiveness? Start having each AE be aware of their average opening order AND their actual closing % on new business presentations. Then teach them how modest improvements in each can make a huge difference in the billing they generate.
3. Get anyone who’s involved with producing client spots to be better at understanding marketing. How terrible is this? Your AE closes a big piece of business. The client is turned over to production. They produce a spot that is technically beautiful but doesn’t work and the client cancels or doesn’t renew.
The dirty secret about our business? The most powerful sales tool we have is our results, and when a client is sold but becomes disappointed, we’ve missed a huge opportunity.
This is one of those things that has always been important. But as audience levels decline, the need to have creative that works becomes even more critical. (Not creative that’s pretty or funny or graphically perfect… creative that SELLS!!)
4. Get out and see your customers. Get your GM’s out to see your customers. Generals talk to Generals.
Yes, you read this from me a lot. It is my passion. But I also get scared that any business that doesn’t really know their customers is a business on the verge of problems. With so many of our larger clients handled by agencies, it’s a rare station that REALLY knows their customers.
5. Think bigger. My father used to say, “It’s just as easy to marry a rich girl as a poor one.” (Although, today, I understand that it would have been just as easy for me to have a rich father as a poor one – LOL)
Every AE should have 1-3 clients they’ve targeted who has huge potential.
Every manager should be working something themselves that’s even bigger.
One of my favorite GM’s said his goal was to bring in a client(s) who spent an amount that was greater than his annual salary every year.
Leaders ought to challenge AE’s to ask for spending amounts that challenge their comfort zones. Many of our AE’s have a mentality that almost celebrates a small reduction in spending because “at least they didn’t cancel.” But that’s not a victory. That’s a defeat. So creating an UPGRADE mentality that’s focused on asking existing clients to spend more is a powerful strategy to add billing.
It’s so early in 2017 that there’s still plenty of time to make that happen for this year. The first step is in-depth diagnosis calls with the top decision maker of every client to whom we have access. Diagnosis first. Then bring back a 2017 plan that helps their business and asks for more money.
One of my favorite lines talks about “living in the solution rather than in the problem.” We all know the problems that will impact us in 2017, but leaders try to spend as much time as possible living in the solution.
That won’t happen by accident.
Have a GSM or GM meeting in your future? Why not have Jim Doyle or John Hannon speak to your meeting about how to turn your sales staff into a Sales Force? We promise powerful, thought-provoking content customized to your company’s needs. Contact Jim Doyle at email@example.com or call 941-926-SELL.