All posts by s_admin2016


How to Leverage the Power of Social Media for Sales Managers.

With exhibitions and events postponed how can we replicate these experiences?

How can we create new valuable relationships and meaningful meetings?

Over the last couple of months one of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked is… “How can I network and develop new business contacts?”

So, this week I was delighted to be joined by Sara Pearce, founder of marketing consultancy Saffronpea to share some powerful insights and practical tips to help us all leverage the power of social media for sales growth.

Why is this subject worthy of your attention right now as a sales manager?

Basically, the sales environment is changing so fast during this crisis that it is no longer an option for sales professionals to ignore social media as part of their sales strategy, process and daily activity.

As a manager you will be relying on each member of your team to meet and exceed their sales target to achieve success.

But what if only a percentage of your sales team embrace the opportunity social media presents? How will this impact on your company results?

With this potential negative impact in mind, you need to take proactive steps to ensure you are giving clear direction to your team. Not just what to do but ‘how’ and ‘when’ to do it.

You need to create your own ‘social media selling process’ a clear strategy with objectives and specific activities for your team to implement on a daily/weekly basis. And of course, some key metrics based on those activities to track and monitor progress and share success.

The three key areas to cover are:

  1. How to do the RESEARCH to identify ideal prospective clients.
  2. How to effectively make connections.
  3. How to create new relationships and organise valuable meetings.

So, I’d encourage you to watch the recording of this live webinar where Sara will expertly explain precisely how to create powerful social media engagement.

If you have additional questions or you’d like to chat over some details please drop me a line a and I’ll be happy to continue the conversation.

Here’s to you continued sales success!


What are the qualities of a great sales leader?

In addition to all the strategies and tactics of sales management we often discuss in this blog, there’s another aspect to your success which is much closer to home.

Your ability to communicate and positively influence your team.

What’s really interesting is that your success in this area is based almost entirely on just two key factors:

  • Your Character:

The personal qualities you need to develop to lead with authenticity.

  • Your Skills:

The current and relevant skills required to perform at the top of your game.

You really need this holistic approach to provide you with both the personal and professional development required for long-term, sustainable success.

It’s probably true that everyone would like to be a better leader and be able to positively influence others.

I’m going to use leadership and influence synonymously here because, when you really get down to its core, leadership is really the ability to communicate and influence people so that they listen and are moved to act, to change their thoughts or behaviour.

So, if this is not happening, then really you are not influencing them or leading them.

Now you might not necessarily think of yourself as a leader. Often people are promoted to positions of responsibility based on their previous personal success, rather than their ability to lead others. A situation that is all too frequent in sales, is when top performers are seen as the next potential top managers. Unfortunately, the two roles are very different and require completely different skill sets!

The reality is that in every area of life we are called to lead. Whether that is in sales, as a parent, a school football coach or as a company MD. We are all leading and influencing others. So, it makes sense to invest the time to understand how you can become exemplary in this area.

The world is crying out for men and women who can get things done; in every company, there is a constant need for true leaders. But what allows these individuals to have so much impact?

Here is a small exercise which I’d like to invite you to do:

List below two or three people you consider to be great leaders? (They can be from history or alive today.) ___________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________

Next, list what you think are the top ten characteristics of great leaders.


Now, as you look back at your list, ask yourself on each one.

Is this a character trait? Or is it a skill?

Does it have to do with who they are as a person? Or is it a skill they have.

I’ve done this exercise many times with groups and individuals over the years and the result rarely changes. Nearly 100% of the time it’s the character traits people choose rather than skills when they are describing great leaders.

That’s because there is a core principle at play here;

People decide, either consciously or subconsciously, whether they will allow you to influence them based on two fundamental factors: Your Character and your Skills.

This means they will judge you based on who you are as a person plus how they perceive your skill level – what you do and how well you do it.

Based on these two factors they decide almost exclusively whether to follow you or not.

Can I ask you when was the last time your company sent you to a 4-hour character development program?

Never, right? We tend to focus on developing skills and we need to; it is an important factor. However, when it comes to leading others, people are deciding first. Are we good people?

Did you notice that they allow you to lead or influence them? This ability to lead is a gift that they give you. It’s their personal choice and they can take it away too at any time.

So, based on these principles, the only way to enhance your depth of influence is to improve your character and the skills you demonstrate day to day.

Now, you might not think of yourself as a leader and you may not be a good one, or at least not yet at your full potential. But with this understanding, you can now look to purposely develop the traits and skills of a great leader!

 There are many fine personality traits that universally we value in others but especially in our leaders.

Here are just three that have a positive influence on others. Developing yourself in these areas will enable you to become a better leader, influence more people, and make more sales, all from the right foundation.

You can own each of these; they are under your control. That is an important distinction to make, as there are some things you can’t own or directly influence. Success comes when we learn how to own what is ours, do the best we can with it, and leave the rest alone.

    1. Sincerity This quality is foundational to the ability to lead people. In essence, it is the genuineness of your motives, actions, and behaviour. It involves living your life in a way that is whole and undivided. The minute people see you are divided or have two codes of conduct, either in your personal or professional life, you break the trust and belief in you.  Are you are governed by your values and principles regardless of what may seem to be expedient or convenient circumstances of the moment?
    2. Commitment.Anyone that you seek to lead is bound to ask one question. How committed is the person asking me to be committed? You can’t expect commitment from others if it’s not clearly evident in you.Is your commitment demonstrated in these three areas of your life….
      1. Your Performance.
Let me ask you when was the last time you met an athlete or a top business person that wasn’t fully committed to it?It just doesn’t happen, does it?Does your performance reflect your commitment to achieving top results?
      2. Your life’s ambitions and victories. Looking longer-term do you demonstrate a commitment to achieving your goals.
      3. Your commitment affects your quality of life.

When was the last time you found somebody who was totally uncommitted with a very high quality of life?  It just doesn’t happen.

So, are you committed to continually learning, growing and improving the quality of your life?

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.” Vince Lombardi.

  • Attitude. How do others perceive your attitude? Is it positive or negative? Would your team describe you as an optimistic person?The root of the word “optimistic” is the word opt or to choose. You choose your Attitude.

    Who wants to follow a pessimist? Optimists lead people because people want to improve.

    Fundamentally, you choose how you will see things.

    This is done in a very specific way. Firstly, you need to understand the relationship between your thoughts, feelings, actions, and results.

    You must be very aware of the thoughts you allow into your mind and control any negativity.

    Your thoughts are powerful things and they directly control your emotions and feelings. These emotions will drive your beliefs, behaviour and actions, which ultimately create your results.

    It takes real self-control to control your mind and its dominating thoughts but this is the only way to maintain a positive attitude, one that is not affected by circumstance.

    “There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. That little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”

    — W. Clement Stone.


In this brief post, we’ve touched on three character traits of top leaders. If you’d like to dive deeper and research more about all ten qualities of top sales leaders see Chapter 11 of The Sales Strategist. It would be great to hear your thoughts and comments on what you consider the most important qualities in your leaders?


How to stop inaccurate forecasting keeping you up at night!

Working continually with sales managers to improve performance; one key issue I know that frustrates them is the problem of inaccurate sales forecasts.

There is nothing worse than having a sleepless night knowing you need to present sales results that are far adrift from your forecast figures to the board the next morning.

So, what actions can you take to significantly improve this situation and reduce the associated stress?

  1. Identify the root cause of the problem. Rather than focusing on the results the problem actually lies much further upstream. It’s the quality of communication displayed by your salespeople in their meetings. By investing your time coaching them to improve the quality of their questioning and active listening skills you will improve the depth and quality of information for each sales opportunity.
  2. Use tools to collaboratively analyse and track sales opportunities. Capture this greater level of information using a gap analysis tool like the ‘Linear Compass Card’ I use. It helps coach collaboratively each salesperson so they can identify the gaps in their sales opportunities and take corrective actions to move themselves into a position to win the deal. Using a tool like this gives you greater visibility and accountability on each project you decide to forecast.
  3. Keep your forecasting tight. With an enhanced level of visibility and improved quality of information available to you from these 1-2-1 meetings, you can begin to have increased confidence about your forecast. You are also well placed to answer any questions in the board room relating to a specific opportunity because you are close to it. But don’t allow red herrings or fake soon to close opportunities to enter into your forecast figures. Make sure your opportunities have passed through each stage of your sales process correctly before you forecast them.
  4. Change from probability to close to percentage complete. One key to making your forecasting accurate is to change the way you think about your sales process. Every sales stage or step in your pipeline should reflect a set of activities that must be completed in order to move the opportunity through the pipeline. By making this change, you are no longer moving deals forward based on the ‘probability they will close, which at best is a subjective opinion, often based on feelings. To a ‘percentage complete’ in the sales process, an objective measure based on actual facts.

By continually implementing these four points everyone in the company will start using the pipeline properly. Over the next few months the level of accuracy will rise giving you confidence in your forecasting and a good night’s sleep!

If you’d like a copy of the tools mentioned in this article or you’d like to discuss the ideas further please drop me an email at

We all get better from sharing and learning from one another’s experiences.


6 Killer Reasons Why You Need Effective CRM usage to Maximise Your Sales.

Manchester September 25th.

More firms than you would ever imagine both small, medium and larger organisations, still have little or no visibility and control over their sales revenue.

They often fall into two camps, either they have no CRM system at all and rely on a myriad of spread sheets and disparate reports to attempt to manage the business. Or secondly, they have a CRM system but it has never been fully adopted by management or staff to effectively manage their customer engagement. Often the CRM is little more than a glorified address book of contacts rather than a vital tool to track the business in real time and capitalise on the many opportunities currently being lost to deliver value to customers.

So, why not take a fresh look at what you are doing to improve the effectiveness of your management & sales team by reviewing these 6 points below provided by David Beard CRM Principal at Sage

Do an honest self-appraisal and see where you can improve.

I love to hear your comments on what you have done so far that’s working for you and what challenges you face now to take this to the next level.

We are all continually learning from each other and developing better solutions together.

  1. Future Visibility.
    • An accounting system only views past performance.  What about indicators of next year’s success?
    • Contracts due for renewal, key contacts to follow-up, marketing activity to study for trends, sales pipeline dips indicating possible customer departures and much more.
    • Only “forward looking” customer relationship management (CRM) tools can give you this.
  2. Proactive Sales Approach.
    • Are you leveraging customer information as well as you should? Proactively plan & accurately target your products & services, rather than just trying it randomly with a few people that are front of mind.
  3. Protect Your Assets.
    • When a key staff member leaves, are they walking out the door with your business in their head, not retained in the company?
    • What would it mean to your business if you lost a key customer or contract just because no-one else knew what was going on?
    • What has a customer been promised, what is yet to do?  A central CRM system collects, manages & retains a key corporate asset –
  4. Increase Productivity.
    • Are you operating in an even more competitive environment? To keep up, are you trying to do more with fewer resources?
    • Shouldn’t you be more efficient by getting all your information in one place & taking advantage of CRM tools (email marketing, workflow, etc.) to improve your business volume without employing more staff or doing more hours?”
  5. Improved Customer Experience.
    • In a world where customer experience is a key differentiator, how are you managing?
    • Can you make sure all your staff are ‘in the know’, ensure anyone can manage issues with ease & that no-one drops the ball at every customer touchpoint?
    • Putting CRM in everyone’s hands helps you commit to your company’s promise of quality service.”
  6. Organisation = Efficiency.
    • Overwhelmed by spreadsheets, word documents, paper files, invoicing & a myriad of other systems?
    • How much more efficient could you be internally & would it look externally?
    • Putting CRM at the heart of your business can ensure prospects, sales, service & financial information is available to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

So why not join David Beard & I on September25th in Manchester for the BCFA CRM Workshop event. Drive Business Growth Through Successful CRM Implementation.

The full details are provided on the link below.

The focus is on how to drive growth via Customer Engagement to create consistent sales results, something many organisations are challenged with achieving.

This is going to be a very interactive session with some great case studies to share and practical strategies to take away and implement for sales growth.

I hope you or a member of your organisation can join us!


What is your sales focus?

Many companies are still not moving fast enough in adopting a sales focus that delivers value to buyers.  The training their salespeople receive still encourages them to lead conversations based on the attributes and capabilities of their product or service.

Whilst this may have worked in the past it’s a real turn off to today’s buyers. One reason is that these people are already quite capable of doing their own research, competitive analysis and obtaining social proof. They are already ahead in the buying process and need salespeople who understand this and can join the rapidly on the same page.

So, is it time you looked at your company’s or your personal sales focus?

Are you still focusing your meetings around ‘educating’ your buyer on products, services, features and benefits?

It’s time to shift that mind-set and focus on creating business outcomes.

Buyers do want your help and they will meet with you but you need to demonstrate you can add value early on in the conversation.

This requires you to do your homework. You need to be familiar with the key issues facing your buyer’s sector or industry. Enabling you to deliver meaningful insights that demonstrate how you can help them achieve their business goals.

Often sellers struggle to do this because they are stuck in their comfort zone talking only about THEIR product or Service. They lack the ability to differentiate themselves by being able and comfortable discussing key business challenges and objectives.

Having this wider sector knowledge and context together with an in-depth understanding of your own industry gives you credibility.

It enables you to show new ways to drive strong business results and collaborate with buyers in creating solid solutions that can deliver real value.

Demonstrating your capabilities is still important but your focus must be on value + differentiation = Business Transformation.


Discipline x Organisation = SPEED

Do you know the 1st Law of the Universe?


Our universe, displays extraordinary design from the  planets in perfect orbit to the pollution free recycling water system everything works in harmony.

How about your business world?
Does order reign here or are you constantly chasing your tail?

One reason could be that IT’s pace is far ahead of our ability to implement it.
Also technology has rapidly increased the pace of communication and this has impacted the expectation of our clients regarding response times.

To gain control we must make the sales support process easier for sales people.

So before you implement any new CRM sales apps ask yourself.

This app is efficient but is it effective in getting results?

Too often IT CRM and apps are designed by IT for IT , not for sales.

Making CRM reporting easy and fast  is a major factor in getting sales people’s buy-in which is vital for true adoption.

Unfortunately, the reality I’m seeing in many top organisations is that their CRM systems are poorly administered and infrequently used professionally by sales teams. There is a lack of order leading to lost deals , wasted time and energy which is hurting customer relationships and the bottom line.

The excuse you’ll hear time after time is….I don’t have time to do it.

The reality is can you afford to waste your time and energy working ineffectively?

Forget Time Management it’s an ridiculous concept. Time moves on at the same rate and has done for millennia, so you can’t manage it.

However what you can manage is yourself (Discipline)? and your tasks.(Organisation)

Here is a great equation I learned from Dr Alan Weiss PhD at Summit Consulting that encapsulates it perfectly.

Discipline x Organisation = SPEED

I’d encourage you to take a step back and review your sales process over the coming week. Is it really driving growth and profit into your business?

If you’d like some fresh ideas on how you can improve the status quo look at a brief video highlighting the 5 pillars of Sales Management to benchmark your current strengths and areas you can improve.

Implement these processes and you will be well on your way to creating order and higher sales results.

How have you set your sails? For Opportunity or Scarcity.

Change represents opportunity.

But uncertainty is certain to lead to indecision which could be very helpful to you, potentially.

The current UK/EU uncertainty will paralyse your competition, slow their innovation and produce demotivated sales teams.

The same wind blows to us all.

But how you set your sails …that’s up to you.

So will you capture the competitive advantage?

With all the media noise and excitement many this week are losing focus on their goals and top objectives.

Remember 2008 the majority battened down the hatches, stopped marketing, limited R&D product development and reduced their sales activities.

Whilst others saw the opportunity to take the competitive advantage from an uncertain situation.

They improved the quality and frequency of their marketing. In doing so they captured existing and potential client’s attention while there was a vacant space.

They invested in R&D, producing new products and service offerings. By completing these projects on time they were ready to fly as the market recovered. This positive stance paid dividends as it kept them well ahead of their competition who were still stuck in first gear when they finally decided to re-enter the market late.

So what’s the lesson?

Think twice before you let go of your positive mindset it will always be your most valuable asset. Regardless of circumstance.

In future months and years there will be winners and losers that’s the reality. But the question I’d like to leave you to consider is.

What will you decide to see, opportunity or scarcity?

The wind is blowing but you choose how you set your sails.

Don’t Let Your Top Performers Go Stagnant!

I was asked last week by a senior sales manager why I thought several of her company’s top performers were off to a slow start this year.

So I’d like to share with you my response on three key reasons this can happen.

  1. Top performers… first to be neglected.

We assume they are feeling great and will automatically continue producing high level results. This is disrespectful and assumptive on management’s part. When was the last time you acknowledged or recognised a top performing person verbally or in a substantive way?

Sales is a learned skill that needs constant development and re-calibration. If you owned a high performance sports car you wouldn’t expect top performance if you never made the investment into regular servicing and maintenance. Your team are no different.

Ensure everyone in the team receives training and development in the latest, most effective and relevant sales strategies, including any technology advances.

  1. Top performers… can easily forget what got them to the top.

It’s not uncommon for top sales people to experience a slump or slow patch. Their results look like a typical bell curve diagram. One reason is that they become very adept at recognising the challenges and issues faced by clients. This is a great asset but it can also be a double edged sword if they forget the need to spend sufficient time investigating clients individual situation. If they jump in and offer solutions too early they meet with resistance from the prospect. They don’t feel the sales person understands their situation well enough and the solutions are seen as generic. They must remember that gaining this greater understanding of the clients situation is the key element in building the trust  they require for the relationship to grow.

So review the basics, ensure good questioning and Active listening hasn’t lapsed.

  1. Top performers… need to Keep it fresh.

It’s tough to stay 100% motivated year in year out. Often months or years can pass without a proper review of their aspirations and the opportunities for growth. Perhaps that’s within sales, bigger accounts, international business or using their experience in a management role. Or do they desire additional courses or education. In any event make sure you have this conversation before your competition does!

So don’t procrastinate, review your team today on these 3 points and discover who you might be neglecting.