Friday, July 31, 2009

Sometimes Team Success is About Harnessing the Power of Self

Voracity is a very powerful emotion that, if harnessed properly, can be both self-serving and profitable for any business. The secret is to find a way to create an environment where selfishness can and will serve two masters. How can that be done? I'm glad you asked!

Remember why you came to work today, and be honest with yourself. Your first answer (company line) is that you wanted to get started on making your company the best and most highly-respected in the nation or the world. But ask again, this time giving yourself a chance to reflect a bit further. OK, so you might have come to earn a paycheck so that you can pay the bills and possibly have a little left over to spend on yourself. The introspection continues: Will I have more income than expenses this week? Will I be able to take a vacation? Can I afford to go out to diner tonight rather than having to eat at home in front of the television? Suddenly, your honorable corporate mantra seems a little less believable. You’re horrified with yourself.

Don't be ashamed. Aligning personal goals with professional objectives is the win-win of management today. Every employee in the company must clearly understand that the way they make more money is for the company to make more money. They must understand how going the extra mile will result in their personal gain. How will they be able to improve their lives by improving the service or products the company has to offer?

Compensation plans that are too complicated or take too long from the time of service to reward are not the answer. False hope and empty promises will do more to decrease morale than any other aspect of management. Reward programs must be easy to understand, directly tied to measurable outcomes, and frequent in nature. When you start to see small increases in your pay over a short period of time it will motivate you and others to keep up the good work.

Core Beliefs by Functional Area


  • The best strategic plans are the ones that actually get executed
  • The obvious is hard to do
  • Good management is not a luxury and is more important in hard times
  • Great companies are always defining and refining their strategy.
  • You have to know why your are in business
  • Great companies are constantly re-investing in themselves
  • Understanding the value of taking risks is key to growth
  • Well-managed companies make more money
  • Organizations are as good/bad as their leaders
  • Achieving shared vision and alignment is a constant struggle
  • Management requires and is a discipline
  • An outside view adds value, perspective can be limiting


  • We’re all equally limited and empowered by our experiences
  • Great companies have history/stories – well-defined culture
  • Leadership and management go hand in hand but are not the same things
  • Achieving shared vision and alignment is a constant struggle
  • Great companies are constantly learning organizations
  • Empowering employees to an ownership mentality is key to success
  • Individuals have the potential to do great things, leaders must learn to unlock it
  • Great companies have history/stories – well-defined culture
  • Communication is always happening, the real question is are you a part of it?


  • Hard work doesn’t necessarily equal profits
  • Activity is not productivity
  • Process with the right amount of structure & freedom is key to success
  • Tools are essential to producing work
  • Quality is never a trade off
  • Customers are the reason we are in business
  • Marketing is not a dirty word
  • Marketing is a science
  • Selling doesn’t start until the potential customers say "no"
  • Business doesn’t start until you sell somebody something

Using CRM to Improve Your Marketing ROI

"Marketing ROI" is a trendy catch-phrase these days, but what does it really mean? While many top managers we speak to think their marketing programs are generating positive results, in reality, most of them don't really know.

Since Marketing's top priority is to generate qualified leads for Sales, management's focus should be on measuring the quantity and quality of leads which Marketing is driving into the sales pipeline, and which Sales is converting into revenue. The best place to capture and analyze this information is in your CRM (customer relationship management) system.

Yet getting this information from most CRMs is difficult, because sales orders typically bypass the CRM altogether and are entered into a separate Order Entry system. Too often, it is difficult to track sales orders back to the marketing program that originally generated the sales lead.

If you are serious about tracking the return on investment from your marketing efforts, here are some simple but critical steps you should follow to capture the right data, at the right time in the sales process:

  1. Make sure your sales people are accurately tracking each actual sale in your CRM system, by converting opportunities into closed orders, with accurate order values.
  2. In addition to normal CRM entries, make sure your CRM has standard fields to capture the following data:
    Lead Source
    Market Segment
    Sales Region
    Reason for Win/Loss
  3. Train and require all marketing and sales personnel to fill in each of these fields in the CRM consistently, as leads are generated throughout the sales process. Many companies program rules into their CRM workflow which makes these fields required.
  4. Take steps to collect, analyze and measure the results of each campaign, as soon as the campaign has been completed. This will allow you to capture the information while it is still fresh, and instill discipline and accountability in your organization to regularly report results.
  5. Proactively track and compile statistics for management which highlight Marketing's contribution to Sales' success. At a minimum, management should be receiving quarterly reports with the following marketing data, sorted by campaign, lead source and sales region:
    Total leads generated
    Leads passed to Sales
    Orders from leads (number, dollar value)
    Close ratio
    Total campaign investment
    Sales divided by campaign investment (ROI)

By creating and following these simple processes, you can be among the few companies out there that are actually measuring their Marketing ROI efficiently. The benefits from such discipline are numerous, including:

Continuous campaign improvement
Better marketing budget justification
Improved recognition of Marketing's role in driving sales growth
Better collaboration between Marketing & Sales
Increased revenue and profit!

Telesales Success: Begin with the End in Mind

You may remember the following excerpt from Steven Covey's book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: "Clients often ask me, 'how can we get our inside sales team to talk to more prospects?' Sure...threats, begging, yelling, low level torture, coercion, and brut force entice reps to make more calls as long as the manager is there with his whip, but productivity plunges when the manager isn't around. I believe the motivation to expose yourself to rejection multiple times per day has to come from within."

For salespeople with the potential to be motivated "from within", I have used the following exercise that beings with these two questions:

What do you want to earn in the next year? How much do you need to sell in order to earn that sum?

Then together, we calculate the daily level of activity needed to accomplish that earning goal.

While everyone says they want to make $100,000+ per year, most folks aren't willing to put in the necessary effort. The difference between success and failure in goal-setting is the participants' acknowledgement that they REALLY want to earn six figures and not just fantasize about it.

If sales are lacking, we examine why deals are being lost to competitors and then develop a closing strategy for the other deals in the pipeline. If the pipeline is thin, usually the reason is insufficient activity (calls and contacts).

My motivational conversations with sales executives generally go something like this, "I want to help you hit your goal, and I'm concerned you will come up short if something doesn't change." If after a few sessions, I don't see increased activity, it is generally because the person has concluded that they can't or won't meet expectations.

Of course, exceptions occur. For instance, some people have seemingly lower activity but a higher close rate or a higher average sale. As long as the sales targets are being exceeded, I'm OK with this....if not, sales management could turn into a painful process for all involved.

The following worksheet is an example of what I've used to help sales people determine their needed activity. GREEN highlights are calculation fields.

Monthly 2006
Sales Goal $100,000 $1,200,000
Average Sale $5,000 $5,000
Sales Needed 20 240
Estimated Close Rate 50% 50%
Number of NEW Deals Added to Pipeline 40 480
Value of NEW Deals Added to Pipeline $200,000 $2,400,000
Contact Hit Rate (% interested of those contacted) 20% 20%
Needed Monthly Contacts 200 2400
Dials to Contacts 20% 20%
Needed Dials 1000 12000
Number of NEW Deals Added To Pipeline Daily 2
Value of NEW Deals Added to Pipeline Daily $10,000
Approx. Contacts per day 10
Approx. Dials per day 50

So, by beginning with the end in mind and working backwards through the steps necessary to achieving certain sales goals, your inside sales team will have a roadmap for greater success. And that's a win-win for everyone involved, especially your organization.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Recent Article in Workforce Management Magazine

I had the pleasure of discussing the state of the economy and the tools we use in today's recruiting market with a reporter from Workforce Management Magazine. Check out the article here.