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CEO Advisor® Newsletter
January 2015

12 Ways to Increase Sales in the New Year

CEOs and business owners are constantly looking for ways to improve sales performance. The never ending need to increase sales is more critical today than ever. Additionally, to make your company sellable in the future, and to increase the value of your business, 25 - 50% growth year over year is paramount.


Below are 12 pitfalls plus ways to address sales performance and increase sales in 2015: 


1. Sales Goals 

You, the CEO, are the only one that truly understands your Sales Goals and Sales Compensation Plan. Review your Sales Goals at least monthly at your weekly sales meetings, and motivate your sales team at least quarterly by highlighting the upside of your Sales Comp Plan as a key factor in improving sales performance.

2. Sales Training
If your sales training is haphazard, inconsistent or seldom, find out how many salespeople can describe the steps in your sales process or perform a discovery meeting effectively on a consistent basis. Sales process and closing skills must be at the center of your sales team's culture and training. Document and review your sales process in sales meetings and role play to improve your sales techniques.

3. Post Mortem
You don't take the time to learn how to improve sales when you lose out on a sales prospect. Also, you don't take time to learn something when you win a sale. That knowledge is power. You need that information if you expect to improve your sales performance. Input this information into your CRM and take five minutes at sales meetings to recap lost and won sales opportunities.

4. Sales Pipeline
You wanted higher sales activity and now your sales pipeline is packed with unqualified prospects that will never buy. Train your sales team to seek out qualified prospects with a need, urgency and a budget. By focusing on qualified prospects only, you will increase sales substantially.

5. Sales vs. Service
Due to cuts in customer service or administrative support, salespeople spend too much time on customer service issues and not enough time selling new accounts. Sales will increase when your salespeople focus their time on doing what they do best...selling.

6. Sales Metrics
You are focused on the weekly number of sales calls when you need to focus on all the metrics: daily sales calls, weekly appointments, monthly proposal presentations and sales goals vs. actual sales. Holding your salespeople accountable is a critical driver of sales. Focus on the above and you'll increase sales performance substantially.

7. Sales Presentations
No one can recite the Elevator Pitch or fluidly present your sale Power Point you spent months developing. And inconsistencies in each salesperson's discovery meeting process, sales presentations, proposal presentations and closings are costing you big. Role play at sales meetings on a regular basis to perfect the sales process, sales presentations and closing techniques.

8. Overcoming Objections
In your on-going training at sales meetings, the sales team was never supplied with sharp answers to the most common sales objections they face every day. Overcoming objections can be the crown jewel of closing sales, so cover these in your sales meetings and closing meetings with prospects.

9. Professional Trainer
You never hired an outside sales trainer/consultant. Since there isn't any new material, you now only train "new hires" and even new hires don't have the training or sales goals to optimize results. Improve sales by providing professional sales training to all sales reps on-going.

10. Referrals
It's been too long since a salesperson asked for a referral from a client or prospect and your lack of tracking referrals has left you in the dark. Referrals improve sales and reduce the sales cycle so set goals for referrals and emphasize them in all sales meetings.

11. Sales Tools
You don't have a list of customers with references or testimonials. Make sure your sales team has all the necessary tools to maximize sales, including brochures, sales presentations, customer lists, testimonials and other sales materials.

12. Effective Use of CRM
Salespeople improperly or inconsistently use your CRM prospecting database and sales opportunities are slipping through the cracks with reduced tracking, reporting and accountability. Train your sales team to properly use your CRM consistently to improve sales dramatically.

Sales success always goes to the team with the best training and sales skills. CEO Advisor provides professional sales training, CRM training, goal setting and optimizes sales results.


Contact Mark Hartsell, MBA, CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc. today for a no cost initial consultation at (949) 629-2520, by email at MHartsell@CEOAdvisor.com or visit us at www.CEOAdvisor.com for more information. 

The Importance of Business and Sales Strategy
Critical Skills for the CEO/Owner
The Wharton Business School newsletter, published by The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania did a recent poll of executives and business owners. The results below show the four most important skills that would strengthen a CEO's performance.
Strengthening what skill would most improve your performance?
Leadership - 33%
Time Management - 28%
Negotiating - 22%
Understanding Your Financials - 17% 
1. Leadership
Leadership and execution is the key to success and achieving your goals. Leadership requires planning, organization, being proactive, having a crystal clear understanding of the business both financially (quantitatively) and operationally (qualitatively), hiring and managing people of multiple generations and cultures, and creating a culture of accountability to grow your business to the next level.
2. Time Management
Time management is the Achilles heel of most CEOs and small business owners. Not just managing time on a calendar and working 60 hours a week to keep up, but real strategy and planning to focus and structure your time to impact your business in a disciplined manner. CEO Advisor, Inc. works with its CEOs and small business owner clients to set goals and priorities, and truly excel in both leadership and time management.
3. Negotiating to Success
Negotiating is the Holy Grail in business - with customers, prospects, vendors, employees, etc. We focus deeply on negotiations using some of the top techniques used by military leaders and business people. Your sales team can benefit tremendously from sales training and negotiating skills training from securing the initial meeting to negotiating price effectively to closing large deals. Strengthening your negotiating skills can yield a 100X return on your investment. If you are not a master negotiator and salesperson, invest in your negotiating skills and prosper in 2014 and beyond.
4. Understanding Your Financials
If there is one New Year's resolution that every CEO and small business owner should commit to is gaining a thorough understanding of the financials of your business. If you don't, you are flying blind! This includes your Profit & Loss Statement (Accrual and Cash basis), Balance Sheet, Financial Ratios, creating a 2014 Financial Forecast, and learning to analyze and understand how to positively impact your Gross Margins and Net Profit, as well as, pinpointing early signs of problems. CEO Advisor Inc. spends the time to ensure every client not only understands but uses their company's financials in growing their business to the next level.
Contact Mark Hartsell, MBA, CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc. today at (949) 629-2520 for a no cost initial consultation, by email at MHartsell@CEOAdvisor.com or visit us at www.CEOAdvisor.com for more information.
Critical Skills for the CEO/Owner
The Wharton Business School newsletter, published by The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania did a recent poll of executives and business owners. The results below show the four most important skills that would strengthen a CEO's performance.
Strengthening what skill would most improve your performance?
Leadership - 33%
Time Management - 28%
Negotiating - 22%
Understanding Your Financials - 17% 
1. Leadership
Leadership and execution is the key to success and achieving your goals. Leadership requires planning, organization, being proactive, having a crystal clear understanding of the business both financially (quantitatively) and operationally (qualitatively), hiring and managing people of multiple generations and cultures, and creating a culture of accountability to grow your business to the next level.
2. Time Management
Time management is the Achilles heel of most CEOs and small business owners. Not just managing time on a calendar and working 60 hours a week to keep up, but real strategy and planning to focus and structure your time to impact your business in a disciplined manner. CEO Advisor, Inc. works with its CEOs and small business owner clients to set goals and priorities, and truly excel in both leadership and time management.
3. Negotiating to Success
Negotiating is the Holy Grail in business - with customers, prospects, vendors, employees, etc. We focus deeply on negotiations using some of the top techniques used by military leaders and business people. Your sales team can benefit tremendously from sales training and negotiating skills training from securing the initial meeting to negotiating price effectively to closing large deals. Strengthening your negotiating skills can yield a 100X return on your investment. If you are not a master negotiator and salesperson, invest in your negotiating skills and prosper in 2014 and beyond.
4. Understanding Your Financials
If there is one New Year's resolution that every CEO and small business owner should commit to is gaining a thorough understanding of the financials of your business. If you don't, you are flying blind! This includes your Profit & Loss Statement (Accrual and Cash basis), Balance Sheet, Financial Ratios, creating a 2014 Financial Forecast, and learning to analyze and understand how to positively impact your Gross Margins and Net Profit, as well as, pinpointing early signs of problems. CEO Advisor Inc. spends the time to ensure every client not only understands but uses their company's financials in growing their business to the next level.
Contact Mark Hartsell, MBA, CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc. today at (949) 629-2520 for a no cost initial consultation, by email at MHartsell@CEOAdvisor.com or visit us at www.CEOAdvisor.com for more information.

A sound business and sales strategy is key to success and growth. Former U.S. President and military commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower, stated that "A finished plan is generally worthless, but carefully crafted planning is absolutely essential." Unless you have a carefully crafted business strategy, you are essentially flying blind.


In other words, while a given plan may change based on what happens with your business, taking the time to thoroughly examine where your business is now and where it is headed gives you the information to make course changes intelligently, against the backdrop of a clear business strategy.


Why Work on Your Business and Sales Strategy?

The answer to this question is focus and goals. Strategy creates context for operating decisions. It establishes the playing field and provides guidance for decision-making. Your strategy leverages experience and skills of employees, positioning of marketing and advertising, the priority of initiatives, a clear path to a productive sales team, less wasted time and money, increased sales and profits, and a greatly enhanced value of your business.


A plan is necessary to guide decision-making, channel resources, set goals and define direction. Because of that, formulating a strategy is well worth the time it will take to develop it. Strategy enables you to focus on your highest priorities and largest opportunities to achieve success, and is the way in which a company meets its on-going challenges and opportunities.


Strategy is a set of choices that defines the nature, direction and value system of any company. It is a mindset which should be understood by every person in the company and used to guide all decision-making within the organization.

In developing strategy, leaders make conscious and informed choices about who they are and what they stand for:

 

  • What are our core values and beliefs? 
  • What target markets will we specialize in and serve?
  • What products and services will we offer and how profitable is each one? 
  • What competitive advantages will cause us to succeed? 
  • What core competencies must we have to fuel our growth?
  • How will we sell our products and services?
  • How will we market our products and services? 
  • What infrastructure, core processes and resources must we have to succeed? 
  • What financial results will we achieve?


Next, and the hardest part, is the plan implementation. Research in the last several years has pinpointed many reasons why businesses fail, including the following:

1. Poorly Understood StrategyMost companies have a strategy but, according to one study, fewer than 5% of their employees know what the strategy is.

2. Weak Strategy - Execution Studies show that up to 90% of strategies fail due to poor execution.

3. Inability to Adapt to ChangeOnce a business makes plans, the challenges of everything changing around it may gradually erode those plans unless the organization can adapt and stay focused.

4. Lack of a Systematic ApproachDiscipline is needed in all size companies.

5. People are Not Engaged - An engaged worker is one who is personally committed to the goals of the company. Unfortunately, 90% of the time what passes for commitment is actually compliance. If you cannot get people engaged, no improvement will last.

6. A Gap Between Knowing What To Do, and Doing It - Many things can get in the way including substituting talk for action, employee fear or mistrust of management, using the company's history instead of sound judgment to dictate action, and badly designed or complex measures.


In the end, a solid business and sales strategy and effective implementation plan may not solve all of your problems but those companies that do plan and strategize enjoy a much brighter track record, greater profits and dramatically higher valuations. Plan well, beware of the pitfalls in implementation and you can enjoy your best year yet in 2015. CEO Advisor, Inc. has helped many CEOs and small business owners achieve results and success through planning and effectively implementing their strategy.


Contact Mark Hartsell, CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc. at (949) 629-2520,by email at MHartsell@CEOAdvisor.com or visit us at www.CEOAdvisor.com for a no cost, no obligation initial consultation today.

Testimonial  


"I was very pleased that Mark and CEO Advisor, Inc. accepted us as a client, and we've been handsomely rewarded by their efforts. Mark brings an abundance of expertise, insight and passion for the success of his clients. Armed with exceptional listening skills, Mark will save any company at any stage valuable time and money. CEO Advisor will remain an integral partner of our company going forward, and because of them we are growing leaps and bounds."

CEO, Healthcare Technology 

Words of Wisdom


"You must be very patient, very persistent. The world isn't going to shower gold coins on you just because you have a good idea. You're going to have to work like crazy to bring that idea to the attention of people. They're not going to buy it unless they know about it."


Herb Kelleher

Former CEO of Southwest Airlines


"You must be very patient, very persistent. The world isn't going to shower gold coins on you just because you have a good idea. You're going to have to work like crazy to bring that idea to the attention of people. They're not going to buy it unless they know about it."

 

Herb Kelleher

Former CEO of Southwest Airlines

"You must be very patient, very persistent. The world isn't going to shower gold coins on you just because you have a good idea. You're going to have to work like crazy to bring that idea to the attention of people. They're not going to buy it unless they know about it."

 

Herb Kelleher

Former CEO of Southwest Airlines

"You must be very patient, very persistent. The world isn't going to shower gold coins on you just because you have a good idea. You're going to have to work like crazy to bring that idea to the attention of people. They're not going to buy it unless they know about it."
 
Herb Kelleher
Former CEO of Southwest Airlines