Salespeople need to leverage themselves.  As a sales manager, you must not only educate your team on this, but monitor your team’s actual activity.

Recently, I presented a web cast to a number of people on the topic of how to partner or how to work with other organizations that are “non-competitive, but sell in to your existing market.”   I call these Business-EcoSystem partners. It is a philosophy and tactic that Executives can use to leverage your expertise, your resources, and ability to grow your business. During the program, I stated that, if successfully implemented, the partnering program would bring in the equal of one salesperson’s revenue/quota per year without the cost of hiring another salesperson.

While that program was aimed at executives, I like to address in this blog what salespeople need to do to leverage themselves.  As a sales manager you must not only educate your team on this, but monitor your team’s actual activity.

Salespeople must find ways to leverage themselves as well and the good news is, it won’t cost selling time. I have listed a few ideas and I would encourage all the readers to contribute their thoughts.

  1. Create a spreadsheet listing all of the “Circles of Influence” within your market and assign someone to connect with each person on a regular basis.  These people are individuals that can influence decisions; they differ based upon your product/service but could be: Commercial Bankers, Architect’s, CPA’s, consultants.  If you want a sample Excel spreadsheet to help you track these individuals send me an email.
  2. Develop your list of 5 to 10 networking sources. These may be local associations, networking groups or social events where potential networking contacts may attend.  Guru’s Rule: Every salesperson should attend at least one networking group event per month.
  3. If you have individual salespeople that you are networking with; be in touch every month-out sight is out of mind. Send them interesting sales ideas you have picked up via email, send them a sales book, and work to find a lead for them-it must be a win-win situation.  Arrange a lunch or breakfast meeting. Invite them to your office to see your solutions and meet your team.
  4. As a salesperson or sales manager you will need to track activity.  Networking is a lot like flossing your teeth, for it to do you any good; you have to do it regularly. Include networking activity as a metric.   If you pay attention to certain actions, your sales people will also.
  5. Make it both ways. Another way to say this is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want to have your phone calls returned, return phone calls. If you want help with your sales career, you must be willing to help others. When I started my business I tried to make two networking calls a week, while my objectives have changed, I still return the phone calls.
  6. Can you use the referrals name? Yesterday, I was meeting with a Meeting Planner and provided her two sources; during the conversation I suggested she should use my name. If you networking source does not offer that, ask!  You need to be totally clear as to their relationship and how to use the referral.
  7. Find the right people.  Look for active, energetic and creative people that are hungry to build their business. Are they already active, how would you judge their existing market relationships?  What is their profile within your market?   Obviously LinkedIn is a great tool to find the individuals you wish to work with.

Make it part of your sales business plan, if you are fighting for leads and trying to increase your pipeline-building a network of relationships is a lifetime objective.

Eighteen months ago, I reached out to someone that had crossed my radar; I placed a call, shared some thoughts, and explored a few ideas.  What has it lead to?  Four consulting agreements with major vendors, a variety of industry speaking opportunities and increased market awareness! We have actually done all of this together-both have added value and expertise to our new mutual clients.  And, we have had fun doing it.


About the author

Ken Thoreson

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the…

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