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5 posts from March 2009


Announcing the publication of "Find Lost Revenue: Uncover Hidden Causes to Common Sales and Marketing Problems"

LOS ANGELES, March 16, 2009

– Finding new revenue is often a long, tough and expensive business proposition; finding lost revenue opportunities can be a much faster and less costly way to bring in sales dollars. In this newly-published 232-page book, five top-flight executives have come together to discuss 63 of the most common lost revenue issues facing B2B companies, and offer solutions to turning opportunities into sales.

These seasoned pros have learned through their own corporate experience, interim management assignments, and consulting practices how to spot, diagnose and solve lost revenue issues confronting small to large companies. The authors are Patrick McClure, Mark L. Friedman, Judy Key Johnson, Philip A. Nasser and James W. Obermayer.

The work is divided into ten sections, with 63 hard-hitting chapters covering:

• Assessment & Analysis
• Strategic Sales Planning
• Sales Methodology
• Sales Management
• Training and Coaching
• Marketing
• Internet Marketing
• Business Development
• Sales Lead Management/CRM
• Best Practices in Sales Lead Management

Industry leaders have high praise for "Find Lost Revenue."

"This book is like an MBA in B2B sales and marketing. It covers a wide range of strategic and tactical topics, each treated in a digestible but meaty chapter."

    −Ruth P. Stevens, President of eMarketing Strategy and Professor of Marketing, Columbia University Graduate School of Business

"Sales and marketing success is achieved by a complex series of activities that need to be aligned and work together. The problem is that for most B2B selling organizations, they rarely do! Find Lost Revenue offers sound practical advice and actions to pursue the never-ending quest for higher sales. A must-read in these difficult times!"

    John M. Coe, President, Sales & Marketing Institute and author of The Fundamentals of Business-to-Business Sales & Marketing,

"Successful Marketing Leaders know demand creation is critical to sales achievement. Among the tools in this important book are the formulas that quantify the ROI of your marketing and sales spend so that your budgets and priorities are secured. I’ve used these tools in practice and consider this an essential reference."

     Mark Langer, General Manager, of GE Healthcare

"A fresh new book with a well honed focus on finding new revenue." For these days of historic challenges mandating fresh thinking, that focus can be a brilliant new launch pad for tomorrow's business breakthroughs. It is a BIG IDEA book-- full of BIG IDEAS."

    Former CEO of Hearst Newspapers, Bob Danzig

The book is available on Amazon.com or the Sales Productivity Institute (949) 763 1630.  It is also on the Find Lost Revenue Web Site.

Find Lost Revenue: Uncover Hidden Causes to Common Sales and Marketing Problems  By Patrick McClure, Mark L. Friedman, Judy Key Johnson, Philip A. Nasser and James W. Obermayer

Solutions Press, Newport Beach CA, 232 pp., $23.95 ISBN 0975267167


Northern CA BMA - March 25th Luncheon Topic: Why Sales Lead Leakage Kills Momentum and Damages ROI

 SLMA Founder Speaks on the Topic of Sales Leakage

Shares Latest Research on Sales Lead Management Practices

In this fast paced session, James Obermayer, Executive Director of the Sales Lead Management Association will discuss the seven basics rules most companies violate in managing sales inquiries. Companies that gain control of inquiry management and their CRM systems can see a 10% to 30% increase in inquiries and qualified leads that can be accurately counted and attributed to campaigns. When this happens, sales increase and marketing can point to accurate ROI stats; what’s not to love?

Because of inquiry leakage most marketing departments don’t have the ability to credit a lead-generating campaign with actual sales. Inquiry accountability, therefore, is lost and reports are sketchy and incomplete. This means salespeople are less likely to make quota and no one is spending money on lead generation that works the way it was intended. It is not a small problem Obermayer says, "it’s a big problem, a 10% to 30% problem." Marketing that is saddled with this hemorrhage never succeeds in taking credit for the wealth it creates. This is a sad event.

During this session you will learn:

- How to seek out and find the sales lead leakage that is killing your company’s momentum.

- The seven basic rules that will help you overcome the sales leakage that is hurting your company.

- The single tool necessary to enforce a 100% follow-up of all inquiries.

- How to work with sales to account for 100% of the sales inquiries you create.

- How to be bi-lingual, financially speaking, in order to take credit for the wealth you create for your organization.

Obermayer’s four published books include two on Managing Sales Leads.

As a bonus, Obermayer will share recent research on Sales Lead Management Practices and issues which is available on the Sales Lead Management Association web site.


Wednesday, March 25th     11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Location:  David's Banquet Facility

5131 Stars and Stripes Dr.,

Santa Clara, CA 95054

(408) 986-1666

For reservations, please call 650-631-4BMA (4262)   or www.norcalbma.org


53 Reasons Sales are Failing! Sales Leakage Installment #3

Updated on Nov 13, 2016 to 55 Reasons Sales Are Failing

In my interim sales management and consulting assignments I have found 55 reasons why sales commonly falter in most companies. I have published them over the last five weeks in installments; this is the third installment. 

1. Are the right salespeople selling for you? Do you have a "commodity product" salesperson selling on price and delivery for a long-term "consultative" sale? Even worse, do you have the reverse? Test the salesperson to match the personality or sales skills you need to the type of product you have to sell. Be especially vigilant in your hiring process. If your product has an average sales price of $1000 and the sales cycle is 60 days or less, you should avoid a salesperson that has a history of selling high ticket items with a sales cycles of 6 months to a year; the reverse is also true.

2. Are the salespeople properly trained? Have they had product training? Retraining? More importantly have your salespeople attended actual sales training classes based on their abilities? Have you tested them to see where they need help? Salespeople are like athletes, they need constant training which includes how to over-come objections, relationship building, telephone sales skills, product training, over-coming price as an objection, etc.

3. Has the inside sales group had the same sales training as the outside representatives? From sales skill training to product training, too many inside salespeople are ignored and not treated on an equal basis with outside representatives. And yet we know that the inside salesperson has more rejection, must sell without the benefit of seeing a buyer body language, etc. Inside salespeople need as much if not more continuous training than outside salespeople.

4. Are sales territories properly aligned? Is there the same sales potential in each territory? The same number of potential customers? Have you set up the territories based on geographic barriers, drive time, etc?

5. Are there activity quotas that contribute to goal attainment? Activity quotas are habits and actions that you have found that when repeated often enough will lead to a predictable sales outcome. For instance, number of cold calls per day, number of live appointments per week, enumber of proposals, etc.

6. Risking too much with hockey stick sales performance? Hockey stick performers deliver sales in the last week or two of a quarter. If a majority of the salespeople do this you have 50% of more of your sales coming in during this last two weeks. This puts pressure on shipping and creates undue risk if the performers don't perform. Pay bonuses monthly for making quota and stop this risky practice.

7. Tracking the sales pipeline? Do you know the ratio of proposals or outstanding quotes in the pipeline to closed sales? Do top performers have a bigger pipe? Do you factor the pipeline dollars to be able to predict the future sales? Get away from spreadsheets and run to that CRM system you bought last year but never got around to setting up the forecasting reports.

8. Are district and regional sales managers risking as much as the salespeople? Is the sales incentive plan for sales management mirrored to the plan for the salespeople? The closer you get management aligned with salespeople the better and more consistent your results will be. The sales manager must have monthly and quarterly goals just like the salespeople.

9. Are the sales coaches (regional and district sales managers) spending enough time with their salespeople? Are the coaches shouting from the sidelines or are they in the field listening and coaching salespeople to excel?

10. Where are the salespeople spending their time? Have you measured hour by hour where salespeople are spending their time? Is it in the office, behind a windshield, on service problems, on the telephone, in meetings, on in front of new prospects? Make changes to increase the face-to-face selling time.

11. Have you identified your OWN sales process?  The sales process, AKA sales steps or sales stages, are crucial to provide the basis for a CRM system and sales forecasting.  

12. Have you identified the customers buying process?  True, different customer may have different buying processes, but essentially for a particular product most buyers have a similar acquisition process.  Know the process and map it to your sales process


53 Reasons Sales are Failing! Sales Leakage Installment #2

In my interim sales management and consulting assignments I have found 53 reasons why sales commonly falter in most companies. I will be publishing them over the coming five weeks in installments; this is the second. If you can’t wait to see the "rest of the story," take advantage of the offer at the bottom of our home page for the full list.

1. Sales territories turning over? If your salespeople are resigning you have to find out why and stop it cold. Every time a salesperson leaves a territory there are sales lost for six to nine months because the area is uncovered. Productivity in the area leaks away with barely a thought given to it. Keep a bullpen of salespeople that are ready to fill in sales territories or use a recruiter. Fill the territory as fast as possible.

2. Have you set realistic quotas? Is the sales incentive bar set too high? If you have set sales quotas too high (usually visible if less than 70% are making quota), you have to tell the quota-setting president (it usually comes from this office) that quotas are set too high and are not motivating; they are performance killers. Setting stretch quotas (10% to 15% higher than what you really need) is a prudent tactic, but goals that are 30% to 50% higher than the previous year are often unrealistic and demoralizing.

3. Salespeople making quota? If too many territories are not making quota, ask the salespeople why? I know that's a bit obvious but try it anyway.

4. Sales incentive systems too complicated? Ask 10 salespeople how they get paid and if they know how much they'll make by selling your products you're probably doing OK. If they can't explain your incentive compensation plan, you don't have one. If they have to excuse themselves to get a calculator (yes it has happened to me several times), you don’t have an incentive plan.

5. Reporting on quota achievement? If a salesperson doesn't know where they stand on quota achievement, how will they know if they are ahead or behind. Report their performance achievements monthly if not more often.

6. Monthly, quarterly and yearly quotas? If you don't have monthly, quarterly and yearly sales quotas you aren't running a sales organization with salespeople, you've got a group that will hide behind the group when sales fail to deliver. Set monthly and quarterly achievement quotas and watch sales increase within three months.

7. Fiction between sales and marketing? It's supposed to be a team, these marketing and sales folks. If there is anger and frustration between the groups, if their goals are not the same, either get them working on the same team or fire the department heads so you can form new teams.

8. Check with inquirers that are less than six months old. When a group of leads are six months old, 56% of the prospects are still in the market. Go back to them. Love them and nurture them. Bring them to life. Odds are, only 25% have heard from a salesperson.

9. Getting salespeople in front of the prospects faster than your competitors? Because 10% to 15% of the sales from inquiries are made within three months you're losing sales if the salespeople are slow about getting in front of the prospects. Get your salespeople in the door first and let them set the table for others to follow. If salespeople aren't in front if their prospects soon enough, you can lose 25% of the sales potential because you're too slow. In sales you are quick or you are dead!

10. Salespeople getting enough appointments? Teach them how to make appointments or get a specialized company to do it for you. Appointments have a phenomenal closing rate. Get appointments; go to the bank.


53 Reasons Sales are Failing! Sales Leakage Installment #1

In my interim sales management and consulting assignments I have found 53 reasons why sales commonly falter in most companies. I will be publishing them over the coming five weeks in installments; this is the first. If you can’t wait to see the "rest of the story," take advantage of the offer at the bottom of our home page for the full list.

1. Killed your momentum? If sales go into a slump, look to your company's actions and find out what your company did or did not do three to six months ago. There are common momentum killing mistakes that can ruin your forward thrust but typically don’t show up as sales slowdowns for several months. One or a string of these and you have a recipe for disaster. Common momentum stoppers: changes in sales incentive plans, territory reorganizations, senior management changes, premature product deaths, and promotional programs eliminated to redirect money to the bottom line (talk about an oxymoron). Knowing what you did to kill the momentum is the first step in recovery.

2. Mid-year coach replacement? Did you make significant changes in sales management? Changing the coaching staff (especially sales management) in mid season isn't the best way to motivate a team. If you made the mistake, or had no choice in making it, get the new manager in front of every salesperson so that they know who the new coach is and what he or she stands for in their life. Of course, if the sales manager is the problem, changing the coach can invigorate the team.

3. Advertising blackout? Did the company stop lead generating activities about three months before the slump? If so, crank up the promotional machine to pull yourself out of the dive. When you stop lead generating activities you send yourself into a sales lead blackout and you're spiraling downward. Unfortunately it will take from three to six months to repopulate the pipeline, but you have to start somewhere. Start generating inquiries and leads (qualified inquiries).

4. Changed the incentive compensation? Has management has made changes to the incentive compensation plan? Move the food dish and salespeople will wander about trying to figure out how they will make a living. You should only make incentive compensation changes at the beginning of the year. If you made this mistake, go to the salespeople and make sure all of them know how they will be compensated. Explain why you made the changes. If they need a calculator to figure it out, you have made another mistake.

5. Senior management shuffle? Have there been significant changes in senior management, e.g., the president of the company? Sometimes changing the ultimate coach for the company will cause a downward blip in sales. Don’t make this sort of change in management without explaining it in detail to the salespeople. After all, they are the revenue creators for your company and they must feel good about the company’s future and leadership. This isn't something you can avoid, but you can mitigate it.

6. Lost sales reports? Find out why you are losing sales; make lost sales reports mandatory. OK, so maybe you don't have lost sales reports, then start. It's never too late to find out why you're losing more than you're wining.

7. Old proposals? Go back to every proposal (or a statistically significant sample) that you have made in the last six months and interview them to find out why sales are down. Why didn't they buy from your company? Was it price, the salespeople, delivery, features? Find out and fix it.

8. Why are you winning? Find out why you won the sales you won. Interview people that have bought from you in the last year and try to find out the dominant reasons for your sales success. Do more of the right things. Don’t assume you know the answer. Ask others.

9. Sales lead follow-up less than 75%? Look at the follow-up of sales leads over the last three to four months. Is there a problem? If you are not getting at least a 75% reported follow-up and disposition of sales inquiries, you have a problem. Follow-up has to be mandatory. If salespeople are only following up 25%, you are leaving 75% of the sales on the table for your competitors. The reason to set the bar at 75% is that typically 25% of the inquiries are being worked and are not yet into to the sales stages.

10. Resellers playing you for a fool? Is your channel using your leads to sell another company's products? Do a mystery buyer program by calling your independent sales channel and see who they recommend for your products. Fire those that don't recommend you.

Sales Leakage Consulting Inc. * 1770 Front Street, #265 * Lynden, WA 98264
(360) 933-1652 *
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