Saturday, 1 October 2011

Sales Leadership Research Findings 2011 presented at ISMM executive forum by TACK International

Michaelmas Day ( 29th September) is a day for new beginnings in the UK.

 It was traditionally one of the quarter days of the year when new magistrates were appointed, servants hired and University and Law terms began.

For business it was date when rents were due, leases begun , debts paid - even a day for commercial exhibitions and fairs.

This year's  Nottingham  goose fair, the 717th  will run from from October 5th-9th

A traditional treat for Michaelmas was roast goose years ago. A saying went

"Eat a goose on Michaelmas Day
Want not for money all the year"

I was reminded of  this in the early morning of Michaelmas day ( 29th September) at Cheadle House Conference venue when I went for a quick stroll before breakfast round the Cheadle Royal  Business Park  and encountered a gaggle of geese and a pair of Swans waddling toward the venue .

Geese and swans waddling towards the ISMM executive forum at Cheadle House ( in background).

Ursula Lavis opened the forum on behalf of the ISMM
At Cheadle House this Michaelmas Day the forum opened at 10.00 for refreshments and a chance to network for members. On arrival members received an agenda for the day plus a folder with the latest edition of Winning Edge magazine.

 (This month's issue features articles on how to create your e-selling footprint by Sean McPheat , Recruitment of sales talent by Iain Chambers   , William Holden of Sewells  on Sales Leadership, Beth Rogers on Sales forecasting    and an article by Jamie Panter of City Therapy Patners on a different view on sales`management.)

Then at 10.30 a.m. on behalf of the event hosts, Ursula Lavis  opened the  executive forum of The Institute of Sales & Marketing Management for September 29th 2011- welcoming the members  and  acknowledging the sponsors of the day Ellis-Salsby and De Vere Venues .

First up to speak was TACK International's Sales Director Carole

'Calling all salespeople' -Carole reflected on the changes in selling from technological through the power swings to customers, the way they buy and their expectations of of service and value.

Today's sales professional must leverage relationships through knowledge and giving value in establishing themselves as trusted advisor to their buyer.

So much of today focuses demonstrating brand behaviours, engaging  procurement professionals with a compelling business case and exploiting the power of technology.

Today's sales leaders are split between the strategic sales director who provide vision , inspiration, direction and a link from the board to communicate the whole picture. This  vision is then is translated by Sales managers who are more and more the tacticians whose impact is to motivate the sales force directly.

The quandary for today's sales managers is deciding on what their role is to be.

They are leant on to generate revenues form the board and and expected to develop their people. When the pull on their time is stretched between managing their own accounts and responding to the board to hit targets and pressure from their team to support them more.

The challenge is to keep on target plus monitoring the sales pipeline. They need to keep their star salespeople on board whilst developing the poor performers.

In the current recruitment market, they need to select the best talent.

Ed Charvet from Trovus gave a great couple of sessions on Measurement and Trending of Digital Sales and marketing data and how to exploit social media to best advantage.

 For more on Ed and his 5 dangerous trends  facing b2b business

My role at the forum was to share  with the ISMM members  the headline numbers of the latest TACK research Study- Leadership in Sales and Business generation- which I have been working on this summer. ( scroll down for  key point summary) . The executive summary will be available from TACK in October.

It was great to be among friends from the selling profession who helped me examine the data the survey has produced and the implications it has for the profession. It was also encouraging to get such positive feedback about the work.

To keep the audience engaged and involved at the forum we used a polling system akin to what you see used by the  TV audience of "who wants to be a millionaire"

It was the first time I have used the Pebble interactive response system and I think it was a first for the ISMM as well

Fortunately I had the 'ever-cool'  Iqbal Kanji  from TACK at the controls  of the 'mixing desk' - his laptop ,to supervise the technology.

The system from the users' point of view was simple to operate. They enjoyed the questions put to the room. The system helped for involvement and interactivity from the start.

The version of Pebble we were using produces the results and projects them quickly although for some reason the words of the question is not redisplayed on the result bar charts and pie charts.
Early morning sunlight on a blisteringly hot Michaelmas day

Front entrance to Cheadle House, Royal Crescent, Cheadle Business Park,
 Cheadle, Cheshire SK8 3FS

De Vere laid on a great spread for lunch and kept us fed and watrered throughout the day.
The survey I have been working on ran from end of July to September 2011. It consisted of two polls - one for salespeople and one for sales managers. We used Survey monkey to capture the data.

The detailed survey had 230 respondents 86 sales mangers with direct reports and 144 salespeople. Issues covered included Sales team meetings, changes in field accompaniment, increased involvement of HR in Sales recruitment and sales management hiring, setting of targets, home/office working plus field coaching of salespeople and sales managers.

In addition to using the pebbles I also put questions to the audience to discuss . One such question provided considerable discussion was

 " How are Sales directors (Board level) interacting /liaising with sales managers on issues that affect their sales teams - in terms of performance or motivation?"
e.g. target setting, rewards, bonuses,promotion
corporate strategic objectives
product/service mix strategy
route to market
brand strategy - corporate and product
other strategic objectives

The Headline Data from the survey :-
1.    76% of sales teams on target
2.    35% of sales managers ‘cannot remember’ remember any coaching from their boss.
3.    70% of sales managers have their own accounts.
4.    49% of sales people recruitment was handled by the sales manager and sales department.
5.     49% of Sales managers were recruited by the sales director/ sales department.
6.    HR increasingly involved jointly in the recruitment process for both recruitment of Sales Managers and Sales People - Sales managers 68% , Sales people 39%
7.    HR mainly handled recruitment of 11% salespeople  and 4% sales managers.
8.    96% of Sales managers encourage team members to go on joint calls together so they can learn from each other
9.    12% of Sales managers received no appraisal ( not even annual).
10. 27% consider they can contact members of their sales team 24/7.
The executive summary will be published and released next month. For details go to

Next ISMM event is Successful Selling 2011 20th October 2011 Ricoh Arena , Coventry  book call 01582 840001 email or vsit see you there!


  1. Great post, thanks for all of the information.

    1. Thanks

      Survey monkey has become part of my working life

      Great tool and easy to use

      Good Selling

  2. Thanks for all the information, could you tell me if you ever had a conference at this Golf Hotel we are looking to do a small team training day there and them relax playing golf or sun bathing after.