I had the pleasure of spending the early part of last week working with The Alexander Group at their annual Chief Sales Executive Forum at the St. Regis Hotel, Monarch Beach, CA. (Next year’s event is at The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL, November 9-11, 2011, mark your calendars) Every person I met at this event was more impressive than the next. From Oracle to IBM, Sony, FedEx, Honeywell, Cisco and Salesforce.com, the speakers were truly outstanding and the list of attendees was no less impressive.
In my opinion, the quality of the speakers, the enthusiasm of the sold-out crowd and the tenor of the discussions is a very good sign for our economy. According to the people responsible for driving sales at many of the biggest companies in the world, they have faced some serious challenges and have largely come out the other side of the downturn with strong teams and a plan to accelerate their growth.
Click here for The full transcript of the twitter stream from the Chief Sales Executive Forum.
The theme of the conference was Sales Eats First, also the title of an upcoming book by AGI Senior Vice President Gary Tubridy and Columbia Business School Professor Noel Capon. The notion of fixing companies in trouble by eliminating any and all barriers to successful selling is an important theme that was visited often throughout the conference. Here are some of the key topics:
Sales Transformation: If you’ve ever wondered why some companies continue to grow, while others seem to lose their edge as they mature, you should look into AGI Senior Vice President’s Dave Cichelli’s work on the subject. The gist of the matter is that the behavior of the sales teams at fast growing start-ups should by nature be different from the behavior of the sales teams at more mature companies. You need to move from a culture of evangelism and “just let the sales team sell”, to a culture of focused sales plays by product set, by industry, etc. Here’s a link to the sales transformation section of The Alexander Group’s site:
Dave was on hand to give signed copies of both of his books to the attendees. If you’d like to learn more about Dave’s books, click here:
Sales Coverage: Determining how to best deploy sales teams to cover a variety of accounts across a variety of geographies is also a challenge that many companies face every year. Click here for more on Sales Coverage.
Sales Productivity: There were several discussions on the bell curve of great, good and weak sellers. Rather than trying to bring the weak sellers into the middle, Alexander group recommends strategies to drive as many of the “Good” performers into the “Great” category. Click here for more on Sales Productivity.
Sales Benchmarking: How are your best sellers achieving their results? What is their secret sauce? You’ll never know unless you determine a way to measure and benchmark their approach and their results. Tracking this sort of data over multiple years will really give you great data to run your sales team more effectively. Click here for more on Sales Benchmarking.
Sales Compensation: We’ve all heard about “coin operated” sales people. The reality is much more nuanced. Click here to learn more about Sales Compensation
In addition to the Chief Sales Executive Forum, The Alexander Group holds regional events in the spring and fall. Click here for a full overview of their full slate of outstanding events for senior sales leaders.
Thanks again to AGI for an outstanding and inspiring experience.