ProActive Sales Management
How to Lead, Motivate, and Stay Ahead of the Game
Author: William "Skip" Miller
Pub Date: July 2009
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814414569
Page Count: 256
Edition: Second Edition
e-Book ISBN: 9780814414576
Buy the book:
Preface to the Second Edition
‘‘If you don’t know how you are going to do one month into
the quarter, head for Las Vegas, You have better odds of making
money there than you do with your sales forecast.’’
Sales managers are still doing the wrong thing, same as they
were 10 years ago. Oh, some managers are very successful: Year
after year, they achieve their revenue goals, lead successful
teams, and enjoy successful careers. They are working late,
working weekends, traveling up to three weeks a month, and
they tell themselves they are doing the job. They are not. The job
is doing it to them.
They are reactive and cannot see any way out. So they work
like dogs. They end up looking dog-tired because of it. There
has got to be a better way, and of course there is. A simpler way
to be more effective than ever before. A ProActive way.
ProActive Sales Management clearly identifies what qualities
are needed for the successful sales manager. It provides a stepby-
step method you can use to change the way you manage—
and begin to manage ProActively. By reading and implementing
the tactics and processes in ProActive Sales Management, you will
be able to:
• Accomplish more in less time.
• Be ProActive and live in the future.
• Motivate salespeople to highly motivate themselves.
• Focus on A players and turn them into A players.
• Establish a ProActive culture and let the people manage
• Increase the effectiveness of your day-to-day management
• Decrease the time you spend on noneffective tasks and
• Predict and forecast the future with greater accuracy.
• Increase your ability to interview and hire correctly.
• Successfully implement a set of metrics that you can use
in a ProActive and behavior-predicting manner.
• Effectively use coaching and counseling techniques.
• Manage to metrics that make sense.
Why There Is a Burning Need for Managers to Change
Stephen Covey states, ‘‘I expand my personal freedom and influence
through being proactive.’’ He is right, and this kind of
thinking needs to be addressed within the organization that is
required to be forward thinking, freedom loving, and ProActive:
the customer-centric sales organization.
Sales managers, however, never receive the training they
need or require to do their job ProActively. Successful people
who are soon to be effective sales managers need to know what
is expected of them before they enter the world of sales management.
Current sales management needs to go ‘‘back to the basics’’
and focus on getting things done through others rather than
using the reactive characteristics and behaviors that got them
promoted into management, such as being a super salesperson.
It is the reactive nature of their sales job that permeates the sales
management ranks today, and that reactive culture has become
These days, speed is the name of the game. It’s no longer
how many sales calls, but how many customer or prospect
touches. Not how long does a sale take, but how long are you
spending at each step. ProActive tools are no longer just nice to
have. ProActive selling is the way to sell in an increasing competitive,
Is being reactive the nature of the sales management beast?
Are most sales managers reactive? How much time do you
spend being reactive on a day-to-day basis? How reactive are
you? Let’s take a simple test to find out. Please circle the response
that applies to you.
QUIZ: How Reactive Are You?
1. How many voice mails, e-mails, or text messages do you get a
a) Less than 5
b) Between 5 and 10
c) Between 10 and 15
d) Between 15 and 25
e) More than 25
2. Of the last 10 sales situations you were involved in as a manager,
how many times did you have to interject a vital piece of
information or even ‘‘take over the call’’?
b) 1 to 3
c) 4 to 6
d) 7 to 8
e) All of them, are you kidding, that’s what I am there for!
3. Do you have:
a) One phone and one e-mail address
b) One phone, one e-mail address, and a cell phone
c) One phone, one e-mail address, two cell phones, and a
d) Office phone, cell phone, pager, two cell phones, e-mail
address (office), e-mail (home), fax machine, laptop, and a
palmtop or PDA or Blackberry
e) Multiple of any items of d above
4. If you ranked your sales team members on an A, B, or C scale
(with A being your top performers), which of the following
patterns most closely resembles the proportion of time you
spend with each group?
a) 80 percent on As, 10 percent on Bs, 10 percent on Cs
b) 60 percent on As, 30 percent on Bs, 10 percent on Cs
c) 40 percent on As, 30 percent on Bs, 30 percent on Cs
d) 30 percent on As, 20 percent on Bs, 50 percent on Cs
e) 10 percent on As, 20 percent on Bs, 70 percent on Cs
5. What percentage of your office time per week do you spend
planning one to three months or three to six months out?
a) 25 to 30 percent
b) 20 percent
c) 10 percent
d) 5 percent
e) Have to make the number today! No time for the future.
6. What percentage of the day do you spend with your Asalespeople?
a) 25 to 30 percent
b) 20 percent
c) 10 percent
d) 5 percent
e) Let them do what they do the best. I’ve got a ton of other
If you answered d or e to any or all of the items, you need
to be more ProActive, and this book is required reading for you.
Quit having useless meetings. Give up focusing internally
on past revenue numbers. Stop having those quarterly reviews
that focus on what happened the last three months. Quit guessing
on what you need to hire and fill those open head counts
within 30 days. Start being one step ahead of the game.
Three things before we begin.
• We use the terms ‘‘sales manager’’ and ‘‘sales management’’
interchangeably throughout the book. When we
say sales manager or sales management, we mean all
management levels, from first-line sales manager to executive
• We spell the words ‘‘proactive’’ and ‘‘proactively’’ as Pro-
Active and ProActively to remind you that there is a new
way to manage: a ProActive way; a better and more effective
way. The tools in this book are going to change the
way you manage. The way you look at your job. The way
you think. It will put you one step ahead.
• This is the second revision to ProActive Sales Management,
and you will find very few changes from the original
book. But we made additions where they were needed to
adapt to the current times. And we added some new
ideas. If you already own the original, these additions
should make rereading this book worthwhile.
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