Are you one of the Sales Managers whose reports are turning in low performances in terms of making quota? For every 100 Sales Reps anywhere from 40- 51% of them are not making quota translating into compounded negativity build up, mediocrity becomes acceptable and costly turnover turns into a rampant factor deeply affecting the bottom line. It would be easy to blame the quota setters for issuing unobtainable objectives, but the real reason can be found in the fact that in every organization it Starts and Ends with Management.
The Sales Management functions one of the more neglected areas in most companies due to the fact that the top management hates to deal with a set of clearly accountable figures and jacking up the numbers to a level that 50% of quota achievement really meets the company’s growth expectations. This game can’t go on indefinitely because at some point you reach a point of unachievable results.
The Little Red Book for Sales Managers
In the book you will find several major actions that if employed by the Sales Manager will set the following actions into motion:
- Elimination of call reports and shifting marketing tasks back to marketing where they belong. Get the sales rep back to selling rather than working for marketing that uses little of their efforts
- Introduce an environment of accountability that deals with one sheet of digital data (TTR) that becomes the day-to-day communications vehicle between the Sales Manager and the sales rep. The latter being responsible for keeping the report up-to-date by simply listing completed activity dates and having to generate the prospects to keep the pipeline filled. Lack of activity raised the red flag and leads to immediate one-on-one contact with the sales rep addressing the issues at hand. If managers have 10 reports, how long would it take them to identify deviations in sales reps’ performance? With TTR, the transparency allows for immediate view of the performance levels of all reps and addresses issues in terms of priority.
- Sales is a process of steps that have to be taken to close a sale – the problem of not meeting quota can easily be identified through the fact that we are not dealing with prospects, but in reality they are suspects. To start focusing on the development of prospects it is the management of this process that keeps the focus high on the rep’s activity levels.
- The secret lies in the fact that the Sales Manager can look at one sheet for each sales rep and see exactly where the strengths and weaknesses are. The communication now reverts to One-on-One Management with the focus of developing specific plans aimed at meeting and exceeding quota. The key here is One-on-One Management addressed at the varying degrees of expertise among sales reps.
- No more useless group meetings focused on individual achievements intertwined between group and team performance. Too often sales managers have scheduled weekly meetings during which they attempt to cover a lot of topics. These meetings should cover subjects that apply across the board to every sales rep, and should be scheduled as needed. Keep the sales reps working in their territories instead of attending meetings that most often result in missing time of one-half day from the territory. Use One-on-One Management to address each sales rep’s overall level of performance. Team is a “four” letter word and group management shows the ineffectiveness of this type of effort
- The focus on developing prospects and leads for all sales reps will force the sales managers to employ innovative approaches that currently they might be aware of but don’t have the time nor the proper vehicle to identify specific needs of each sales rep. The use of the TTR will identify they varying shortfalls that exist in each territory, and in seeking solutions the sales manager will and plans that will require the support of all the areas of the company. Every group of sales reps should have an organization chart with the customer on top with the reps reporting to the top rung of the chart and they in turn shown as reporting to the Sales Manager, Sales Rep and Customer. The president and the chairman of the board appear at the bottom of the chart pushing the entire organization towards serving the customer. The reason for the upside-down organizational chart is to build pride in the products, Customers, employees, Management, company and most importantly the Sales Rep.
There are so many other specific directions associated with each of the steps of the process that the Sales Manager will be able to adopt, that the overall improvement in performance will become very transparent, and will definitely highlight the career path of every sales manager using this approach.
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