As you think about planning for the upcoming year, it’s likely that your thoughts turn to sales growth. Frequently, I hear from CEOs and business owners who are concerned that their sales team will again not produce the sales growth results they would like. But, frequently they aren’t willing to do anything different. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?
I say, if you aren’t sure about your sales team, look to the sales manager(s) first. Are they coaching, motivating and holding the sales team accountable to well-defined activities every single week? Are they spending 80% of their time on these people oriented functions or are they working on products and services offerings? Are they focused on driving results through their salespeople and expecting the best from each and every one of them, or are they mired down in paperwork and hiding behind administrative issues?
If you are the CEO or business owner, have you heaped too much crap on them for them to be able to do what they should be doing? Reminder: They should be spending 80% of their time focused on coaching, motivating and holding their salespeople accountable. You are paying them to grow their salespeople to produce results. They will have the most significant impact, if they are actually focused on the PEOPLE, not the administration of the people, or administration of other stuff.
If they don’t have too much junk piled on and they still aren’t doing it, then you’d better ask why, and you might want to set expectations as to how they spend their time. If you are the CEO and also the sales manager, and you aren’t happy with the results of the sales team then you need to look no further than in the mirror. It is highly unlikely that you will ever be able to provide the attention to the critical factors for success (coaching, motivating and holding them accountable) if you are also running the business. If you want to make this year your best year ever in terms of sales, then you seriously need to consider the role you are playing in your sales team’s lack of success.
If you are a dedicated sales manager, and you aren’t spending 80% of your time focused on coaching, motivating and holding your folks accountable, I would suggest you start right now to make a plan on how you will shift your time to be able to do these things. Even if you are not perfect in these areas in terms of competency, just doing them more will improve your team’s results.
Gretchen Gordon is the founder of Braveheart Sales Performance, a consulting firm specializing in sales team transformation. A self-proclaimed “Sales Nerd” with over 27 years of sales, sales leadership and sales team transformation experience, she spends most of her time working directly with client companies and helping them improve their sales effectiveness and exceed their sales goals. Gretchen is also a frequent guest speaker for industry events and webcasts, and has been featured on the radio talk shows “Meet the Sales Experts” and "Sales Coaching over Coffee." She is also an accomplished writer, having been featured on industry-leading sites like SellingPower.com and SecurityInfoWatch.com. She authors a “Top 50 Sales Management Blog,” according to Docurated.com, and has published sales-focused eBooks, including “The 5 Essentials of Effective Sales Management” and “Cold Calling in the 21st Century.”