Sales Management Challenges: 6 of 6 - Managing for maximum performance

In the current market, we are seeing some complacency creeping into how sales leaders are operating. They seem to be thinking, "Business is going well, so what do we need training or development for?"  This doesn't refer to you, of course. You would not get complacent--you are far too professional!

I'd like to share the benefits of my 30-year experience in sales and marketing with you. This series of blogs tackles 6 of the top sales management challenges with sound advice and a practical 'do today' tip.

Sales Management Challenge #6: Managing for maximum performance

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  But when the going is good, do the good get better?

Managing a sales team takes time, energy and resources--often more than you would think--and it can often be counter-intuitive.  For example, when business is good, some sales managers take their feet off their performance management gas pedals. Yet, they really should be rolling up their sleeves and using those 'good times breathing spaces' as opportunities to focus on managing their teams for maximum performance.

These are the times to make the top contributors even better, to up the skills of the team members who are struggling, and develop the people who are scraping by with [only just] on-target performances.

And, just so we are all speaking the same language, when I refer to 'performance management' I am not only referring to managing negative performance.

Where do you start?  Well, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. First, you need to know if your people want to improve their performances (Are they willing?) and if they have the skills to do so (Are they able?).

Once you know this, you can plan your performance management approach: Have you got motivation issues with some people? Are there training needs or do you need to coach and mentor people?  You will probably have a combination of all three, so here is a quick way to assess what you have to get to grips with: the "Skill:Will Matrix"



The matrix is self-explanatory, but here's an example just in case: You have a highly-skilled sales person who is not willing to perform. Your first step is a heart-to-heart, including a verbal kick in the ass. Then, you should do some motivating. If that fails, you most likely have a disciplinary situation on your hands.

A high performer (skill and will) rarely needs training. They need someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to empower them further. Your actions will be to mentor and collaborate with these people.

Do-today Tip #6: Put together a quick chart and write up where your people are in the Skill-Will Matrix.  Create a plan to get the biggest impact in the shortest time with your team.

Getting good people is not a given, and neither is keeping them. The tips in this blog series will help you to find, hire, keep, and develop a high-performing team.

Read more:
How to Create Clearly Defined Sales Processes and Sales Objectives
Building the Right Team
Where are you on the Sales Management Continuum?
Motivating your Team
Gauging experience as you hire your Team

Are you good at choosing the right tools for the job? Perhaps you're looking for some answers? Our online community can't wait to read your comments and reply to your questions.

Tagged as management skills, people development, recruiting, sales leadership, sales management, sales team, skill will matrix.

Sales Management Challenges: 2 of 6 - Building the Right Team

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review reports on current research into teamwork. It seems that the fault may lie more with managers who do not know how to get the best out of their teams rather than the team members themselves.

I'd like to share the benefits of my 30-year experience in sales and marketing with you. This series of blogs tackles 6 of the top sales management challenges with sound advice and a practical 'do today' tip.

Sales Challenge #2: Considerations for building the right team

Whatever you are selling requires the right team to maximize its sales.

Are you ...

  • selling a commodity or a solution?

  • selling to accounts where you are upselling and cross selling?

  • selling new business into new name, "new logo" accounts?

  • selling a product that takes hours to sell or months?

  • selling locally or nationally or internationally?


Not every salesperson is suited to every type of sale.  

Given the choice, I would do new business rather than manage accounts. It suits my temperament (and I really don't mind cold calling!) but this does not suit everyone.  

Consider: How long is your sales cycle?  
Many sales people need the constant motivation of getting orders every day. Others don't mind a longer sales cycle, and in fact, prefer getting one big order every so often--usually it's less paperwork to contend with!  

Some sales folks enjoy the technical challenge of selling solutions and writing detailed proposals and RFP responses and all that entails whilst some people are happy just quoting and selling commodities.

As Lord Alan Sugar once said, "Pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap." (For my non UK audience, he is the businessman that did the UK version of The Apprentice).

Consider your customers: who are you selling to, at what level do you need your salesperson to operate, and what does the customer expect?  
We worked on a project a couple of years ago to develop a global account process for a client selling in the credit card sector. For the position of 'Global Account Director' (aka salesperson) for one account, we hired an ex-divisional GM - that was the level of experience it took to manage the account to the level the customer wanted.

Here is the point I am getting at: when it comes to sales people, one size does not fit all and while that seems like a blinding glimpse of the obvious, you would be surprised at just how often sales managers hire a mismatched sales person for the job.

No point whatsoever (well, rarely) hiring an account manager to do new business or a new business hunter to manage accounts.  Biggest mistake we see is a sales guy used to getting lots of orders at a [comparatively] low value being given a job selling a few orders at a high value.

Do-today Tip #2: Create a person profile to go with the job description when you are hiring. Use some tools to ensure the person is matched to your specific sales role and the temperament the role needs, not just the skills.  Brief your recruiter or HR professional about the 'type' of salesperson you need--a hunter, a farmer, a solution seller, a commodity seller, a collaborative seller.

Next time, we'll take a look at how to choose the right spot on the
'sales management continuum' to get your sales management style right to match the team.

Read more: see my last blog 
CREATING CLEARLY DEFINED SALES PROCESSES AND SALES OBJECTIVES

 


Is Building the Right Sales Team a challenge for your orgainzation? What have you been doing about it? How has that been working out for you? Like an answer to a question? Our readers would love to hear your thoughts and help with your queries.  Comment below to start a dialog.

Posted in Articles, Best Damn Sales Blogs, Sales Management. Tagged as building a team, hiring, recruiting, sales leadership, sales management, sales team.

Copyright © 2019 BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXPERT | All Rights Reserved.