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.

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