Sales & Sales Management Expertise

What You Don’t Know Can Kill Sales Growth

Tags: effective sales management, how to manage salespeople, developing sales talent, predictable sales growth

I had a conversation this week with 3 executives that run bank-owned investment programs.

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  • The first executive is restructuring his program to go from $3 million to $8 million in revenue and will do that via a team approach to the credit union membership.
  • The second executive is looking to improve the effectiveness of junior advisors and improve the quality of new hires. He is the president/program manager and sales manager.
  • The third executive has sales management executives, and is part of a very large bank that has a robust training department, several leadership programs, a very tenured group and a full calendar of training programs scheduled for the balance of the year.

WHERE TO BEGIN FOR SALES GROWTH

If any of these rings true for you, consider the following:

If you’ve read any of my posts over the last 10 years, you know that our initial step in any engagement is to first assess the current state of the sales organization.  In our initial conversation with any prospect, we attempt to explore…

  • What’s happening
  • What’s not happening
  • What the objectives and expectations are
  • The gap (money) between where they are and where they need to be; Attempt to uncover the symptoms that indicate the “why”
  • If the problems are “have to fix” or “want to fix”

If we arrive at a “have to fix” state, then we discuss the process required to “fix” it.  To help paint the picture, I normally describe a situation where someone has a “have to fix” problem.  I choose improving my golf game as an analogy because I’m in a constant state of saying that I want to improve my golf game.  (Apparently, improving my game isn’t that important because I always fail to take one really important step – I don’t take lessons.  But… that is another story…)

I go on to ask, if my prospect was my new golf coach and we were in our first lesson, what would the golf coach do in our first lesson?  Almost everyone (over 90%) replies, “Ask you to take a few swings with a club.”  I ask why would the pro want to do that.  Again, almost everyone responds with, “So they can see what might need to be fixed.”  I respond with, “Perfect - that is exactly what we have to do.  We can’t go about fixing the problem unless we know the root cause.”  We have to have some insight into:

  • The skills of your salespeople
  • The strengths and weaknesses that support or hinder effective selling
  • The systems and process that exist
  • The skills of the sales manager, their tendencies and where (in the 4 functions of sales management) they are most effective
  • The actual performance of the entire team
  • Answers to 19 critical sales growth questions

A TALE OF TWO MANAGERS

As an example of what we find out, look at the chart below that describes the leadership and sales management skills, tendencies and effectiveness of two sales managers.

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The names have been changed to protect the innocent, but the data has not been altered.  Here is just one example of one of the findings from the assessment that companies find so useful when attempting to analyze the “why” of productivity and sales outcomes:

#1 – The score tells you how well Gene and Paul scored in their skills for the various data points evaluated as sales managers and sales leaders.

#2 – This helps us understand what a manager’s “go-to move” is when there is pressure to drive performance.

#3 – This tells us how effective the manager is when executing to a skill (recruiting, coaching, motivating, performance management, strategic thinking)

Looking only at the sales manager’s skills - performance management, recruiting, coaching and motivating - you can see that there are problems with motivating and recruiting effectiveness for Gene.  Both of these are his strongest tendencies, but he lacks the skill and perhaps has a problem with the make-up of his sales team (not coachable). Therefore, he is not very effective.  You would want to know this prior to implementing any type of sales management coaching program.

Paul, on the other hand, is average at best at 3 of the 4 sales management skills needed to effectively drive sales growth.

 

KNOWLEDGE IS NOT POWER

I once heard Tony Robbins declare that “Knowledge is NOT power.”  He went on to say that “Knowledge in Action is Power.”  That is the purpose of this post.  Too many companies create budgets for training and development without good intelligence.  Too many companies believe that training salespeople on the latest sales process concept is the way to drive sales.  Suppose you have people that lack desire?  Suppose they are un-coachable?  Suppose you have managers that don’t have the skills to support the dollars and effort you spend on training your salespeople? 

Before investing time, money and effort to train and develop your sales managers or salespeople, strongly consider doing a study - an x-ray, if you will - of the team that you have. Find out why they perform the way they perform, how coachable the team is , what the opportunity for growth is and if you’re going to help them with those contributing factors that support effective execution.

Supporting information:

Root Cause Analysis Training Video

Find out Why Selling is So $#$%! Hard?

Talk to Tony about the Sales Effectiveness and Impact Analysis – 513.226.3913 (Text:  SEIA – provide your name)

How Do I Grow Sales? – An article that answers that question

Request a Free Demo or Sales Assessment Sample

How Do You Determine the Success of Your Sales Managed Environment®?

Tags: SME, sales management, improving sales results, how to manage salespeople, sales managed environment

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First, it makes sense to define a Sales Managed Environment® (SME™).  For the last 15 years, we’ve built, developed, refined and implemented the principles we associate with a sales environment that is “managed”.  The major components of SME™ are as follows:

  1. Setting standards and accountability
  2. Coaching for success
  3. Recruiting
  4. Motivating
  5. Upgrading the sales force

Using this as the basis for what the SME™ looks like, we next need to determine if, in fact, your environment has been built and is being executed for success.  So, how do you determine that?

  1. You have metrics for success that are consistent with company revenue and profit goals.
  2. You have standards for success that drive success rather than foster mediocrity.
  3. You have “smart” numbers to help you predict your progress towards meeting and exceeding your standards for your metrics.
  4. You inspect what you expect – activity, effectiveness and results.
  5. You pro-actively recruit – you have a candidate pipeline.
  6. You coach people to improve skills and change behavior.

But, ultimately, you determine success by:

  1. Achieving goals.
  2. Getting better individually as well as a team – more people carrying the load/higher percentage of producers hitting 100% of the goal.
  3. This year’s quintiles (sales team divided by production 1/5s) out-perform last year's.
  4. Sales activity/effort is where it needs to be to be successful.
  5. The data demonstrates that the team is more effective and efficient at executing the sales strategy and sales process.

So, the question(s) become(s) – is this happening?  If not, why not and, if so, why?

Not to focus on the negative, but let’s assume for a second that at least 3 of the 5 items determining success are not happening.  Where do you turn? What do you do?  The first thing is to determine why.  The answer to why is this – failure of sales management. 

As a leader, that is why you have a structure that includes sales management.  If you don’t, then part of the problem is that you don’t have a sales management structure or you don’t have sales management executing to the structure.

Unfortunately, if you are the sales manager, then this is a tough pill to swallow... but you have to anyway.  This is the job/responsibility you accepted when you said yes to the job, yes to the responsibility and yes to the compensation.  There is no avoiding this conclusion.  However, you can fix this and there are resources to help you. 

Certainly, as a company, we provide our unique set of solutions, but generally speaking, this is what you should be thinking:

  • What systems and processes do I need to have/build to support sales growth and a sales team built for growth?
  • What assessment tools exist to help me evaluate my skills and the skills/tendencies of my sales team?
  • What do I need to do differently in the area of recruiting to get more “A” and “a” players and stop hiring those that won’t succeed?
  • What is an effective coaching process I can implement so that I can be more intentional and impactful in my coaching? How do I change behavior and improve skill?

Resources for you to examine:

Assessments:  Cost of bad hires questionnaire

Sales Management Booklet – 9 Keys to Sales Management

Recruiting – How to find, attract, and recruit an all-star sales team – tool kit.

 

Understand this: I’d love the opportunity to help you build a sales team built for growth.  Contact me and we can look at the options. However, I know that you have access to lots of resources, so whatever you look for, start with these three – assessment, sales management and recruiting.