Sales & Sales Management Expertise

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


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.

How Did Your Sales Year Start?

Tags: sales management, improving sales results, sales success

For many sales managers, the year end came to a sudden stop last Thursday as they closed the books on 2015. Yesterday, January 4th, you were back at the office kicking off a new year of sales. Depending on the type of sales you and your team are in, January results are a result of what you did at the tail end of 2015. With that in mind, how is your March, April and May shaping up?

Was your Monday a “Black Monday”? The Monday following the final game in the NFL is known as Black Monday because many head coaches lose their job for failure to manage, coach, recruit the team to success. (8 coaches lost their job.)


If you don’t know - or you’re not sure - then you’re in trouble. In most B2B sales (Dismantling the B2B sales cycle HBR article), there is at least a 30-day sales cycle. If that is the case, then December determined your January and you may have closed out last year excited about your start to 2016. Did you enjoy the last week of the year knowing you were off to a great start… or were you were worried, mad or frustrated about where you might be headed?

If you are in B2B sales, then January 4th was about making sure your Q1 was going to be on target and you were looking at leading indicators like sales activity, pipeline opportunities, sales in process and presentations scheduled for the next 30 days. If that is not what your Monday looked like, then there are a few things to consider:

If your sales cycle is 90+ days, then:

  • By the end of October you knew how good January was going to be.
  • The first week of January tells you how good April is going to be
  • If you didn’t know how good January was going to be, then there is something missing in your sales managed environment.
  • If, by the end of this week, you cannot tell your president, executive committee, CFO or board what the first quarter will produce or how April is setting up, then now is the time to put in place the right systems and processes.

Effective sales management is a combination of 5 crucial functions:

  1. Recruiting
  2. Performance Management
  3. Coaching
  4. Motivating
  5. Upgrading

Each one of these functions has associated systems and processes that allow the effective sales manager to run the operation, manage the people and provide valuable business information to those who need it. Performance management is the function we are addressing today.

An effective performance management system allows you, the manager, to accurately predict the future sales health of the organization. Unlike a mutual fund that cannot promise future results by looking at past performance, you should be able to promise future results because your systems and processes provide you real time information about what you team is doing or failing to do. With the billions of dollars being spent on CRMs (BASE Sales CRM – Better ROI than, you should, at the push of a button, get reports for leading indicators of sales:

  • Current sales activity
  • Current sales ratios
  • Reliable pipeline sales projections
  • Who is heading for failure
  • Who is on target or ahead of goal

This is what you should be getting out of your CRM. You’re not? If not, then you are always managing from behind. You are always playing catch up. You are always at a loss as to what is really going on with your sales team and you are always a bit surprised, disappointed or frustrated when the sales report comes in at the end of the week, month or quarter.

This should not be happening!

Now what? Now is a good time to take stock of 2015. Take a half-day and analyze what happened or didn’t happen. Who succeeded and why? Who failed and why? When it comes to those that failed (anyone less than 95% of goal should be considered as “failed”), my question to you is this: “When did you know?” Building the right sales managed environment and then managing that environment are keys, not the only keys, but critical keys to your 2016 success.

As you do your analysis, you must ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • What am I doing or not doing that contributes to these results?
  • What must I start doing?
  • What must I keep doing?
  • What must I stop doing?

You're the head coach. The responsibility is yours. Take a look at what’s happening, make adjustments and tough decisions… and then implement the right systems and process that will drive your sales success in 2016.

Additional Resources:

Sales Management Certification

On Demand Learning and Training for Sales

Build a Successful Sales Plan

Tags: goal setting, managing, improving sales results, motivation

setting sales goals

Many of my clients and prospects tell me that the 4th quarter is when they take time to discuss sales plans (goals) and business plans with their sales people. The purpose obviously is to get everyone on the same page with expectations of performance for the coming year.  In my experience in working with approaches to this project, I find the following:

  • The process is either too complicated or too simple.
  • The process isn't really a process; it's the presenting of a pre-determined sales goal for each producer.
  • It really isn't a business planning process, but rather a focus on a financial projection of anticipated new business cash flow and anticipated loss of revenues.
  • Despite intentions, it is the only time during the year that a discussion will take place regarding the business plan.
  • Once the process is completed, no one revisits the plan.
  • There is a non-existent or poor plan of inspection to make sure the key elements of the plan are being executed (assuming there is a strategic plan to support the numbers).There is rarely a discussion about what happens if:
    • The plan isn't being executed.
    • There is failure to hit certain benchmarks throughout the year that indicate success in hitting the goals.
  • The goals may be set, but they are negotiable.  Usually nothing happens when the producer is failing to do what needs to be done to hit the goal.
  • At the end of the year, if producers are between 85% to 100% of their agreed-to goals, they will probably avoid any corrective actions and keep their jobs. This renders the whole idea of establishing goals essentially useless.
  • Most sales people really are not motivated by the process... or the goals.
  • Team goals are sometimes eventually met, but only because a few met or exceeded the goals (80/20 rule).

I just shared with you some of my experiences and observations.  Let me share with you what I know is the key to this.  If you are a client, you have heard me say this before:

You are perfectly designed for the results you are getting today!

I mention this to prompt you to begin thinking about the results you are getting from your current business planning and goal setting process.  If you take a look at individual as well as collective results, are you happy with the outcome?  Is the outcome as good as it could be if everyone hit the goal?  Is everyone is hitting the goal? If so (now this may appear to be contradictory), then maybe their goals are too low?  If too many people are not hitting their goals, then maybe there is something wrong with either the process or the people.  Regardless of the cause - if your team is not a high performing sales team that consistently outperforms the previous year, then something is wrong!

Here are 10 concepts that will help you improve your individual and collective goal results:

  1. "Motivation is an inside-out job" (Mark Victor Hansen, 1990, at the Cincinnati Association of Life Underwriters).
  2. Your sales people, unless they own shares, don't care about reaching goals that help drive share-holder value.
  3. Your sales people have individual dreams, aspirations, financial requirements that they do care about and want to achieve.
  4. If you have the right people, their own drive for success will always exceed any goal/quest you present to them.
  5. People want to have extraordinary lives - but they need the chance to define what extraordinary is!
  6. People have to know what it means to be successful AND they need to know, in advance, what it means to fail.
  7. If you raise the bar, the right people will work to clear the bar.
  8. If you give people minimum standards for performance, 80% of the time they will perform to the minimum standard rather than to the goal.
  9. If you take the time to have personal goal discussions with your people, then take the time to:
    1. Have supporting activity discussions
    2. Schedule time to revisit the plans - regularly
    3. Find out to what level they will manage themselves
    4. Get permission to coach them the MOMENT you see they are failing
    5. Set the bar for extraordinary and clearly discuss that anything short of the agreed-to objective is FAILING
    6. Discuss the disciplined approach you will take to help them succeed
  10. Catch them early.  At least 80% of your sales people, maybe even all of them, at some time in the year, will begin to fail in executing the plan. Catch them early, address it, agree to a plan of action, and then take action.

It is a rare occasion that I directly plug a service we provide. However, this is so important that I want to give you the opportunity to get help with this critical sales management function.  For more information on conducting offsite goal setting and business plan development sessions, contact Jeni Wehrmeyer directly at 513-791-3458.  Over the last 20 years, we have done this kind of work for our clients, but have never offered it as a stand-alone program - you won't find it in our website.  So, call the number above or email Jeni now at and she can discuss with you how we can help. 

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