Sales & Sales Management Expertise

Sales Management:  Want More Success? Set New Standards for Success

Tags: sales management, sales success, sales accountability, motivation

One of the problems facing many companies today is getting more from what they have. In a time of economic pressure to manage the profits companies have become very creative in finding solutions to manage the burn rate of their cash. The solution that many, if not most, struggle with is how to get the cash generation rate to meet and exceed the burn rate. In our Sales Management Environment Certification program we take sales managers through a process to help them raise the standards of their sales organization and address that problem. Before we get to the solution let’s deal with the problem.


Almost every organization we talk to tells me and my sales development experts the same thing. They set goals for their sales people and expect the team to meet those goals. I would agree that they set goals but the real expectations are not that every one meets the goal. If that was the real expectation, if companies managed performance and managers coached their people to meet those expectation, then more people would be hitting goals.  That isn’t happening. There are many explanations for this but for today I want to focus on just one contributing factor that is difficult to manage – Internal motivation.

Here are some comments by other thought leaders on performance:

Mark Victor Hansen – “Motivation is an ‘inside – out’ job.” - mo·ti·va·tionˌmōdəˈvāSH(ə)n/noun: the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

Ken Blanchard – “When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe then you will be successful.”

John Maxwell – “Unmotivated people give the required effort. Motivated people give the inspired effort. The first group looks to do the minimum, the latter group seeks every opportunity to add value to the team.” (The myth of motivation)

Tony Cole - "Your actions are reflective of your motivations and commitments".

For as long as I have been seeking solutions for improving personal performance – over 25 years – the quote by Mark Hansen is one I have quoted over and over again. Almost every time I do a keynote or a workshop for a chamber, an association or industry group leader wants to know – how do I motivate my people and keep them motivated. My response has always been – “You cannot”.

What got me thinking about this again was this; I was flipping through channels on Sirius and I came across Joel Osteen’s channel. The first thing I heard him say was this – “Don’t make the mistake of settling for good enough. Good enough is not your destiny.” (Watch video on YouTube). Wow! So I kept listening. For those of you that may not be familiar with Joel he is the minister / pastor of the Lakewood Church in Houston Texas. Every Sunday you can watch him on TV. Just for the record I am not a regular follower of Joel’s so I didn’t purposely seek to find him speaking on Sirius, I just happened to find him, or maybe, he found me.

I believe in destiny. I believe that when we are launched into this world and God breathes life into us we are made to be magnificent. For most all human beings there aren’t any deficits that exist at that time. For most people all the things we need to succeed are available to us and so we begin the journey equipped with what we are born with – nature and what we have access to – nurture. Somewhere along the way we begin to develop our own unique identity and begin to make decisions that take us either closer to our magnificent destiny or take us away from it.

Joel goes on to say that there was a time in our lives where we thought the big dream, craved for the next level of success and worked to climb the next mountaintop. It might have been to earn money to buy a bicycle, buy tickets to a prom or purchase your first car. It might have been to put enough in the bank to buy the ring to give to that special someone that share your life with. Maybe it was the house you saw and you said "someday" and you began the path required to move into that house and have that life style. And then ‘Good’ became ‘Good Enough’.

I’m not talking about the material things that make our life 'Good Enough'. Surely that has happened for you or is happening for you but do the material things in your life really define your highest and best? Do they represent that awesome, magnificent life that you have available? Are you able to look in the mirror every day/week/month/year and say to yourself that what you did represents your highest and best? Does it represent all that you can be to your family, your community, your friends, your company or does it represent ‘Good Enough'.  If we think back to when we are in school 'Good Enough' meant enough to pass the class or grade. What did that take? C’s and D’s. Those grades represent average and below average. B represents just above average. Really, is that why you chose the business you are in? Did you really say to your self that you were going to pursue and professional career in sales or sales management so that you could be average or just above average?

I’m not pointing my finger at you directly. I’m making the case for "why aren’t we growing based on the talent, resources and market presence we have"? The answer can simply be that your people are just not motivated enough to be any better then they are today. They stopped dreaming the big dream; they have fallen into the rut of defining their success by what they have versus what their parents or other friends have. They compare themselves to others and as long as they are doing better then others and they are comfortable then that is 'Good Enough".  It all starts with you. If you are settling for hitting the company sales goal on the backs of a few then you have to stop. That is not 'Good Enough'. You are one or two departures away from being way off of your sales goal.

Start dreaming the big dream for your team. Start thinking about how you can dominate your market place, how you can be the best-maybe not the biggest but the best. Start wondering what the next extraordinary level of performance might be for you and the team and what it might be like to have that level of achievement.  Create an environment where your people can start dreaming the big dream again. Challenge them on their thinking about 'Good Enough' and settling. Challenge them the way I’ve challenged you today by asking them if their performance represents their highest and best. Tell them that that is the type of team you have to have because that is how you are thinking. Tell them that you love them and care about them and hope that they will join you on this journey but assure them that you will have a team that thinks and pursues the big dream.

This, out of all the things you can do as a manager to drive performance, might be the most difficult because it is so personal. But difficult does not mean impossible.

Additional Resources:

Do I have motivated or inspired people – Sales Force Evaluation Study

Personal Goal Setting – A facilitated workshop

Call me right now to talk about motivation – Tony’s mobile 513 226 3913. Text message: motivation, your name