I’ve not read the book Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. It’s a catchy title and I’m sure a good read. But, if you are a sales manager responsible for developing your people and for driving sales growth, this is awful advice. I subscribe to the theory that the devil is in the detail$. I purposely made the last letter the $ sign and here’s why.
Take a look at the following Success Formula designed to help an individual salesperson figure out what sales activities they need to be doing day in and day out to be successful.
This salesperson is using personal income as their metric for success. Their success standard is $58,800. In order to do that, they must perform the formula as it is expressed here starting with averaging 20 dials per week to perspective buyers. (Do NOT get hung up on “this is cold calling and I do not cold call.” Regardless of how your leads are generated, you must do something proactively to reach out to them either by phone, text, email or other methods of initial contact. For illustrative purposes, I’ve used the word “dials”.)
Here are the details: The data tells us that this salesperson must have a certain level of effort – the 20 dials a week (average) and a level of effectiveness – the conversion ratio from one step to the next. What I am demonstrating is what happens if, instead of performing to plan in effort and effectiveness, this salesperson is off of target by just 1%. As you can see in each individual step, a drop in performance of just 1% has a negative cumulative impact of 7%. So what?
It may not appear to be much, but here are a couple of things to think about:
- Suppose the number was 10 x greater and now the miss was over $30,000.00 instead of $3,000.00.
- Suppose you had a team of 10 producers and 7 of them missed the mark by $30,000.00 in personal income. Their commission payout is 33%. That means each individual is missing a sales goal of $100,000.00 and you have 7 people missing the mark. Where is the $700,000.00 of sales going to come from?
- Suppose the miss on effort is 5% and the miss on average size account is 5% and the miss on submissions to approvals (for those of you that have a product that requires underwriting or approval) is off 10% but all the other conversion ratios are met at 100%.
Look at that impact - a loss of more than $8,000 to goal! That is the scenario that is more likely to happen. We know this because we have evaluated hundreds of sales organizations and the company we use to evaluate sales organizations has evaluated literally thousands of sales organizations. One finding that always jumps out is that less than 10% of the salespeople evaluated are using a consistent sales process. (Note: we work with mostly successful companies that are trying to figure out how to be more successful, how to eliminate the variability in performance or how to maximize potential of the sales team. We don't commonly work with sales teams that are broken, so don't misinterpret this as something that only applies to companies that are failing to grow sales!)
It is a staggering percentage that less than 10% of all salespeople across all industry segments use an effective sales process. How can this be given the billions of dollars spent on sales training and sales enablement tools like SalesForce.com? But, that is the big stuff to be tackled another day. What we know is that a sales manager can make a huge impact today by sweating the small stuff. IT MATTERS!
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