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:
- Performance Management
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 SalesForce.com), 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.