ACTG Sales Management Blog

Sales & Sales Management Expertise Blog  

7 Effective Sales Management Steps to Take NOW

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Dec 14, 2016


Sales management, sales leadership and sales presidency require special diligence this time of year. Actions taken now will assure successful sales results in the coming year. In order to transition smoothly, here are 7 sales management steps that should be completed before the end of the year.  

By now, you should have:

  1. Evaluated the individuals on your team for the year. Unless you have anomalies at the end of the year, your team’s individual outcomes and results are pretty much set.
  2. (Based on the evaluation) Begun to have meetings with all your people. The meetings are similar to performance reviews, but they’re not the corporate type of review that gets put in the HR file.  These reviews put your team members in 1 of four groups. You then have a discussion about what group they are in.
    1. Met or exceeded sales goal and sales activity requirements group
    2. Met or exceeded sales goal but currently not at sales activity targets group
    3. Met or exceeded sales activity targets but failed  to hit sales targets (below 100% is failing)
    4. Has not met sales or sales activity targets

(If you would like information on what the conversation should sound like for people in each of these groups, call me or text me at 513-226-3913.  If I don’t answer, just leave a message with your name, mobile number and email requesting, “Where’s Walter?” information.  You can also email me at

  1. Reviewed performance, actual effort and execution effectiveness results against targets for the year.
  2. Assessed where the choke points are for people on the team who are not succeeding. To do this, you look at the conversion ratios in your sales success formula that was built last year and reviewed every quarter.  (Don’t have a success formula?  Click here –> Success formula download)
  3. Revised the success formula for 2017 based on each person’s commitment to performance via the “extraordinary discussion”. (Haven’t had that discussion? Ask Jeni at to send you that information.)
  4. Conducted an offsite where your salespeople identify personal goals, translate the personal goals into a personal income requirement and translate that into a work plan that you will follow up with every quarter. (Yes, we have information on what that offsite should look like.  Even though it’s late to be doing that now, conducting the session in January would be better than not conducting one at all.  Let us know if we can help: 513-791-3458)
  5. Talked to your HR department about additional FTEs for the coming year to grow your sales team and replace the people that are not performing. Think about this: Suppose you had to hire better salespeople (3) but can only grow your sales team by 2 – who would you let go?

These 7 things are the minimum functions for sales management at this time of year.  Failure to execute on these 7 steps will pretty much guarantee that your next 12 months will look like the past 12 months:

  • Only a few people will meet or exceed the goal
  • Most of the people will miss the goal by at least 10% and some as much as 20%
  • The bottom 33% of your sales force will represent less than 5% of your new business revenue
  • Salespeople that fail will continue to make excuses
  • The salespeople that had a “one-off” great year will coast in the next year and live off the laurels of this year.
  • Your top performers will continue to be frustrated by lack of attention, support and recognition for their outstanding contributions.


Topics: effective sales management, managing sales teams, success formula

Sales Managers, Start with the End in Mind

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Feb 24, 2016

In his ground breaking book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey states that highly successful people start with where they want to be – “the end” - and then work to get there. That’s great advice for managers attempting to lead for results, manage activity and coach behaviors.

In a Sales Managed Environment®, a sales manager - in order to get the most out of their team - must execute two critical functions:

  • Performance management
  • Coaching

Both of these are contingent on knowing where your individual salespeople want to end up. What is it that is important to them? What is their motivation to do what they have to do to succeed in selling? Knowing that information and using that information to build a solid sales success plan is critical. In addition, gaining personal commitment to achieve personal goals is the only way to improve the probability of professional sales success.

I recall having a discussion with a COO of a large insurance holding company. He was about to address one of the agencies the following day and, as we were eating dinner, he was sharing with me his message. Most of the message was about the company growth and the importance of shareholder value. As gently as I could, I reminded him that the group he was addressing the next day didn't really care about shareholder value. They were more interested in making college payments, getting out of debt and building the cabin on the lake.

And so it is with your salespeople. Unfortunately, you can count on at least 75% of your people failing in the area of setting goals and having a solid goal achievement plan.


The information in this chart comes from the Sales Effectiveness and Impact Analysis produced by Objective Management Group – the world leader in sales team evaluations. In a group of 50 salespeople, you can see that 77% of them do not have written goals or a goal management plan.

What does this have to do with a sales manager and starting with the end in mind, you ask? Everything.

  • The people that you have today who are performing in the middle of the bell curve or the wrong end of the 80/20 power curve:  Did you hire them that way or make them that way?
  • Those salespeople who seem to have gotten stuck at a certain level of performance - could it be that they just stopped thinking bigger or are comfortable?
  • Why is it a struggle to keep your sales team motivated?
  • With changes in comp plans and implementation of incentives, why isn’t there more movement toward improvement in results?
  • Why do you find yourself always talking about the same people who don’t seem to be “lifting their weight”?

All of these questions are tied to motivation or the lack of motivation. And that starts with management. If you don’t hire motivated people, you cannot make them that way. And… even the most motivated people need a “shot in the arm” once in a while. Starting with the end in mind, your job/task/responsibility is to create an environment where your people have the opportunity to dream the big dream and have a plan of achievement.

So, start today with these resources:


Topics: success formula, sales management, motivating salespeople

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.


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