The Sales Team is one of the most visible functions in any business.
No-one is especially interested in what goes on behind the scenes as focus is concentrated on the numbers, turnover, profit, EBITDA…. Until the figures aren’t what they should be.
The following is a simple health check for the Sales Manager to use in driving performance in the sales team.
Decide what you are going to assess. These will be the actions that you know, if they were performed consistently by the sales team, would produce the results you want.
Then decide what that looks like on a day to day basis.
Personally, I think a successful sales person is a complex character, but here are some of the headings you may wish to consider reviewing on a very regular basis
- Sales skills
- Knowledge base regarding – product/service, market place, competitors, legislation, trends
- Motivation – will to succeed, goal orientated
- Action orientated – can they, and are they, making things happen
- Commerciality – know how to structure a costing proposition
- Reactive and Proactive – able to use a variety of responses to different things that happen
- Commitment – to the product, service, customers, company, ethics, team and to you
- Positivity – in the face of delays, disappointments and setbacks, can they bounce back?
- Measurement – do they understand the relationship between effort, activity and output
- Flexibility – are they able to change course when they need to
- Tenacity – knowing when to hold the faith
You may wish to add more.
The importance is in identifying what YOUR sales team need to need to do consistently in order to be successful.
How should you evaluate?
Observation on a daily basis will out perform any other type of evaluation you can possibly do…the is little point in relying just on the figures, or in asking them to tell you what they do…the most reliable source of information is what you see with your own eyes.
Yes, this will mean you will need to embed yourself in the sales team, and that’s another good thing as we all perform better when we know the boss is watching!!
Observe along the whole sales process – how they processes, present, follow up, record information, how they deal with current customers, past customers, how they work with small and large spend customers.
Use 360 degree feedback for the sales team, collecting the result samples from all areas of the business/customers/suppliers that the sales person comes into contact with.
Use professional sales assessments designed specifically to look at the profile of sales people.
Talk to them – Understand the seeds of their motivation – where are they going? Why is it important to them? Is it a long term or a short term motivation? Do they have goals? What would they be prepared to do in order to achieve their goals? How would they feel if they knew they couldn’t fail? What would they do if they knew their current course of action may not deliver what they wanted when they wanted it?
Understand what they say and what they mean, ask them for other clues – Ask them how you as their manager will know when they are 100% motivated as opposed to 50% motivated, and also ascertain what support they need from you to get them back to 100% when they dip?
The skill is in not juts asking these questions but it looking at how these goals and motivators are translating to action in the workplace…. Motivation that doesn’t deliver the results you want is just wasted time and energy – help they stay focussed on what gets them nearer the gaol.
Monitor their ability to bounce back – maintaining a positive mental attitude over a long period during difficult times is tough, monitor the PMA temperature on an ongoing basis and be there for them. Help them remember the good times, when what they did worked really well, help them reframe and refocus
Maintain they interest and change the game frequently – Review their level of consciousness in their role – are they mentally sleeping through the day and going through the motions, or are they reacting intelligently and in a timely manner to proactively work towards their goals?
Help them see the way – How creative are they in generating opportunities and changing their own fortune as opposed to waiting for the phone to ring or the orders to be emailed in?
Get them to share – Do they have a strategy that they are proactively working?
Look at their figures – top line and bottom line.
And finally, as Sales Manager decide what you will tolerate and for how long, and decide what performance management system you will introduce over what period.
Sales people are complex characters, burn out is common and a bad month, unless addressed immediately, can become a loosing streak so prompt action is always a benefit.
Should you wish to comment or discuss any of the points raised, you can call Carol Griffiths on 0779 002 1885 or email firstname.lastname@example.org