I stumbled across an article circulated by The Economics Press in 1987. Part of the message reads like this:
- If something can be improved, the sooner the better.
- If something should be corrected, let’s tackle it today.
- If something has to be done eventually, why not today?
In the same article the president of a successful company was asked what it took to get to the top. “The same thing it took to get started-a sense of urgency about getting things done.”
So you’re a sales manager with 9 salespeople reporting to you. How do you execute a sense of urgency? Here are a few thoughts:
- Demand that the salespeople work off specific objectives
- Have those objectives broken down into smaller stepping stones
- Have the salespeople attach time frames to each of the stepping stones
- If other people in or outside of the company are involved in the objective state their part in the process specifically.
- Describe how you as the rep will interface with these other people
- If this is a sales call document what you will need during the first meeting with the prospect
- During follow-ups the sales manager needs to know the outcome of each objective
I can almost hear the raving from the peanut gallery! This is micromanaging at its worst! It would be if the sales manager was a harpie, looking over the shoulder of the sales rep and making suggestions at every step the rep took. I’m not referring to that nonsense. This article goes on to say that the best method for the sales manager “is to show his or her personal interest in the projects that the reps have, checking on progress and being quick to help if help is required.” That is a far cry from micromanaging.
Here are some classic phrases salespeople utter that should send chills down your spine:
- I need to get back into Widget Corp. to see what’s happening to the proposal.
- I could have used some marketing input on the ABS Corp. project.
- I wonder why I haven’t heard from Elco Corp on that reorder.
- I’ll call Bill at Elco tomorrow; one more day won’t hurt.
If I heard these I would be ballistic! As a sales manager you have the right and the responsibility to ask for specific information on any rep’s project. It is better if you are involved early in listening to the salesperson explain how a project or sales call will be accomplished.
The Final Thought: “Procrastination is opportunity’s assassin.” Victor Kiam