Over the next several months I am going to break down sales management in terms of the categories I wrote about in the January 8th post. Just to be clear, these categories are not mine but they are the invention of a gentleman whom I knew from the 80’s. Bob was a clear thinker who did not suffer fools with any dignity.
It used to be (and still is) that sales success was measured by meeting and passing annual quota or plan or target, whatever you choose to call it. To tell you the truth that’s about as simple as it gets. And I’m not about to reinvent that wheel by introducing some idiotic measurement tool that would cause Einstein to scratch his head. But there is more to measuring success than just numbers and this is where a sales management leader comes in.
Scott Andrews in his post offers some good advice for the salesperson. http://arriive.blogspot.com/2007/12/sales-territory-plan.html. In my opinion how you get to target or beyond it is almost as important. It is the rare salesperson that can over achieve without some sort of plan. That might have been possible 20-25 years ago but it isn’t now. There are more competitors, more products, more similar products, more technical savvy required, more to learn. Over achieving without a plan should be filed under miracle.
So how else would a professional sales management leader measure success without cluttering people’s brains? In a broad sense all I’m doing here is describing what expectations a sales manager has for his or her salespeople. Here are a few examples of things that I held salespeople accountable for:
- Create an annual territory sales activity plan.
- Treat your customer service counterpart like a member of your family.
- Conduct yourself professionally at sales meetings, conventions, and with customers.
- Look the part of a professional salesperson. (You don’t need Armani suits or initialed cuffs but look good in what you do wear. And, oh yeah, take the tags off. Yes, that did happen to one of my reps who at the time was style challenged.)
- If at all possible do not take work home. Families tend to resent the company after too much of that.
- Don’t whine, complain, blame, point fingers, or act like an arrogant butt head!
- The sales manager is the point person for all problems. See him or her first.
- Don’t ever walk into a sales call without a goal in mind for that call, to include researching the company and the person whom you will see.
- Manage your wealth through professionals. Social security will be toast when the baby boomers get done. (You think I’m being sarcastic or humorous but I’m not. I measured “my”success with salespeople based on whether they took this advice to heart.)
It is tempting to create complexity around a job. After all, if people can’t understand what you do then that might give you a sense that you’re untouchable but don’t bet on it. Keep it simple.
The Final Thought: Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci