Sales Management II – What Managers Should Do for Off the Charts Selling
“A Sales manager’s job is to move sales people to do what works.” This is Part II of III – The “Do” of the key elements – “Move”, “Do”, and “What Works.”
“Do” means implementing the skills, techniques, strategies, and tactics of actually selling. Bottom line for the sales person, “Do” means go out and sell. But “Do” can mean more than just closing sales. “Do” means walking away and avoiding wasted time and resources. It means managing large accounts so they continue to buy more. It means cross selling, up-selling and pursuing referrals. “DO” means promoting the company brand and maintaining the goodwill of the company.
For the sales manager, it means making sure the sales person does the “Do” and follows a process. First the sales person must know what to “Do”. Second, s/he must prepare for the “Do”. Then, s/he must do/enact, and finally, s/he must review and evaluate what and how well s/he did.
These are the responsibilities of the manager as well as the sales person. The manager must make sure the sales person has the capability and skills – has demonstrated via role-play or on-the-job that he can sell. That is, work a selling process effectively. If not the manager must train, coach and mentor.
Before the sales person is sent out, the manager must review the preparation, for the encounters or sales calls – continuously at first, then frequently, then intermittently until he is satisfied the sales person is proficient at preparing, enacting and evaluating.
Preparation is the key to successful sales calls and sales strategies. CRMs miss the boat because 99% capture post sales call information which is usually random information picked from unstructured conversations or superfluous remarks captured after one-size-fits-all presentations.
CRMs would provide far more valuable information if they forced sales people to document beforehand;
1. The purpose of a call;
2. Who needs to be seen;
3. What information needs to be learned;
4. What information needs to be given; and
5. What commitments are sought.
In this way the manager can be sure the sales person is on the right track before he invests his time.
Then after the call, report the successes or partial successes and what next actions are required. This is valuable information for CRMs to capture which can then promote the sales person to further actions and alert/notify managers. Sales managers should inspect beforehand and review afterwards.
Confidence, Attunement, and Patience
To implement or sell or “Do” requires confidence, and the best way to attained confidence is through preparation, and practice.
Attunement — moving with a customer is another necessary ingredient for successful doing. As in fishing, the fish pulls on the line and you let him run with it. As it goes right, you go right, and so on. Eventually the fish has exhausted its energy (the prospect exhausts his thoughts) and now the salesperson can take the lead i.e. reel him in — ask more questions, clarify, present, close, or gain some commitments.
Patience is required to clarify and hold back before spewing out what you want to get across. Patience comes from confidence.
Confidence, attunement and patience create an engagement, an interaction – rather than a sermon, lecturer or presentation. It’s a take and give — take information and then give information. It takes confidence to let the prospect run on, and it takes attunement to listen for understanding, and it takes patience to let the prospect continue to explain. Preparation, role playing and practice are the best methods to gain confidence, and attunement, and patience.
After the “Do” it’s time for analysis. For the sales person – did I “Do” what I prepared to do? Score it on a scale of 1 to 10? What worked — I should plan to do that again. What didn’t work, or what went poorly — I should modify that? What did I forget to ask, or discuss, or what didn’t I even think to discuss or ask — I should remember it for future do’s.
Again, it is the role of the manager to make sure the sales person does this analysis. Hold the sales person accountable that s/he did the preparation and analysis. The recap is critical. Without it old, ineffective behaviors will continue to produce the same old results.
Preparation is necessary to insure the sales person will “Do” the right behaviors – gets what’s needed and gives what the prospect wants to hear. Did the salesperson do what you both prepared — how did it work? Score on a scale 1 to 10? What needs to be modified? What didn’t he do? How come? What can you do to help him or her “Do” it better next time?
These steps by the manager are mandatory for 90% of your sales team. The other 10% — the best salespeople will do it by themselves. The 90% are like inertia — a body in motion (doing its thing) will continue to stay in motion (doing its thing) until influenced by an outside source (the manager). So if you want better results, hold the sale people accountable.
Finally, the “Do” involves metrics — this is the analytical piece of accountability. Metric are mandatory to judge performance and gauge improvements.
What is your ultimate metrics for defining effective doing? My favorite is dollar volume of sales. Another could be percent against goal.
Then, there are the precursor metrics which indicate whether the ultimate metric will be attained, – number of sales calls, number of people engaged on a sales call, number of proposals per close, time with each customer.
Think through this. What metrics are precursors to your ultimate metric? Sales require proposals. Proposals require commitments. Commitments require presentations. Presentations require interviews, possibly with many buyers to determine individual’s needs and consensus. Interviews require sales call preparation. Sales calls require targeted prospects. Count the ones that predict your ultimate metric.
Establish the metrics that lead to your goal. Pick a few that really tell the story. Then monitor those early metrics, because if the early metrics are not met, you can be sure, the ultimate metric won’t be either.
Remember the behavioral metrics you scored 1-10 after sales calls and strategies. Is the person scoring above minimum? Is s/he improving? Break down your sales process into 4-5 behavioral elements and score against proficiency. Document what you expect and discuss his or her scores and your expectations for improvement.
So successful doing is just as big a function for the manager as it is of the sales person. The manager must train (teach them what works), coach (tell him or her what to “Do”), mentor (show him or her how to do it), and hold all accountable for selling behaviors as well as their metrics. Sales people must then “Do” what they’ve learned and been told to “Do” and measure up. If not the manager must determine how to move the person to “Do” it, or recruit a new sales person.