Tag Archives: sales productivity

Improving Sales Performance: Train the “C’s”, Coach the “B’s”, Recognise the “A’s”

Sales Managers are often tempted to spend most of their time in the field with their worst performers, the “C’s” who are always struggling to meet their targets, thinking that they can coach them to achieve greater results. However, many sales managers become more of a crutch than a coach, stepping in to close the deal at the salesperson’s request. If you’re going to invest your time in coaching selling skills out in the field, then do so with your “B” performers who just need to hone their skills to better their performance.

In addition, according to Tony Rugliano, co-author of the book “Discovering Your Sales Strengths”, a key area that sales managers need to concentrate on is building their relationships with their star performers. Rugliano suggests that star performers need your support and recognition of their achievements too. Do you spend enough time with your top performers in the field?

Set Your Salespeople Free … To SELL

What’s your current sales team set-up based on?

Is it …

# 1 : Each sales rep being essentially self-sufficient i.e. get their clients, keep the clients and do all that needs to be done, including process the order and collect the payment?

Or is it …

# 2: Configuring your sales “production” process much like you would in manufacturing/factory environment?

I favour the latter. For years, I’ve been calling for companies to start isolating sales tasks and activities and to set up individuals to manage this for the external sales team. Specifically when it comes to sales research (aka qualifying new prospects and opportunities). By doing this, you will free up your external sales team to do what they were employed to do – be out there, all day, every day seeing quality new prospects and making meaningful appointments.

Ten years ago, I thought we would be seeing job ads posted on LinkedIn and on career portals for specialist “Sales Researchers”within a few years. People whose job it is to literally tee-up potential opportunities from prospects as well as existing clients. People whose job it is to stay on top of all new developments in market verticals. People whose job it is to provide insights to the external sales team who in turn use the information to provide even more value to customers.

But this has not happened. We are nearly all still stuck with outdated sales thinking which requires a salesperson to manage the entire sales process on their own – even dragging them into pre-sales social media marketing and post-sales customer care responsibilities too .

Justin Roff-Marsh, based in Australia is the guru behind re-engineering the sales process. I highly recommend that you take a look at his work. This ‘division-of-labour’ principle is working wonders for many companies around the world. Sales have soared and costs have plunged.

In simple terms, the system is based on separating the admin of sales from the face-to-face of sales. And then going further by employing internally-based specialists for every phase of the sales process.

When you release your sales executives from having to do all of their own pre- and post sales admin and shift most of the account management/customer service activities to a slick in-house support team, your sales will increase.

You Can’t Ride Two Horses …

One of my business mentors – a highly-respected Irishman, academic and entrepreneurial guru – once gave me a valuable piece of advice that I’ve never forgotten.  He said “Suzanne, you can’t ride two horses with one arse” (Please excuse the terminology guys but I’m keeping it real).

It was a comment he made after listening to me explain how I was struggling to manage two major projects at the same time. The fact that I was splitting my time and efforts was affecting the success of the projects. I was not making any headway. He was right, I was no Zorro. I took his advice, chose the one project I knew would be a winner and dropped the other. It was the best move I’ve ever made.

The same advice applies to sales. We need to focus on the ONE thing we were employed to do:  Bring in the business.

Don’t lose your sales focus because someone else is seeking your assistance with their problems. The moment you start regularly spending loads of your time helping to re-configure the CRM system, assisting the export department with their paperwork or getting sidetracked with sorting out production issues, it shows up in your sales results.

At the very least if you can’t get off “the other horse”, you have to ensure that management knows exactly how your precious selling time is affected by being expected to do additional tasks.

Stand firm on this. Otherwise you’ll pay the price in your performance review.