Sales activity management is easy when your sales culture simply demands it. The question is asked by Sales Managers in the context of it being a constant battle to ensure that their sales people are doing enough of the right activities to put them in a position to deliver the sales results required. The discussion is usually around the number of prospecting phone calls, the number of first and second appointments per week and so on…….you know the story. So, we should be ignoring activity management simply because it can be a constant, nagging and frustrating experience for both parties? Well certainly not – We simply recommend a different approach.
Start by collecting activity and outcome results for your sales team as soon as possible. You will quite quickly identify benchmark standards which predict success in your business and selling environment, by sales role. Without this data, specific to each role in your business, you will be guessing forever. • If you are new to your role or the business you are working in, go with your educated guesses in the interim; and within 3-6 months you will realistically be able to collect the data you require. • Expect to see significant variations in the statistics by salespeople in similar roles. This is caused by variations in prospecting planning, execution skill levels and plain old salesperson “number fudging”.
Do not try to fix motivation issues – it is just too hard. Ultimately it is not your responsibility to motivate people to front up on time and do what you pay them to do, with enough frequency and proficiency. • Where training, coaching and other organizational support does not positively impact activity levels, manage the individual out.
You may be asking how this helps when coming back to your weekly face to face meetings with your sales staff. Well, it’s pretty simple – making the activity numbers are a pre-requisite for obtaining a weekly cadence meeting with the Sales Manager for value adding coaching and discussion. This meeting will not touch on activity volumes in any way because the culture drives their delivery. Ultimately, if you simply establish expectations and sales organisation accountability you will get to really manage, coach and lead – and not play baby sitter and excuse receiver. The time in weekly meetings is now freed up to analyse and discuss opportunities, review the quality of pipeline, work with individuals on skill and process improvement development opportunities. The secret is for you now to get started on this path.
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