Are you dog tired because of the way you manage your sales team? Many managers tell me that they cannot see a way out of traditional sales management methods that keep them working like dogs, including focusing strictly on revenue goals, staying late, traveling up to three weeks a month, tightly controlling teams, and constantly reacting to emergencies. There has to be a better way.
Are you satisfied with the way your life as a sales manager is turning out? Is it giving you all that you wanted? If not, perhaps it's time to make a revolution. Here are some revolutionary ideas you might consider:
1. THINK THREE TO SIX MONTHS INTO THE FUTURE
What you want to accomplish right now was set in motion a few months ago. The results of your decisions three to six months ago are coming to fruition today. Think and talk strategically about three and six months down the line as if it were "today." Describe and write down what you see about:
? The culture of your sales team
? The size of your sales team
? Your ideal customers
? Revenue you are generating
? Your competition
? Your target markets
? How your team has changed in the last three to six months
? How hard you are working
While crystal-ball gazing is never an exact science, it can be enormously helpful to "live" in the possibilities.
2. GO BACKWARD
From the vantage point of three to six months in the future, identify what you did over the past three to six months. Ask yourself the following questions:
? What did I accomplish?
? What did my team accomplish?
? What tasks did we complete
? What actions made us successful?
? What were some of the obstacles?
? How did we overcome the obstacles?
3. CREATE A PLAN WITH MEASURABLE GOALS
If you want better clients, the #1 sales team, more money, more time for yourself, and more enjoyable work, you need an effective business plan.
Use your insights from No. 1 "Think three to six months into the future" and No. 2 "Go Backward" to create a plan.
? Don't know how to build one? Make this the year you learn.
? Already know how but haven't built it? Get support from a colleague, mentor, coach, or group to make it happen.
? Have a system but aren't using it? Pull your plan out of the drawer and re-commit to doing what it takes to have your dream career.
To help you get started, here is a simple tool I use. You can also ask each salesperson on your team to create a plan using the same template.
Top 5 Goals ? 3 months
Top 5 Goals ? 6 months
Top 5 Goals ? 12 months
? Do not put your goals in a drawer! Post your goals where you will see them every day (computer, fridge, bathroom mirror, wall next to the phone). When you see your written goals, you increase your chances of accomplishing them.
? Communicate your goals. Let others know what you are thinking. Take regular opportunities to talk to your staff and superiors about your plans. It usually takes a village to accomplish great things. You'll need buy-in and help reaching your goals from many levels within the organization.
4. CHOOSE THE BEST
Serve only those clients you, your organization, and your sales team care about and enjoy. Everything becomes a struggle when you work with people you don't enjoy. You wouldn't hire someone you couldn't amicably work with, so why let them hire you?
Begin today to let go of clients you and your sales team find difficult, and start seeking out those you want. Have the courage to refuse new clients who don't fit your picture of who you most want your business to serve.
5. CREATE ACCOUNTABILITIY FOR YOURSELF AND OTHERS
How many times have you said that you were going to do something and then not done it because nobody else would know the difference? Try spreading the word. Just the simple act of telling your plan to another person raises the stakes. Most of us place a high value on doing what we say we'll do. There is something profound about taking our commitments seriously when we profess them to another person or when we join in a pact to reach a common goal.
To hold employees accountable, have them declare their intentions to you. Use these three simple questions to help you:
What will you do?
When will you do it?
How will I know you've done it?
Then, schedule a follow up time to talk about their accountabilities.
Enjoy reaping the rewards of your revolution.
'Revolutionary' Challenge: BE THE FUTURE
NOW is a good time to plan. Conduct a visioning exercise with your team where you go into the future.
Ask your team to close their eyes and focus on the future, one month at a time. First, ask them to see themselves today. Then proceed one month at a time. When you all open your eyes, it is six months from where you started.
Discuss what you see, using the points in the "Think Three to Six Months into the Future" section at the beginning of this newsletter. Make sure you capture the ideas on a flip chart.
Please let me know how this worked for you, and any suggestions you have to improve the process. Have fun with it!
This article may be reprinted in its entirety with express written permission from Nicki Weiss. The reprint must include the section "About the Author".
About the Author
Nicki Weiss is an internationally recognized Certified Professional Sales Management Coach, Master Trainer, and workshop leader. Since 1992, Nicki has trained, certified, and/or coached more than 6,000 business executives, sales managers and salespeople.
Nicki guarantees increased sales performance when sales managers become better sales coaches. Sign up for her FREE monthly e-zine, Something for NothingTM, which has powerful tips and techniques for sales managers who are ready to make this transformation. Sign up at http://www.saleswise.ca You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-778-4145.