When Faddy Sidaros, a Regional Sales Director for Pitney Bowes, was asked what he considers to be his biggest challenges, his emphatic response was: “Coaching the coach to be on the same wavelength and linking the sales representatives’ personal goals to those of the company.”
There is no doubt that sales are the heart and soul of any public or private enterprise. It’s about the need for a constant stream of new business, which brings in the necessary cash flow. This should explain why nothing happens until a sale is made. That simple point underscores the critical importance of sales to the business – regardless of its size. However, in today’s global marketplace, owners and managers face many challenges related to fulfilling the customer’s ever-changing needs and expectations. With that come refined methods of selling a product or service to a well-informed and discerning customer – especially with the advent of the information age and plethora of choices.
Sales management can be most easily defined as planning, implementing, and controlling personal contact programs designed to achieve the sales and profit objectives of the firm. Overall, sales managers and sales directors are responsible for leading the firm’s sales program. More specifically, they are accountable to reviewing and analyzing sales performance against programs, quotas and plans to determine effectiveness. To excel in those areas requires discipline, planning, executing, as well as frequent checks and balances.
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4 responses to “Sales Management: Focusing On Core Competencies for Extraordinary Results”
Your article is very good
Wow. I agree with everything you wrote. I’ve been preaching much of those same things for quite a while now.
I think sales compensation has been one of the toughest obstacles lately. It usually ties to how good their sales process is, and how much support the team has. It seems the less that is in place, the more the pay plan is used as a tool to transfer risk.
Extrinsic motivators like commissions only work when there is a clear cut path/process to the sale.
If there isn’t, and no support on top of it, sales reps panic and start looking for the sale instead of following a process.
This prompted me to write this article:
Half Court Bricks
For years I have watched sales departments operate and motivate by throwing half court bricks. How many times do we see a sales team of 10 people broken down like this:
1 superstar, 2 average, and 7 struggling? What do we do to fix it? We look at the superstar and try to copy what they are doing. Copy what works, right? Wrong!! If 9 people can’t repeat what the 10th one does, it doesn’t make sense to call that the process “that works”.
2 things are critical for a sales team:
1. A process/game plan that works for the majority, not the one.
2. Proper motivation to follow that process and plan, instead of chasing the end result.
Comp plans play a huge role here:
Most comp plans are performance based. We try to get to the end result “the sale” by using carrots and sticks. Get the deal. Get paid. No deal. No pay. This creates an environment of throwing half court bricks.
Half court brick analogy:
Take a basketball team. If the team scores more points, they win. We get it. So, lets motivate the players the same way we try to motivate the sales team. Instead of paying players to show up and execute the strategy, lets pay them individually for performance. The goal is to make the most baskets. So, lets pay the players per basket. With that thought in mind, lets add a new rule. Half court shots are worth 5 points. The goal is to score big and often so the team can win. (Just like the sales department)
Here is your new pay plan:
$1000 every time you make a 2 point basket. $5000 every time you make a 3 point basket. $20000 every time you make a half court basket. Makes sense right? We want the biggest return with the least amount of effort/overhead.
Of course, the result would be total chaos. Every time you get the ball, you will put up half court bricks. You can’t afford to pass, and it is too much work for the $1000 return to drive all the way to the hoop. Not to mention, you won’t have much help on the way.
As silly as this scenario sounds, this is how a lot of sales departments are set up. We are interested in the end result. “The Sale” So, we motivate the reps with carrots and sticks. The bigger the deal, the bigger the reward. No deal. No reward. As we get desperate, it becomes imperative to land half court bricks.
Result: Minimal low fruit. Maximum failure.
All pro’s can consistently make a lay up once they are in position. Very few if any can consistently make a half court basket. Are we giving our sales teams a strategy, support, and help putting them in front of the basket for a lay up, or are we handing them the ball at the half court and yelling “SHOOT!!!”?
Wow! I love this and agree with it all.
We are a small team within a sales force and endeavour to apply all that you talk about. We are client realtionship builders.
I am going to print it and give it to our broker.
Thank you for putting it in words for me to share. Third party is often listened to more.
Yasu Demetri R
You are a business genius. If you ever want a your next LearJet then let me know.
Demetri D / Demetra M