Where to Start
In order to continuously grow sales, you must start:
- Focusing on helping people get more of what they want
- Spending more time on recruiting
- Effective performance management
10 Things to Start Doing To Drive Sales Growth
By Tony Cole, Chief Learning Officer for Anthony Cole Training Group
Several years ago, I had an eye-opening discussion with one of my largest clients while reviewing the prior year and setting goals for the next year. During this discussion, my client suggested several critical “keep doing, start doing and stop doing” items that he felt would help us to be even more effective. This 3-dimensional discussion helped me to understand how we could grow by tweaking some of our traditional approaches. I think this process is relative to all businesses and has a particular application in regards to building relationships with banking, investment and insurance clients. Today, we will focus on what to start doing to drive sales growth.
- Start focusing on helping people get more of what they want. “If you help more people get what they want, you’ll get more of what you want.” In his essay on compensation, Ralph Waldo Emerson alludes to the law of the universe. The law of the universe fundamentally means that you can neither add nor take from the whole of the universe. If that’s the case and you spend time and energy trying to get more out of the universe, then you must start putting more into it.
- Start spending more time on recruiting. One of the reasons managers end up with the wrong people is that they are reactive instead of proactive (this is just one of the many reasons). When you are reactive, you feel desperate, you cut corners, you allow for a wider margin of error and you take on the belief that a warm body is better than no body in the seat.
- Start effective performance management. Gathering data in Sales Force or any other database is not performance management. Sending out reports on pipelines and production results is not performance management. Performance management is having multiple data points to assess behavior, skill and performance. You then must use that data to develop business intelligence for intentional coaching. Performance management should be about helping people succeed in their selling process rather than using punitive measures.
- Start coaching. Coaching is getting the sale pushed through the pipeline to closure. Coaching to change behavior and improve skill is what builds the foundation for long-term growth and success of your people and team. Make sure you have Coaching time scheduled on your calendar each week!
- Start making your bottom better. Assume for a minute that you have a sizable sales team – one that has more than 10 people. If you break the group down into quintiles, you have 5 groups of 2. Each of the groups performs at a certain level. Understand that you will always have a top quintile and a bottom quintile. All the Jack Welch’s “fire the bottom 10%” in the world will not actually eliminate the bottom 10%. If you have 10 people, there is always going to be someone who is number 10 or last in the ranking. However, each quintile this year ought to out-perform the same quintiles of last year. Manage to that objective and you will blow your numbers away.
- Start accepting responsibility for results and start making your people do the same. Own your outcomes. Make your salespeople own their outcomes. If they have no one to blame, they will find a solution or be forced to leave.
- Start getting your people to think “extraordinarily”. The standard in too many organizations for too many managers and too many salespeople is this; “Just enough is good enough.” Implement a goal setting and work plan development strategy.
- Start planning and executing effective sales meetings. Did you attend sales meetings that were boring and ineffective? How good are yours today? Do people miss or find excuses/reasons to not be there, come late and/or leave early? Do you find that the sales meetings are having ZERO impact on attitude, activity, performance and results? If they are not having an impact, then just stop doing them. However, if they are something that you are committed to doing, then act like they are more important than any meeting you have. Prepare as if your job depended on it!
- Start each year with individual work plans already in place. Time and again, I hear sales managers working with their salespeople on business plans in December. This makes sense ONLY if you have a 30-day sales cycle. For most B2B sales, the cycle is a bit longer. If your cycle is 90-days, then the business/work plan for the coming year should be completed in September.
- Start Today!