Is your management profitable to your sales team? Do you know how to motivate and guide them to achieve their goals? Don’t spend all your time putting out fires; learn the framework which will motivate your team to close more deals.
Do your sales agents have specific goals in mind? Do they know exactly what actions to take to achieve those goals?
I’ve worked with many merchant sales teams and business-to-business sales teams.
One of my frequent observations has been a lack of framework around the concept of goals and action steps.
The following tips will help managers implement an organized process to structure goals and set-up action steps correctly.
There are two kinds of goals which are necessary to every sales team:
· Minimum expectations goals
MINIMUM EXPECTATION GOALS
These are the standard expectations for every sales team member. These should be in writing and understood by all as the pre-requisite for an active relationship.
Minimum expectation goals should also be applicable to W-2 and 1099 team members. Suppose I hire a 1099 contractor to roof a building, but the contractor leaves after installing only half the shingles. I have every right to tell that contractor the job is NOT complete!
Pertaining to 1099 team members, be careful of wording of goals. They can’t be “action oriented.” The team manager may not stipulate how many hours per day team members must prospect. However, this kind of wording is acceptable even for 1099 members, “We only consider our partners to be active is they submit ___ number of deals over the course of _____.”
The minimum goals are a standard. If someone falls below the standard, that should be in some way unacceptable. Decide how it’s unacceptable. For W-2 sales teams, falling below standard would result in automatic termination.
Stretch goals are set individually by individual agents in conversation with their sales managers. Although the team members set the goal, this individual meeting is the most important responsibility of sales managers. It is also the responsibility most often neglected!
You should be having one-on-one conversations with every active individual on your team at least once a month. During the conversation, ask about their goals. Ask what they are trying to accomplish this month.
These conversations are a vital part of the necessary framework for motivating your sales team. Without these personal meetings, sales managers are just putting out fires every day while spending time on people who won’t make very many sales. Neglecting this important responsibility creates a waste of your time and resources.
When you manage with minimum expectations, your sales team will get creative in learning to meet the standard. Then spend your time helping those above average.
Once a team member gives you his/her stretch goal, you must help break the goal into daily action steps. Tell the agent what needs to be done each day to reach the stretch goal. The math is surprisingly easy.
What’s the agent’s closing rate? By that you know exactly how many contacts that person needs. Perhaps the stretch goal is to make ten sales. If the team member closes at 30%, he/she needs to make thirty contacts.
How is the agent prospecting; going door-to-door? How many doors should he/she approach to get a “prospect” who could become a “qualified contact,” a person with whom the agent is having a conversation. Much depends on the wording used; that’s part of the framework. Have that wording structured.
For instance, “How many conversations with a decision maker should you have to get a qualified decision maker who you’ll close at X percentage?”
The agent might respond, “I need to have 100 conversations with qualified decision makers in order to find thirty good contacts for whom to make a presentation (or whatever wording you choose to use.) Then I’ll close those thirty at 30% to get ten sales.” Thus, you and the agent know there should be 100 conversations.
Then decide how many you need to have per day. Ask how many days the rep plans to work that month. If taking a week vacation, there would be fifteen working days. So, 100 divided by 15 means there should be about seven conversations per day. If working the full month, that would be twenty days. Thus, five conversations per day are necessary.
Maybe the rep and manager realize after completing the math that 47 good conversations per day are needed to reach the goal. Then you would ask the rep, “Is that realistic?” Then the goal must be changed. The action steps and goals must align.
SET ACTION STEPS
After having the conversation and setting daily action steps, the manager should help sales people track their action steps.
Managers ask me, “How do we centralize this? How do we scale this? How do we make it the same for everybody?”
There are three answers to those three questions:
· “You Don’t.”
· “You Don’t.”
This is what sales management is all about – helping individuals perform. I am all for standardization and cutting costs, but not on this! This is not a job robots can do! Salesforce.com can’t do this. THIS is what YOU do! Check in weekly to see if they’re hitting action steps necessary to reach their stretch goals.
That’s the framework your sales team needs. Try it! Here’s a little tip for you: this is A LOT of work and is really hard. This takes real management skill.
If you do it, there’s no doubt you’ll have a high performing team.