There are three questions that a head of sales should ask about your sales management team:
- Why are some sales managers tolerating below average quota attainment?
- Why are some sales managers tolerating below average pipeline?
- Why are some sales managers tolerating sales reps not running our sales process?
This lack of execution impacts you, Mr or Mrs VP of Sales in 3 ways:
- You miss your in-year revenue quota which causes you financial pain.
- Your executive peers miss their growth bonus and blame you. This causes you political pain as you walk the halls.
- Your boss misses his or her growth bonus from the board. This causes your career pain; Why would he want to promote you if he can’t rely on you?
Execution gaps need to be closed. How do you choose which ones to go after? We find prioritization of one single execution gap (people or a single performance condition) and a relentless effort to drive it will produce greater in year revenue quota impact. As a deeper resource to assess your sales strategy, download our workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Turn to the Sales Strategy section and start by reviewing “Is My Sales Strategy a Problem?” on page 260 of the PDF workbook.
How to Decide which Execution Gap to Tackle? (People or Performance Condition)
Below is one symptom for each that you may be facing and the potential gap closing idea to consider.
Execution Gap 1 (People)—Sales Manager Tolerating Below Average Quota Attainment
Solution— Replace the bottom 10% Sales Managers in the next 30-days. Complete a stack rank with your sales managers. And then stop coming up with all the reasons why you can’t. They will thank you. Put them back in a sales territory and let them thrive. Our research continues to show the bottom 10% of sales managers are actually great sales reps; they are miscast. I can see you nodding as you read this but worrying what HR will say. This takes some managerial finesse but I am sure you have reams of evidence and if you take a compassionate tone, the under-performer will end up thanking you. Then, keep the job open for 90 days, have the regional sales manager dig into that team; guarantee you performance will increase and some skeletons will come out of the closet. You get an environmental benefit from this move; the balance of the sales management team recognizes that under-performance is not tolerated. They will begin executing better. Sales people are inherently worried their job is on the line which is what keeps them hungry; stay true to this tenet.
Execution Gap 2 (Performance Condition)—Tolerating Below Average Pipeline
Solution—Implement a disciplined Sales Management cadence. The single reason why low pipeline happens is sales managers are not paying attention to it on a regular basis. Things happen slowly, then suddenly. All of a sudden you realize the only discussions your managers have been having with their reps are late stage opportunities. Starting in July, drive a weekly or bi weekly cadence into your sales management team. A critical component of this is the 1 on 1 between the sales manager and rep. 5 items to cover:
- Mid and late stage pipeline is reviewed
- Amount of net new pipeline created since last meeting
- Developmental items from time spent observing them in field
- Longer term development issues for career path
- Internal struggles/challenges the rep needs coaching to resolve
Would you like a hand upgrading your sales manager cadence based on emerging best practices? Visit me in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio increases the probability of making your number because the sessions are built on the proven strength and stability of SBI, the industry leader in B2B sales and marketing.