Couple of key stats and best practices to keep in mind when creating those To Dos:


  • 23% of sales managers spend more time making the lists than doing the tasks  on them
  • 93% of sales managers who made a To-Do list FOCUSED on hitting their goals made their quota last year
    • PS: This means you have to have goals
  • 18% of all To-Do lists are lost.  (make sure you don’t lose your To-Do list or you will have another To Do)
  • Effective To-Do Lists are limited to specific tasks that can be tackled right away and finished fairly soon. Think “help Johnny improve on probing questions”; not “help Johnny make his quota.”


So what is on World Class Sales Managers To-Do list in 2012?


  1. Understand how I am going to make my quota.
    • Use your best metrics to plan:  What is required at the top of the funnel to make the number at the bottom?
    • TIP:  Figure out each sales reps:  Close Rate; Average Sales Price; Sales Cycle Length.  Then do it for your team.
  2. Create a virtual talent bench.
    • The Best Sales Managers are always trying to upgrade their talent.  You need to keep replacing your ‘C’ players with ‘A’ players.  Upgrade Baby.
    • TIP: You need 1 sales rep candidate for every 3 sales people.
  3. Set up regular sales meetings, one on one meetings and field rides in the calendar NOW.
    • Cadence is the key to coaching and developing.  Make sure you have defined times with each person for every sales meeting, one on one and field ride.  Your reps will improve.
    • TIP: Schedule these a month in advance.  Your sales person has enough time to schedule a packed day full of customer visits.
  4. Spend 75% of my time coaching my people.  Plan my calendar for January today.
    • All other tasks are just noise.  Everything comes from being with your people and your customers.
    • TIP:  Coaching gets blown off when the boss calls. Put these one on ones in your calendar so when he does call you don’t answer the phone because you are in a meeting with your rep. Call him back later. He will understand. If he doesn’t, you have a lousy boss..
  5. Look for resistance in all of my communication methods.
    • Resistance to your messages is common.  Learn to identify and manage the objection.
    • TIP: Most common form of resistance = Silence
  6. Follow the sales process on EVERY deal.
    • Using the sales process can improve closing rate up to 45%. Adherence to the process will help your sales reps match the buying process.
    • TIP: Don’t think your sales process matches the buying process=Think like your customer and change it.
  7. Don’t sell every deal for my sales people.
    • You hired them to sell.  Why do you have to bring in the bacon?
    • TIP: Watch bailing out a rep in the late stages of a deal. If this happens your rep hasn’t done a good job uncovering the root customer problem.
  8. Implement a time management tracking  process for my sales reps this week.
    • Selling time has decreased in 2011 below 50%. How are your people spending their time?
    • TIP:  This is a challenge but will literally give you back 25% of your time.
  9. Coach my sales people to their tenure and talent. 
    • Don’t Peanut Butter Spread coaching across your people.  They need teaching, directing, cheerleading and motivation.  Determining when and where to use these methods is key to increasing performance.
    • TIP:  New people need teaching.  Veterans need pure coaching and motivation.
  10. Download the new E-Book:  Promoted to VP of Sales: The Year 1 toolkit.
    • The fundamentals in this book are core no matter if you are new in a sales leadership position or want to understand how sales leaders fail and how to turn it around. (Download it here)
    • TIP: I wish I had this book when I was promoted.


Successful sales managers make sure their time spent matches what is important.  The To-Do list is how you spend your time. It is the most effective way to prioritize how to make your number. Make sure your To-Do list is filled with customer facing and sales rep facing actions.  Not internal administration work.  77% of the list needs to be centered on selling time activities.


Jon Doffing of Epicor asked me 9 months ago how he could turn around his performance.  I began asking him how he spends his time every day and week. We started to break down his activities and found it began with his To-Do list.  Whatever was on the list got done while other needed tasks were put off until ‘he could get to them’.  We decided how he spends his time was critical for him to make his number.  And we agreed his To-Do list was the backbone of how he spent the time.


Be careful with your To-Do list. Mirror the 10 suggestions stated above.  Covet your time in 2012 to the actions that drive revenue.  You need to make your quota.  You need to be successful. 


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