In this post I want to recommend three ideas to raise your game next year. Each recommendation addresses the biggest obstacles every sales manager faces to making the number:
- Not enough ‘A’ players on the team
- Lack of quality leads
- Reps struggling to get in front of Decision Makers
Before jumping into the trio of recommendations, let’s address the elephant in the room. Every sales manager is time starved. So before suggesting three more things to do, let’s discuss three things to stop doing (or less of).
Sales Managers should be spending 75% of their time coaching their team. Most don’t. I have worked with sales organizations where managers spend up to 65% of their time on admin. The greatest part of admin is spent on internal meetings. The problem with internal meetings is that they’re usually inwardly focused. If you’re going to meet that much, make sure it’s outwardly focused – all about the customer.
Stop the role corruption. Let customer service or post-sales support handle this. Again, your role it to ensure your team makes the number. Place your efforts here. Focus on coaching-up your talent and helping out with deal strategy.
Travel is another area where managers waste valuable hours. You’re not going to be able to stop traveling. Just be smart and strategic about it. You need to be out in the field with reps – at least 6 times per year per rep. I am a big advocate of face-to-face coaching. Leverage FaceTime, GoToMeeting Faces or something similar to fill the gap.
So where is your time really going? Want to find out? Download this simple tool to track the three aforementioned productivity killers. You will be surprised by the results.
Having covered what to stop doing, let’s turn to the three recommendations.
BUILDING A TEAM OF ‘A’ PLAYERS
Sounds obvious. Every sales manager wants a team of ‘A’ players. But not every sales manager knows how to do it. Building a team of ‘A’ players starts with assessing your talent. Who are my A/B/C players? Don’t let stats alone deceive you. Many B&C players look like A-players on paper. When analyzed closely, they are in sweet patches with massive opportunity.
Assessing your team starts with defining the A-player. What are the skillsets and competencies that define success in the role? With an A-player profile in-hand, you’re ready to assess your team.
Here’s a blog post that covers the best practices on how to assess rep talent. The output of the assessment is a ‘talent portfolio’ – who are your A, B & C players.
- A-players – Incent them more and put them in your best territories
- B-players – Identify talent gaps and coach them with individualized development plans
- C-players – Move them into other roles or out of the organization
PRIORITIZE THE PROSPECT UNIVERSE
Are you giving your reps a list of accounts and telling them to ‘have at it’? If so, that’s a problem. Not all leads are created equal. Like you, reps are time-starved. They need to prioritize how and where they spend their valuable selling time. Start the year by prioritizing the prospect universe. Prioritizing leads includes two
- Defining your Ideal Customer – who best suited to be your customer
- Ranking leads by potential spend – who has the greatest revenue potential (new & expansion)
Here’s a blog post that covers the best practices of how to prioritize the prospect universe.
The customer is getting busier and busier. They have little time or desire to meet with reps. Getting that fist appointment is getting harder and harder. If you want to make your number in the new year, your team needs to master social prospecting.
Social prospecting is leveraging social media to generate appointments. It is using tools like LinkedIn to get face-time with Decision Makers inside target accounts.
Here’s a blog post that covers the best practices of Social Prospecting. You need to get your team up to speed.
CALL TO ACTION: Start the year strong. Challenge yourself next year with a serious New Year’s resolution. Partner with a colleague to hold you accountable to your personal goals. Set milestones throughout the year to track progress. If you want to make your number in the new year get your productivity killers under control. Use the Sales Manager Time Tracker. And then focus on (1) building a team of A-players, (2) prioritizing the prospect universe and (3) teaching your reps to Social Prospect.