Do Your Sales Reps Perform Like an Olympic Athlete?
The winter Olympics began last week, and I must confess that I prefer the winter events over the summer ones. I am always excited to watch the speed involved with the downhill skiing, the bobsledding and the speed skaters. I love to watch the teamwork of ice hockey and the pair’s figure skating. I am ever amazed at the drive and determination of the Nordic and Biathlon skiers. I marvel at the risk taking of the ski jumpers and the freestyle events, and I am fascinated with the strategy of curling!
As I was watching the events on television the other night, it occurred to me that a great salesperson possesses many of the same qualities of an Olympic Athlete! Speed, determination, teamwork, drive, risk taking and strategy! Which led me to the question … Are your sales reps ready to compete in the Olympics of Selling?
Assess Your Team – Be the Olympic Coach
In order to assess your team, you need to conduct routine reviews of your sales force. This can come in many forms:
1.Accompany them in the field.
Days spent with your rep in the field are the best, in my opinion. You can see if your rep has prepared for their work day, how they present themselves, how they handle objections, are they asking for the business, do they follow-up, and how well do they represent the company! A well-planned day with a sales rep, watching them perform in their everyday world, is critical to their growth. It also sends a clear message that you care about them! What sales rep wouldn’t want a manager who cares about their growth both personally and professionally?
2.Routine 1-1 sessions that are not performance reviews!
Schedule one-on-one time with every one of your reps on a regular cycle. It’s a chance to check in and see how they are progressing in key areas, and to provide ongoing coaching and career development advice. It creates a two-way, open dialogue that leads to a productive employee-manager relationship. When you structure these meetings to be productive for both sides, it will be one of the things your employees will look forward to the most!
These are a quarterly or semi-annual full-blown review of your sales rep’s performance against the key metrics that you mutually agreed upon at the beginning of the year. There needs to be a performance grade applied to this review, so your team knows exactly where they stand in the eyes of the company.
Assigning projects to your sales reps allows them to grow, and it allows you to observe how they handle time management, problem solving, delegation, etc. This is a great way to develop potential future leaders for your organization.
Remember, every Olympic athlete didn’t achieve their dream of competing on the Olympic stage without the guidance of great coaches along the way. Their coaches gave them honest, timely and consistent feedback on what they were doing well and where they needed to improve.
Assess Your Sales Infrastructure – Is it Designed for Peak Performance for Your Sales Athletes?
Building a solid sales infrastructure to support your sales team is critical for them to perform at peak levels and to bring home the Gold for your company! Key infrastructure components are:
· A customized, written sales business plan and revenue plan by salesperson, by product, and by month.
· A custom sales process for each sales channel. This enables business owners and their sales management team to tell at a glance where each opportunity is in the sales process, and what needs to be accomplished to move each opportunity to the next stage.
· A Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) that allows you to manage the sales process for your company.
· Key performance indicators (KPIs) and forecasting models to track how the sales team is doing … Are we on track to win the Gold?
· A compensation plan that rewards your sales team for activities that will produce Gold Medals. If your plan doesn’t do this, then it’s time to adjust it to change the behaviors of your sales athletes.
“In times of uncertainty, create structure” – Sir Ernest Shackleton, Explorer
Is your business in an uncertain spot? Are you not sure what to do to jumpstart sales growth?
Follow the words of Mr. Shackleton. His story of leadership is an amazing one. He kept his crew
alive in the early 1900’s for over a year when his ship become stuck in the ice in Antarctica. An
amazing feat for that period! One of the keys to his success was creating structure that every
member of his team could follow day in and day out. This structure allowed them to focus on the
task at hand versus getting caught up on their situation. The team trusted the process and that
led them to survival.
Do you have the structure you need to thrive?
Every highly productive sales force, whether your company is big or small, has an infrastructure
and proven process’ in place that allows the team to thrive and produce results every year.
That structure helps remove some of the variables that come from running a business. That
structure allows you and your management team to effectively lead your team to execute at an
Start with the basics:
Building a solid sales infrastructure to support the sales team and sales management is of the
utmost importance for increased and sustainable revenue growth, specifically:
• Developing a customized, written sales business plan and revenue plan by salesperson, by
product, and by month;
• Implementing a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM);
• Developing a custom sales process for each product line and programming it into the CRM. This
enables the business owners and sales management to tell at a glance which stage in the sales
process each opportunity is in and what needs to be accomplished in order to move each opportunity
to the next stage;
• Developing key performance indicators (KPIs), forecasting models to track how the sales team
is doing; and
• Defining the structure and content for productive weekly sales meetings.
At New England Sales Solutions powered by Sales Xceleration, we know that any sales
and business growth comes with structure. Without that sales structure as a
foundation, your organization will struggle to produce consistent results. When we are
called in to assist a business, we work with you side by side to build that solid, time tested,
results proven structure to grow. Regardless of when we enter the situation as your advisor, we
help you manage the uncertainties associated with sales and build a foundation that will help you
to thrive for years