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.