Managing the Mid-Year Sales Tune-Up: 2 Management Success Strategies
A recent CSO Insights study found that 42% of reps don’t hit their sales quotas. To avoid adding to that statistic this year, now’s the time to take a moment to evaluate your salespeople’s performance as well as your own as their manager and coach.
Here are two strategies to build positive momentum in your sales organization for the second half of 2015:
1. Check alignment: A good practice for any vehicle tune-up, an alignment check ensures smooth running for the remainder of the year. In sales terms, this involves assessing whether your salespeople’s knowledge, skills and values are congruent to release the motivation and achievement drive necessary to reach their unlimited sales potential.
If the year has been going slow thus far, you may need to discuss a salesperson’s view of his or her abilities. A negative view can become self-perpetuating, putting the person at risk of falling further behind. If the processes are in place but people aren’t following them, there may be a lack of commitment to the activities necessary to achieve quota. As you review progress toward goals, focus in on the degree to which the person is engaging in the activities and where there might be gaps. Together, you may discover some quick remedies that will make the salesperson more efficient and help accelerate the sales cycle.
A salesperson’s view of selling will also have an impact on their effectiveness. If they view selling as a mutual exchange of value rather than a high-pressure or manipulative “product push,” they’ll not only be rewarded for it, they’ll be more energized by the process.
Congruence gaps can cause conflict and stress, and they’re often at the root cause of stifled productivity. These and other alignment checks should be part of your ongoing performance strategies as a sales manager and coach.
2. Reinforce, reinforce, reinforce: If you’ve provided sales training for your team, that’s great. But it’s not enough. Ongoing reinforcement and coaching are essential, not just for keeping skills and knowledge sharp but also for adjusting approaches and strategies as conditions change.
A study by the Centre for Management and Organizational Effectiveness found that training combined with coaching led to an 88% increase in productivity, versus 23% from training alone. And while CSO reports that 69% of training reinforcement is provided by managers, only 6% of organizations say their managers proactively identify which reps need coaching.
Coaching and reinforcement aren’t just for those who may be struggling. Just as top athletes rely on great coaches, your top performers need the structured coaching to keep pushing to new levels of success. Effective coaching reinforces a belief system—the attitudes, motivations, beliefs and values—that creates their drive for achievement and multiplies their sales power. This is a critical time to take a step back and reevaluate your coaching skills, plan and approach.
And of course, one of the most important ways managers reinforce desired behaviors is through their own. Are you following the processes and using the systems? If you’re not committed to the vision, values and activities, no one else will see them as important either.
The second half of the year can feel like a sprint to the finish line. Do your part to make sure your team is equipped to compete at their peak.