Guest Blog | Dave Kurlan
Do your salespeople have the desire and commitment to do whatever it takes – every day – to reach their goals? Here are several tips for how sales managers can motivate, inspire, cajole and incent their sales teams to make their numbers and then some.
Goals – Raise expectations in order to celebrate superior performance. Don’t forget two crucial items: First, you need a forecast and plan derived from goals (not the other way around) and second, goals are derived from the individual’s income requirements.
Incentives – If an individual has the goals but the company’s compensation isn’t designed to reward superior achievement, the incentive to perform can’t be maintained. If the company has a rock-solid compensation plan but the goals are lame, the personal incentive to perform will be missing.
Managing the pipeline – The key to managing the pipeline effectively is working with your critical ratios. Use the Monthly goal, closing percentage, average sale and length of the sell-cycle You need to determine for your sales team how many new opportunities must enter the sales pipeline each month; how much the opportunities need to be worth and strict deadlines to reach the goal(s).
Accountability – You must hold each salesperson accountable to something measurable every day, such as the number of conversations required to schedule the number of sales calls required to identify said opportunities. Perhaps more important, you must have consequences (like no gas reimbursement) for failing to meet those requirements and consistently follow through whenever necessary. Develop the nerve for full accountability and you’re nearly there.
Skills – The more the better, but let’s focus on the most important skill sets for overachieving. Your salespeople must be able to hunt for new opportunities, identify the most qualified and be able to close them. Anything else they can do is bonus.
Urgency – Your salespeople must have enough urgency to get their opportunities closed, when they become closable, even when their prospects are using stall tactics. Prospects may have had compelling reasons to buy in the first place, but people have short memories. The time away from dwelling on the problems desensitizes prospects to the problems they had intended to solve. Successful salespeople won’t let that happen because they bring a sense of urgency to things while unsuccessful salespeople are afraid that if they make repeated follow-up attempts their prospects will feel pestered.
Weaknesses – Unfortunately, there are weaknesses among individual sales reps that will neutralize all of the previous eight factors. A few red flags: non-supportive buy cycle; a need for approval; a tendency to become emotionally involved and money issues.
Coaching and sales training – Your coaching must support any training initiative and help salespeople overcome their weaknesses, develop skills and master the selling process. While most training will be conducted by sales development experts from outside your firm, the coaching absolutely takes place from within. Pre-call strategizing and post-call debriefing, with every salesperson, are daily requirements.
Dave Kurlan, CEO of Objective Management Group, is author of “Baseline Selling: How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know About the Game of Baseball. ” Dave blogs about sales management at Understanding the Sales Force. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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