Today’s article is dedicated to those CEOs/Owners who also manage the sales team. My first message is: “You shouldn’t.” But, if you believe that you really cannot afford a dedicated professional sales manager, then read on.
You first need to recognize from the outset that you will not be as effective of a job as if you had a quality sales manager leading the sales team. You can’t because you don’t have the time to dedicate to coaching, motivating, holding the team accountable while also dealing with all the internal company issues, and oh yeah, also paying attention to recruiting new talent.
So with that being said here is a quick checklist of items that you MUST do:
- Weekly sales meeting to discuss best practices, practice skills together, work on scripting for campaigns, etc.
- Weekly (or bi-weekly) one-on-one meetings with each salesperson to hold them accountable to their previously agreed to activities, review movement in the pipeline, and to help pre-brief and debrief sales calls (frequency dependent on sales cycle, tenure and achievement of salespeople)
- Ride-along coaching calls with each salesperson monthly – not for the intent of you closing a sale but merely for you to observe and then help coach the salesperson after the call
- Ad hoc meetings with salespeople to strategize particular sales opportunities
In addition to the mandatory interactions the following is a list of suggested activities for peak performance:
- Daily huddle with team (5 – 10 minutes) each morning to make sure all are focused on the right activities that day to support goals
- Posting in a visible place for all to see (either physically or virtually) the YTD sales results, achievement of activity goals and/or milestones and the updating of this information on a weekly basis
- Role playing sessions created to practice skills in weekly sales meetings
Prior to establishing this type of rhythm it is important to have first established goals and an agreed to action play by each salesperson. Those components look like this:
- Does each individual know his/her sales goal for the year? Do they understand how it rolls into the company goals?
- Have you led a goal-setting session that not only articulates the revenue growth necessary for each individual but also encourages them to establish a robust goal plan encompassing all aspects of their life?
- Have you walked through the “Math of Success” with each salesperson? In other words do you know, and do they know what they need to do every day to actually execute on the revenue goal?
- Have you established an agreed to set of consequences if they don’t do the necessary activities?
If you cannot commit to executing on these basics you may want to reconsider your role as sales manager. If you aren’t effective in these areas, and spending SIGNFICANT time with your sales team, you will be the reason they are not as effective as you would like.
I will be hosting a webinar on Jan 30 directed specifically to CEOs who manage the sales team and we will explore these items in greater detail.