Sales Manager or Cheerleader

By Gil Cargill on July 28

Cheerleader IconThat’s right; a sales manager who does not manage based on process and metrics is relegated to the role of a cheerleader. He/she will say things like “work harder” or “work smarter”. All of those exhortations are nothing but a cheerleading type of motivating statements. In order to compete consistently in today’s world, a sales manager has to drop the pompoms and embrace the concept of managing with metrics.

It is impossible to coach a sales representative to be better, more efficient and/or more effective, if you don’t have metrics that guide you through understanding where the sales representative needs to improve. Without metrics, the sales manager must fall back on the clichés mentioned above. Salespeople have heard those clichés thousands of times and, between you and me, they have no lasting effect on the behavior of the salesperson.

When the clichés don’t work, the cheerleader sales manager will start threatening and punishing the sales team. Over time, a love/hate affair will arise between the sales manager and the team. The disconnection is especially intense when the sales manager is also the business owner. That’s because the lack of perceived growth in proficiency and effectiveness, on the part of the salespeople, leads to a reduction in profits; and business owners take that personally.

Another tactic that sales managers embrace, when the clichés don’t work, is to hire additional salespeople. This is implementing the clichéd strategy of, “Let’s put more feet on the street.” All of these tactics are old-school and completely inefficient and inappropriate for the 21st century. Metrics should be expressed in terms of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The most important KPI or metric focuses on the number of first meetings in a salesperson’s calendar.

If your company has no first meetings in the calendar of all of its salespeople combined, then you will get no first orders from any customers. First meetings can be conducted over the phone and/or face to face, but they must be scheduled (the customer must expect the call / meeting) and the agenda must focus on the possible pursuit of a first order.

This metric is virtually universal for all companies that want to gain new business from existing accounts and/or new accounts. In the case of an existing account, a first meeting may be a first meeting with the decision-maker in a new department of an existing account. Or, it could be a first meeting with a new influencer or decision-maker within the existing environment.

But, make sure that you put the pompoms down and pick up a calculator. If you develop a series of KPIs and manage to those KPIs, you will soon see a trend of conversions. An X number of first meetings will, over time, produce a Y number of first orders. The amount of time varies based on what you sell, but those mathematics are very accurate and, over time, become very predictable.

Lose your management stress. Lose the anxiety regarding growing your business. Manage your team with metrics and Key Performance Indicators, and you will be the manager of a very profitable, rapidly growing team that produces predictable and profitable results.

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