I have a new role at PCI. In addition to being CEO, I am also currently serving as the leader of our outside sales team. Two weeks ago, our longtime leader of that team came to me and expressed a desire to step back from the leadership role. Prior to starting a search to find our new outside sales leader, I chose to take this role on for a period of time.
I see it as an opportunity to re-familiarize myself with a critical aspect of our business.
Because business starts with sales. There is a quote that’s always stuck with me: “Nobody has anything to do until a contract gets signed.”
Which reminds me of another adage: “There are two types of business problems. Sales problems. And everything else. And if you have to pick one type of problem to deal with, pick everything else.”
Revenue itself doesn’t solve all business problems. But it provides the cash and time necessary to solve all business problems.
“The number one role of the sales manager is to generate the sales that are essential to the survival of the company,” writes Brian Tracy in his book Sales Management. “The sales manager achieves these sales results by working with and through other salespeople.”
2: There are two primary activities a sales manager must do. “First, to create value, and second, to generate revenues,” Brian writes. We “should spend 80 percent of our time creating value and generating revenue, all day long.”
Everything else? It’s a distraction.
“Including and especially dealing with email, social media, messages, and phone calls,” Brian writes. These activities “are diversions or distractions taking us away from creating value and generating revenue.”
What matters is sales results.
In our case at PCI, in outside sales, it’s all about getting contracts signed. Ink on paper.
Brian recommends we start by looking in the mirror. Our leadership style will be a crucial driver of our team’s success.
“Everything that we do to improve our own personal leadership abilities will act as a multiplier for our sales force and increase their sales results,” he suggests. “The best news is that there are no limits on how much better we can become as a sales manager and a leader when we devote ourselves to self-improvement.”
3: Brian believes all the best leaders have two qualities: Clarity and consideration.
“In my experience, clarity is 95 percent of success, not only in business and sales, but in life,” he writes.
When we are clear on what we want to accomplish, and when each person on our team is clear on what they want to achieve, the faster and easier we will get the results we want.
Our job as leaders is to set clear goals and objectives, discuss them in detail with each team member, and then help them achieve those targets.
When interviewed, the best salespeople say, “I always knew exactly what the sales manager expected me to do.” Every day they knew exactly what they needed to do to be successful, from when they started work in the morning until the end of the day.
Reflection: Am I crystal clear on my goals? Is each member of my team crystal clear on their goals?
Action: Hold a discussion to clarify our goals.