1: “Top people go where the standards are the highest,” business philosopher Jim Rohn would say.
If we want to attract and keep people, “treat them like a crack team, with clear standards and disciplines that we insist on every single day,” writes Brian Tracy in his book Sales Management, “The very best salespeople perform at the highest levels when they are working in a tightly organized, well-disciplined sales team.”
Brian quotes The Economist magazine, which reported on a performance study embracing 10,000 organizations in twenty countries involving about 150 researchers whose goal was to determine the most important predictors of high performance and productivity improvement.
“What they found was that there were three essential factors that predicted productivity and profitability in competitive markets,” he writes. “These three were setting targets, measuring results, and rewarding performance.”
This week we’re exploring the key drivers of successful sales leadership. These lessons, however, apply to all types of leadership.
The first of the “Big Three” is setting clear targets and quotas for each salesperson for each week and month.
Each salesperson then sets “specific action targets for each day,” Brian writes. “All salespeople know exactly what they are expected to do, day in and day out, from the time they start work until the time they finish,” he writes.
As leaders, one of our most important jobs is to determine the level of sales we want to achieve daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually.
“The better planner we are, the more successful we will be, irrespective of what is going on in the marketplace,” Brian writes.
We start with our annual goal. We “establish these goals as our targets and then work back to the present day,” Brian suggests. “Decide what we will have to do to hit those targets in those time spans.”
Ultimately, we must define our sales goals in terms of the daily activities necessary to achieve them.
2: The next key driver of high performance is to measure results. We must have “clear measures and deadlines for the performance of each task leading to the sale,” Brian suggests.
Because what gets measured gets done. There’s a reason this phrase is one of the most repeated saying in business. Because it’s true.
“If we can’t measure it, we can’t manage it,” Brian writes. “If we don’t measure it, it’s probably not going to get done at all.”
“There is nothing that motivates a salesperson more than to have a clear, specific track to run on,” he writes. “On the other hand, there is nothing that demoralizes or demotivates a salesperson faster than coming into work and rattling around like a marble in a can, with no clear direction or specific activities required.”
Which is why we need clear objectives, standards of performance, and assigned responsibilities for each member of our team.
As leaders, we tailor these measures to the level of experience and current ability of each member of the team. “New salespeople should have sales quotas and goals that are commensurate with their knowledge and experience,” Brian writes. “More experienced, successful salespeople should have higher sales quotas.”
We meet with each member of our team to determine the correct sales targets and quotas for each salesperson based on their background and the current market. We then clarify the activities each salesperson must do every day.
As sales leaders, we establish metrics for the key drivers of ultimate sales success. We “make it clear that each salesperson is expected to make a specific number of customer calls each day,” writes Brian. “All salespeople are expected to follow up and meet with prospective customers face-to-face. They are expected to call back prospects that they have called on recently, as well as existing customers. They are expected to send out a specific number of interviews, and so on.”
3: The third and final driver of high performance is excellent rewards for high performance. “The greater clarity that salespeople had with regard to how much more money they could earn if they achieved higher sales goals, the more likely it was that they would achieve those goals,” Brian writes.
As leaders, we must be sure our salespeople know precisely how they will be measured, how they will be paid, and the exact timelines and deadlines on which they will be evaluated.
Reflection: Is there an opportunity to improve how we set targets, measure results, and reward performance?
Action: Discuss with a colleague.