In the old-school sales era rep territories were typically organized around cities or geographic regions. As sales teams continue to go virtual, those boundaries are much broader and some sales territories even span several countries. The days of the morning sales round table and weekly manager ride-alongs are long gone.
Sales leaders, in today’s virtual model how do you know if your sales people are using their time effectively and spending it on the right tasks?
For those reps making quota it’s pretty obvious they have proper activity levels and effectively move enough opportunities through the sales process. But what about the under-producers – since you cannot be with them everyday what can you do as a sales leader to increase their performance?
Most sale performance issues ultimately relate to either activity levels or sales effectiveness. When it comes to activity levels, many reps simply lack the time management discipline to stay focused on the core responsibilities of the sales job. Helping sales team’s raise those activity levels is a challenge many sales leaders face – the following three changes can help you get there.
1. Reps Need a Personal Sales Calendar
The first change is getting your reps performing the critical sales activities each week and at a level that can be maintained. Ask everyone on the team to block calendar time each day/ week to ensure they have time set aside for those critical tasks. Consistently doing prospect follow-up, managing qualified opportunities, and completing required administrative tasks becomes easier when time is properly budgeted.
Make Personal Sales Appointments. These personal appointments are just as critical client meetings and should be protected just as diligently. Yes, there will be those days where reps have little control of their time. However, by using a calendar approach over the long haul, sales teams become far better at doing enough of the right activities to improve their numbers. This approach also reinforces that there are only so many hours in the day, and starting late or quitting early makes it nearly impossible to make targets.
2. Develop a Sales Commission Calculator
Since all sales reps are highly motivated (we hope) by the commission portion of their compensation program, we urge sales leaders to have their reps develop commission calculators. Urge your team to strive for their best ever paycheck and never settle for that “nice commission check” level.
Achieving $20K above a personal income target feels a lot more bankable than hitting 120% of plan. If reps develop a commission calculator they are more likely to view their pipelines more critically and try harder to have enough “big deal’ opportunities to meet their personal plan. We find this approach is far more personal than the usual quota attainment report.
3. Establish a Sales Leadership Cadence
One of our most popular posts this year has been 2011 Sales Planning Calendar. In it we suggested weekly, monthly and quarterly activities for Sales Reps, Managers and Leaders. The idea is to create a consistent set of sales activities that happen on a standard schedule for all levels of the selling organization. Sales cadence is a cornerstone of a sales process – they go hand in hand. And sales process is a major driver of sales success.
Increasing sales activity does not cure all sales problems, but for your lowest producers taking these steps may be what moves them from the bottom 20% to the top 20%.