January 18, 2006

The Physics of Sales Management

On my mission to help clients grow their businesses, my first step is to conduct a current state assessment. I discover talented and passionate people that had a great idea that evolved into a company with a payroll. They build and launch products, but one of the weaknesses almost always cited is sales management.

Most companies are good at hiring salespeople. So its no surprise that often the Vice President of Sales is a great individual contributor...not a sales manager. This person possess great communication skills, an excellent understanding of the product/service and desire to win. By the standards of some companies these individuals are good enough. In my opinion much, much more is possible and attainable.

For example - being able to enter the flow of a multiplier effect. This is an effect that can only be generated by effective sales management. It rapidly moves a company into higher orders of success. It takes an understanding of the physics of sales management to attain the higher percentiles of growth.

I use the word - physics deliberately. To quote Wikipedia the underlying force in physics is mechanics. "Mechanics is concerned with the motion of physical bodies, and with the forces that cause, or limit, these motions, as well as with forces which such bodies may, in turn, give rise to." In our case the thing that rises is - revenue and customer satisfaction.

Recently I had the pleasure of initiating a client's internal weekly sales meeting. This simple but effective gathering is not done in most companies. The weekly sales meeting has always been core to my approach since it's all about motion...keeping things moving forward. In some organizations the key to turnaround is eliminating the things that limit motion...but that's another topic for another time.

I've learned the hard way that regardless of whether you have a large team of business development professionals or a small group, you must employ an approach to keep forward motion. The absence of an approach or methodology is simply - a waste of money.

Using a methodology that is a mix of "one to one" and "one to many" discussions/meetings/follow-ups works well. I thought that there could be value in publishing my sales management methodology.

Here's my sales management methodology:

Step 1 - Conduct a Market Assessment: Determine market size. Establish the # of potential customers. Determine # of salespeople you need. Establish sales territories;

Step 2 - Set Expectations: Create a list of salesperson competencies. Establish the weekly/monthly salesperson activities required. Set sales quotas and a compensation plan. Recruit and Hire. Communicate competencies and activities expectations;

Step 3 - Initiate Touchpoints: Hold weekly group sales meetings to review activities, sales opportunities, knowledge transfer. Hold biweekly or monthly "one to one" hour long sessions with each sales person to enhance competencies and territory management;

Step 4 - Do a Skills Assessment: Rate each person's competency level. Use the "one to one" for coaching to improve competencies. Employ classroom or computer based training programs to improve productivity and skills;

Step 5 - Reward Success! Celebrate!

Step 6 - Raise The Bar: Once objectives met, increase expectations.

Stay tuned for my views on eliminating the things that limit motion.

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