Dan, what tips do you have on managing less experienced sales professionals versus seasoned sales professionals? Sometimes I feel like I’m spending too much time with the less experienced and not enough time with the seasoned ones.
You have probably heard of the 80/20 rule in sales. That is: 80% of your salespeople produce only 20% of the revenue. If that’s not enough, management tends to spend 80% of their time with this same group attempting to get them to produce more.
Conversely, management typically spends 20% of their time with the folks who produce 80% of the revenue.
The answer to the above conundrum reminds me of the Sandler Rule: “Never manage your salespeople’s numbers, manage their behaviors.” This rule applies regardless of how experienced your salespeople are.
What exactly does this rule mean? See below:
Daily: ALL salespeople document their behaviors (not just the new ones).
Weekly: Management reviews their behavioral key performance indicators (KPIs).
Monthly: Management holds them accountable to behaviors they 100% control over.
Monthly: Management and salesperson interpret their (KPIs) together for coaching.
After reading the above, what thoughts come to mind? Some of you might be thinking “we don’t do any of this”. Other’s might be thinking “we do some of this, but not all of this”. Lastly, some of you are thinking “this seems like micro-managing and controlling. I don’t like it.”
If you’re thinking the third answer, you can stop reading. If you’re thinking either of the first two options, keep reading.
It takes time to form habits – minimally 60 days and can take up to 9 months. So documenting behaviors daily will help them work that muscle and form the habit.
By reviewing their KPIs weekly, you can eliminate weekly “update” meetings with all your salespeople, unless they are not making enough new attempts to reach a prospect for two weeks in a row.
When someone doesn’t know the amount of daily behavior to do, that is a development opportunity. When someone knows the amount of daily behavior and they choose not to do it consistently, that is an attitude issue. Attitudes are very difficult to change and I would be looking for a replacement.
When have KPIs on your salespeople and meet individually monthly, the meeting tends to be a more of a strategy meeting about what is going well and what could be done better or different. This becomes a much more meaningful meeting for the manager and the salesperson.
When meeting monthly as a group, you can share the dashboard created from the KPIs and compare conversion ratios from attempts to conversations, conversations to meetings, meetings to quotes, quotes to sales, etc. When certain conversion percentages are higher from one salesperson to another, you can ask specific questions as to why that is. Do they have a better script? Do they schedule longer versus shorter meetings? Do they disqualify prospects better or different? The answers to these questions allow best practices to emerge and more concrete coaching opportunities rather than micromanaging.
Lastly, on a quarterly basis, you will want to take a closer look at why they are above or below their sales goal year to date. Again, having all the background from the weekly reports and the monthly meetings, you are less likely to have any “big surprises” here. If you do have surprises, you have only allowed one quarter to go by, rather than a whole year. This allows for a course correction to occur before it’s too late.
Dan Stalp is president of Sandler Training, a sales and professional development firm. He works with CEOs, presidents, business owners who sell, and peak performers who are tired of walking by their salespeople’s offices to see them on their computers instead of on their phones — and sick of having a superior product and losing out on price. firstname.lastname@example.org • (913) 451-1760 • DanStalp.com