In every business cycle new ideas are built and strategies-tactics attempted to create a positive impact on the organization. For example, the role of quality control, Lean and Kaizen Management have been implemented in many areas of business to improve performance. In most cases each of these “re-engineering” type programs have had positive impacts; from just in time inventory, to ISO policies. Most of these programs have been directed at inventory, process management, cost reduction, financial statements and even Human Resource management. What has seemingly been overlooked in most companies and now is rapidly gaining a focus is the productivity, cost and methodology of the sales organization.
The impact of Sales Management Optimization Policy ™ must be applied to the sales organization. Essentially OP is defined as: “you must build your organization to excel in the tough times and to propel in good times”. In a sales organization this responsibility is the Vice President or Sales Manager. Yet these individuals who have a major impact on the success of the organization generally have a job-life span of 14-18 months, limited training-at best and must operate in a pressure filled role with multiple soft and hard management skills in operation at all times.
In most cases sales management lacks methodology and a focus on running their organizations that manufacturing, inventory and financial managers have successfully implemented. Sales Management Optimization Policy takes into consideration the aspects of effective process management, standards and cost control into the sales organization.
In the current economic market, the successful Sales Leader faces many challenges:
- Managing Lower Costs of Sales
- Driving Revenue
- Attaining Budget Goals
- Managing Sales Teams
- Working with Limited Span of Control
- Achieving Goals with Stretched Resources
- Working with Market Dynamics
The answers lie in two fundamental points. First; “if it’s working, don’t mess with it” and for those companies where sales (revenues) are working there is little interest in disturbing that department. Second, when sales are not working two actions seem to take place; radical personnel change or high levels of micro-management on the actions to fix revenues. We would argue that all organizations must look at a bigger picture and build logical and emotional judgements/systems in place not only to achieve the goals of the organization but to assure management systems/processes are designed to create the environment for successful sales cultures. Selling is emotional and sales leaders must balance the need for building an environment of success and need for business management systems.
The interesting element in building an Optimal Policy within a high performance sales management approach is aligning the goals of the individual with the goals of the corporation. The smart sales leader will understand the basics of pure management, i.e. understanding the personal needs and wants of their individual team members or what most people today call EQ or Emotional Quotient. In my Life Enrichment keynotes I discuss how management must focus on this point for themselves and their teams.
First, let’s address the business side of sales management. This element covers key components of the tactical implementations of sales management. The list below represents a Sales Management Business Plan. Each of the components would include goals, impact on the attainment of the corporate goals, critical success factors, potential challenges, measurements and defined tactical actions required to achieve the goals. We recommend these plans are updated every six months with a 60-day assessment of trends or changing factors.
- Statement of focus
- Time line of planned events
- Activity standards
- Account plans
- Sales organization design (18-24 month view)
- Sales process design map
- Customer relationship strategy
- Sales technology implementation
- Recruitment/hiring/training programs
- Marketing/ materials
- Public Relations awareness
- Business Eco-System Partners and Alliances
- Product and revenue projections-24 months
- Competition Analysis
The second aspect of Sales Management must be the cultural human interaction or EQ. It must be recognized that only managing by the numbers and focusing on activity based sales indicators will not create the environment for high performance. The goal of sales management is to achieve results and manage the business, it is critical that salespeople understand key ratios are to assist them in their personal job success not as micro-management. Yet we find often a line has been drawn between the salesperson and their manager in “talking only about the numbers”. The key issue for the individual is to understand their formula for success and how the specific salesperson’s performance matches against that company’s formula.
We must move beyond this mentality to truly understand the personal objectives of our people and communicate your interest to help the person. Sales Management today must assist members of their team in setting personal objectives and assist their team members on achieving those goals. We call this align the soul of the individual with the goals of the corporation. This is where coaching and real managing takes place and a managers trust level grows.
Focus on understanding and improving the sales management process along with building your EQ sensitively to the needs of your sales team and you will experience the best that life can bring you: Sales Management Optimization!