As the calendar indicates the New Year is fast approaching, it is prime time for sales management to ask some challenging questions about their team’s performance. Most sales managers find that checking the final numbers for their team satisfies their desire to evaluate what happened over the previous 12 months. But are those results the real story of how your team performed or could they be hiding some important facts that require a deeper look?
The truth of sales team effectiveness is never just found in one number and taking the time to dig into how the final results were generated cannot be an optional decision by sales managers. Trusting end of year results can allow some salespeople to skate along while they are just collecting a check for work they are not putting in. In some cases, the accounts a salesman has hide the lack of effort he or she is putting into their job. The customer is loyal and just keeps the numbers strong despite the lack of attention they are getting from the rep. That is not selling, that is coasting.
Other indicators must be examined; gross profit, new accounts landed, account growth through additional products or services, account retention and revenue growth adjusted for price increases are all essential pieces of the sales performance puzzle. These are all core indicators of the salesperson’s effort and success because they are all created through a commitment to executing the sales process. It is rare to see positive outcomes in all these when a salesperson relies totally on the relationship they have with any account. To score well in these indicators there must be a willingness to go prospect for new opportunities both inside and outside existing business.
Sales management must do all the work that is required to lead a team, just like salespeople must do all the work required to grow a territory and drive revenue higher. This year when reviewing your team’s performance be prepared to talk about the areas for improvement and growth, not just the numbers that make it easy say someone has done an excellent job. As difficult as it might be to admit, some salespeople are not working as much as their results may indicate.