Things I Do that Sales Managers Should #2

So, once you help them establish their goal and plan and you understand that it's all about them, you both need to get on the same page regarding what needs to be changed and done and how it will happen. If you haven't read Part 1 yet, you may want to do that first.

Read 10 Things I Do that Sales Managers Should Too if you haven't already.

Understand that you are not going to reinvent the wheel. You're probably not going to do anything that theoretically, your rep couldn't do themself, if they knew what to do and if they could do it. They have beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, obstacles, skills, challenges, resources and assets, but something's not working and something needs to change. This is a fun post that I wrote about why change is hard and what it takes to effect change. If you work with them long enough, you could probably figure out everything that's in their head. I don't have that much time. So, I have them take a sales evaluation. I learn more about their mastery of the 21 core sales competencies reading 30 pages than I might learn in several months of observation and interaction.

I share the report with the rep and ask them to read it three times with three different mindsets. This is an objective analysis that not only explains what is happening, but also why it's important, where it came from and how to change it. I'll use the report as a backdrop to our coaching calls. The report will help me (and the rep) answer the two questions that I ask every time I interact with a rep.

  1. Does this rep know what to do? (Do they have the skill?)
  2. Can they do it? (Do they have the strength or do they have an obstacle?)

#5 - Frequent contact

I had a rep at IBM hire me because his managers didn't have the time or skill to help him. It seemed like all the manager cared about was checking off the boxes in the CRM and filling in the numbers for his sales report to his boss. Frankly, he's not alone. Sales managers are often asked to do too much with too little. Their VP wants them. The CEO wants them. Customer service, Finance, unhappy customers, plus too many reps are assigned to them. They try to have an hour long meeting every week or every other week and they may call it coaching or 1:1, but it typically turns into a pipeline review or CRM update, etc. Unfortunately, most reps don't remember what happened a week ago. So, when asked, they either say they don't remember of they make something up. Easy to understand why most sales reports and forecasts are fiction or don't happen.

My secret is that I talk to almost every rep almost every day and the calls are 10 -15 minutes long. Each call is single topic. They may bring something to talk about, an email, an appointment, something that didn't go the way they wanted, a stalled proposal or whatever is bugging them that moment. If they don't have anything, I ask, "Did you sell anything yesterday?" If they say, "No", I ask, "Did you try?" and we then talk about what happened or didn't happen when they tried. Simple? Yes. Effective and timely? Absolutely and remember, every interaction...

  1. Does this rep know what to do? (Do they have the skill?)
  2. Can they do it? (Do they have the strength or do they have an obstacle?)

What you'll find is that you'll wind up dealing with 3-5 important events every week rather than getting together for fiction once a week.

Next up: Drilling down to find the real obstacle and affecting the change forever.


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