Imagine if every time a football team was at risk of losing, the coach walked into the changing rooms at halftime and told them to “just score more goals!”
It might work.
If only the players had thought of that themselves when they were on the pitch in possession of the ball!
Then again, that thought may have crossed their minds. Coaches are meant to help players look beyond the obvious. Work out how to score more goals, how to take possession of the ball and win the game, or at least stop the other team from scoring more. Sales leaders should perform the same role for their team.
Asking your team or to “Just close more deals”, is not the most effective way to ensure they hit target. And yet, more often than not, sales leaders focus on the outputs instead of the activities that generate those results. Here are three reasons sales leaders need to shift their focus from results to activities.
#1: Results are out of your control
No matter how many calls your team makes. How many meetings they attend. How many miles on the road meeting prospects and key accounts, they — and you — can’t control when another company says yes and buys from your company.
Closing deals, generating revenue and scoring a win is an outcome.
An outcome takes the time, involvement and budget of those in another company. That company has its own logic, rhyme, reason, internal timescales, processes, external influences and potentially dozens of other factors that could impact when they say yes to your proposal. Even when a prospect is taking time, it doesn’t mean they aren’t going to say yes, thereby scoring your team a win.
But you can control and influence your team’s key selling activities. Make sure every prospect is managed and monitored, so when those that are taking longer are ready they will spend with your business. But don’t focus on pushing for every outcome. Instead, focus on every activity.
#2: Take the proactive approach
Sales professionals who spend too much time chasing existing pipeline and account prospects aren’t productive. Not only that; but as we found, bad weeks cost companies a lot of money.
Jason Jordan and Michelle Vazzana, in their book, “Cracking the Sales Management Code,” rightly argue that tracking sales teams activities and coaching improvements in those activities lead to proactive management. In turn, this improves team activities and in time, results and outcomes. One has a direct positive impact on the other, which is something i-snapshot clients benefit from.
#3: Activity management generates results
Taking a reactive approach to sales management is not effective. At best, it leads to a lot of busy, yet often pointless work. At worse, sales team members are scrambling around for an ever-shrinking deal pool and failing to focus on bringing in enough new prospects. A downward spiral can follow, reducing deal flow and revenue.
Improving and proactively managing sales activities improves results. Vantage Point Performance data found that the top quarter of sales managers performed at 115 percent of their target, which was 39 percent greater than the target achieved by bottom-performing managers.
In our experience, those top performers are more active — taking more calls and meetings — than bottom performers, which is a direct result of proactive activity management.
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