Are You Asking Yourself These Questions? Pt 2

“The mirror will tell us everything we need to know.”

This is the 2nd of our 3-part series on Inspecting What You Expect from 3 different roles within a commercial organization. If you missed part 1 “The business executive” you can read it using this link: Are you asking yourself these questions? Part 1.

This week’s focus is on the Sales Manager and taking a look once again at:

  1. What is “done right”? – 1st we must know what done right even looks like and clearly articulate it so that it can be tracked against without any miscommunication
  2. How fast is “done fast”? – said differently, is my time prioritized to actions that will get the job “done right”?
  3. How cost-effective is it? – are we working harder or smarter, and do we understand why?

Now that you know what we do & how we do it at a high-level, let’s go deep into this week’s role in focus – the sales manager.

   1. Do I prioritize my time efficiently?

Everybody wishes that they had more time in the day but we are all limited to the same 24 hours. With that being the case, we need to make sure we are spending our working hours as best as we can.

Sales Manager– Am I supporting my sales reps and direct reports by finding creative ways to reduce their admin work, allowing them to spend more time on revenue-generating activities?

Positive – Have a standard cadence with sales and marketing operations once a week to talk through where your reps are spending the most time on their administrative tasks and how the process can be improved.

Negative – Not inspecting where your reps are spending their time on a weekly basis and where time can be better used. Not having specific KPI’s to support positive selling behaviors for your reps.

During your weekly 1on1 with your reports, ask them how much time they spent on revenue-generating activities during the week and which admin processes are taking up the most time. If there are similar answers between reps, get sales ops involved on how to shift the load from reps to the back office.

   2. Do I have a “why” behind the time? 

It can be hard to be inspired by a what without a why. If you want your direct reports and new hires to achieve more, lifting everybody, then you need to show them the why.

Sales Manager – Am I providing support to the sales reps through productive training and enabling them to grow organically within the company?

Positive – Being able to promote from your current direct reports and provide new hires with a path and trajectory for promotion.

Negative – Having to consistently look externally to hire candidates from outside your organization for roles above your management level or into open positions that should be filled from your direct reports.

A very good indicator of this is your ability to retain talent and to have an average tenure in roles of current staff.

   3. Do I know what success looks like?

While success can come in many different forms, as the leader of the cohesive unit, it is your job to align everyone on what success is in this team and have a path to achieve it.

Sales Manager – How is our team performing against the rest of the company’s teams? What levers can we pull in underperforming areas to improve performance?

Positive – Your team is performing well in new business but is struggling with customer retention compared to the rest of the organization. Inspecting who you are targeting and if the team is prospecting within your ICP.

Negative – Your team is performing well in upselling and retaining customers but the pipeline has dwindled. Taking the path of least resistance by not inspecting reasons for this decline such as lack of team bandwidth or not incentivizing the right behaviors that promote company growth.

Providing simple, attainable goals for the team to strive for is part one. Once these goals are achieved they equal or lead to future success enabling a strong forward momentum.

   4. Am I measuring myself? 

Now that success has been established, using a combination of prior company data and industry standards, you now have metrics to benchmark against.

Sales Manager – Which characteristics and statistics within the organization contribute to the highest degree of success? Does my team know these and work towards them on a daily/weekly basis?

Positive – During your weekly team call to discuss future forecasts and the prior week’s results, you highlight the KPI’s that are synonymous with success.

Negative – During your weekly team call you measure your team against required KPI’s by the company regardless of skill set or who performs better in specific areas.

Taking into consideration the skill set of direct reports and managing accordingly is an essential characteristic of good management. While overlying KPI’s can be referenced and understood for what good looks like, it is important to take a holistic look rather than treat everyone the same. Measure your employees fairly, not equally.

   5. Are my processes efficient? 

There can be a good way to do something and a better way to do it. The best are always looking for ways to improve.

Sales Manager – Am I spending the majority of my time throughout the week adjusting and building a spreadsheet? What data are we capturing that can be automated and simplified?

Positive – Spend 15 minutes a week to review the past week and where time was disproportionately used. Then taking those findings use the next 15 minutes to recalibrate it for the upcoming week. What reps or deals need more attention this week and where else can I support the team best?

Negative – We have always bootstrapped the organization and want to keep costs at a minimum instead of exploring the ROI on your time being spent in a spreadsheet compared to supporting direct reports in strategic calls and negotiations.

Efficiency across the team will lead to greater success. If asked of their team, a leader must perform it in their own role. Demonstrate efficiency and always be inspecting process improvements to provide action to the team.

Asking yourself and your staff these questions monthly, quarterly, or yearly will pay dividends in the coming quarters. True change starts with a good, long, hard look in the mirror.

Let’s get to work.

Prescriptive Profits #9