Are Your Sales Managers Acting Like Tony Soprano?
Paulie: “Here you go Tony. I know my envelope has been a little light thesepast few weeks, so this one’s nice and thick. I’ll keep doing better.”
Tony: “Nice work, you’ve always been one of my best earners.”
Are your sales managers too focused on the numbers? Do they feel pressure to deliver sales growth week after week, month after month, every quarter? What impact is that having over the mid-to-long term? How does this focus on the numbers impact coaching and development? Do your sales managers give their team members room to fail/grow/learn? Or is it all about how thick their envelope is?
Of course you want your team focused on delivering sales results – but that’s only part of the picture. That’s an outcome with all kinds of decisions and actions leading up to it. Along the way your sales people need to:
- Decide if the customer is the right fit for your firm
- Ask questions to discover the problems and challenges they have
- Monetize the impact of those problems and challenges (both time and money)
- Find out how long they have had these problems and challenges
- Find out what else they’ve tried to address these problems and challenges
- Get the prospective customer to agree that they have these problems and challenges and that they are significant enough to continue the conversation
- Discover who else at the prospect’s company cares about these problems and challenges
- Find out how they make decisions and bring on new vendors
- Ask questions to understand the decision timeline
- Ask questions to understand the competitive context (not just other potential providers, but also other priorities in their organization, or worse, the decision to do nothing)
- Find out if they have the money to invest in a potential solution
- Find out if they are willing to make the case to get money if it’s not in the budget
- Get the prospect to agree to make a timely decision upon receiving a proposal
- Draft the proposal, considering all of the information previously discovered
- Present the proposal
- Ask for the business
- Finalize the terms and conditions
- On-board the client for a successful engagement or project
- And then start all over on the next problem, issue or challenge
And of course current market conditions, competitive context, resource constraints within your company, strategic priorities, and any number of other important factors can impact each of these decisions and actions along the way.
If your sales managers are only focused on the bottom of the funnel (show me your envelope!) they’ll miss all the opportunities to coach and offer suggestions along the way. It’s very difficult to drive change and impact long-term growth if you don’t know the activities leading to those results. Everyone in your sales organization understands that ultimately they will be measured by the sales results they deliver. That’s a given, so don’t obsess about it. Instead, have your managers focus on the activities, decisions, actions, and behaviors that drive long-term success over time. Your reward? Consistent, sustainable, predictable growth. Good selling.