Greetings from Seat 2A. I’m departing PHX after leading a sales management session in Scottsdale for a large company. My thoughts are still racing from this full-day session and I can’t get the interaction with these hungry sales managers out of my mind.
As I replay the highlights of the workshop and these managers’ takeaways, I’m inspired to ask/challenge you to consider the following question:
Where must you focus to maximize sales results for the second-half of 2021?
Whether you sell or lead a sales team, the key word is focus. And while it feels like just about everyone is currently operating at full-tilt running like mad, the harsh truth is that there are precious few high-value/high-impact/high-payoff activities that truly move the needle and drive results.
So, as we’ve just passed the halfway point of this unique year, it seems like the perfect time to call a brief mid-summer timeout, clear our heads, and ask where we need to focus to maximize our team’s results for the back half of 2021.
To help frame your response, let me offer this brief list below of high-payoff topics we tackled during the session in Scottsdale:
1. Refine Your Team’s Target Account/Prospect Lists
Do not assume that your salespeople are spending their precious, limited proactive selling time pursuing the right accounts. Get with each salesperson to review their target list and determine where they must focus their attention (most growable existing customers and ideal profile prospects) to optimize results.
2. Ramp Up Accountability
While it’s not popular to say this, the sales leader’s most important job is to ensure that the salespeople are doing their jobs! Accountability is not a dirty word and when done well (without being a jerk or coming across as micromanager) it’s a beautiful thing. Conducting impactful 1:1 results and pipeline-focused accountability meetings can transform culture and results. I’m about to release a new free guide (that includes a brief doc and helpful video) with my foolproof framework for increasing accountability, reducing complacency, and creating a high-performance culture. I’ll have that available for you very soon.
3. Revisit Your Messaging and Sharpen Your Sales Story
Is your team’s messaging getting the job done? Are you (and they) confident in the sales story they’re deploying? Are the talking points being used on the phone, in emails, and during sales calls and presentations compelling? Or are your people spewing self/company/product/feature-focused garbage instead of leading with strong, succinct customer issue and customer outcome-focused language? Sharpening your sales story pays huge dividends and is worth whatever time and attention you can devote to it.
4. Retool Your Coaching
One of the things that emerged during this workshop was these managers' excitement to get back in the field to work alongside, observe, and coach their sellers. How can you dedicate more time to work with your people and how will you maximize the impact from fieldwork and coaching?
5. Resolve to Address Underperformance
Nothing good happens from ignoring underperformance. Yet, so many sales leaders live as “prisoners of hope” just hoping that struggling salespeople will magically self-correct. Ignoring a salesperson’s underperformance is not only irresponsible and unfair to the failing salesperson and the business, it also damages culture and sends a really odd message to the rest of the team. Address it! Double down on both accountability and coaching while getting commitments for more activity and results from the salesperson. Resolve to coach-up or coach-out!
6. Regain Control of Your Calendar and Have Your Salespeople Do the Same
There is no mystery here. The most productive and highest performing sellers and sales leaders share this important trait: they are selfishly productive. They own their calendars. They time-block their highest-payoff activities. They don’t get distracted by diversions. They delegate or delete low-value tasks. They often say “no” because they understand that busyness and living in a constant state of overwhelm does not equate to productivity. As mentioned above, fill your calendar (and have your salespeople fill theirs) with the precious few high-value/high-impact/high-payoff activities that truly move the needle and drive results.
These six potential focus areas are a great start for ensuring you drive maximum results for the back-half of the year.
If you’re a sales leader and this list above struck a chord, I have a special invitation for you:
While 97% of my sessions (like the one I just led in Arizona) are for companies that bring me in to speak privately with their sales team or sales leaders, a few times per year I host elite events specifically for executives and sales managers. So, if you would like help tackling the topics above and more…and you’re ready to sharpen your focus, master the highest-payoff sales management activities, and maximize sales results, come join me and other driven sales leaders at one of these upcoming Supercharge Your Sales Leadership events.