Working with a variety of senior executives, sales managers and sales contributors on a daily basis provides me with many opportunities to observe how committed they are to success. What success means to me is that you must mind the details, communicate more exceptionally and do the extra work that makes the difference between average and top sales performance. It includes updating customer content and activities in CRM when you know that takes extra time and effort, always sending a brief but appreciative thank you message to a potential customer, or going the “extra mile” when a customer makes an unusual request.
In Sales, it’s easy to do things poorly.
Here’s an analogy. I recently heard a story about a talk show radio host whose topic that day was to rail about homeless shelters. Apparently, a new homeless shelter in his city was causing a great deal of consternation and visibility among local neighbors. The host complained in his rant that there wasn’t anyone who really knew how to address the homeless issue – he effectively labeled the entire support community as incompetent.
The next caller got on the phone and told the host he had it all wrong. The caller said, “it’s easy to do things poorly”, and proceeded to detail all the ways his organization addressed homeless issues. Candidly, the host was taken back. Here was a person who was confronting the harsh realities of actually running a shelter on the air, details that people probably didn’t want to hear. His point was that a homeless shelter could be successful, but only if people would only make the effort to address the not so pretty details.
In Sales, we hear lip service all the time about getting the details right, but we are surprised when someone actually does. As Sales Managers, we need to focus more on the dingy details if we expect our teams to be successful. We must overcome our sales team’s ambivalence about the tasks where people just prefer not to understand the detail. The executive team will never congratulate you for properly maintaining your pipeline, for getting your team members to update the Next Step field in an Opportunity, or adding the extra bit of information that the Customer Service team (not Sales) needs to support your customer.
Where do you start? I always begin with the sales process. How are team members following the details of the process? Are they executing all the tasks? Do you have specific deliverables for each sales task (if you don’t, you should be asking why you have that task)? Do they update CRM with information about each Opportunity when they attend customer meetings? Can you look at an Opportunity within CRM and say that you know what is going on with the deal – without calling the sales person?
There are a lot of questions you can ask, but the real question is, are you willing to focus on the details and the effort it takes to manage them?
What details do you focus on to better manage your team?