Stephen Hensley’s Manifesto for Sales Performance – Point #1
Sales teams profit when everyone is at a common level.
Here are three internal best practices, bringing everyone up to the level of best performer.
Leaders focus on building sales teams to execute at an elite level to drive profits. Unfortunately, more times than not, many individuals cannot meet expectations. To profit, you need to bring in more revenues than expenses. We’ll keep this very simple. To solve this, you must bring all members of the team to a common level of performance.
Throw out the budgets you’ve assigned each representative. I’ve found that many leaders will lower the budgets of underperformers and give it to the high achievers. This gives the perception that everyone can hit their budget; however, it’s only masking an actual problem. Your team isn’t working at a common level. I suggest you take some time and reallocate budgets evenly across the team. Now, it’s understandable if you divvy up the budgets based on certain criteria such as tenure and time in industry. This will help reduce resentment, as I’m sure many reps feel when this happens to them. They have to work harder to achieve the same as low performers.
Simple and Powerful Communication
Focus on communicating simple and powerful messages with the team. You need to take time to reset expectations. Are you providing feedback and one on ones for your reps? If so, how frequently are you doing so? Depending on your industry and line of business, (B2C or B2B) you should execute this daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or at a minimum, monthly. Use this time to follow up on expectations and performance standards. Again, keep it a consistent theme. Often, many leaders will be all over the place in how and what they communicate. I call this the Ben & Jerry’s effect. Ben & Jerry’s has 54 flavors of ice-cream. Don’t make it a flavor of the week for your team. You lose the support and consistency you need to build performance.
Set up accountability programs for the team and for individuals. We’ll start with accountability as this is usually the toughest for most leaders to handle. Please, don’t use accountability as a hammer of fear. Accountability needs to be consistent for all members of the team. I suggest removing the result as an accountability measure. At least, earlier in the process and you can layer in later. When you focus on a number, people will do whatever it takes to achieve it. This can lead to issues with integrity and the customer experience. Make sure you take time to create specific behavior and process driven actions for the reps to deliver.