Sales managers – it’s time to assess your performance and adapt!

Sales managers

Sales managers

A few years ago we published a blog on the importance of sales managers assessing their prior year’s performance and incorporating the results of that self-assessment into their plans for the new year. If you believe front-line sales managers are still the key to a team’s sales success, as we do, then the points raised in that post are as important today as when they were first posted and are worthy of another look.

Consider this  …

Sales managers are starting the new year setting sales goals and reviewing their territories for opportunities. While these activities are definitely necessary, top performing sales managers have shared with us an additional good idea for getting a great kick-start to the new year.

Top performing sales managers take a look back – before moving forward.   They review their past performance to determine what worked and what didn’t – and why.  The importance of this type of  “looking in the rearview mirror” review is highlighted in a HBR blog.  The author notes – “All of us fall into unproductive habits, sometimes unconsciously. Good managers are always asking themselves and others about what they could do better or differently. Finding the right time and approach for asking these questions in a way that invites constructive and candid responses is critical.”

Applying this idea to sales … it’s important for sales managers to assess their performance last year and consider what worked, what didn’t and what they will do differently this year. This can be done anytime, but it is especially pertinent at the beginning of a new year. Unfortunately, under the banner of getting off to a quick start, action often takes precedents over self-assessment.  This can be shortsighted.

Sales managers should take a few moments to assess how they will manage their sales teams during the coming year. A good starting point is to reflect on their past performance as a sales manager.  So how do you get going?  Here’s a short list of 12 questions for getting started on the self-assessment.

  1. What has occurred in the buying environment that would impact how we sell?
  2. With whom on my team should I be spending the most time coaching? least time?
  3. What skill sets does my team need to develop in order to succeed this year?
  4. How can I conduct sales strategy review sessions more efficiently – more effective?
  5. How can I improve the quality of feedback I share with my sales team?
  6. How can I help my sales team better leverage institutional resources?
  7. Under what conditions should I participant in sales calls – how does that differ by the individual team member and type of call?
  8. What can I do specifically for top performers?  Low performers?
  9. How can I increase the percentage of time my team spends selling to customers?  What is the major time sink?
  10. What can I do to increase the over all excitement and motivation of the team?
  11. What is one innovative idea I should try to increase the sales productivity of the team?
  12. What is the one skill I must get better at?

If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.

©2015 Sales Momentum, LLC

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About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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