Dear Jeffrey, I’m a big fan of your weekly column, especially the one about making sales vs. measuring sales activity. Brilliant! It describes my situation to a tee. I’m an outside salesman who spends countless hours filling in itineraries, CRM notes and reports. I had the biggest-ever increase in sales last year by far, yet I have been told at times I didn’t make enough calls that week. Very frustrating. Thanks for any advice you can give me.
My first piece of advice is: Get your boss fired as soon as possible. Get a real boss, leader, coach and helper, and your sales will double.
You seem to be doing the right thing – INCREASING SALES, and having the best year of your career. What else could a manager want? Sounds like it’s your manager that needs to make more calls and increase his activity.
Let me address sales leaders:
Why would you, as a leader, take an improving salesperson who is having the best year of their career, and tell him or her they’re “not making enough calls”? Why not do something to actually help?
Pick any or all that apply: You’re an idiot who knows nothing about leadership, coaching, or creating winners. You’re a micro-manager with little or no current sales talent yourself. (You may have sold before, but that was before the Internet – and you’ve probably never tweeted). You’re an unschooled leader, following the old way rather than learning what’s new. You’re using CRM as an accountability tool, rather than a sales tool. You’re totally clueless about your customer base and what will grow more and profitable sales. OUCH!
Successful salesleaders …
• Manage the sales cycle, not call activity.
• Measure the sales cycle, not sales activity.
• Help make follow-up calls with their salespeople to learn more about the sales cycle.
• Study the last 10 sales to help understand what will make the 11th.
• Discover their most profitable customers – and then go on to uncover WHY they’re the most profitable.
• Find where the profit comes from in every sale.
• Discover their most loyal customer – and WHY they stay loyal.
• Make a few sales calls together with their people.
• Teach salespeople to ask better questions that emotionally engage.
Maybe by spending more VALUE time with each existing customer it will increase their wallet share and your market share, and referrals will go UP.