WE HAVE A NEW PERSON ON BOARD TO HELP US WITH SALES. SHE SAID SHE DOESN’T WANT A BOSS, SHE’S USED TO WORKING ON HER OWN, SETTING HER OWN GOALS AND HITTING THEM. SHE IS ON A BASE PLUS COMMISSION, SO WE ARE TAKING SOME RISK AND SO IS SHE. WE KNOW WE HAVE TO KEEP TRACK OF WHAT SHE BRINGS IN, SET GOALS AND TALK ABOUT MEETINGS/GROUPS SHE’S ATTENDING. WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO APPROACH MANAGING A SALESPERSON WHO’S USED TO BEING SO INDEPENDENT?
THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: You both need to know and agree to what she’s going to be accountable for delivering. While sales in the door is the bottom line, it may take her awhile to get to the numbers she needs to hit to pay for herself, and in the meantime you and she need to know if she’s making progress. Remember that she’s an employee and that gives you every right to know what’s going on. Figure out now if she can be accountable or if it’s a smoke screen.
Start with an up-front, written agreement on what the sales rep needs to deliver in the next 12 months. How much revenue does she need to produce? How many sales should come from new vs. existing customers? What does the average sale look like?
Once targets are agreed upon, ask her to break it down into activities that will lead to achieving those revenue and account goals. A skilled salesperson should understand the value of building a playbook of how she’ll close. Opposition should be a warning sign. To be successful in sales requires a great deal of focus, discipline and honesty about where things are at any time.
Create a weekly schedule: How many new people does she need to meet? How many visits to existing customers? How many prospects should she add? How many should she disqualify? She’ll need to replace each dead and sold prospect with 5 to 10 new prospects in order to keep her sales funnel full.
Consider the volume and workload related to sales. How many proposals does she need to write to get a sale? Who will help her write those proposals? Are there templates to help? What about sending out emails and intro letters and other marketing tools?
Have a discussion about existing customers. Even if she’s not going to sell to them, she can still build relationships and get referrals to use when selling to other prospects.
You can help by making introductions to people you know. Accompany her on sales calls to show her how you do it and then observe her and give her feedback.
It’s your responsibility as a manager to oversee your sales rep’s work. That includes regular meetings where you discuss what she’s doing and review reports to see where she’s making progress and where she might need help. A smart sales rep knows she’ll do better with someone looking over her shoulder, ready to offer suggestions on how to get over hurdles.
Use the next month to find out if your new sales rep is willing to meet regularly, present a recap of what she’s been working on, discuss what’s working and what’s not and provide you with insight on how she’s progressing toward bringing in the new business she promised. If she tries to keep you in the dark, she may not have as much to show you as she knows she should. Don’t let her fool you. Make it clear you’re there to help her succeed, but in order to do that, she has to regularly share with you, in detail, how things are going.
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: “The Success Principles, How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” by Jack Canfield.
Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business- consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics: 877-238-3535 or AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles at AskAndi.com.