As a long time sales manager and consultant, I find it difficult to find a sales management book that provides “a-ha” insights. Not that there aren’t a lot of good ones out there! (though hidden within a vast sea of useless, repetitive, sophomoric tripe…)
Cracking the Sales Management Code is one of the good ones.
A big part of the reason the authors’ approach appeals to me is its focus on sales metrics – in my mind the only way to identify strengths, weaknesses and the amount and pace of improvement. They also clarify what to measure, and make a clear distinction among Business Results, which cannot be managed directly, Sales Objectives, that can be influenced by managing Activities, which CAN be proactively managed.
When you lean back and think about it, the distinctions are obvious – but you do need to lean back and think about it! Say you need a 5% increase in revenue. That’s a result. Telling your team to “Go sell 5% more” is certainly not coaching, not even managing.
Take it a step further by formulating specific objectives, one of which might be to land 3 new customers per quarter. Great move, but there’s still no coaching involved.
Take it that last step to specific activities. Make 3 additional prospecting calls per week. Deliver one additional proposal to a new prospect each week.
If you and your team are smart/hard-working/lucky, those two new easily measurable, manageable actions will land the 3 new accounts and generate that 5% revenue bump. Or…
…maybe those are not the two most effective actions, and/or maybe the objective should be to cross-sell one new product/service into each of the top 10 accounts per territory.
The key here is you’ll be making strategic and tactical decisions and coaching based on facts vs. gut feel.
In a nutshell:
- Clearly state the desired result
- Clearly state the objective(s) to be achieved that will produce that result
- Clearly state and execute and measure the action(s) to be taken to achieve the objective(s)
Much more to be gleaned from the book if you’re a rookie sales manager or a crusty old curmudgeon like me. Get a copy! Read it! Implement the suggestions!