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A fool’s errand for the Sales Manager

fool's errand, Sales Management Development, Sales ManagementNobody can manage achievement of the top line sales number. NOBODY!!!

Not you. Not your boss. Not the greatest Sales Manager who ever lived.

Trying to manage a result is a fool’s errand. (Ummm, you’re not a fool are you?)

The guts of your job as a sales manager is to identify the specific actions that produce desired results. And that consists of identifying a never ending hierarchy of deeper and deeper sets of causes and effects.

Need more booked orders? (Don’t we all…) “Managing” your team by telling them to “Sell more!” is not going to help. Think instead in terms of causes and effects. Think, for example, in terms of the “Four Major Sales Manager Levers.” Yanking on any one or more of which can result in more sales:

  • Work on a larger number of opportunities
  • Increase the average $ value of opportunities
  • Move¬†opportunities through your sales process in less time
  • Move a greater % of¬†opportunities through each stage of your funnel

Asking your team to “do” one or more of the above is vastly more specific than, “Sell more!” (It’s also vastly less likely to elicit an eye roll from your reps.) It also creates an environment for deeper conversations.

Working on a greater number of opportunities, for example, might well increase the time required to move each one through the sales process. Should the focus be more on cycle time reduction or increasing the number of opportunities in the funnel? What do you think, Rep #1? (…and/or Rep 2 and/or team?) And if it’s cycle time reduction, how exactly do we do that? (Notice the one-step-deeper you’ve now gone into your sales process.)

The above sample conversation, by the way, is called coaching!

Hash it all out! Poke and prod at using various combinations of the “Four Major Sales Manager Levers.” Experiment with different tactics to accomplish those that are 2 and 3 and 4 levels deep. Measure the impact of each. Share and discuss the data with your team. (Ummmm, there’s that coaching thing again…)

Here’s a tool that can help with analyzing the impact of various actions. (Call me at 678-429-7452 if you need help with how it works.)

Don’t work at the fool’s errand of “Sell more!” Work at the Sales Leader’s errand of identifying the never ending hierarchy of deeper and deeper sets of causes and effects that generate more sales.

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