The Sales Management dilemma – how do we drive high performance in our salespeople?
Salespeople never cease to surprise me. When you think you’ve made it absolutely clear what you expect of them, they completely astound you by doing the complete opposite!
It’s crystal clear to us. We need them to complete certain activities to drive our sales revenue. We think we’ve made it clear to the salespeople – ‘if you want to meet your targets, that is do your job, you have to complete these activities, with these people, in this way’. Clear? Absolutely! Do they do it? Maybe, but maybe not!
So what’s going on here?
Remember when you were a kid? Your Mum probably said to you something like ‘Go and clean your room up immediately, it’s a complete mess. Or else!’
Clear? Absolutely! Did you do it? Maybe, but maybe not! (in my case probably not!)
Hang on there’s a pattern developing here.
When we’re told to do something the rebel inside of us will often rebel – why should I do that just because they told me to? In business the answer is usually ‘to keep our jobs’.
So what’s the alternative?
Let’s first consider the way not to do it. As we’ve discussed, if we tell someone to do something they may or may not do it. Even if it’s the former they may do it but they may go through the motions and only do the bare minimum.
So telling people is not the best way to get things done.
So what is?
Think of a time when you’ve been highly motivated to do something. Could be at work, could be at home, could be a sporting or academic scenario. Or anything really. What was it that motivated you so much? Why was your desire to succeed so strong?
Your answer is probably along the lines of ‘I felt involved’, ‘They asked for our input’ or ‘I helped come up with the idea’.
Is there a lesson here in Sales Management? Damn right there is!
Your salespeople aren’t idiots. They know what they need to do and they don’t need you to tell them. Yes, they need coaching, guiding, training and mentoring but they don’t need you to lecture them. They don’t need you to tell them to clean up their room!