No one would argue that work for work’s sake is a cancer that must be avoided at all cases, but in practice are we conscious of the different between being busy, and getting the right things done?
Many sales managers get tangled up in “busy work”, particularly if they’re receiving pressure from above to get make their reps do more. “Looking busy” and “doing busy work” are not the goals of any productive sales team. We can spend countless hours preparing for calls, researching customers, and holding meanings, but this means nothing if our numbers aren’t coming in and our sales aren’t closed to meet the required target.
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Being efficient means doing the least amount of work to get something done. Being effective means working on the right thing and getting it done in the right timeframe. Your reps must be both. A commission comp plan seems like it would be enough to ensure your reps are motivated to be efficient and effective, but this is not often the case. We live in a world where most people are paid by the hour and have no incentive to get things done on time or done at all, and the influence this has on reps is easy to underestimate. When prospects say they “will get to things when they get to things”, your reps need to consciously maintain momentum rather than passively accept a potential stalled deal.
Clear targets and a simple comp plan will help keep your reps focused on a goal and increase likelihood that they will work towards the right goals, but you may need to help them be efficient, particularly if they are less experienced and haven’t yet developed exceptional work habits.
Your number one tool to help them be more efficient is coaching. If your reps are not using their time efficiently, you should be able to roll up your sleeves and coach them on the right actions. Dissect their day and help them analyse what work is not essential so they have more time to focus on what is. Work with them to develop great work habits. The payoff in results will be huge.
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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