Picture the perfect sales manager. Happy customers, happy staff, all the sales reps are at target, zero turnover, all their hiring decisions are great and sales are growing. I know a few sales managers that live in this kind of a picture, but this is the exception rather than the rule in most companies.
If you have some of this and some of that and are wondering you or your sales manager is getting it done, the most obvious measure is the sales numbers. Beyond that what are the signs that perhaps something is wrong in sales leadership-ville? Here are three quick and dirty measures of sales management performance.
Employee Morale is Dropping
Morale and mood are directly linked to sales performance. Let morale drop and sales numbers will surely drop. As Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War, the leader must ensure that his army feels that the battle can be won, otherwise they won’t fight to their potential. The same goes for sales reps. They have to feel like the company is strong and they can achieve their numbers, otherwise they will be emotionally resigned which will be disastrous for your numbers. It is your job to hire great sales people that are self motivated and emotionally strong, but it is also your job to keep the energy and enthusiasm high.
Turnover is High
It’s always surprises me how companies can be so blasé about high turnover. High turnover usually means a lot of your staff are new and learning the ropes. It means customers aren’t developing relationships with your staff because they change often. It means your other staff are constantly learning how to work with new people. It means you are constantly spending time and money rehiring and retraining. It also usually means you are under-performing relative to other companies that have low turnover. A little turnover is good because it brings in new ideas and energy and keeps everyone else on their toes, but more than 10% turnover is not great and more than 30% has a horrible impact on the bottom line for most companies.
Check in with your employees. Are they given the tools they need to succeed? Are they treated fairly? Is the competition you’re fostering in your sales force too stiff? Take the time to get to know how employees are feeling, and you’ll prevent pitfalls before they happen.
You’re Losing Customers
It is often said that people buy from people and that customers will purchase inferior products from a sales rep that they like. Once a customer finds a supplier that delivers what they need, they don’t like to change, but if your reps are ill informed, insensitive to the customer’s business, out of touch or not on top of the customers schedule, customers will switch. Significant turnover can happen for many reasons outside the scope of the sales function, but a big part of it is the reps that service them and the quality of this service is directly attributable to the quality of the reps you employ.
Do a quick tally of these areas. Are you where you need to be?
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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