How To Assist Your Reps in Accomplishing Their Goals
By Ram Raghavan M.S, MBA, PhD, FIETE, FFISP
In our previous blog, we discussed the importance of setting realistic expectations. In this article, we will delve into how sales leaders can assist their sales teams in effectively channelling their energy to accomplish their goals. Before we delve into this topic, let's take a moment to reflect on the role of perception.
Consider the realm of art and the valuation of artists—a concept heavily influenced by perception. Vincent Van Gogh, for instance, faced immense challenges in earning a livelihood as an artist due to the perception that his work was unsettling. His unique artistic style often confounded art critics and the general public, leading to misunderstandings and criticism. Interestingly, it was only after his passing that his profound contribution to the art world was truly recognised.
We all possess a distinct worldview, shaped gradually over time. How we perceive information and act upon it is significantly moulded by our individual perspectives. While cultural, social, and societal influences play a part, our personal experiences predominantly sculpt our perceptions.
Despite the clear articulation of expectations by sales leaders, sales managers sometimes imbue their interpretation of these expectations when communicating with their teams. Team members, in turn, comprehend and execute tasks based on their individual perspectives.
Here are some alternative approaches to consider, beyond the conventional methods like objective setting, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), lead qualification, sales pipeline analysis, and training:
1. Prioritise High-Value Activities: Assist salespeople in identifying activities that yield the greatest value in achieving their objectives. Activities such as prospecting, lead nurturing, and deal closure often hold high value. Encourage a focus on these critical tasks.
2. Time Tracking: Implement time-tracking tools or software to log the allocation of time to various activities. This offers transparency into time allocation and identifies areas for enhancement.
3. Cost Analysis – Two Dimensions: Encourage salespeople to delve into the costs associated with their activities:
- ROI Calculation: Calculate the return on investment (ROI) for time spent on different tasks by comparing the generated revenue against the time and resources invested.
- Opportunity Cost: Engage in discussions about the opportunity cost of dedicating time to one activity over another. What could be achieved if efforts were redirected to more high-value tasks?
4. Benchmarking: Compare the performance and time management practices of the sales team with industry benchmarks and best practices. This illuminates areas where improvements can be made.
5. Foster a Culture of Continuous Improvement: Cultivate an environment that encourages salespeople to experiment with various approaches, learn from setbacks, and refine their time management strategies.
Given that sales managers may inadvertently influence how their teams perceive and execute expectations, it is imperative to conduct regular performance reviews. Misunderstandings, even minor ones, can significantly impact performance.
In the pursuit of objectives, we employ our subjective viewpoints of the world. However, even a slight misinterpretation can have substantial consequences. Workplace communication statistics reveal that a lack of effective collaboration and communication is a primary cause of workplace failures, with 86% of employees and executives citing this as an issue. Furthermore, 68% of individuals report wasting time due to communication problems in their workplace.
To bridge the gap between what is expected, understood, and executed, clarity is paramount. When salespeople have a clear understanding of their tasks and priorities, they can focus on what truly matters. One effective approach is to have them list their KPIs and associated tasks while ranking their importance. As a leader, you can undertake a similar exercise to articulate your expectations. Aligning these perspectives helps in task prioritization and enhances focus on critical objectives.
About the author
Dr Ram Raghavan MBA, PhD, F.APS is the Founder of the Kaya Wellbeing Index, which was founded as an inspiration from his academic research at Manchester Business School into how people value each other at a conscious and subconscious level. The index was further developed following extensive research with business leaders, consultant neurologists and psychologists. Take part in the KAYA Wellbeing Survey here
Ram started his career in India as an R&D engineer before moving into sales and service and managing a biomedical instrumentation business for a Japanese firm for the Indian subcontinent and UAE. Ram then came to the UK and completed his MBA specialising in business strategy.
Ram is curious by nature and can spot patterns between seemingly unconnected things. He is the author of three books, one on customer service and two on employees. In his spare time, he designs and creates systems to automate his home, reads and meditates. He also runs a charity in India and provides scholarships to children.