VP of Sales continue to share frustration with their sales management talent. The number 1 issue? Lack of execution. VPs ask the following questions:
Why are the sales managers tolerating below average quota attainment?
Why are the sales managers tolerating below average pipeline?
Why are the sales managers tolerating sales reps not running our sales process?
This lack of execution impacts you, Mr or Mrs VP of Sales in 3 ways:
Miss your in year revenue quota which causes you financial pain
Your executive peers miss their growth bonus and blame you. Causes you political pain as you walk the halls.
Your boss misses his growth bonus from the board. Causes you career pain; why would he want to promote you if he can’t rely on you?
Execution gaps need to be closed. How do you choose which ones to go after? We find prioritization of 1 single execution gap (people or a single performance condition) and a relentless effort to drive it will produce greater in year revenue quota impact.
How to Decide which Execution Gap to Tackle? (People or Performance Condition)
Complete our Prioritization Tool located here. You will emerge from this 5 minute exercise with either so many process gaps that you recognize it is the area of low hanging fruit. Or, the inverse will happen; you will realize you have great process but no sales talent to execute.
Below is one symptom for each you may be dealing with a potential gap closing idea for each.
Execution Gap 1 (People)—Sales Manager Tolerating Below Average Quota Attainment
Solution— Replace the bottom 10% Sales Managers by July 15. Complete a stack rank with your sales managers. And then stop coming up with all the reasons why you can’t. They will thank you. Put them back in a sales territory and let them thrive. Our research continues to show the bottom 10% of sales managers are actually great sales reps; they are miscast. I can see you nodding as you read this but worrying what HR will say. This takes some managerial finesse but I am sure you have reams of evidence and if you take a compassionate tone, the underperformer will end up thanking you. Then, keep the job open for 90 days, have the regional sales manager dig into that team; guarantee you performance will increase and some skeletons will come out of the closet. You get an environmental benefit from this move; the balance of the sales management team recognizes that underperformance is not tolerated. They will begin executing better. Sales people are inherently worried their job is on the line which is what keeps them hungry; stay true to this tenet.
Execution Gap 2 (Performance Condition)—Tolerating Below Average Pipeline
Solution—Implement a disciplined Sales Management cadence. The single reason why low pipeline happens is sales managers are not paying attention to it on a regular basis. Things happen slowly, then suddenly. All of a sudden you realize the only discussions your managers have been having with their reps are late stage opportunities. Starting in July, drive a weekly or bi weekly cadence into your sales management team. A critical component of this is the 1 on 1 between the sales manager and rep. 5 items to cover:
Mid and late stage pipeline is reviewed
Amount of net new pipeline created since last meeting
Developmental items from time spent observing them in field
Longer term development issues for career path
Internal struggles/challenges the rep needs help with
If you are looking for the most relevant execution best practices, attend this once per year webinar with our CEO, Greg Alexander. Greg will be reviewing what the best companies are doing with talent, time and money in 2013. Any ideas you have, share them in the comments below.