From Mexico: The Four Universal Laws of Sales Management

July 3, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Over 65% of all companies follow a calendar year for their fiscal year.  For many of you in Sales Management, Q2 just ended.  How did you do?  Did your team make the first half number?

Unfortunately, we find that only 52% of Sales Manager make their quota.  Many of them ask us how we can achieve more revenue.  They ask what can they do to achieve their goals. “How can I make the number?” 

Simple. Stick to the Fundamentals.  Don’t believe me?  What are they?

Last week on was on vacation with my family in Mexico.  We went for a week to the town of Cabo San Lucas.  Of those that have been there, they know it’s a beautiful place.  We were fortunate enough to stay near a hotel by the beach.  So, one day I grabbed a good book called "Speak Like a CEO: Secrets for Commanding Attention and Getting Results" by Suzanne Bates, sat down on a beach chair and started reading.  Five minutes into my read, a beach vendor interrupted me and asked if I was interested in buying a Mexican homemade blanket.   I politely declined when another asked if I wanted to buy a sliver bracelet; then another if I wanted a hat; another if I wanted to take a Wave runner out for a ride; another if I wanted a hand carved pelican and on and on and on.  I continued to decline their offers but started to notice a few key things these ‘sales reps’ were doing. 

Every 60 minutes some would disappear.  After a couple of these ‘disappearances’,  I was curious to find where they were going.  They would ‘huddle’ with some kind of leader.  After 5 minutes of the meeting, out they would go again to sell their items.  A couple of observations watching this all over the beach, it hit me.  This ‘leader’ was their sales manager.  I walked up to him and begin to ask him some questions.  Sure enough at every meeting he would:

  • Check their sales
  • Ask who on the beach was buying
  • Organize the different products that were offered to hit everyone on the beach
  • Motivate them by offering hourly incentives
  • Coach them on their selling process

He was their Sales Manager.

He was practicing the fundamentals of Sales Management. 

And making money doing it every day.  I noticed these Universal Laws happen globally; in every business, every transaction, every ‘sales team.’

The Four Universal Laws of Sales Management

  1. Get ‘A’ Player Talent:  Nothing takes the place of talent.  We believe sales effectiveness is 50% talent and 50% of the performance conditions you place that talent in.  It's called Top grading.  It never ends.  You must be relentless at building a virtual bench.  Relentless at proper interviewing.  Relentless at developing your people.  It is the must of any sales manager:  hire rainmakers.  You are as good as your weakest person.
    • I asked the Sales Manager (Hector) on the beach what does he look for in a beach vendor.  “They must be agresivo, persistente e necesitan dinero (aggressive, persistent and need money).  I need to hire the best vendors because I get a 10% commission on everything they sell”.  Sound familiar?
  2. Coach every day.  Sales people need coaching. Coaching on the selling process. Coaching on how to manage their ‘patch’.  They need a motivation culture. Instruction how to manage their time. Feedback on how to think more like a buyer.  It is critical to their and your success.
    Universal Laws of Sales Management
    • The ‘Sales Manager’ on the beach walked around to all his sales people consistently coaching them.  In fact, I followed him and watched from a distance.  Helping the ‘vendor’ walk up to prospects, negotiate deals and spend time with people who could buy. At every moment, he was helping his people be more successful.
  3. Establish Cadence -  Sales meetings, one on one sessions, field rides, performance reviews:  All have an established date and time in the calendar.  You want to make the number?  Be with your people in front of customers by coaching them consistently in the non-selling time hours. (Download a sample of our Art of Coaching Curriculum out of our Sales Leadership Academy here)
                  
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    • I asked Hector how does he approach every day and week.  “Mi amigo, every day is the same.  We meet in the morning, every hour for 5 minutes and then wrap up at the end of the day.  This is the only way we can sell more every week and month.  You can’t move forward if you don’t know where you have been.” Simple and effective I thought.  This guy really knows what he is doing.
  4. Know who your Ideal Customers Are.  Do your sales people know who in their territory the Ideal Customer is?  Have they set their ‘patch’ to focus on their Ideal Customers?  Do they know the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) for new logos? Where are they prospecting? Are they spending over 75% of their time with ICP’s?
    • “Hector”, I asked, “Why do you focus your people just on this stretch of the beach and not down there?” as I pointed in the distance.  “Daniel, that’s a local beach.  The money is here near the hotels.  You have to go where the cash is.”    Do your sales people do this?

We have dozens of active clients.  Every one of them has asked us what the secrets to good Sales Management are.   Everyone has stated they struggle with Sales Management.  And everyone of them knows how valuable a Sales Manager is to an organization.

There are no secrets.  No magic potion or Pixie Dust you can spread around.  It’s the Four Basic Fundamentals described above.  It’s methodical, consistent and could be a little boring if you let it be.  But it makes the number.   Ask Nick Milne.  He does an excellent job at sticking to the fundamentals despite increased internal pressure from his boss and peers.  He is one of the best Sales Leaders at using the Four Universal Laws above.

Need help defining these basic Sales Management Fundamentals?  Download our eBook:  Promoted to VP of Sales: The Year 1 Toolkit.  Leave a comment or send me an email.  I can walk you through how your peers are doing it.

vp sales ebook

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Topics: Sales Management

Posted by Dan Perry

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