Goal Setting Checklist for Sales Managers

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Here’s one of the most critical questions that a sales manager needs to ask themselves this time of year: How confident am I that my sales team can achieve the annual goals we just set? Rate your confidence on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high).

If you can’t answer 4 or 5, then the obvious challenge is what you as a sales manager must do in the coming months to improve the capabilities of your sales team.

The place to start is by evaluating each sales rep on both their skill (their sales expertise) and will (their willingness to learn, improve, and hustle). Then take the following four steps.

Step 1: Use those you rate high in both skill and will as “bell cows” (herd leaders): the role models for the rest of the team. Set performance expectations for the entire team based on these peak performers. Communicate those standards to the entire team.sales leadership

Step 2: Focus on developing the reps who rate lower on skills but high in will. These are the best candidates for extra effort. (Just think about the impact on your bottom line if a few of them become peak performers over the course of the year!) Do more one-on-one work with these high-potential reps, even if they see your extra attention as a loss of independence. Don’t DO their work for them; be clear in your expectation that they learn to solve their own problems. Your role is to provide guidance and sales coaching. Ask your peak performers to become mentors to these reps.

Step 3: Motivate the high-skill/low will performers. You may be tempted to tolerate low will among reps who are good at selling… but their poor attitude can be a drag on the rest of the team.I’ve talked about these prima donnas. The danger is that other reps will see them as role models. Sometimes, you can re-energize these people by giving them more responsibilities, such as helping you develop a playbook of best practices or getting them involved as mentors. Just don’t tolerate low will, because what you don’t confront you condone

Step 4: Make the hard call. If you have reps who rate low on both skill and will, the question is why? Why do you tolerate these poor performers? The best thing for you to do for your entire team is to do what I call “ushering the low/low performers to the crossroads.” Make it clear that they either improve or they’re out — and make good on that promise. Above all, do NOT waste your precious one-on-one time with these people. At best, your coaching effort would turn them into mediocre performers. You’re much better off coaching the high potential reps and turning them into peak performers.

For more information on goal setting for the sales manager download the “Sales Manager’s Checklist for 2013″

You’ve still got 10 months to go to make your annual goals. Follow these four steps, and you will improve the odds of achieving or surpassing your goals.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kevin Davis
Kevin Davis is the president of TopLine Leadership, which provides sales training and sales management leadership training programs to companies from diverse sectors. Kevin is the author of "Slow Down, Sell Faster! : Understand Your Customer's Buying Process & Maximize Your Sales". For more information visit www.toplineleadership.com

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