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26 May, 2016 By: Troy Harrison, Salesforce Solutions

I love sales management.  Until I started my own business, sales management was my favorite job.  Unlike some sales authors, I have real respect for sales managers.  But – let’s be honest.  Sometimes you can get a bit stale in the job.  I’ve been there, too.  So, if your sales department is in a bit of a funk (or even if it isn’t), how can you give your team a shot in the arm? How do you get them to employ performance enhancing tactics meant to improve their sales efforts?

Forget about what too many sales managers do – either a rah-rah-go-team-go speech, or a chew out.  The “motivational” effects of these might last an hour or a day, if at all.  Instead, try one or more of these 5 Sales Management Power Plays, and start revitalizing your team’s performance:

Power Play 1:

Get Out of the Office!  Inertia can be a difficult thing, and sometimes it’s easy to get into the habit of becoming the classic office-bound sales manager.  You want to be accessible to other managers and to your people but there’s always stuff to do in the office, etc. Forget it. Sales doesn’t happen in the office (unless you’re running an inside sales department).

Instead, get out in your territory; ride with your people and see what’s really happening in the field.  When you stay in the office, you rob yourself of opportunities to do live coaching with your salespeople; you lose contact with what the customers are really thinking and saying, and quite frankly, you become both bored and boring.  A good rule of thumb is this – a sales manager should spend AT MINIMUM 40% of his/her time in the field.  That’s a bare minimum.  If you’re not doing that, what are you waiting for?

Power Play 2:

Delegate the Busy Work.  You can’t get out of the office if you’re locked into doing a lot of busy work – activity counting, reporting, CRM watching, etc.  So don’t do that stuff.  In a good company, that work often falls to the lowest paid person that can do it competently.  Are you doing all of your own reporting?  Are you the lowest paid person that could do it?  If so, fine, keep it up – but more than likely there is an opportunity to delegate.  Use it.

Top sales managers know that they earn their living by helping their salespeople to perform better than they could otherwise – but you can’t do that if you’re pushing paper.

Power Play 3: 

Update Your Hiring Processes.  Are you still hiring by gut feel?  Are you having success when you hire?  The minimum acceptable hiring success rate should be 50% (success defined as a salesperson onboarding, ramping up to quota in the expected time, and staying there for at least three years).  If you’re below 50%, you’re very substandard.  A good goal is 67% - if you’re winning on two out of three hires, you’re doing a good job.  If not, it’s time to re-evaluate your processes and tools.

You should be doing, at minimum, a phone screen, a resume’ focused interview, a behavioral interview, and using a psychometric assessment (one with proven validity) as well as a criminal background check.  Due diligence is key.

Power Play 4: 

Update Your Own Selling Skills.  When is the last time that YOU were trained, or retrained, in selling skills?  It’s easy to get locked into the idea that your salespeople should be constantly retrained (you do retrain your salespeople, right?), yet often you let your own skills atrophy.  Sales methodology is changing at the most rapid rate in our profession’s history right now, and if you’re not staying on top of the new developments, your people are falling behind.  Do you have a good sales technology and automation plan?  How are your salespeople using social media – are they integrating it with conventional prospecting, or are they posting and hoping?

If you don’t have the answers – or if you don’t know what the answers should be (or how to implement them) – it’s time to update, immediately.

Power Play 5: 

Tighten Your Focus.  When things get stale, it’s easy to let your focus go and have your salespeople chasing any shiny object just to get deals on the board.  It sounds good, it feels good, and it gives you a lot to talk about at sales meetings – but it doesn’t put the results on the board.  Instead, do the opposite.  Tighten your focus.  Figure out who your IDEAL customers are first, then have your salespeople – like human laser beams – focus on those customers.

Make sure your salespeople know the difference between business you CHASE vs. business you TAKE.  You’ll find that you get better results with a tighter, more targeted focus on the more meaningful accounts.

Which one of these Power Plays should you implement?  Ideally, all of them.

Any one of these plays can be done in the short term, some singly or in combination.  Take your sales team’s pulse, then prioritize and start putting these Power Plays into action.  You’ll find that your results will thank you!


POWER PLAYS - The Definition


·       A play by the offensive team to secure an advantage first

·       A play in which a person/team has a numerical advantage over the other

·       A play where conscientious activity accomplishes something

·       A play or plan of action drawn up by a manager for its team

·       A play or aggressive attempt to compel acquiescence by taking control

·       A play of applying tools and teams on a certain, focused area

·       A play of strategic maneuvers as a means of tactical coercion


Troy Harrison is the author of “Sell Like You Mean It!”, “The Pocket Sales Manager,” and a Speaker, Consultant, and Sales Navigator. He helps companies build more profitable and productive sales forces with his cutting-edge sales training and methodologies.  For information on booking speaking/training engagements, consulting, or to sign up for his weekly E-zine, call 913-645-3603, e-mail Troy@TroyHarrison.com  or visit www.TroyHarrison.com

About the Author: Troy Harrison

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