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Ramping Up Your New Year’s Resolution

20 Dec, 2012 By: Rob Gilbert, Sr, Industry Consultant  

With a new year right around the corner and dealerships trying to make their numbers for the end of one year and plan for the next, it is time to think about your sales teams and how they go about setting goals for their success; selling print services and elsewhere; and it’s also important to look at the behaviors that will drive positive results for your salespeople and the organization.  An overriding issue that faces today’s sales force is how to drive profitability in a hurry, but still be consultative in your/their sales approach. 

Because of the way sales quotas and territories are set up, sales people almost always start out behind the eight ball in terms of becoming productive and profitable in a short period of time.

Because sales reps are paid largely on commissionable earnings, they obviously want to churn deals quickly because that’s how they are measured relative to productivity, and that’s how they eat.  This becomes part of the challenge with building a team of true sales consultants.  The two philosophies seem to contradict each other.  How, then, can both tasks be accomplished?  The answer lies in driving the correct activities necessary to support a healthy pipeline. 
Hardware placement has become only a portion of a solution based offering for many dealerships in recent years.  Most manufacturers and / or dealerships offer print management strategies, document management, forms management, scanning technologies, business process improvement processes, and the like.  Each offering involves a separate level of product knowledge yet often a specialist can only focus on the overall marketing aspects of a particular business unit. This can be a curse for an unorganized sales person, but a blessing to a rep that has learned to gain a basic understanding of a wide array of topics to engage moving the sales process forward in different areas.

The best way I have found to accomplish this is by maintaining a high enough level of activities in each phase of a sales process to generate a healthy pipeline of opportunity. These aspects of the sales process are all inter-related. In order to build a healthy pipeline that incorporates different hardware / solutions / MPS and business process opportunities, a salesperson must be consultative and able to articulate the concepts of a complete range of product offerings.

In order to be consultative one must be able to be emotionally unattached from the sales process and be able to constantly assess a situation objectively.  In order to remain unattached emotionally, a rep must understand which set of activities are needed over a given period of time that will yield a particular set of opportunities within a certain timeframe of potential closure that they can affect.

Management’s key responsibility is to help sales reps identify their high payoff activities and manage proper levels of activity that will drive an abundance of opportunities, and that may then be properly worked with the knowledge that  because there are significant numbers of potential sales, proper consultative time can be taken with each one.  As reps take the time needed to assess and provide true solutions to their prospects, profitability will increase, pipelines will increase, and product mix will be much healthier.

 Equally important is an understanding of your team’s goals for their own success, realizing that they may or may not have anything to do with the success of the company itself.  We can monitor and measure actions which will lead to results, but we also have to be informed about the goals and beliefs they have that drive them to perform those actions.  Help them identify some short term, middle term, and long term goals that are reasonable and achievable. 
Create and foster an environment where reps are able to obtain success through goal attainment, and in turn they will help you to achieve success for your company.  Also remember that about 65% of what will comprise their success in the new year will be derived from their ability to be responsible for and take ownership of their territories, their confidence and view of self-worth (which can be gained through goal attainment), and the proper mental attitude for success. 

Tools to Assist You Check List

CRM / Sales Automation Tool –Managers and reps need to be able to track account activities and progress so they can find opportunities. It helps reps to stay organized.
Income Planner –Understanding the sales reps income goals will help you form-fit  activities to their plan & help them achieve, and attach goals to.

A Sales Repository –Area where reps can view case studies, gather product or sales related information, company updates, equipment lease pricing, and so on, and where managers can review measurements toward success
Product Specialists –Not a tool so much as a thought process, having specialists for things like MPS, Software sales, Business Process Improvement, Wide Format, etc., to increase width within a territory.
Sales Dashboard / Activity Tracker –Create competition among the sales staff for healthy measurement or progress in key areas.  This will allow them to measure themselves and their progress against a standard.
Goal Planner –Help reps identify goals that are both short-term, and far reaching, and help them track progress on each of them to show successes.

We will only plan to fail if we fail to plan.  Get a head start on 2013 by having a concise roadmap of what your business will look like, and how to motivate your teams to get you there.  Then, when January arrives, you are out of the gate with success on your mind AND a plan for how to do it.


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