Editor's note: Today's post is from Karen Brown, a Sales Growth Specialist with Braveheart Sales Performance. Karen will be a regular contributor to the Sales Management Blog. She brings her unique insights from nearly 30 years of business management and sales leadership experience, which she applies to help sales teams achieve their goals and increase their profits.
Change is hard. That is a fact. Some would say it’s a statement of the obvious.
Talking about change is not hard. Creating a vision of change is a very engaging exercise that can consume what would otherwise be time filled with productive activities. It’s easy to get caught up in time spent “fixin’ to get ready” to execute.
In the sales world, as in many aspects of business, time is money. Revenue production depends on having a plan in place and executing that plan. A world class sales manager spends time coaching and motivating in order to keep sales team members accountable to achieving monthly, quarterly, and annual sales goals. Easier said than done.
Excuses Are Contagious
Sales managers often times do not receive the professional development required for them to transcend to management proficiency. The need and the payoff often aren’t even on the radar. Recently I worked with a sales management team that was tasked with the roll out of a new sales plan that required sales representatives to submit account plans and revenue projections each Friday for the upcoming week.
The new structured approach required accountability so it felt like micromanagement to this group of sales managers. A month after the plan was introduced to the sales team, the managers were not receiving weekly plans and projections…just a bunch of excuses. In turn the company’s owner and CFO were hearing chatter about the program, but mostly excuses.
Micromanaging or Accountability?
The sales managers needed to learn the difference between micromanaging and accountability. Accountability is reinforcement with the intent of achieving success. When accountability tools like weekly reports are in place, sales managers should use them consistently to identify opportunities for improvement. But not in a vacuum. Brief weekly conversations set aside time dedicated to coaching and motivating — while achieving accountability.
Once this particular group of managers threw off the yoke of micromanagement, they went to work clarifying expectations and created an accountability tool that was presented to the sales team the very next day. They stopped “fixin’ to get ready” to hold people accountable and actually starting doing it. So did their sales team.
What are you “fixin' to get ready” to do? If you have been putting off a change that needs to happen to improve your organization, I challenge you to end the “fixin’” and make it happen. Let us know how it goes in the comments.
Want to implement a system of greater accountability for your sales team? Try using our "Math of Sales Success" Worksheet:
If you enjoyed this post on overcoming change paralysis, you may also want to read this one which mentions paralysis due to lack of knowledge about how to change:
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