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Sales And Sales Goals Management

It is very important to have a fluid sales goal in place for yourself and for your team.  Nothing is more distracting to a sales team than to have everyone run independently from everyone else.  Running, mind you, is not the problem…you simply have to have a team run in the same direction.  To not do so, the sales manager is less likely to know what is happening, how to address concerns and not be able to guide the team towards maximum productivity.

Start by explaining the company goals and what they mean.  Nothing is worse than an arbitrary sales goal that is passed on to the account manager.  By sharing the rationale that led to the expected sales number, management is sharing ownership of the goal with the very people it needs to reach the number.  It is the difference between saying, “Do this.” and “This is why we need to be at this sales figure and this is how I need your help to get there.”

Once you have implemented the goals and sales process, you have to continuously re-evaluate the expectations on a monthly basis.  The account managers have to regularly adapt to a changing sales environment, both in the office and with their customers.  This is especially true if the commissions and bonuses for the sales team is tied to the goal achievement for the company.  In the event the best salesperson leaves the company mid-way through the year it may cause chaos if it is not addressed immediately.  If it seems unlikely the company goal will not be reached and commissions won’t be paid out, then where is the motivation for the remaining sales people?  By no fault of their own, they will not be receiving a check at the end of the year.  The proper response is to recalculate the company goals.  Most salespeople will see this as the company looking out for their proper interests and even understand if the commissions are smaller than expected due to the loss in revenue.

Also, there may be economic factors to bear in mind.  If the sales territory experiences a natural disaster, (such as a hurricane), and shuts down sales for months, it is of no fault to the account manager and the situation should be reconsidered.  To not have a discussion with the sales person and come to an equitable solution is to guarantee the loss the account manager.  Also, and much more damaging, the remaining sales people will see the lack of loyalty and possibly begin to look elsewhere for a better sales opportunity.

Let me just take this moment to mention something else about pushing a sales person out or firing him for the situations mentioned above; it is an extremely expensive proposition.  Replacing the sales rep requires the company to hire and train a new employee.  It many cases, it takes 6-18 months for the salesperson to begin to pay back the investment of the company.  That’s a very long time for the sales seat to remain negative. This doesn’t even take into account the amount of time it took to find the right candidate.  Don’t forget the released sales rep.  it is quite common to see a competitor immediately rush in and hire him or her.  There is less training required, he comes in with a book of business and he’s very eager to demonstrate to the other company what a mistake it was to let him go.

The point is nothing in sales is static, including sales goals, and you have to regularly monitor the floor and be ready to face every issue as it arises.  Everything must be fluid and every factor must be taken into account.  Managing a sales team is always unique and you have to be prepared adjust.  The company doesn’t have to be affected by every influence but every influence should be recognized.


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