Turbulent Times Leadership for Sales Managers

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IN THIS SUMMARY
Sales people play an important role in winning revenue for companies. It is in every organization’s best interest to enhance sales performance, especially during challenging economic times. In Turbulent Times Leadership for Sales Managers, Tom Connellan applies his research on high performance to sales teams. He demonstrates how sales managers can improve their sales representatives’ effectiveness by conveying confidence, demanding accountability, and giving supportive feedback.

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  • 1.  
  • 2. TURBULENT TIMES LEADERSHIP FOR SALES MANAGERS How The Very Best Boost Sales AUTHORS: Tom Connellan PUBLISHER: Peak Performance Press DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2010 135 pages
  • 3. FEATURES OF THE BOOK Improving team performance is a goal common to all sales managers. In Turbulent Times Leadership for Sales Managers , Tom Connellan explains how all people respond to expectations, accountability, and feedback.
  • 4. THE BIG IDEA
    • Based on his research in family and work contexts, Connellan has discovered that sales representatives’ performance is improved when their managers do three things:
    • Believe in Sales Representatives .
    • Hold Sales Representatives Accountable .
    • Provide Sales Representatives with Supportive Feedback .
  • 5. INTRODUCTION Sales people play an important role in winning revenue for companies. It is in every organization’s best interest to enhance sales performance, especially during challenging economic times. In Turbulent Times Leadership for Sales Managers , Tom Connellan applies his research on high performance to sales teams. He demonstrates how sales managers can improve their sales representatives’ effectiveness by conveying confidence, demanding accountability, and giving supportive feedback.
  • 6. THE THREE KEYS TO IMPROVED SALES PERFORMANCE Believing in Sales Representatives Human behavior researchers have shown that one person’s expectations can have a direct impact on another’s behavior. This is often referred to as the Pygmalion Effect. In general, higher expectations lead to higher performance. In addition, individuals should never be classified as low performers. While not everyone can be great, everyone is capable of improving their work. Connellan suggests that the Pygmalion Effect is one of the greatest tools that sales managers can use to increase their teams’ performance.
  • 7. THE THREE KEYS TO IMPROVED SALES PERFORMANCE
    • Holding Sales Representatives Accountable
    • Although sales departments usually have many performance metrics, accountability can still be an issue. Connellan outlines eight ways that the power of accountability can get diluted.
    • The sales manager and representatives agree on metrics, but not on goals . To ensure that sales managers and representatives are in alignment, it can be useful for both groups to write down the metrics that are used to measure performance, to prioritize those metrics, and to identify the expected level of performance.
  • 8. THE THREE KEYS TO IMPROVED SALES PERFORMANCE
    • The sales manager and representatives agree on metrics, but the sales manager pushes the goal . Sales managers may increase their representatives’ goals to ensure that everything is accomplished. If everyone else in the chain of command does the same thing, targets quickly become unattainable.
    • Activities are labeled as goals. Statements like “improve communications” or “hold regular meetings” are activities, not goals. Goals must include a metric.
  • 9. THE THREE KEYS TO IMPROVED SALES PERFORMANCE
    • Goals are not balanced against tradeoffs . Goals become more achievable when organizations sacrifice things like profit margin or revenues. Goals should be stated in a way that identifies acceptable tradeoffs.
    • The high goal/low goal flip-flop. Goals should enable people to improve their skills, but not be impossible to attain. Sales representatives must have direct influence over the variables that make a goal attainable. When that occurs, goals result in greater motivation, skill improvement, and performance. Connellan recommends using the standard-goal approach.
  • 10. THE THREE KEYS TO IMPROVED SALES PERFORMANCE
    • The automatic rubber band effect . When a sales representative consistently exceeds his or her targets, the standard should not be automatically raised. It is more effective to ask the representative to define his or her goal.
    • Goals do not have supporting action plans . Action plans define what actions must be taken to achieve a goal. Once an action plan is defined, the sales manager should set up check points and hold representatives accountable.
    • The goal setting period is too long. In turbulent times, the goal setting period needs to be shortened.
  • 11. THE THREE KEYS TO IMPROVED SALES PERFORMANCE
    • Providing Sales Representatives With Supportive Feedback
    • There are five different types of feedback that sales managers can provide to their staff.
    • No feedback . A lack of feedback provides no motivation for sales representatives to modify their behavior. Unfortunately, most sales managers fail to provide feedback when representatives improve their performance.
    • Negative feedback . Negative feedback can motivate sales representatives to perform better, but it does not always work. In addition, behavior modifications that occur after negative feedback are usually short lived.
  • 12. THE THREE KEYS TO IMPROVED SALES PERFORMANCE
    • Motivational feedback . Motivational feedback provides reinforcement to representatives who have done a good job or who have demonstrated performance improvement.
    • Informational feedback . This is concrete feedback that provides an objective measurement of how sales representatives are doing. Examples include graphs and other metrics.
    • Developmental feedback . Developmental feedback is used when a sales representative does not perform at the desired level. The goal is to identify how performance can be improved.
  • 13. USING INFORMATIONAL FEEDBACK Performance related information can increase sales when used as part of a larger feedback system. It is important that informational feedback relates to goals. One way to build goals into the reporting system is through the use of graphs. This can illustrate how representatives are performing relative to their goals.Feedback that is specific and relevant to an individual will result in performance improvements. Examples include updates on dollar or unit volume, new accounts, or customer satisfaction.
  • 14. USING DEVELOPMENTAL FEEDBACK Developmental feedback is necessary when a team member underperforms and is unable or unwilling to improve. Developmental feedback meetings are most effective when the sales manager takes time to plan. Before proceeding, it is important to make sure that no outside factor is blocking the representative from reaching his or her goal. It can be helpful to anticipate reactions and also role play the discussion. When scheduling the meeting, assure the representative that the conversation will be positive and will focus on ways to improve performance.
  • 15. BECOMING A BEHAVIORAL ENGINEER
    • It is important to align reward and recognition programs with company goals. The best reinforcement systems mix reward and recognition equally. There are four types of reinforcers that can be used in a reward and recognition program:
    • Economic nonmonetary reinforcers . Although monetary rewards are valued by employees, they must be aligned with goals to be most effective. They should reinforce specific behaviors that lead to desired results.
  • 16. BECOMING A BEHAVIORAL ENGINEER
    • Economic nonmonetary reinforcers . These are rewards like trips or expensive gifts. These types of reinforcers are useful because they carry a lasting recognition value. Connellan recommends that these incentives meet SMART criteria: specific, measurable, achievable, results oriented, and timely.
    • Noneconomic tangible reinforcers . These are inexpensive tokens, such as plaques or jackets. They only work when combined with other types of rewards. Ideally, noneconomic tangible reinforcers are presented with flair.
    • Noneconomic intangible reinforcers . Social reinforcement of results and behavior can be accomplished through congratulatory emails or conversations.
  • 17. Business Book Summaries is a product of EBSCO Publishing. The website is updated weekly with 4 to 5 new summaries chosen from among the top business books printed in the United States. For more information or to sign up for the weekly newsletter, please visit http://www.bizsum.com. ABOUT BIZSUM.COM