Sensational Sales Management - The Key to a Winning Sales Team

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Gone are the days of numbers-driven dictators who motivate staff through intimidation or elaborate incentives. Instead, the most effective sales managers are multi-faceted - drawing on a number of diverse competencies to optimize their sales teams' performance.

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Sensational Sales Management - The Key to a Winning Sales Team

  1. 1. SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT THE KEY TO A WINNING SALES TEAMby SELESTE LUNSFORD, Product Manager, Sales PerformancePortfolio, and MARK MARONE, Ph.D., Senior Research ManagerWith a knack for being able to see the “big picture,” Highly successful sales managers can recognizeJane is regarded as an excellent strategist, constantly and develop individual abilities and efforts whilereassessing the market and identifying new customer at the same time promoting a collaborative andsegments. cooperative team atmosphere. They encourageHer colleague John, on the other hand, prefers to autonomy by delegating responsibility, yetfocus on short-term goals and work one-on-one with continually track and monitor individualhis salespeople, even joining them in the trenches performance. They are visionaries with an abilitywhen times get tough. to see the big picture, all the while keeping aFrank, another sales manager, sees his role as an sharp eye on details. They are intermediaries foradvocate, communicating his team’s concerns to upper management and champion employeesenior management and translating corporate causes. In other words, being an effective salesdirectives for them. manager means balancing numerous—and often conflicting — demands of the role. Contrary to popular belief, the success of anyWhich of these three is likely to be the more given sales team does not depend on sales incen-successful sales manager? tive size. Research conducted by AchieveGlobalSurprisingly, the successful manager does not fit in 2000 and 2001 indicates that leading salespeo-any one of these profiles alone. In fact, an effec- ple worldwide attribute their success to muchtive sales manager might be described as a mix of more than the offer of a trip to Jamaica.all three… a rare individual indeed! Instead, they require the support of sales leadersGone are the days of numbers-driven dictators who are not only eager to commit themselveswho motivate staff through intimidation or elab- fully to the success of the organization, but alsoorate incentives. Instead, the most effective sales are committed to developing their salespeople.managers are multi-faceted—drawing on a Hoping to discover how today’s most successfulnumber of diverse competencies to optimize their sales managers optimize team performance in asales teams’ performance. changing and challenging marketplace, we asked salespeople, sales managers and executives about SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT 1
  2. 2. the key competencies of a successful sales serve as liaisons between the sales team and othermanager. They provided detailed responses, shar- parts of the organization. Without such support,ing insightful examples of those best practices in employees are unable to accomplish and exceedaction. their goals.While much of the previous years’ sales research 1. Coachconcentrated on the daily observable behaviors of This role is about instilling high-performancesuccessful salespeople, the importance of the sales behaviors and processes within the entire salesmanager’s role in creating these sales superstars force, from advice on specific instances to thecannot be ignored. development of long-term career paths.Through interviews with decision-makers, The sales manager is a role model whosethe collection and analysis of more than 2,000 attitude and actions wield great influence —incidents of actual sales behaviors, and a review whether negative or positive. Unfortunately,of the literature, we uncovered three key roles while coaching is the role most oftenplayed by sales managers poised for success: mentioned by salespeople as key, it isCoach, Strategist and Communicator. usually the one most often neglected.THE THREE ROLES Key attributes of good coaches and examplesThe most successful sales managers have a unique of how they affect positive behaviors withinskill set balanced between a number of diverse their sales teams include the ability to:competencies — allowing their salespeople tobuild on individual strengths while addressing Build cohesive teams. Regardless of whether atheir weaknesses. sales team is built from the ground up or inherited from a predecessor, chances are itFor the best chance of success, sales managers will be comprised of individuals with a rangemust simultaneously encourage and develop their of talents—veterans and newcomers, super-people, strategize markets and accounts, and stars and poor performers. The challenge in this situation is to conduct activities, facilitate meetings and execute tasks in a way that THE THREE ROLES builds collaboration and cooperation. Sales teams should be greater than the sum of their parts by demonstrating the ability to rally around critical projects and share information among members. Effective sales managers ensure return on investment by recruiting the best and brightest talent, utilizing the most current tools, setting performance standards through instruction and constructive feedback, and recognizing and capitalizing on performers with the greatest potential for success. 2 SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT
  3. 3. It’s every manager’s nightmare: mending a motivate performance in ways that extend farbroken staff from a previous administration. beyond incentive programs and quota plans.But one vice president of a Seattle-based They use motivational methods such as verbalfinancial services firm did just that, building a recognition, performance management andcohesive team by respecting employees’ differ- communication to encourage the team andent styles and allowing the sales force evoke enthusiasm.to build their own businesses within thecontext of the company’s overall guidelines They are fluent in these initiatives and are ableand incentive structure. to apply the appropriate motivators to partic- ular team members and situations. Part ofNow, says one delighted salesperson, “He successfully implementing such tactics iscompliments people for their success and inno- remembering that what motivates the recentvations. Morale and productivity are up like college graduate, for example, may not appealnever before. There is no sense of fear in the to the tenured, single mother of two.air, only fun and cooperation.” “A fellow manager who was new to myDevelop professional skills of individuals company came up with an outstandingin the sales organization. Effective sales recognition system that rewarded salespeoplemanagers recognize that teams are comprised not only for production, but for every aspectof individuals. To maximize efforts, the of their job,” said a telephone sales represen-performance of all members—not just lesser tative in Seattle. “On a weekly basis, weperformers—must be improved. This can be hold a meeting and award a prize to eachdone through behavioral observation, skill salesperson who meets specific criteria.assessment, and targeted coaching and train- Sales performance improved, and quicklying such as skill- and knowledge-based the office began to recognize these peopleinstruction. as the elite, the best of the best.”When training ends, sales managers should Assist in sales activities. One of the mostreinforce these skills through modeling and effective methods a sales manager can use toongoing coaching and reinforcement activities. gain respect from the sales team (and model skills for its members) is to jump into the“We prepared a course on how we should sell trenches. Salespeople tend to judge theirour product, which strategies were appropri- managers not so much by what they say, butate and how to negotiate,” reports a Mexico rather by what they do.City-based sales manager. “As a consequence,we achieved amazing sales.” Successful sales managers support activities throughout the sales cycle by using theirA sales representative in San Francisco network of contacts to identify prospects;reported similar results when his sales leveraging their understanding of the biggermanager brought guest speakers in from picture; drawing on their depth of experiencedifferent disciplines to talk about selling. to strategize account plans; and, ultimately,“Everyone,” he reports, “got their bonus helping to close business.that month.” Effective sales managers skillfully intervene inMotivate individuals in the sales contentious customer interactions, targetingorganization. Effective sales managers conflict resolution in a way that satisfies the SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT 3
  4. 4. customer and preserves the salesperson’s helped me finish, acting as my soundingaccount relationship. board as I rehearsed until midnight. My presentation was flawless, and I gotHowever, sales managers must be careful not the business – all of it! My relationshipto “take over” on sales calls, contradict their with my boss reached a new level.”salespeople or in any way undermine theircredibility. The manager’s role is to support 2. Strategistthe sales team, bringing experience to the table This role requires the manager to simultane-to win the customer. ously see the big picture and keep close watch on the details. A balanced thinker — one who“The afternoon before the pitch, I’m considers grand strategies while managingcompletely unraveled and concerned that expectations and actual performance —I won’t get an opportunity to rehearse,” contributes heavily to establishing directionsaid one advertising account executive. and building sales team confidence.“In walks my sales manager with a pizza.We took a break, and he jumped in and It is in this role that the sales manager most often acts as the decision maker — the final authority — regarding resource decisions,Potential Pitfalls in the COACH Role proceeding with sales activities, penetrating aSales managers who devote their time to market or agreeing to the terms of a sale.coaching but do not fulfill the other roles Specific attributes of a good strategic thinkercan be successful, but they may not unleash and examples of how such managers affectthe full potential of their staff. They are positive behaviors within their sales teamsgenerally well liked, consistently model the include the ability to:selling skills needed by their employees andare diligent about developing individuals Create, communicate and execute a visionand teams through training. for the sales organization. The best strategists are leaders, policymakers and visionaries.While such managers may be able to manage They provide clear mission and vision state-a mature market, they are likely to experience ments to their teams in an effort to providedifficulties expanding their region beyond context for sales activities.organic growth and are frequently out oftouch with corporate objectives. Successful sales managers ensure their sales- people comply with the organization’s overall policies and procedures. They also create and, if needed, modify these procedures to further provide direction, reinforce an appropriate balance of short- and long-term thinking and facilitate the satisfaction of organizational goals. As one sales representative notes: “The team manager provided a vision and explained the purpose of the group. He clearly communi- cated how decisions were going to be made. 4 SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT
  5. 5. He valued everyone’s input and kept the envi- resulted in a positive shot in the arm and aronment open and trustful.” doubling of quota.”The lack of this quality, on the other hand, Manage resources effectively. Meeting supplycan result in severe consequences. and demand requirements with regard to sales staff, financial resources, channel partners andAnother sales representative reported turnover suppliers is a key element of this function.and confusion as a result of a sales manager Using powers of persuasion and communica-who “was never clear in the duties that he tion to obtain needed resources is imperative.expected from employees. Each day hechanged procedures and what he wanted you Perhaps most challenging of all is takingto do!” After a period of high turnover, “the responsibility for the team’s contribution tocompany eventually went out of business.” the organization’s bottom line. Sales managers are accountable for managing budgets andDevelop and maintain a strategic approach expenditures as well as ensuring that salesto the marketplace. Effective sales managers contracts are constructed to meet team goals,provide market expertise. This requires in- mine client opportunities and ensure organiza-depth market analysis, including segmentation, tional profitability parameters are met.purchasing behaviors, competition and trends. Members of the sales team are probably theEffective managers use this information to most critical resource a sales manager has.formulate an approach to the market, recom-mend and execute business development “Success for us is achieved in our dailyinitiatives and determine how to best position activities,” noted one Japan-based salesproducts and services in a particular market. manager. “We hire better people. In selectingDepending on the company’s infrastructure, potential employees, we perform twothis may be a distinct task or one that is interviews and hold three career informationshared with the marketing department. programs to make sure that we hire employees with qualities we find essential.”“I initialized a long-term market developmentplan after taking over the management of the Maintain a current knowledge base. When abranch,” said one Shanghai-based sales salesperson is promoted from the field tomanager. “Market research was conducted in management, the temptation is to focus onan attempt to gain insight into the market new administrative and management tasks andsituation, including market segmentation and rest on the laurels of previously acquireddistribution channel. As a result, our salespeo- market, product and competitive knowledge.ple approached the market better, and we Unfortunately, such information becomesimproved and stabilized sales performance.” outdated quickly.According to a sales manager in the trans- Successful sales managers devote their time toportation industry, “I recently came up with maintaining the knowledge to assist in salesa good marketing campaign in our office. call activities and developing well-foundedIt gave us the exposure and ability to acquire strategic planning initiatives.new clients. Our mass mailing and follow-uptracking combined with a quality product put It cannot be overemphasized that listeningus in a position of increasing sales over our to salespeople in the field is one of the bestprojected quota in the fourth quarter. The ways to keep market knowledge current.campaign’s accompanying field competition SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT 5
  6. 6. A South Africa-based sales manager reports, 3. Communicator“My ability to understand the specific issues One of the most important roles a salesrelating to an industry, as well as the specific manager performs is acting as liaison betweenissues relating to sales, allowed me to assist top management and the sales staff.in negotiations at the most senior level of the[client] organization. As a result, we changed This role describes the characteristics thatthe customer’s purchasing decision, closing ensure the flow of information throughouton a short-term commitment as well as the sales organization is timely and accurate.convincing the client to standardize his A good communicator will not accept missedcompany’s equipment on our platform.” opportunities due to misunderstandings and the lack of infrastructure and technology. Attributes of a good communicator andPotential Pitfalls in the STRATEGIST Role examples of how such managers affect positiveA common profile is of a sales manager who behaviors within their sales teams include theis almost exclusively a strategist. This person ability to:excels at planning and is often referred to as Communicate to other parts of thea visionary. organization. Effective sales managers are ableWhile such sales managers possess a clear to work closely with other parts of the organi-understanding of their market and their zation to ensure team success. They are dili-product’s current and future place in it, they gent about providing progress report detailssometimes find themselves disappointed in and communicating the factors – both positivetheir team’s inability to make this vision a and negative – that impact the team’s abilityreality. In fact, more often than not, the sales to not only meet, but also to exceed expecta-team doesn’t even understand what the vision tions.is and is prone to view this manager as Superior sales managers are viewed by their“sitting in an ivory tower,” disconnected teams as conduits to upper management,from the salesperson’s reality and hard responsible for representing their views.to approach. “Our TV station has embarked on some major changes,” said one sales manager in San Jose. “Jobs are changing, people are coming and going, and a great deal of direc- tion has been lost. Our local sales manager has made it her main goal to communicate our concerns to the vice president. Without her persistence to guide us through all the changes, our group would have disbanded.” Communicates information from other parts of the organization to the sales staff. Nothing is more counterproductive than organizations acting at cross-purposes. For example, the marketing department has invested in a campaign program to push 6 SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT
  7. 7. product A, while the sales force is sending out clients as well as their individual needs, prob-direct mail pieces promoting product B. lems and concerns. It’s critical that managersEffective sales managers prevent this situation not just pay lip service to valuing feedback;from happening by ensuring that the staff rather, they need to actively incorporate theiris communicated to and understands the team’s input when making decisions.corporate market and product strategies. “Our manager conducted one-on-one meet-The ability to view actions as they relate to ings with each sales rep to go over everythe bigger picture promotes an increase in aspect of selling situations and problems,”supportive behaviors. Even more important, said one Boston-based sales representativeeffective sales managers ensure that their in the tech industry. “This really created apeople are informed of changes. strong connection with each rep, resulting in a trusting and open atmosphere.”Providing sales staff with timeframes andrationale for a process or technology change A real estate executive in the Stamford areaguarantees greater adoption and less confusion noted: “The sales force frequently missedand distraction from sales activities. mandatory meetings. Finally, the sales manager took the time to listen to individualA Waltham, MA-based national sales manager salespersons’ needs and adjusted companyin the services industry said, “Recently our meeting requirements accordingly. As a result,organization went through a realignment of there is better attendance and an overallsales teams. My manager did a fantastic job increase in morale and productivity.”explaining to all concerned in one-on-oneinterviews about the details behind the Facilitate communication among teamchanges and why they were necessary.” members. Successful sales managers not only communicate effectively with their teams and“My national sales manager did an outstand- upper management, but they also activelying job of dealing with management concerns promote open and honest communication(over sluggish revenues), yet built up his sales among and between sales teams.team at the same time,” said an Irvine, CA-based sales representative. “He was able to Because sales professionals spend a lot of timesell management on the benefits of keeping in the field, often working remotely, theyprograms in place.” sometimes require formal practices or struc- tures to promote both professional andSolicit and value feedback from their sales personal communication with their colleagues.teams. Effective sales managers create an envi-ronment where the sales team perceives that Managers can actively encourage the sharinginput and feedback is valued. of information, problems or concerns among the sales force by providing frequent opportu-Communication should never be a one-way nities to network, holding cross-teamstreet from the manager to the team. Sales meetings, requiring collaboration for certainrepresentatives know better than anyone what activities or creating mentoring programs.their customers are saying and what theywant. In fact, the sales rep is closer to most Encouraging sales professionals to share theircustomer interactions than any other person experiences, observations and ongoing chal-in the organization. lenges with colleagues results in stronger and smarter teams.Managers must encourage their teams tocommunicate important information about SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT 7
  8. 8. A salesperson in Tokyo reaped tremendous MANAGEMENT STYLE: ENABLER OR INHIBITOR?benefits when his sales manager designed a In addition to the three roles outlined in thisprocess to leverage the experiences of his team report, we discovered that salespeople attribute amembers as well as those of other sales teams. certain “style” to managers they perceive as being“In order to face the intensifying competition, most successful.we built a nationwide network connecting all Based on the reactions and comments of thosebranches, so that our salespeople can share interviewed, an enabling management style facil-information on customers and products as itates the sales manager’s ability to execute thewell as successful sales examples, thereby three roles, enabling salespeople to perform atenhancing their sales skill and abilities.” their peak. While the indicators that point to an enablingPotential Pitfalls in the management style cannot be specifically linked toCOMMUNICATOR Role success, respondents perceive their importance in fulfilling the three key roles.A manager totally devoted to fulfilling thecommunicator role is fully focused on collect- Although the sales professionals we surveyeding and sharing information. This person is often characterized sales managers on a contin-diligent about completing progress reports uum between polar extremes, it should be notedand consistently uses call reporting and that these descriptions were usually based on thetracking systems. relative success of the manager.Unfortunately, this manager is viewed as an Those identified as having an enabling manage-administrator and is often unable to move his ment style were more successful in meetingterritory beyond status quo. To quote one of quotas, while those with an inhibiting style werethe research participants, this kind of person reported to have turnover and revenue problems.“can be great with details but misses the big Even though this style of management does notpicture.” emerge as a requirement, it is safe to say that it does make things easier. Respondents described some key attributes of this management style as: • consistently considering different perspectives • listening to the concerns of individuals with compassion and patience • keeping promises and leading by example • exhibiting enthusiasm, confidence, commitment and honesty These behaviors more than likely create a loyal staff committed to satisfying and even surpassing the organization’s sales goals. 8 SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT
  9. 9. Here are some specific examples of what two years. One of his employees had this tosalespeople had to say: say: “His presence was excellent—confident and compassionate. People picked up on this According to a retail sales professional from and fed off his energy. He was a strong leader San Jose, poor morale and performance who led by example.” emerged after their manager began a “hot seat approach to quiz the reps … bullying ASSESSING YOUR SITUATION: WHERE ARE YOU? and embarrassing them (in front of peers), Not all competencies, or even a high level of as well as threatening to take away clients.” proficiency in each, is required in all cases. In A Chicago area sales executive reports having fact, there are instances when a sales manager to terminate a sales manager after his region only needs to draw on one or two of the roles. experienced poor performance and high Ultimately, however, all three roles are required turnover. “He lacked empathy for his to optimize the performance of a sales team. Even customers and his people. He often criticized a team of “superstars” needs a manager who can (salespeople) after sales calls without partici- successfully navigate all three. pating in them or offering any reinforcement.” The chart below is a thumbnail assessment that On the other hand, an effective sales manager provides some high-level insight into the extent to in Massachusetts was able to reenergize a sales which you (or your sales manager) portrays the team that had been floundering for more than three roles. Review the roles described in the Sales Manager Roles and Competencies 1 = Extremely Ineffective 5 = Extremely Effective Build a cohesive team 1 2 3 4 5 Develop professional skills of individuals in the sales organization 1 2 3 4 5 Motivate individuals in the sales organization 1 2 3 4 5 Assist in sales call activities 1 2 3 4 5 Total __________ Create, communicate and execute a vision for the sales organization 1 2 3 4 5 Develop an approach to the marketplace 1 2 3 4 5 Manage resources effectively 1 2 3 4 5 Maintain current knowledge base 1 2 3 4 5 Total __________ Communicate effectively to other parts of the organization 1 2 3 4 5 Communicate information from other parts of the organization to sales staff 1 2 3 4 5 Solicit and value feedback from the sales team 1 2 3 4 5 Facilitate communication among team members 1 2 3 4 5 Total __________ SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT 9
  10. 10. previous sections, and rate yourself (or your sales WHAT CAN YOU DO?manager) on your ability to be effective in each Depending on your position, there may be a lotarea. you can do to further support the selling process. The table on facing page is a starting point.Our research found that while sales managerstypically excel in one of these roles and demon- • The first column brings together the typesstrate strengths and weaknesses in others, few of organizational support sales managersmanagers have mastered all three roles. need to excel at each role.To evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in • The second column provides space foreach role, find your total score for each role, and you to evaluate the effectiveness ofrefer to the key below to see where you fall. this support. • The third column is for notes about things you and others might do to improve theTotal Points situation. Think about focus, information,17-20: Extremely effective in this role useful tools and understanding.14-16: Demonstrate sufficient skills in this role 9-13: Need to work on improving skills in this role 4-8: Focus efforts on acquiring skills in this role 10 SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT
  11. 11. Organizational Initiatives to Improve Effective? What improvementsSales Management Results Yes No can I make?• Provide access to training programs, knowledge and resources• Provide tools to help sales managers evaluate individuals on their sales teams• Provide access to incentive and non-monetary rewards• Ensure the entire organization understands what coaching entails and its value to the organization• Give managers the autonomy to conduct regional marketing and local market channel strategy activities• Facilitate the integration of information among marketing and sales departments to keep market information current• Facilitate communication and idea exchange between sales and product development to keep product knowledge current and product development plans aligned• Provide a corporate mechanism to track and evaluate sales performance• Produce and communicate a channel strategy that addresses potential for conflict (e.g., Internet & inside sales vs. field) and impact on commission structure• Provide a clear vision that can be communicated to the field• Engage in frequent two-way conversations with your sales managers to better understand the factors that positively and negatively impact sales performance• Create channels for sales managers to procure resources and assistance from other departments in the organization• Develop an infrastructure for lateral communication SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT 11
  12. 12. APPENDIX this case selling. The purpose of the study was toAn overview of key research studies that laid develop current and future modes of salesthe foundation for this report. performance and sales management. These modes could then be used to develop assessmentInterviews With Decision-Makers tools and sales performance and sales manage-The main purpose of this study was to identify ment programs.broad sales trends: To determine the competencies of effective sell- • how the market is changing ing, AchieveGlobal followed the critical incident • how organizations are responding methodology, which has been used in thousands of studies since it was first developed in the • what strategies are being employed 1950s. The critical incident methodology is well suited to establishing a baseline set of tasks, aThe study focused on the following types of “real-life” definition of selling.organizations and interviewees: In each organization surveyed, researchers • organizations with as few as 100 to more randomly selected two people – one manager or than 10,000 employees, with reputations supervisor and one nonsupervisory employee. for superior sales and marketing Without being given any definition of selling, • all business sectors, including heavy these respondents were simply asked to recall manufacturing, high-tech manufacturing, recent examples of both good and bad sales financial services, health and social servic- behavior. es, business services, retail and distribu- Who Participated in the Study tion, transportation and utilities, govern- Organizations. Organizations were selected ment and education based on their reputation for superior sales and marketing, as identified in the United States by • vice presidents of sales or human resources Sales and Marketing Management magazine.A total of 33 interviews were conducted from Internationally, AchieveGlobal affiliate partnersmid-February to mid-April 2000: 24 in the and an independent research firm were asked toUnited States and nine in Italy, Switzerland and identify the leading sales and marketing organi-Great Britain. Interviews lasted about 45 minutes zations in their respective countries.and were conducted by phone, although in a few The study focused on organizations ranging fromcases interviewees chose to write their responses 100 employees to more than 10,000 employees.and return them by e-mail. They represented all business sectors, includingCritical Incident Study heavy manufacturing, high-tech manufacturing,To get at the competencies that make up a good financial services, health and social services,salesperson, AchieveGlobal conducted a critical business services, retail and distribution, trans-incident study in 2000 and 2001. portation and utilities, government and educa- tion.“Competencies” refer to the behaviors peopleactually use—not the behaviors they think they Organizations from Brazil, China, France, Japan,should use, or which have traditionally been Mexico, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland, thetaught—to perform a given job or set of tasks, in United Kingdom and the United States were represented. 12 SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT
  13. 13. Respondents. More than 470 people responded As a result of the analysis, these incidents wereto the study. Participants in the study were all aggregated into a set of 16 selling competencies,sales managers or salespeople, usually identified and then further divided into the five key roles ofby a key contact within each organization. In effective salespeople. Based on feedback fromsome countries, interviewers contacted sales these salespeople, the three roles of an effectivemanagers and salespeople directly. sales manager emerged.Study Method. For the sales professional model, The critical incident methodology does notrespondents were asked to think of four separate involve a statistical analysis of a representativeoccasions: sample. The purpose is not to identify the most frequently mentioned sales performance or sales • Think of a recent time when you or management attributes, but rather to uncover the someone else made an important sale. full range of critical attributes that make up such • Think of a recent time when you or some- performance. one else exceeded expectations in sales This study builds upon and updates previous performance. AchieveGlobal research on sales performance and sales management (Sales and marketing trends, • Think of a recent time when you or some- 1987; Roles of a sales manager, 1987; Sales force one else failed to make a sale. turnover, 1989; Service excellence, 1990; Sales • Think of a recent time when you or some- productivity, 1990; Customer loyalty, 1989, one else failed to meet expectations in 1991-1992; Roles of the salesperson, 1987, 1990, sales performance. 1994; Sales leadership, 1991-1994; Driving issues, 1998-1999; Coker, Del Gaizo, Murray, &For each of these, the interview probed using Edwards, 2000; and Del Gaizo, Corcoran &the following questions: Erdman, 1996). • What did the person do? Validation. The assessment tools based on the U.S. and international critical incident studies • What was the situation? have been validated extensively. • Who was involved? • How did the customer react? • What were the results of this behavior? • When did this happen? • What was this person’s title and position in the organization?Analysis. The study generated more than 2,100critical incidents. These were entered into a data-base, along with information identifying partici-pant characteristics. The analysis followed theguidelines set forth by Flanagan (1954) and Russ-Eft (1995). SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT 13
  14. 14. ABOUT THE AUTHORS Mark has written extensively on topics such asSeleste Lunsford is a product manager for high technology industries, economic develop-AchieveGlobal’s Sales Performance portfolio of ment and corporate strategy in the telecommuni-products and services. She manages the identifi- cations industry. He has been the featuredcation, design, development and maintenance of speaker and presented research findings atfoundational and advanced products for sales numerous international academic conferences.professionals. He earned a Ph.D. from Indiana University,She has worked with organizations in a wide where he has held several academic posts. Hevariety of industries, including financial services, currently is an adjunct professor of managementtraining and IT services. Citibank, Diners Club at the University of South Florida.International, Dime Bancorp and several largeSouth American credit card issuers are among the ABOUT ACHIEVEGLOBALcustomers she has consulted with. AchieveGlobal is the world leader in helping organizations translate business strategies intoSeleste’s professional experience includes posi- business results by developing the skills andtions in sales, product management, marketing performance of their people. We are a singleand management consulting. Her responsibilities resource for aligning employee performance within these positions led her to become proficient in organizational strategy through training andstrategic planning; market analysis and business consulting solutions in sales performance,case development; process redesign; and product customer service, leadership and teamwork.design & development. To find out more about this topic or any of theShe earned an MBA degree from Florida State many ways AchieveGlobal helps organizationsUniversity, where she also earned a B.S. degree in move from strategy to results through theirphysics. people, contact your AchieveGlobal representa-Mark Marone, Ph.D., is AchieveGlobal’s senior tive, call us at 800.456.9390 or visitresearch manager. He has more than 13 years of www.achieveglobal.com.academic and private sector experience inresearch and consulting on issues such aseconomic development, corporate strategy andbusiness policy.His career includes being a senior analyst withNielsen Media Research, where he was responsi-ble for analyzing market data for key nationalmedia accounts. He also served as director ofresearch at the Global Business InformationNetwork, a research firm that provides interna-tional consulting to businesses in the Midwest. Inaddition, he spent several years as a managementconsultant with KPMG, LLC, and as a clientservices manager for Sterling Research Group,Inc. 14 SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT
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  16. 16. ©2002 AchieveGlobal, Inc. No. M0227 (4/02) 16 SENSATIONAL SALES MANAGEMENT

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