Goals are set to encourage you to stretch beyond what is within your easy reach. One large caution for Sales Managers this year: do not allow your team to use 2009 as a benchmark for 2010's achievement. As a Sales Manager, now is the time to recreate the vision. Now is the time to redefine success from a clean slate. The most successful sales professionals have heard the mantra, "Belief, Action, Results, and Motivation." Now is the time to readdress this mantra as you adjust expectation.
Your sales representatives need to believe that the goals they have set are achievable. Typically, your team's perspective on what is "achievable" is undoubtedly skewed. Your challenge will be to identify the number or the correct criteria that defines success for this year. Once you find that goal, i.e. revenue number, reduce it to the ridiculous so representatives can understand the specific production expected each month/each week and what activity equates to this achievement. In our meetings with Sales Professionals, it is shocking how many candidates don't understand their compensation plan or how they are measured. These representatives find it impossible to run for an undefined or misunderstood target and as a result, lose belief.
A common mistake while setting goals is the lack of plan or strategy behind a goal. 45% of American adults make one or more resolutions each year, however only three weeks into the year; 75% of those resolutions will have already been forgotten.* Without a structured plan to execute on, it is impossible to achieve goals. A quarter of the year could easily pass without you ever really knowing, you are actually doing nothing to make goal achievement possible. Sit down with your representatives and build out a specific plan. Define the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that discuss the action needed in order to achieve the goal. Once the plan is constructed, take action, set expectations and inspect to ensure success.
2010 is not 2009. Hold your team to higher standards but celebrate the small wins to create momentum and excitement straight out of the gates. This is crucial. Everything must feel different for your representatives to close the door on 2009 and it must be immediate. Your energy and excitement as a manager will be contagious and your team will run hard which will result in success.
By celebrating the small wins, your representative's confidence will build. This motivation will fuel the continuation of this cycle. Where there are extra funds, make the investment in bringing back sales spiffs and bonuses. Build out a different, more aggressive compensation plan. These actions will show your confidence and commitment to putting together a good year and supporting your sales representatives. If dedicated and diligent, after 12 months you will be sitting down with your representatives at the end of the year discussing all that was achieved.
May I propose a New Year's Resolution that will positively impact more people than just yourself: Be more than just a Sales Manager. Be a Mentor that inspires. If you are a manager, you have risen to that level because you know how to set and achieve goals. Take an uninterrupted hour and listen to your teams desires. Help them build a plan to achieve their goals. Meet with them regularly to go over progress. Care. Sales may be a numbers game, but it is people that either achieve or don't achieve that number. Care about them. Spend a little extra time. I challenge you to see where it gets your team at the end of the year.
Cheers to a great 2010!!!!!