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Ever wonder what the heck your salespeople are doing all day long?

Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Questioning your sales teamFirst off, this is not a rant about insecurity or paranoia.  Rather, I’m sad to say that many sales people will take advantage of you and your business as long as you allow them to do so.

Keep in mind… simply using the 80/20 rule you can probably figure that 80% of your most profitable sales revenue comes from 20% of your sales team.  And if that’s the case, you probably wish you could change and improve that figure.

But, if you’re like most small or mid-size business owners, you’re probably wondering what the heck your sales people are doing all day long.  You don’t want to be a babysitter.  You don’t want to spend your time going through call reports and updates.  And your sales people don’t want to spend their time creating them.

Yet you probably spend a lot of time scratching your head wondering why the guy or gal that looks busiest sells the least.  And when you ask them to do things that should help them improve their sales, do they say they are too busy?

So what’s up with all the “activity” with weak results?

Well, I hate to break it to ‘ya but most of the (seemingly) super-busy salespeople that accompany low sales are simply NOT busy.  They are either fakin’ it or they truly think they are busy but they are spending tons of time doing things that don’t result in sales.  I recently spoke to a salesman who was proud to show me all the appointments he had set for just one day.  Six!  Wow!  And he planned to drive back and forth…  here and there…  all over town to see all these people.  But he had no focus.  None of the prospects were truly vetted and none were qualified.  He had no plan.  And they had no pain.

Sorry folks.  Driving is not selling!

So here are 3 ways to give yourself a completely transparent view of your sales force:

1- Give them cell phones with GPS tracking- I know… it’s “big brother”.  But I’ll bet you a million dollars that a good number (sadly) of your sales force is working a lot less hours than you thought and even spending time at bars or health clubs. NOTE: I only recommend this for sub-par producers.  Otherwise you’ll drive away your good talent.
2- Make them input their activities into a CRM system- If you don’t have a CRM for data, get one YESTERDAY!  Then make sure your team enters all their leads, prospects, accounts, contacts, and opportunities into it using tags.  These systems are very inexpensive and they pay for themselves since they help you manage your sales team with crystal clear accuracy as long as you make your sales team input the data.
3- Sit where they sit and ride where they ride- I like to have my sales people right nearby.  I like to hear what they are saying.  I like them to know that I am accessible to them to help move a prospect further down the funnel or to close a deal.  What’s more important than sales?  Oh yeah… cash flow is pretty important.  But I digress.  If you can’t sit near them and ride with them, then you should spend as much time with them as possible.  That’s the only way to truly know what’s going on.

And if all else fails, just look at the numbers.  Numbers don’t lie.  Get rid of sales people who can’t hit their numbers.  Don’t get dragged down by emotion.  That’s not being fair to your business.   And the rest of your staff- the ones who are truly working hard- know who the slackers are and they’ll only think less of you if you don’t get rid of the salespeople who are taking you for a ride.

4 responses to “Ever wonder what the heck your salespeople are doing all day long?”

  1. Jim says:

    I don’t agree with your opinion on sales people. Its a tough job and you have to take 10 no’s for every “maybe” sales prospect. I worked for 24 good years in sales, and was expected to still grow my sales when the recession hit in 1980. I had to do CRM and was followed around by my sales manager who had no personality. I gave my company the best years of my lift, and was put out to pastue when the economy went sour.
    Now I work for a competitor, who doesnt follow me around, and have taken many of my former customers with the company I work for now.
    Greed is what drives many companies and large coroporations now, they forget about the human side of people and dont care about their feelings.
    If you handle employees the right way and encourage them and lead by example, you will get more out of them than using “GPS” or CRM.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your comment Jim. I actually had someone call me to debate this one. And I have to say, I agree with you. My post was a bit of an emotional rant and I did say “NOTE: I only recommend this for sub-par producers. Otherwise you’ll drive away your good talent.”
      I probably should have prefaced the entire post with that statement. Micro-managing good sales people is the worst thing you can do to them. But spending a ton of money funding weak, deceitful sales people can sink a business. There’s a fine line. And trust works both ways. Employers and sales people must build credibility with each other. The GPS would be a solution if the employer is trying to determine if they are getting tricked by a sleazy employee.

  2. Jim says:

    I don’t agree with your opinion on sales people. Its a tough job and you have to take 10 no’s for every “maybe” sales prospect. I worked for 24 good years in sales, and was expected to still grow my sales when the recession hit in 1980. I had to do CRM and was followed around by my sales manager who had no personality. I gave my company the best years of my lift, and was put out to pastue when the economy went sour.
    Now I work for a competitor, who doesnt follow me around, and have taken many of my former customers with the company I work for now.
    Greed is what drives many companies and large coroporations now, they forget about the human side of people and dont care about their feelings.
    If you handle employees the right way and encourage them and lead by example, you will get more out of them than using “GPS” or CRM.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for your comment Jim. I actually had someone call me to debate this one. And I have to say, I agree with you. My post was a bit of an emotional rant and I did say “NOTE: I only recommend this for sub-par producers. Otherwise you’ll drive away your good talent.”
      I probably should have prefaced the entire post with that statement. Micro-managing good sales people is the worst thing you can do to them. But spending a ton of money funding weak, deceitful sales people can sink a business. There’s a fine line. And trust works both ways. Employers and sales people must build credibility with each other. The GPS would be a solution if the employer is trying to determine if they are getting tricked by a sleazy employee.

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