If you are in Sales, you have a number to hit (a goal, target, plan, etc…). In fact, likely, you have a series of numbers to hit. An annual number, quarterly numbers, monthly numbers and even other time-based metrics. As well, you may need to hit various profit margins based on types of products, services, markets, seasons, or any combination of segmentation. Then there are your performance numbers tied to existing accounts, new accounts, lead conversions, attrition, and beyond.
Plain and simple, as a Salesperson you have a number to hit.
Whatever the number, I am convinced there is a Sales Management process that should take place when developing it, understanding it, communicating it, and launching that sales number that maximizes the chances of Salesperson success.
I hope that sounds reasonable, maybe so reasonable, that readers respond with “Duh…”
However, if you have been in sales for any length of time you may “get” where I am coming from:
- Like when your assigned sales number arrives many months after your year has begun.
- When the elements making up the sales number look nothing like they did in previous years.
- Your territory has shrunk and the sales target has grown.
- When your number does not align with corporate strategy and direction.
To do it right, a talented Sales Manager will:
- Begin early so your sales targets are available when the sales year begins.
- Tie sales number creation to corporate goals.
- Involve the Salesperson (who will carry the number) in developing the number.
- Understand your markets, products, services, accounts–directly or by way of each Salesperson.
- Communicate overall numbers, strategy, and annual plans to the entire sales team at an annual kick-off.
The success that flows from a Sales Manager proactively engaging his/her team in the development of sales numbers will pay huge dividends. It requires planning, structure, focus and solid communication and should be required of every Sales Manager.