Sales Management and Discipline

Last week it happened-again. I received a call from a former client that was concerned about the status of their sales team and VP of Sales-it seems that their revenue was off more than $2M over the previous year and below their growth goal! The President wanted some answers and certainly a fix.

My first question was why did it take the President so long to recognize the problem or revenue drop and why wasn’t it addressed in June! After that conversation I next interviewed the VP of Sales. After 10 minutes I had a good idea of what had happened or more importantly what had not happened.

The VP of Sales and President failed on one major tenet of sales leadership; they forgot about the need for discipline. Definition: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character, control gained by enforcing obedience or order, orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior. The President failed to pay attention to what the sales manager was doing and both let various “systems” that were in place fall away. In past blog’s I have discussed the need for sales management to have discipline, accountability and control, and while I had introduced this to my client several years ago it slipped away. BTW: This all happened even through the President/VP formally meet twice each month.

What the VP got focused on were tactical actions that caused him a loss of leadership, vision and execution and most importantly lost control of his time management. So what are our next steps?

  • Review session on the 5 styles of leadership/management and coaching techniques
  • Development of a Sales Plan for the new year with quarterly objections/goals
  • Re-Introduction of a 2016 salesperson business planning tool.
  • Kick start their sales recruitment plan-for him to attain his new revenue goals for 2016 he needs to hire 4 new salespeople ASAP
  • Re-install his quarterly salesperson training program
  • Analyze his marketing plans
  • Implement an Account Planning program for Growth, Target, Key Accounts
  • Increase the focus on CRM execution
  • Build a weekly/monthly/quarterly sales management checklist.

These are all fairly basic actions and frankly easy to fix, but without them and discipline to operationalize and make them part of the standards of a sales organization revenues become unpredictable and potentially decline. In this particular client situation the VP of Sales now recognizes what must be done, he learned the hard way and luckily will keep his job.

Lastly, as a President or Sales Leader; it is critical to inspect what you expect and remember your sales team will pay attention to what you pay attention to.

What will you change in your sales organization in 2016? Let me know?