Productivity is output for a given input of labor. Except for a few pauses caused by recessions, productivity in the United States has risen relentlessly. What would happen in your organization if sales productivity rose by 10%? John Dieseth of Business Performance Group spoke to the EcSELL Institute 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity Workshop participants on how to get that incremental 10%.
Sales Managers have four primary tools to increase sales productivity:
4. Self-directed learning
Sales people, like any human being, tend to avoid changing their behaviors. These four primary tools help Sales Managers uncover specific behaviors that need to change, provide the sales person with the knowledge and skills to implement these new behaviors, and provide the motivation to avoid backsliding.
Coaching need to be initiated by the Sales Manager. The first step is observation. Unless you actually watch a field salesperson in the field, you can't capture behaviors that they are doing right or that need to be improved. Andy suggests creating and using a checklist during your observation calls. As important, don't try to observe and coach to all areas of behavior. Focus on three behaviors that you can praise and three that need to be improved.
The next step is to outline a development plan. John suggests five parts to every development plan
1. What you did right - put in writing,the three things the sales person did well
2. Development Actions - the three behaviors that need to change
3. Development Action Plan - detailed direction on how to make the change and what is expected
4. Outcomes - the results expected if the behavior is changed.
5. Resources - to help the sales person achieve the behavior.
The development plan must provide a clear map for the sales person to improve their productivity. The sales reps should commit to the change by signing the development plan.
The Sales Manager can then deploy three interventions to raise sales rep performance.
1. Mentoring - One-on-one counseling by another sales person. Use a top sales person orperson with a strong skill set in a specific area and match him/her up with the person who needs improvement.
2. On-the-job projects - Activities they can do to improve
3. Self-directed learning - Courses, reading materials, CDs, etc. the sales person can do on their own.
Sales people as mentors tend to be more effective if their scope is focused. And, before assigning a mentee to a mentor, work with the mentor to make sure they understand your expectations for the skill they will be mentoring.
The key with on-the-job projects is to keep them small. Then, be sure to check back with them to make sure they are doing what you need them to do.
Request a sample of John's Check List and Development Plan by leaving your name/email in the comments area.