In territory sales management, many sales managers are watching the wrong statistic! They try to manage sales and that’s an error when it comes to territory sales management. No one can actually manage sales. What you can manage are the activities that lead to sales. Focusing on measurable activities will keep you sales force active and is the secrets to territory sales management success.
Your sales staff may not want you to focus on activities. Activities are easy to measure and come with no excuses. There is no mystery. They would probably prefer that you focus on sales. Sales are shrouded with mystery, close calls, luck and sales that will definitely happen next week.
Savvy territory sales management stays focused on activities and measures results often. For example, let’s assume you are in charge of territory sales management and instead of focusing on sales, you assign each of you five sales representatives hard numbers to meet or exceed every day. These assigned activity goals could be numbers like 20 contacts, five appointments and one sale each day. When discussing these numbers with your staff, I suggest you get them to give you numbers and make sure that they “buy into” the numbers you agree upon. If they tell you they can do the numbers, it is their number and they should be responsible to meet or exceed it every day.
Once you have the activity goal numbers, don’t worry about sales. Sales will happen naturally if we have the right activities happening. For the individual sales representative, there is now a certain “pressure” to achieve. If quitting times rolls around and they have not met their contact quota, they have a decision to make. They can go home and face their boss tomorrow when he gets their activity report or they can make the contacts. This subtle pressure will encourage your staff to meet their goals.
The effect for the company is multiplied by the number of sales representatives. If you have five territory sales representatives that actually hit their goals, the company now contacts 100 prospects per day and does 25 appointments per day. This level of activity will result in greater sales.
To make this happen, the territory sales manager should get a report at the start of each day from each representative listing their activities from the prior day. These reports should not only contain the results in numbers but the actual contact information for each prospect and each appointment. The territory sales manager can then randomly check on the performance by calling prospects and customers occasionally to be sure the report is accurate and to give good service to the contact. If the salesperson has not met their activity goals, the sales manager should help. They can go over what the sales representative should do differently to succeed today. If necessary, the territory sales manager can travel with the sales representative to show them how to meet or exceed their goals.
This focus on daily activities and actual results coupled with support, assistance and field training by the sales manager will make sure that the team meets or exceed their goals and is a secret of success in territory sales management.