You can't learn from and duplicate success if you don't know how you got there.
The cliche is true: We learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. However, there’s a lot to be said for learning from success, and I don’t believe a lot of sales managers stress this enough with their teams. Success breeds success. Success is all about momentum and confidence, but it’s extremely easy to forget about the hard work, skills, and strategy that went into making that deal when you're riding high.
Sales managers need to address success immediately. As soon as the salesperson closes a sale the manager should bring him into the office. He should congratulate the salesperson and then promptly ask, “What did you do to make that sale? Take me from beginning to end.”
If the salesperson cannot articulate the how and why of the deal went down then there’s a problem, a big problem, for how is the salesperson ever going to duplicate his success? It is the manager’s role as coach and mentor to simply say, “I want you to keep tabs on your failures but I want you to analyze your successes.”
Once a salesperson makes analysis part of the deal making process, he will work more quickly and efficiently. He will save himself time and avoid spinning his wheels with poor practices (i.e., not speaking to the final decision maker). His confidence will grow and he will become an example to his colleagues. Success breeds success.
“Boy, Joe makes a lot of deals. How does he do it?”
“Because,” the manager might reply, “Joe knows his game. Do you know yours?”
Not only does self-analysis help the salesperson, but it helps the manager as well. Those salespeople who can cut through the bull and can duplicate winning efforts are the same folks who contribute to the overall picture, who can say to their manager, “This is how we can become even more successful.”
Deal size, level of decision maker, region and size of company -- these are all areas that need to be analyzed and not overlooked.
“Hey, Coach, I see a pattern of success here. Regional presidents of mid-sized NASDAQ companies in the southeast.”
“Perfect!” says the manager who should already know this information. “Let’s keep prospecting in those areas.”
By having a salesperson analyze his successes, a manager is creating a more entrepreneurial-spirited employee, one who can contribute a great deal to the organization. These salespeople become more business-minded and feel more connected to the company’s overall mission and strategy.
These are the same salespeople that get up each morning and can’t wait to get to work.