It’s the third week in January. Do you know where your goals are? At this point, a good number of managers have already set their 2010 sales goals for themselves and for their sales team. Whether these goals were sanctioned from the top, developed through a mutual collaboration between the salesperson and the sales manager, have been calculated by a formulaic process based on the salesperson, the marketplace and their territory or were developed and disseminated to their salespeople with a more reactive ambiguity, (“Just get out there and sell more this year!”) the majority of managers are thinking about making 2010 a better year than its predecessor.
While some level of goal setting activity has taken place or a declaration has been made by the manager how important it is to “do better this year,” it’s the deeper conversation that follows the goal decree which I often find missing within sales organizations that needs to be facilitated by management.
Sure, you may have set the sales goals with your sales team, and you may have even discussed strategy with them; that is, how they are going achieve their goals. You may have gone as far as having your salespeople submit a business plan to support this. While these are healthy practices for management and for their salespeople, these sparkles of management brilliance do not encapsulate the full composition needed to ensure success throughout the year.
For example, when discussing your sales goals with your salespeople, did you address the following topics?
- Exactly how they are going to attain their goals; that is, the strategy that needs to be executed.
- Their level of buy in around their goal.
- Their level of confidence around attaining their goal.
- The potential roadblocks that can sabotage their efforts and prevent them from reaching their goals.
- The role they want you, as their manager, to play in supporting them.
- How they want to be managed around their goals.
- How they want to be held accountable around reaching their goals and how they want you to approach them if they drop the ball.
- The structure they need to put in place regarding how they will manage their daily activity that will move them towards attaining their goals.
What follows is a brief outline for any manger to use when conducting that coaching conversation with their salespeople around their yearly sales goals, while ensuring your salespeople are bought into being coached and supported by you. You will notice that these questions will address the gaps I mentioned that often go overlooked until it’s too late. At this point, managers now find themselves in the reactionary position of spending their time managing problems and fires rather than managing goals and coaching their salespeople on achieving them.
Please note that the following outline and questions have been developed with a few assumptions in mind. First, you are already coaching your salespeople. Second, your sales team is bought into being coached by you. Third, you are truly coaching them using a proven coaching framework (rather than relabeling how you managed them yesterday as coaching). Finally, their sales goals have already been established. (We’re not talking about their personal goals at this time.)