Sales team meetings happen randomly or not at all. He dives right into some opportunities – even seeming to take over – and ignores others with no rhyme or reason. She has favorites on the team who seem to get away with anything. He provides no feedback or coaching until a sales rep is on the verge of being let go. She sets unrealistic goals without requesting input and never reports back to the team on their progress.
Most of us have seen one of these examples of bad sales managers. Some have probably had the unfortunate experience of working with or for one! What makes them so difficult to work with?
We often talk about the importance of process in selling, but good sales management is a process too. Consistent effective sales management behaviors support the sales team and let them know what to expect.
While sales management training is the best way to align your management team around a consistent process and best practices, one of the easiest tools to implement a sales management system is a basic checklist.
Here’s how you can start using checklists to hold your sales managers accountable and improve performance.
What Needs a Checklist (and What Doesn’t)
Look at your sales and sales management process. What are the core behaviors? How often should each of them be performed?
We recommend developing a set of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual checklists. The goal is not to micromanage, but instead to set clear expectations for key behaviors. Here are some examples of what to include:
- Assign leads to the sales team.
- Review all opportunity updates in the CRM system.
- Review activities/call notes.
- Review PlayBook updates.
- Review weekly reports.
- Facilitate the weekly sales team meeting.
- Review your team’s weekly goals.
- Meet one-on-one with each of your salespeople and update your coaching journal.
- Identify at least 2 sales meetings to attend with members of your team.
- Review monthly reports with the management team.
- Review the team’s performance against the forecast.
- Work with your team to develop their Prospecting Action Plans.
- Set goals with your team.
- Update the sales team on monthly numbers in your sales team meeting.
- Review quarterly reports with the management team.
- Provide quarterly performance management reports to each salesperson.
- Develop quarterly territory plans with each of your salespeople.
- Conduct performance evaluations with each of your salespeople.
- Develop an annual sales forecast.
- Set an annual budget for your team.
- Participate in a strategic planning retreat.
We’ve found that these checklists are especially helpful for managers who have more responsibility than sales management, especially those who have their own sales goals or are office/branch managers. This simple structure lets them know what to focus on when they are “wearing their sales manager hat.”
Introduce Checklists in Sales Management Training
Use a sales management training to roll out your newly standardized sales management process. Don’t just distribute the checklists – instead, train the team to accomplish the tasks on the lists. Provide an opportunity for them to brainstorm and share best practices. Then introduce the checklists as an accountability tool.
Hold Sales Managers Accountable to the Checklists
It’s important to clarify your expectations with your sales managers. Get their input as you develop the checklists, then establish a system for accountability.
Think of it like a pre-flight checklist – you wouldn’t want to get on a flight where they’d stopped halfway through completing it! In the same way, effective sales management requires consistency.
Good sales management doesn’t happen by accident. Instead, it’s a process and can be standardized.
Using a simple tool like checklists can help you make sure your sales managers are aware of their responsibilities and are held accountable to getting them done. This also gives you a great foundation for evaluating performance and setting clear expectations with managers who aren’t performing up to standard.
This is a key part of systematizing your sales function – the more you have a standard procedure for success, the more your whole team will improve.
Try using checklists to support your sales management process and let us know how it works for you!