Every effective sales leader helps their employees to improve performance at both individual and team levels.
In general, people don’t have to do radically different things to improve their performance. They just have to do what they’re doing better!
Foster Goal-Setting and Accountability
I’ve been speaking a lot lately about how to improve performance with CEOs and VPs. And most everyone asks me, “how do I make my people accountable?”
The answer is dirt simple. Enable them to set goals on a routine basis.
In my view, accountability and goal setting go hand-in hand and contribute the most to improve performance.
How to Set and Manage Goals to Improve Performance
Have everyone on your team set annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals.
Make sure that goals are outcome-based not task-based. So let me explain.
An example of a task-oriented weekly goal is: “meet with 5 prospects.”
Now, the same goal, phrased as an outcome might look like: “met with 5 prospects and identified 3 new opportunities.”
Even a small change of phraseology like this can improve performance.
Why? Because a person pursuing a measurable and outcome-based goal is likely to have more intention on fulfilling it. It also helps the leader or coach to help hold him or her accountable to accomplishing said goals.
Next, encourage your salespeople to review their goals at least once per day. My suggestion is they should review their weekly goals at the beginning and at the end of each day. In my experience, this helps improve performance more than anything else.
Share Secret Sauce & Develop Coaches
Sales leaders should encourage their top performers to share their secret sauce with the rest of the sales team.
Not only will this help everyone improve performance, but also promotes the leaders of the pack to stay ahead. Why? Because if they share their secret sauce, they create room to develop new secret sauce! I call this the wheel of sales innovation, constantly turning with new ideas.
Develop a Peer Level-Coaching Program
Create coaching groups of three people who meet in person on a regular basis. You can rotate who acts as the coach in each group on a periodic basis (e.g. quarterly).
The primary responsibility of the coach is to support everyone in the group—including themselves—to execute best practices in the sales process.
I’ve always seen great results get accomplished when thought leaders partner with the rest of the team.
Examples for thought partnering include:
- Sharing success stories with the entire team
- Reviewing the organization’s value proposition and how this should be messaged in the market
- Being an accountability partner to support others in setting and accomplishing goals
- Developing and practicing delivery of 30-second company introductions
- Collaborating with marketing on content marketing, including writing blogs and whitepapers/eBooks
- Giving in-person best-practice sales presentations to a select group in the company
- Providing coaching and mentoring to other members of the sales team as needed
Improve Calendar Management
I’m passing on a quick tip that I learned from a mentor of mine several years ago.
She showed me how she managed her Outlook calendar. Sales leaders can adapt this very simple approach to coach their own sales teams.
Color-code your calendar by assigning a category with a corresponding color for each type of event you schedule.
Here are the ones we use:
- Blue – Client billing activity
- Red – Company-specific activities, such as internal meetings
- Yellow – “Hold”—This is an event that is held in the calendar that involves another party who has not confirmed yet. The event is being held for a period of time, say 48 hours
- Green – Any revenue-generating activity, such as making prospecting calls and meetings, demos, or sales presentations
- No color, or default color – Personal event
By seeing all the events in your calendar for one week, for example, you can quickly see where your time is being spent.
Are you spending enough time on sales or “green-time,” as we say at CFS? Are there too many internal meetings?
Another quick tip: Schedule activities into your calendar that support goals you’ve set. If the activities are visible in your calendar, they’re more likely to get done.
Create a Collaboration Compensation Trigger
You don’t have to modify your existing comp plan if it motivates individuals to improve performance.
However, consider adding another component to the comp plan that motivates the team as well to improve performance. We call this a collaboration trigger.
What this means is that an additional bonus is awarded to the sales team if the team hits a goal. Hitting the team goal “triggers” or makes the team eligible to receive a bonus. You can decide to divide the bonus by the total number of people on the team and award it evenly.
We call this a collaboration bonus, because your letting the team decide how they should support each other to make everyone do their part effectively. As they learn from each other, they’ll improve performance at every level.
How willing are people to collaborate to improve performance at both an individual as well as organizational level?
Here is a summary of the key points this article makes to improve performance:
- Enable your salespeople to set, publish, and be accountable to their goals on a regular basis
- Make sure goals are outcome not task-based
- Encourage goals to be reviewed at least once, preferable twice per day
- Have top performers share their best-practices and “secret sauce” with the rest of the team
- Develop a peer-level thought partnering and coaching program
- Color-code your calendar
- Enhance the standard comp-plan with a collaboration trigger bonus for everyone on the team