Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Attention All Sales managers: Stop Focusing on Revenue

You can’t manage revenue.
I know you want to, but it just doesn’t work that way. You can only manage the people who develop and deliver the revenue. Manage the people first and the revenue will follow. Guaranteed. If you understand this concept in your bones you can stop reading.
Think about the next one-to-one meeting you have scheduled with Sasha, the seller. Do you usually ask her questions about how she will deliver more, more, more revenue? Or are you focused on helping her change her behavior? As her manager, your questions should mostly start with “how”, not “what”?
I once worked for a manager who walked through the sales office every day at 5pm to look at the pad. As soon as an order was placed every salesperson was expected to write the revenue total on the pad. No surprise – we all hated the pad. That was all he cared about; not us, not our challenging customers, not our competitors and definitely not how to help us generate new ideas…he just cared about the revenue on the pad. My relationship with yellow lined paper has never been the same.
Sales management and revenue delivery are WAR-like experiences. Your sales staff goes out every day to wage war on behalf of you, their manager, and the company (if you're lucky). You cannot wage war inside your office. Inside the office should be where the muscles are developed, the hard questions get asked and answered and most of all, where the new strategies are nurtured and developed. When soldiers come in from the battlefield they need fuel, ideas and TLC.
Attention all sales managers: your sellers need YOU to show them the way. That's the most important part of the job. Do this and they will fight to the death for you and the company. And the revenue will follow.