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Consistent sales management

March 2018

Some sales people get a lot of attention and support, while others are ”left alone”, sometimes even forgotten. We have found many examples of this throughout our years analysing hundreds of sales organisations in more than ten countries, and having interviewed thousands of sales people.

Our experience is that successful sales organisations are consistent when managing their sales people. Sure, their managers can use a personalised approach depending who they are managing, but they are consistent in using proven follow-up procedures with all their sales people. The results are better and the motivation is higher in these companies.

Why are there inconsistencies?
There are a few areas to watch out for:

New sales person
In some companies, they closely manage new sales people in order for them to become productive quickly. In other companies, however, there is an insufficient on-boarding process with little or no management.
High- or low performers
Sometimes there is an exaggerated focus on the top performers, sometimes on the ones that are falling behind, and then the big crowd in the middle is forgotten.
Geography
Sales people that work in other locations than their managers, could end up “under the radar” with less attention from their manager.
On the sales person’s terms
Sometimes the sales person dictates the level of management. Some don’t like to be managed and get away with it (or avoid it). Others crave the attention, want to discuss and get a lot of feedback, and will also receive it.

How do you avoid inconsistencies?
Step one is to ensure a clear process for following up the sales people. For example: Short weekly individual sessions, basic reporting routines and targets to follow up on.

Step two is to ensure you do this consistently – so that every sales person is followed up, every time.

The third step is to be aware so you don’t slip into inconsistency, where the potential pitfalls above can be an aid.