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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
 

Tips for Assessing Your Sales Team

 
Last week, Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) marketing whiz Marka walked savvy salesperson Zoot through how offering an “astonishing guarantee” can help FEI lure in hesitant prospects. This week, Marka gives Zoot some tips on assessing his sales team as the year draws to a close. Remember, fire = print.

With Olympians Day just two weeks away, the FEI lobby and offices were decorated for the occasion: boughs of grape leaves, olive trees hung with gold and silver and, of course, a stinky athletic sock hanging from above the fireplace.

Marka stepped into Zoot’s office. “Excited for the holiday, Zooty?”

“I am,” Zoot said, “but I’m terrified of what comes after.”

“The weight gain?” asked Marka.

“No, Marka. End-of-the-year sales team assessments,” Zoot snorted. “They’ve never been a strength of mine. Can you give me some tips to get started?”

“Absolutely,” replied Marka, as she started scribbling on the whiteboard in Zoot’s office.

• Get a View from the Field

“Start by assessing each territory with the appropriate team members,” Marka explained. “Use this analysis as an opportunity to discover which of your reps know the pulse of their territories and which don’t. Numbers and bottom-line results are obviously important, but so is other feedback.”

[Marka returned to the whiteboard to write some more.]

• Examine Last Year’s Sales Forecasts

“Focus on whether or not your sales reps delivered on their promises from a year ago, followed up on all generated leads in a timely fashion, and if they missed any opportunities,” Marka said.

“Then take a look at each rep’s projected top accounts and determine how close was his/her actual performance to early forecasts, and as the year progressed, if you were kept informed of changes in the sales plan,” she added. “Were any needed corrective actions taken?”

“Remember,” Marka continued, “you can’t figure out where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.” [She then scribbled some more.]

• Analyze Your Department

“Sales are all about making your numbers,” Marka asserted. “If your team met their sales targets, what factors contributed to this? Pore through the sales reports to determine whether success was derived from marketplace intelligence or basic activities such as making more sales calls.

“Did FEI add any new services or capabilities that helped speed up production? Is there an upcoming investment opportunity that could make 4123BC a more profitable business year?” she added.

“Great tips, Marka,” Zoot said. “Now, I’m off to grab some Olympian’s Day Grog from the breakroom.”

“Hey!” Marka cried. “I’m not done yet.”

“Well, I’m breaking for grog anyway,” Zoot replied.

“Then get me one!” Marka retorted.

Today’s FIRE! Point
Assessing your company’s sales performance in 2012 and setting realistic expectations for the new year can help your sales team start 2013 with greater confidence. This assessment should start with getting a view from the field, then examine last year’s sales forecasts and, finally, analyze your entire department.

FIRE! in Action: Bard Medical Uses Assessments to Increase Sales Rep Productivity
The healthcare products company assessed their salesforce and made appropriate adjustments. The result was a 28 percent increase in productivity.

Next week: Marka gives Zoot two more helpful tips for assessing his sales team’s performance.
 

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