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.]

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or tj@tjtedesco.com.
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