All businesses talk about the necessity of goals, objectives and tactics, and yet most find the prospect of creating this framework for sustainment and growth—and adhering to it—to be daunting. Why is this subject so scary?
Into the Woods
First of all, many managers perceive such comprehensive planning as a form of "micro-management." They're reluctant to work at the granular level of detail required to establish activities, milestones and timelines. More often, managers believe that they can’t spare the time to work through all the various aspects required for this type of planning.
But without an established and clearly understood platform of goals, objectives and tactics, your sales team operates without a roadmap or a destination. And without parameters of performance, you can't reasonably reward sales reps for what they accomplish or hold them accountable for what they don't.
Let's imagine that your Saturday morning golf buddies call you Friday night and say, "Hey, for tomorrow's golf match, we're not going to keep score." What's your incentive, then, to go out and play? What's your competitive motivation?
Without established objectives, your sales team's daily work is not much different than your non-competitive foursome. They have no clear direction of what to do, no specific tactics on how to do it and no objective measurement to gauge their performance. What kind of results can you reasonably expect to see from them without incentive? Without clearly defined goals, objectives and tactics for yourself and your sales organization, you risk perpetuating a culture where the lack of motivation, accountability and direction leads to complacency. In such an environment, how will you achieve the business results you're looking for?
Follow the Road to the Emerald City
Everyone works better with clearly defined goals and objectives—they feel better about themselves personally; they have an explicit understanding of exactly how their day-to-day activities contribute to the company’s overall vision and success; and they’re more motivated to achieve those very visible contributions. And this motivation is further enhanced when they are rewarded and recognized for their achievement and their performance.
So how do you get from recognizing the vital, strategic need for goals, objectives and tactics to actually creating this structure for your sales organization?
1. It all starts with a clear vision for growth and realistic financial goals. Define and clearly communicate the necessary sales strategies.
2. Next, take it to the rep level and create objectives and tactics in collaboration with your team. Involve them in clearly defining expectations, reasonable measurements, and mutually agreed-upon parameters for monitoring performance and achievements. Remember, people typically feel a greater sense of responsibility and commitment to reach goals that they have established themselves, rather than ones that may seem arbitrarily set for them.
3. Once you target realistic goals and establish the specific activities intended to achieve them, you have concrete benchmarks against which to measure and monitor. And you have provided your sales team with a roadmap to success.
All of this may appear overwhelming at first, but any movement you make in the direction of constructing a growth framework will improve business results. Take things one step at a time. You don’t want to create a culture shock in your organization, but you do want to establish a renewed atmosphere of motivation and commitment, and a shift toward a performance-based environment.
As you approach a new year, review your current sales management system and leadership style. Determine the areas where you can enhance your effectiveness and get better results through others. Start now to make some changes that could elevate you to an inspirational leader and coach!
S&MM online columnist Krista Moore is president of K.Coaching, LLC, an executive coaching and consulting practice that has helped literally hundreds of sales executives and leaders reach their full potential and strengthen key business partnerships.
For more information and free resources on ShipBuilding, go to www.buildyourships.com or find out more about K.Coaching at www.kcoaching.com.