12 New Year Resolutions Any Self Respecting Sales Manager Should Follow

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  1. The worse the figures are the more you should analyse them (see how in point two). Avoiding bad news is never a good idea.
  2. The better your figures are the more you should assume it’s temporary. Try to identify the reasons why you are succeeding, try to see the reasons why and when it might change. Apply learning.
  3. However much time you spend in the field coaching and motivating, it’s unlikely to be enough. Do more.
  4. Obsess about the sales pipeline. Firstly make sure it’s robust in structure and process, then make sure enough is going in the top, and finally make sure the speed of progress and attrition rates throughout are acceptable.
  5. Do the maths. If you are doing point four, you can extrapolate your out-turn performance. Will it be where it needs to be?
  6. ‘An occupied seat is better than an empty seat’ institutionalises mediocrity. If someone is not good enough, change their performance or change the person. Underperforming salespeople keeping a role ‘warm’ is hopeless.
  7. If your Sales Director is asking better, more pertinent questions than you are, it’s time to up the pace and/or quality of your work. When a Sales Manager loses control of their own agenda they usually lose their job some months later.
  8. Makes friends with technology. If you (or your team) aren’t IT literate enough you will be at an unsustainable disadvantage.
  9. Simplify bonuses/incentives. More closely connect effort and reward. Learn the difference between ‘why work here’ money and ‘why work harder’ money.
  10. The ends justifies the means is very poor sales management. ‘As long as they do the numbers I’m not bothered what they are doing’, bears scrutiny for about two seconds before the poverty of insight and the absence of leadership becomes obvious. Understanding how and why salespeople perform is the key to improving their results.
  11. Balance individualism with teamwork. Peer group pressure is a major stimulus to high performance. Create some.
  12. Laugh more, at yourself in particular, you’ll seem more human.

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