One of my ex-employers is closing out its financial year in the next 6 weeks and I can guarantee you that their leadership team is already finalising the changes necessary for a successful FY17.
As a first line sales manager, this is a tough time. Not only do you have the Q4 mountain to climb and the pressure of getting all your team onto the quota club ‘plane, you’re already being asked for lots of data on where the business will come from next year, what would happen if you segmented your territory 10 different ways, for a stack ranking on the team and to start to sharpen the axe, all the while having a list of candidates in your back pocket.
Etc, etc, etc.
Meanwhile you know that you too are being stack ranked against your peers and that with re-segmentation there is always opportunity for “consolidation”. (You know what that means…)
In other words, it feels like your job is managing change rather than managing sales or managing people.
As it happens, sales management is always about managing change – it’s just that there’s more of it about at this time of year. And managing teams that are in flux is all about understanding the individual’s motivations as they cope with complications to their daily life.
Your team’s ability to evolve and adapt and - importantly - participate in “bottom-up” change management should be critical components to your organisation’s success in the coming FY.
I had the opportunity to chat with a successful sales rep during half time of the FA Cup final yesterday. It was fascinating to see how she was adapting to massive changes in her organisation – change that is leading to big opportunities for her as she steps into what is clearly a stretch role for next year.
Her ability to adapt is unquestioned, but her management have yet to ask her what motivates her to sell, let alone what drives her to support a complex bottom-up planning process in her "spare time."
It’s not money – she makes target and more, so she’s not missing out on her Louboutin fix.
It’s not recognition – although she enjoys being seen as a superstar by the senior leadership team and her customer.
What turns her on is that she’s making a difference to the underlying success of the company by bringing her substantial intellectual capital to the planning process. She loves being asked!
The chances are that your top sales people have been identifying solutions for their customers' challenges for years. What makes you think they can’t identify a solution or two for your own organisation?
If you understand and encourage their motivation, your change process will run much more smoothly, you'll lose fewer A-team players, and you'll still have the support of the team as you close out Q4.
And with their input guaranteeing that they will have bought in early into next year's new structure, you'll hit the ground running in Q1 with a well motivated and enthusiastic team.
Try it - maybe your FY17 will be your best yet?
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Methodical ramblings after twenty-five years in Sales, Marketing and SalesOps.