Activity consistency is important not only in getting the sales, but also in controlling their timing. Most Sales Managers will be familiar with the classic sales roller coaster: it’s either boom or bust. Sales are pouring in, or you‘re scrabbling for business
The problem is that when sales are good, the sales team get pats on the back. They are being rewarded not for what they are doing now, but for what they were doing some weeks or months ago. Sales activity tends to slacken off, and in a while sales start dropping. Panic sets in, triggering lots of selling activity – but at this stage, the sales team are being pressured for not bringing in the sales.
The sales roller-coaster makes it difficult to plan and run the business efficiently, but worse than that is that the contra-cycle of sales and sales activity reduces the effectiveness of the sales team. Sales lag sales activity by a significant amount, yet usually the sales team are recognised and rewarded based on sales. As a result, the pattern of reward and punishment is out of synch with what the sales team are actually doing, and can even be in direct opposition: praising and rewarding them when they are slacking off in the glow of a great month or quarter, berating them when they are frantically busy trying to generate new business.
This roller-coaster and counter-productive reward/punishment cycle arises when sales managers manage the sales instead of the sales process. Sales teams need to be measured and rewarded according to their customer-facing activity measured along three axes:
- The frequency of contact, qualified by:
- The quality of the contacts and
- The quality of the customers
If your sales team are maintaining frequency of contact with the right customers, and making the right kind of contact, the sales will follow.