2016-08-18 in Learning

Advertising sales team continual improvement

Don’t limit performance improvement to under-performing sales reps. There’s much to gain from basing your sales team cadence on an overarching continual improvement program, acknowledging that everybody can improve their performance and that it’s an ongoing process.

Feedback drives continual improvement

Employees want feedback and in case you are hiring millennials into your sales force, you better make sure you consistently provide insightful positive and negative feedback. Otherwise they will leave you. But besides keeping employees happy and the obvious driver of increasing sales revenue, your life as a business owner or sales manager will be so much easier if you already have a continual improvement model in place the day that your numbers are looking like crap.

Don’t wait until that day comes … because you know it will sneak up on you for sure. Use RunMags’ template and model for advertising sales team continual improvement. You can download it as a Google Slide and tweak it to suit your specific needs.

How to establish a sales team cadence with continual improvement

Whether you call it cadence, operational rhythm or something else, you probably already have a weekly staff meeting established and at the end of the year you have a performance review with each employee. Use our model to communicate the purpose of those meetings and allow for the team to collectively reflect over things that went well during last week, if they hit a road block and what they’ve learned. Lead by example and openly share if you misread a client’s needs and missed a deal. You’ll see that people will open up to share lessons learned and will help you remove bottle necks in your business.

There are three critical components of RunMags’ continual improvement model:

  1. Performance monitoring
  2. Analyzing, identifying, and planning solutions
  3. Implementing solutions

Performance monitoring

Utilize the sales dashboard and other insight tools in RunMags to monitor the pipeline of each sales. Is the sales funnel top or bottom heavy? Are the performance indicators for upcoming issues showing green or red lights?

Collectively review proposals that has gone out and any client feedback. Wins and losses should be discussed openly because it’s simply not enough to have a drop down in the CRM system to create a win/loss factor. Save notes for upcoming analysis.

Review your sales plan and monitor progress. Are we closing deals with the accounts we set out to target in the beginning of the quarter? How effective are we?

Finally, and not to forget, conduct joint sales calls whether they are performed over the phone or in person. Provide feedback immediately after the meeting and also be open to receive feedback.

Analyzing, identifying, and planning solutions

While part the weekly staff meetings can be spent on analyzing performance, you should carve out at least an hour every month to dig into WHY your business is performing the way it is. Are we pricing too high … or too low? Do clients respond well to our media kit or is it regarded as fluff without an actionable value proposition? Do we need to conduct training on how to sell our latest offering?

As a team, discuss what you can do better. Challenge status quo and brainstorm solutions. Reach out to fellow magazine publishers and invite them to come to you to talk about something that is really working well for them. Evaluate to see if you’d benefit from implementing their ideas.

Create a joint plan as a team and pitch it to the executive leadership team / the CEO, depending on your organization’s structure and size. Even if you are a small company, make it part of your culture to do this and allow for sales team members to pitch their ideas from time to time to create a sense of ownership.

Implementing Solutions

Don’t be one of those who create improvement plans without executing on them. Use the meetings with the executive leadership team to report out on progress on past improvement initiatives and to get decisions on new ones.

If an initiative proves ineffective, kill it as soon as possible. Too many ongoing initiatives are only going to spread you thin and the team will loose sight on what’s important.

As solutions gets approved, assign the initiative to ONE person, assign the necessary resources needed to complete the task and set a reasonable time schedule. Shared responsibility is no responsibility.

Review progress during the weekly staff meetings to ensure things are going in the right direction. This is where the continual improvement cycle starts again … by monitoring how well the solutions are implemented and how effective they are.

Get help from RunMags to implement a continual improvement model

Our staff has extensive experience from implementing sales methodologies and improvement models. Send an email to sales@runmags.com for more information and to schedule a meeting to see how we can help you.

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