THE "MANAGEMENT RITUAL", A KEY ELEMENT FOR MORE EFFECTIVENESS IN SALES!
A recent POWERING survey of 300 sales managers from industrial and service companies, large corporations and international SMEs found that 67% of them do not practice a consistent "sales management ritual". It is also not implemented across hierarchies, i.e. from senior management to local management (sales managers, regional sales managers...), although all "best performers" in sales efficiency agree on the great importance of this lever.
Ritual? What do we mean by that?
A ritual, according to the dictionary definition, is "a set of actions and words that are codified in a clear manner, based on belief in the workings of non-human entities, and appropriate for particular life situations".
In sales, this "management ritual" is in fact a 100% human practice that aims to catalyse exchanges between sales managers and their teams, structure their interactions and encourage the pursuit of action plans.
It also allows to put the notion of activity at the heart of the discussion, i.e. the actions carried out by the sales teams in relation to their portfolio of customers and leads and their intensity, and not only their results, which are measured and monitored by most companies through dashboards, BI or CRM tools.
What does a sales management ritual consist of?
It is a combination of interactions aimed at ensuring effective work on the three basic dimensions of sales management: team leadership and motivation, employee development (skills and behaviours) and monitoring collective and individual performance.
Ideally, there are four interactions, to be adapted according to the industry and size of the sales teams. By the way, they do not replace the constant exchange between managers and salespeople, which is necessary for team cohesion and support:
The weekly review: of very short duration (15 minutes) and ideally conducted at the very beginning of the week on Monday morning. It focuses on the most important sales indicators and on the salesperson's activities for the coming week (customer or prospect visits, customer-oriented actions). It is based on information from the company's CRM system, which should make it easy to see the salesperson's agenda and planned actions (or not...).
The individual performance review: 60 to 90 minutes long, face to face and ideally on a monthly basis. Its purpose is to have a complete overview of the salesperson's results (performance, activity level, progress of action plans), how they feel about their work and the team, and to discuss their ideas or suggestions for improvement. It requires preparation on the part of both the manager and the salesperson to focus on explaining performance and actions to be taken in the short or medium term to improve or accelerate performance.
The ride-alongs: it lasts half a day or a whole day and is carried out very regularly, at least once per month and sales representative. Here, the salesperson in the field is accompanied by his/her manager during visits or customer meetings. The aim is for the manager to observe the salesperson's action in the field and give him immediate feedback on his approach, attitude and behaviour, based on the defined "Way of Selling" or best practices as well as the salesperson's characteristics, with the manager positioning himself as a coach or even a trainer.
The team meeting: it lasts half a day to one day and takes place at least four times a year. It focuses on team dynamics, motivation and skill development, pooling information, sharing key performance indicators (KPIs), sharing best practices and training. It is attended by all members of the sales team and helps to strengthen the leadership role of the sales manager.
Implementing a management ritual is not an easy task, as it often challenges well-worn but sometimes not very effective management practices and requires good preparation: defining the structure of the ritual and the interactions, as well as KPIs to be tracked and analysed.
This preparation must be done directly with the sales teams involved to ensure their commitment and implementation. Subsequently, implementation must be supported by training, coaching and on-the-job coaching, which should be provided by sales and management performance professionals.
This ritual will also be at the heart of integration programmes for new employees, (both sales people and sales managers) to ensure it remains firmly embedded in the culture of the teams.
Contact us if you want to learn more about more effective sales management.