Are Your Sales and Marketing Staff On An Island?

... like the crew of the S.S Minnow.

Last week I was talking with a restoration contractor’s saleswoman about her frustration at not having spoken to her boss in more than three weeks. When I asked why, she said he’s busy and there is a lot of work going on and he’s especially occupied managing all the projects. She had left voice messages and sent him emails and texts but got no response! So I called him to see if the sales person was correct. Sure enough he said to me “I’m just been too busy for the past three months to meet with her.” He also confirmed that her sales numbers were way down!  Hmmm.

First: let me say that you should NEVER be too busy to meet with your sales/marketing staff. Second: at a bare minimum, you should be meeting weekly for an hour, or every other week for a couple hours. Third: it’s not that one department is more important than the other. You need a TEAM working in concert, supporting each other, building on the others successes, helping fix issues and problems if you want a highly successful and profitable company.

YOU are the owner (or General Manager). You need to be giving direction. You need to let them know you are paying attention so they stay on track and fully focused. You need to be holding them accountable to their daily activities! You need to be making sure they are generating measurable income for the business.

Over the many years I have been coaching and consulting, I’ve noticed a significant trend: Owners and GM’s that are actively involved in their sales department have better growth, better sales and better profit. Rarely available or “absentee” owners (MIA from the sales department) often find their businesses struggling to survive. I hear all the excuses: production staff need direction, it’s hard to find good technicians, so I have to step in and help, I try to hire really good sales people that should be able to do well without my hand-holding, and many other variations. Even those owners requiring a “certain number of visits in a day,” don’t evaluate the QUALITY of those sales / marketing visits. It goes back to my gripe about “Stop, Drop and Roll” marketing, which is usually similar to a blind squirrel finding an occasional nut.

By comparison, I have a client that meets every other week with their entire sales and marketing staff (including sales estimators) and each person gives a report of their successes and challenges for the previous two weeks. They are each held accountable to hard numbers with specific sales goals and they don’t provide a litany of “busy work” activity. Simply visiting 25 insurance agents every day does not qualify as acceptable and productive activity.

Your sales staff needs to know: when they will meet, what they will report, why they are reporting it, the format for presentation (how), where the meeting will take place, and who they will answer to! Just don’t go overboard like one of my clients that spent all day every Monday in a full-blown meeting with lunch catered in and seven key people buried up to their necks in a wasted day. That had to be demoralizing for almost all attendees.

Your sales and marketing staff is equally as critical to your survival, success, and growth as any production member, don’t let them operate as if they are on island with no connection to your world!  

Author:  Dick Wagner  Copyright protections apply.