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Comments

Allison O'Neill

I agree panic is the worst thing to do, and yes employees can spot panic a mile off. Tell employees what the best margin products are so they can focus on them, discuss your survival plan with staff (pen it WITH them) they'll have much better and wider ideas than management! Maybe take the time to do a skill stocktake (http://thebossbenchmark.blogspot.com/2009/02/how-to-do-skill-stocktake-in-your.html ) and a secrets audit (http://thebossbenchmark.blogspot.com/2009/03/why-you-should-audit-secrets-you-keep.html ) to get management and staff on the same page. Times like this need calm and creative thinking NOT panic and micro management.

Jonathan Farrington

Jill,
This is indeed an excellent article from one of the foremost sales gurus in the world.

Paul consistently demonstrates through his writing and the rest of his work, that he has a very wide commercial band-width, which allows him to offer superior consultancy across a broad spectrum of industries - very few sales coaches achieve that.

Jono

ChrisH

Jill, how timely is this post, our small office of multi-national corp $20B in revenues just started the micro-management daily tally sheets. Two weeks ago it was "no more sales training until next FY". Short sighted management fails to notice that working smarter is what is needed now NOT working to the numbers. Salestypes make more calls now to less qualified accounts just to "hit the numbers" when what's needed are quality calls with good pre-call planning to present NEW products or solutions that are required in this new era of "we can't afford it" rejections. Sales training now more than ever and quality calls not "quantity of calls". To the extreme, salestypes are out interviewing to "dig the well before they're thirsty".

Trip Allen

Hi Jill
Thanks for presenting Paul's insight.

This is a HOT topic of discussion and the root of it comes from the top.

With CRM systems, there is visibility and with visibility comes pressure from the top (I dont just blame CRM systems for this- there are other drivers).
And as Paul says, it then trickles down to management who then micro manages for what they think is the needed results- which leads to a frustrated sales organization.

It is all VERY short term thinking- and I know, I have been through all of this too often dealing with it from all sides!

So, how do we get the "top" to see what is really happening? How do we change behaviors up there?

When will they realise that their employees are more than just numbers, that they are human beings?

It all won't change until the right message trickles down from the top.

Trip Allen, Team Egyii, Singapore

Sales Brochure Printing

Definitely agree with what you're saying. It's refreshing to know that I'm not the only one that thought so.

Jayne Hannon, Director at HTS

Hi Jill. An interesting article, but micro-management can be helpful in certain situations if handled in the right way.

As a small, boutique-type recruitment consultancy we have always kept a close eye on sales metrics. This approach has facillitated very accurate sales forecasting and helped us to always operate in profit. Our salespeople understand the benefit of producing these regular reports.

The downturn in the economy has certainly necessitated more frequent scrutiny of our sales performance - but not as a stick to beat our salespeople with. Micro-management does not have to go hand in hand with threats - for us, its purpose is twofold. Firstly, it's a way of measuring performance so we know in which areas we can improve and secondly, it helps us to ensure that cashflow doesn't become an issue.

We are transparent with employees across the board about the company finances and everyone is well aware that this is a lean period and we could be in for quite a bumpy ride. We have explained to our sales staff the need for more regular pipeline updates and they are happy to produce this data - timely payment of their salaries depends on the quality of this information, after all.

Individual pipeline spreadsheets are now updated daily rather than weekly, as new prospects occur or potential deals fall through. Consultants are also conscious of the need to be conservative in their predictions. Individual updates are then emailed to the rest of the team, rather than holding formal meetings during the day which are a drain on consultants' time when we need to be identifying new opportunities and nurturing existing accounts in readiness for the inevitable recovery of the market. Each update takes a couple of minutes, tops - and then it's straight back to the business of selling :-)

These changes aren't borne out of panic - they are a calculated and sensible response to new and challenging market conditions.

We just want to be able to ride this out. Our consultants know that we don't expect them to meet targets in this climate, just to generate enough revenue to weather this storm. We don't want any casualties - we have a loyal and positive workforce and we're determined to keep our team together. Micro-management can help to achieve this if you have the buy-in of your team - it just gets a very bad press!

Jill Konrath

Jayne,

Thanks for adding your well-thought out comment. I love the fact that you have a definite process and are totally open with your people. Process is key, not panic.

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