The “M” Word – Sales eXchange 2140

By Tibor Shanto –


I’ve spoken before about how sales people seem to have a better grasp on the stats of their favourite athlete than their own numbers, just sit back watch them pick their football pool. When you speak to them in the context of coaching or training, they all recite the familiar quotes: “What gets measured gets done”, or “if it’s not measured it’s not managed”. Yet as soon as you introduce any form of metrics, and a means to manage the data/outcome, many sales people resort to the M word. Micromanagement!

One tool that our clients like is our Activity Calculator, not tracker, calculator (e-mail me if you would like the tool). It allows reps and managers to plan their activities based on their individual key conversion rates. It helps them use their time more effectively, and create an improvement plan based on the individual reps capabilities and specific metrics tied to sales cycle, their goals and process. It has helped managers coach better, and sales people improve specific attribute of their selling. But as with any calculator, you need data, or more specifically accurate data, without that it is just an empty tool, and no change or improvement.

While I am not for adding to reps’ work load, it is them that have to provide the data for the calculator. Just for clarity, we are talking a few data points a day, the tool calculates everything else, and the only other time commitment is to review (and benefit), in the first month this may be 10 minutes a week, after that once a month. Not a lot of time, certainly no more than that required for the pool, not a big investment to change the way you sell and the outcome, hey if nothing else, more commissions.

Some reps see the tool and embrace the opportunity, the ability to diagnose their performance, decide on what to change and how, they not only run with it, but take complete ownership of the process and outcome.

Others default to the M word, right away whinging not only about “all the extra work” they’re going to have to, it’s “gonna slow me down”, and “you know, I don’t need to be micromanaged.”  Please, being provided with a tool, any tool, or process that helps you sell better and make more money is not micromanaging. Especially given the fact that many of the very people complaining are the ones that should focus on changing most.
Micromanagement is having everything you do be managed and controlled by your manager with every thing you do, not being provided with a tool, and be expected to use it. Nothing less than the expectations one would have of the football players they are betting on in the pool.

At the same time, many of the reps who complain about micromanagement, are the same reps who complain that their companies don’t invest enough in their development, their managers are not invested in their success, and refuse to be accountable for their actions and outcomes.

Next time these reps feel like leaning on the “M” word, they should replace Micromanagement with Mindset.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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