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The Problem with a Team of Sales Champions

sales-championsWould you rather play on a championship team or be with a team of sales champions?

I am a Florida State University (FSU) football fan and their 2014 National Championship victory was awesome. They beat the Auburn Tigers. I will have to admit that if those two teams played 10 more times, I think Auburn would win seven or eight of those games. But Florida State won that championship game, and those players all were part of a championship team.

Going into last season, the reigning champs were Alabama’s Crimson Tide. They were a great team the year before, but got knocked out of the hunt this past season by Auburn. So, in this case, the championship team (FSU) was a better place to be than the current team of champions (Alabama).

This happens all the time in sports and in business. If you run a highly successful sales operation, you need to resist staying too long on the celebration of your victories (your last championship). You need to focus on being the championship team—right now, right here.

The best way to do this is to set a short list of your top goals for the year. I suggest four to five. Make some of them a stretch. Score those at the end of the year—and be tough on where you failed and why. Then set new goals for the next year. Rinse and repeat.

I was working on this process with a client recently and we decided to survey their sales team to get their perspective on the systems and practices in the sales department. Here are some of the questions they asked their salespeople (giving them a 1-10 scale for scoring):

1. I feel like I am able to commit the time to ongoing prospecting, giving me a healthy list of interesting prospects each and every week.

2. It is clear to me what the most important measures of success are in my job.

3. My weekly one-on-one meeting with my manager is very effective when it comes to helping me make sure that I have prospects at all stages of the pipeline.

4. We have enough training on sales techniques like finding prospects, getting appointments, doing needs analyses, and building strong proposals.

And multiple-choice questions like these:

5. The number of hours I spend prospecting each week is:

  • Less than 1
  • 1-2
  • 2-3
  • 3+

6. The number of first-time appointments I have each week with new prospects averages around:

  • 0-1
  • 1-2
  • 2-3
  • 3+

The reason for doing this was to spot opportunities for improvement—getting perspective from the sales team.

If you are interested in building a survey like this, let us know. We could help.

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Topics: Management