Part 1: Sales management Moving forward? Backward? Standing Still (aka backward)?

You might be victim of your own status quo. Hearing the whistle before you get slammed by change can be helpful.

This is the first in a series of blogs on trends across the industry with implications for sales desks, specifically in the areas of sales managementterritory management, and overall distribution strategy.  Every firm is in a different place so take a look and decide for yourselves where you fall on each of the trends:

On a scale of 1 – 10

0  =  Where’s the horse

5  = Facing the right direction

10 = Galloping                        

Five  Trends in Sales Management

  • Turnover is big risk for expanding internal desks, especially given the hit to the bottom line: The average cost of recruiting, hiring and training an employee is @175% of their average salary. Translate? $750,000/year for a firm with an annual turnover rate of 10% and $50,000 average salary. Gallup research cites the #1 reason most employees quit is not money, but their manager. Millennials in particular say adios in less than 3 years and desk managers play the starring role in motivating these guys – not a skill set that comes easily for many. 

Question:  What’s your retention strategy?  

  • Sales desk managers that continue to manage the way they always have will hit a brick wall. Those who rose through the ranks are especially vulnerable. Managers need to (sell vs. tell) behavioral change by role modeling and measuring changes that align better with changes in advisor preferences. Some examples:
    • How to (quickly) customize the sales conversation based on big data
    • How to make it ok for an advisor that it is ok NOT to buy. Gulp. Yup. Probably the most effective approach you can use in selling today
    • Ditching metrics that motivate and reward really bad behaviors (think overemphasis on activity, talk time, ‘delivered a presentation to the advisor’ etc.) and substitute more advanced behavioral definitions of quality
    • How to help internals translate information into implications for the advisors business.

Question:  How do you help sales desk managers acquire new and more difficult skills?

  • The traditional hopelessly antiquated sales process needs a face-lift particularly around:
    • How internals prep and open the conversation
    • Beliefs about rapport and emphasis on ‘personal relationship selling’
    • Why the good old questions are now bad questions
    • The entire concept of overcoming objections
    • Overemphasis on closing and closing techniques

Question:  Is your current sales process working? How do you know?

  • More internals than externals are being hired. Firms are beginning to design positions for ‘career internals’ based on advanced competencies and increased compensation. This helps minimize the dreaded bottleneck for external jobs that results in turnover of A players.  

Question:  How have you changed the job description and required competencies for the next generation of internal wholesalers?'

  • Proficiency with technology across the sales desk will be a core competency required for internal sales success and productivity – not just with navigating the system but also in automating their workflow

Question:  What standards have you set for proficiency with your various technology applications? Do you have a list of best practices as part of the on-boarding process?

Got all these covered?  Congratulations! Hit the delete button with a celebratory flourish.

Stay tuned for part 2: Territory Management