Sales managers are often dangerously treading the link of empowerment versus intrusiveness. This is often caused by the burden of closely monitoring your team’s performance. During times like these, keep in mind that a sales manager’s core responsibility is to foster growth.
Sales managers go through different feats in order to achieve this. However, the practice of micromanagement is one that must be avoided. The practice is counter-productive as it encourages dependence as opposed to empowerment. Instead, here are some methods and best practices that will enable you to monitor on-going team performance:
Drawing the Line between Monitoring vs. Pestering
Good leaders should be able to gauge their team’s threshold when it comes to being monitored and checked. Different members of the team can withstand a lot of scrutiny, while others can’t. This is when you need to make a decision when to pull back and when to step in as a leader.
In order to avoid the pitfalls of over-scrutiny to the point of pestering team members, you need to monitor the most distinctly quantifiable determinants. Numbers don’t lie and you can objectively discuss them.
What to Focus on
Through the assumption that the sales team have clearly-defined sales goals, you should be able to know what to focus on. Effective performance measures have a dual focus on both short-term task completion and long-term performance. Balancing these two aspects is crucial.
Daily and weekly goals help keep team members stay on track, but if you don’t watch out, demotivation quickly sets in when team members are just focused on the daily ups and downs. As a leader, it is now your task to show them the big picture, the longer-term goals that provide a more realistic measure of success.
Adopt an approach that monitors real-time data. You should have up-to-the-minute measurable metrics enabling you to track your team’s progress at a single glance. The key is to set a procedure through which it makes it possible to get information on KPIs in real-time. The most important types of information to track are activities, emails, revenue forecasts, and data on new, won, or lost deals. It is also important to enable your team members to self-report their progress on a daily basis, ideally through an online tracking system.
Monitoring in real-time will help you understand exactly how the sales pipeline is flowing and exactly pinpoint setbacks in performance. These setbacks in performance can indicate issues or problems which could enable you to identify deeper issues within the team and its members. It’s not advisable to wait for annual or quarterly reviews. By this time the data presented will not be relevant anymore and may become un-actionable.
Follow Up with Your Team
Data has no meaning unless you act upon them. Use regular catch-up meetings to share the insights you have gained while monitoring on-going performance. These meetings are opportunities to scrutinize new or recurring issues. As a leader, you can offer troubleshooting solutions but also get the team’s insights and have them share the solutions that worked for them.
It is also essential to make time to check each individual team member. Arrange a one-on-one meeting with each member, which is an ideal way to avoid singling them out in front of the rest of the group. Objectively and sensitively discuss their performance as it stands against the team’s objectives. Highlight specific areas for improvement.
While it is no easy feat, on-going performance monitoring is a crucial step to successfully reach your overall goals. However, it is crucial that the practice is done in a methodical and objective manner in order for you and your team to truly benefit from it.