By Candice Wentling
In a sales organization, the beginning of the week can be disorderly, reactionary and overwhelming at times, even when we have properly planned in advance. It’s at these times that sales expectations and results can get away from us. We normally don’t notice that we are off track until the week has progressed, nearly to the end. The weeks to come then result in more disorder and reactions to try and play make up. For example, I may require my sales professionals to book a predetermined amount of self-generated appointments for the month. Without proper guidance on my part, I may then get frustrated that my subordinates do not take matters into their own hands and put extra pressure on them to meet expectations. Another example to consider is that of a college student. Which student would be better equipped to succeed: the student assigned to complete a research paper by the end of the semester with little instruction or accountability or the student given a shorter timeline but more instruction and oversight? My point here is that human beings are more successful when there is instruction, guidance and oversight, even if it we don’t necessarily like it.
Let’s use this same rationale and apply it to our Monday expectations for our teams. Early on in my management career, I made a lot of mistakes; my meetings were way too long, they were not organized, I did not have concrete expectations and I just expected that my team would perform. Over the years, my ideas of getting Mondays right changed dramatically. The following details what that looked like.
Mandatory sales meeting at 8 a.m.
My meetings consisted of an agenda and did not exceed 30-40 minutes. I acknowledged and praised the previous week wins and had open dialogue where we fell short. We would have about 10-15 minutes of training on a specific topic—for instance, how to add salt delivery to all orders. At times, I would select a sales professional who excelled in a particular area and had them lead the training. We would cover any announcements or reminders and then set or review our intentions and goals for that week. We always ended on a high note.
Mandatory office time
This concept took me a long time to implement but it ended up working really well for my team. (I understand that it may not work for others.) The sales professionals were to block off their calendars from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. During this time, they completed paperwork, followed up with customers from the previous week, set appointments for the upcoming week and properly prepared for the week by researching current customers that were near their appointments. They gathered sales material and order forms, regenerated mini softeners and performed any other tedious activities that could be distracting during the week. Their first sales appointment on Monday wasn’t until around noon-time. In addition, I met bi-weekly with each of my employees, one-on-one. We reviewed their results more in-depth and discussed areas of improvement, including how I could help them achieve those goals.
Submit Monday form
Before leaving for the remainder of the day, the team turned in their Monday form, which consisted of self-generated appointments, specific goals for the week and final results from the prior week. Although an extra step, this form was pivotal in fostering accountability.
This may sound like a lot of work for sales professionals, but I would argue that it is more work for the manager. In fact, for the sales rep, this setup cuts back on wasted office time throughout the remainder of the work-week, while meeting planned goals consistently.
On the part of the manager, it is a major commitment because they should play a supporting role, as these few hours are dedicated solely to the sales team, each and every week. The manager needs to plan for the sales meeting in advance, prepare for one-on-one reviews, help with any issues, answer questions, advise on paperwork and scheduling and help if someone is struggling in setting appointments. (It was at this time that I also prepared lists of recent service calls for the team to call on. They knew that this time was theirs for anything they needed and they utilized it well.)
Just like anything that we want to improve, there must be intentional effort, dedication and sufficient time allotted. Evaluate your Mondays and find ways to ensure that your team gets them right! It is much easier to be proactive then reactive, creating a more conducive work environment.
About the author
Candice Wentling is Sales Trainer and Distributor of Action Selling™ and Director of Certified Action, a business consulting firm. She has been conducting sales training seminars, field coaching and leadership accountability for the last 13 years. Wentling began her sales career in the supplemental insurance industry and was quickly promoted into a management role. She became the youngest District Manager in the organization, going on to win their top sales award 18 times. Wentling then transferred her skills and began working in the water treatment industry as a Sales Manager with an industry-leading company, reorganizing and developing training programs. In addition, she has conducted regional workshops, worked directly with on-boarding and training of new sales representatives and consulted for leaders in multiple organizations.