The Challenges of Executing and Delivering

Wish_Group_Summer_ReunionWhether you only have one employee or 50 employees, execution will always be difficult. By execution I mean of course the way that you are completing tasks that will grow your business, and deliver positive results either to your leadership in the company or to yourself.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, the Wish Group went away for our bi-annual team building trip a couple of weeks ago. During these trips we like to have an overall theme for the event that will put a focus on the learning we’ll accomplish, with this year’s theme being execution.

The main goal for these trips is of course team building, but taking the time to discuss challenges and triumphs with your team is also an excellent way of doing that. When it comes to executing, we focused on four different areas that were loosely based on the four disciplines of execution, with a spotlight on sales of course:

Make Important Goals – The only way to achieve great success is to make goals that you can focus on. It may sound simple, but without a goal to focus on you simply won’t have the same drive that other sales people or companies have. One of the tasks we asked everyone at our Summer Reunion to complete is to write down their Wildly Important Goals for the year. This first step is really what sets the tone for how you’ll achieve success, since it’s important to actually define what success means to you!

Define Your Lead Measures – Even if you have a goal, what’s the point if you don’t have a practical way of reaching it? I put an emphasis on practical because it’s common to rush towards a goal instead of tackling it strategically. The best way I can explain this is with a common weight loss analogy. Your important goal may be to lose 50 pounds, but you can’t just make this goal and hope for the best. You’ll be keeping track of how much exercise you’re doing daily and even how many calories you’re taking in. The same thing applies to your sales team. Sure, they want to close a certain amount of deals, but victory lies in preparation. They’ll need to keep track of who they’re contacting, what prospects make the most sense to reach out to and what hasn’t been working for them in the past, just as a few examples.

Track Your Progress – It’s hard to admit, but there are only winners and losers when it comes to sales and business. People don’t pay to see two sports teams kick a ball around and not keep track of who wins. We pay to see one team win, which means another team has to lose. Keeping a scorecard of all of your successes will keep you focused on your goals in two ways. On one hand, having a visual record of the times when you didn’t quite reach your goals will motivate you to keep trying harder to turn those failures into triumphs. On the other hand, with the notes you keep from your lead measures combined with your scorecard, it’ll be extremely rewarding to have a solid trail of your success and how hard you’ve worked to get there.

Accountability to Yourself and Your Team – Your plans, your efforts and triumphs don’t mean anything if you don’t hold yourself accountable by actually following through with your action plan. It’s important to understand that this means keeping track of your failures too, because you’ll never be able to improve if you don’t look at both sides of your endeavors.

As you can clearly see, executing is by no means an easy task, and overnight results shouldn’t be expected. Like with most things in life, if you want to achieve greatness, you’ll need to take it one step at a time. And like most things as well, the first step is always the most difficult – but after that I guarantee that you’ll be able to do it!

Are You Really Spending Your Time Selling?

One of the most frustrating aspects of managing a sales force that I experienced is people not making their quotas, the same applies when I observe businesses or entrepreneurs miss their revenue targets. Ultimately when sales targets are missed it’s either a lack of activity or skill or both. In my experience for the most part it’s a lack of activity. It’s simple math actually, if you’re 70% to your target, observe the hours or amount of dials, meetings or whatever other metric leads to results and increase them respectively and math tells you that’s how you will reach your target. The problem is people in general are inherently lazy, or don’t spend their time wisely, for the most part, assuming you have two individuals with equal intelligence, skill and talent, it’s how they spend their time that differentiates them and more often than not, the person who outworks the other makes more money or succeeds more in life. We also see it in sports, countless examples of athletes with inferior talent making it up with work ethic and what you find is that more action leads to mistakes and you learn from your mistakes and that practice does in time make perfect.

Ok so where to start?

First, you need to map out how you’re spending your time now. Sit down for an hour and review your calendar over the last three months, and figure out your own blocks of time for actual selling, prep and research, prospecting, lead management, administrative and CRM, traveling, meetings-both sales and “other”. Whatever the major blocks of time are that make sense to you. What we’re focused on here is to figure out the actual time spent working opportunities in the sales funnel. “Opportunities in the funnel” are the operative words.  Not marketing, not lead gen, not prospecting, not onboarding and servicing. Actual time in the funnel

A few B2B-all industries-stats to help you think about your own mapping:

  • Average “successful” salesperson spends 57 hours a week working
  • Roughly, that’s 3,100 hours a year
  • Lose 25% for holidays, vacations, sick, & non-utilizable time
  • You now have around 2300 hours “available”
  • 37-39% spent face to face or over the phone actually selling
  • 19% spent generating leads and researching accounts
  • 17% on average spent in administrative meetings
  • 14% in handling customer service calls (not selling)
  • 11% in travel and training

How do you stack up? This doesn’t even include smokers, which studies have shown spend upwards of three weeks of sales time per year outside killing themselves as opposed to selling.

Homework:

  1. Create your own time map of your approximate time as a sales professional/manager
  2. Figure out your ATS (Available Time to Sell) in hours/month
  3. Do that by month for the next quarter

I started my B2B sales career in selling audio conferencing and it changed my life. But what helped lay the foundation for my success believe it or not was a summer job I had dialing for dollars as a telemarketer selling newspaper subscriptions, it helped me overcome objections as far as skill development but the real value was that in that environment you are constantly watched and your number of calls are monitored and coffee isn’t provided and you weren’t allowed to wander around the office and breaks were scheduled and lateness wasn’t tolerated. Now although that boiler room doesn’t make for an ideal prolonged environment, it definitely taught me the discipline to be effective and spending every minute of the work day actually doing the activity that yields results and ultimately success!