Management Training for Long Term Sustainable Gains
Developing New Management Skills, Tools and Processes for Creating a Culture of Sustainable Appointment Making
The Management component of the Prospector's Academy™ focuses sales management's understanding and commitment to the ColdCalling101 Solution. Our experience tells us that there is a direct correlation between the sustainability of the performance increases that will occur as a result of the Prospector's Academy and the level of active management involvement in the program. In other words, the more management is involved, the greater the performance increase over time.
Management is fully integrated into our comprehensive approach in the Total Immersion training program. This ensures that managers wholly understand all components of the Prospector's Academy (Art, Science and Best Practices) and are equipped to:
- Understand how best to support and coach their sales team members
- Monitor the process
- Accurately measure the results
- Confidently make decisions based on the accurate and timely information provided
Why We Need a Management Component
When implementing any kind of sales improvement program, most sales organizations understandably focus their efforts and attention on the sales professional. After all, that's where the 'biggest bang for the buck' is, right? Our experience indicates that perhaps the answer is no.
In most sales organizations, turnover in the sales professional ranks far outstrips turnover in management. Therefore, instilling a systematic culture of prospecting from the top down and making managers competent is as important, if not more important, for long term success than making the sales professionals good at setting appointments. Another reason is that management takes a longer term view of developing territories than a sales professional normally will.
The introduction of any new approach to developing new customers by sales professionals requires two critical components for successful implementation:
- Communication with Front Line Managers and the Sales Team
Human beings are inherently resistant to change. Particularly when increased accountability will be part of that change. Communication to both the front line managers, as well as the sales professionals is key. Just as you must 'buy' into this solution before you will invest in it, so will every other person on your staff, whether it be consciously or unconsciously. As a standard part of the planning process for an Academy, we help you address the issue of change and the 'selling' of the benefits of the program to each level of participant.
- Continuous Management Focus and Understanding Over Time to Establish the New 'Norm'
Stephen Covey, in his book The 7 Secrets of Highly Successful People, addresses at great length what is required to make change permanent. His conclusion? It takes understanding of the new methods, commitment to make the change and continuous attention to the process. (Sales professionals will respect what we inspect.)
The Prospector's Academy is designed to provide the processes, tools and skills to increase the number of Initial Appointments being set and it has never failed to accomplish that objective where implemented. But to assure the transfer of knowledge of how to continue improvement over time, sales management must be made an integral part of the process.
The Challenge for Sales Management
As with any business process, accomplishing continuous improvement requires the proper tools to monitor, measure and manage the results. It also takes an understanding of the human issues involved in change and a commitment to the process.
Historically speaking, the most common sales management scenario has been for managers to have only two metrics to use to measure telephone prospecting performance – total dials and total sales. With no visibility of the interim steps in the process, managers were limited to three courses of action when needed:
- Adopt the typical sales management mantra of, "Make more dials"
- Hire someone else to set those appointments (internal or external solutions)
- Fire those sales professionals not on quota and hire new ones
The limited insights that resulted from a lack of credible and comprehensive information often took the performance debate in an entirely wrong direction. For instance, good quality closers have been lost because they could not consistently open enough opportunities instead of determining why they were not able to accomplish this task and address that weakness in their game. This mistaken assumption can also cause organizations to inappropriately transfer the crucial task of opening to others because they could not accurately gauge whether the lack of results was from a sales team that 'could not', 'would not' or 'should not' be setting their own appointments.
There is one last fairly common challenge that must be addressed in most organizations. Most companies run very lean today. Therefore, managers have limited bandwidth to learn and implement everything necessary to properly transition to a new 'norm'. As a matter of fact, that is the biggest reason we now include the upfront development of Best Practices into each Prospector's Academy. Historically, that task was left to sales management after a training program introduced a new set of skills, tools or processes.
Timely Metrics to Examine Performance and Achieve Maximum Results
The ColdCalling101 Solution provides an appropriate set of skills (Art), enabling tool set (Science) and processes (Best Practices) for the sales team that accurately supports and reports on all aspects of the telephone prospecting process. Then we add the Management component to our Total Immersion training program to assure adoption of the new methods with the Caponi Performance Group standing by to assist as needed.
Each standard program includes a manager's track to teach managers how to keep the process consistent and improving. First line managers are enabled to measure, monitor and manage the telephone prospecting process and individual telephone prospecting performance in ways never available to them before. The Total Immersion manager's track is run in parallel with the sales professionals' track, generally when the sales team performs a scheduled Call Block.
The ColdCalling101 Solution provides managers with credible, timely and precise metrics so they can continuously examine performance to achieve the maximum results. In addition to providing the critical information to help answer the key question of who should be setting appointments, here are a few additional questions that managers can now address, equipped with sound metrics:
- How do we quick start a new sales professional? How quickly can we determine if they will succeed?
- How can we use the setting of Initial Appointments as an early indicator of success?:
- Initial predictor of success or failure of new hires – Limiting financial exposure to a bad hire
- 'Pay them fast, or fail them fast' – Particularly applicable to commission only environments
- Are we going to hit our revenue goals? – The ability to predict sales from the necessary activity of appointment setting while we still have time to influence the outcome
- How can we hold sales professionals individually accountable for achieving their goals?
- How can we positively influence retention on the sales team?
- How can we tell if each sales professional is effective and efficient in operating the process?
- How should we properly coach the sales team by being able to identify precisely where the coaching is needed?
- What is the appropriate Initial Appointments goal for each member of the sales team?
- How can we hold sales managers accountable for the performance of their sales professionals?
- How should we correctly size a territory over time? How many territories are appropriate?
- How can we systematically build the value of each individual territory, year-in, year-out?
- Which of our lead sources work best? (For instance, what was the ROI of that tradeshow?)
- How do we coordinate the marketing plan with the sales plan?
Additional Management Support Options
As options, the Prospector's Academy offers these two additional post-Academy support services: Manager Coaching and The Appointment Setting Czar Program.
In some companies, first line managers are very hands-on and have the bandwidth and the aptitude to continue the momentum generated by the Prospector's Academy. Some of these managers would like to have some additional short-term assistance in planning and running the portion of the sales meetings dedicated to prospecting and skills improvement to leverage the new concepts during the first few weeks after an academy.
The Caponi Performance Group's experienced consultants can help in a coaching role for managers who could benefit from additional close-in support. Not only can this positively assist individual managers, it also helps the organization as a whole maintain the momentum achieved during the Total Immersion sessions.
Appointment Setting Czar Program
We also offer a new optional service to provide ongoing management of the appointment setting process when front line managers do not have the time or capability to provide ongoing management and corrective coaching using the Prospector's Academy process and principles. This is particularly valuable when first implementing the ColdCalling101 Solution as it is more time consuming to implement a new program than to manage an established one. This service therefore can jumpstart the program much more quickly without adding manpower or shifting responsibilities from other important task in the beginning. For those environments, Caponi Performance Group can step in and act as a surrogate program manager to assure that the momentum gained from the Prospector's Academy is not lost due to inattention.
This program is very flexible in meshing what can (and will) be done by managers and what responsibilities are better transferred to the Caponi Performance Group. Czar responsibilities can include:
- Weekly Klpz reviews for each manager's team
- Weekly review sessions for managers
- Weekly sessions for sales professionals including activity review and skills reinforcement
- Addition of new Best Practices
- Continuous improvement of original Best Practices
- Senior management strategic performance reviews and accountability of managers
- A review of hiring practices
- On-boarding of new sales professionals
Conclusion – Sustaining Appointment Making Success
The Prospector's Academy makes it possible for sales teams to consistently set more Initial Appointments. An essential component in our integrated approach is attention to the Management component of a successful implementation. The primary value to management of implementing the Prospector's Academy is to immediately and quickly address the danger of a weak pipeline. The longer term value is to create a telephone prospecting culture that builds stronger territories and can drive higher revenue streams year after year.
The Management tools–metrics and reporting–supported by a focused management track within the Total Immersion program provide managers with the ability to monitor, measure and manage the entire prospecting process. Management commitment and capability is an essential ingredient in delivering success in prospecting and setting those critical initial appointments.
Find Out More
A properly implemented program consisting of Art, Science and Best Practices for the process of appointment making always pays for itself within the very first buying cycle. What impact would a doubling or better of the number of initial appointments set by your sales team have on your business? Contact the Caponi Performance Group to learn more.