How prepared is your sales team to meet or exceed its 2016 sales goals? What have you done to prepare yourself and your team for success? Remember, one explanation for good luck is that it is the intersection point of preparation and opportunity — which brings us to the topic of sales management effectiveness.

Jack Kwicien

Why concern yourself with sales management effectiveness? Because for most firms, it is one of their weakest skill sets and yet it is one of the most important capabilities required to grow your practice. How effective are you personally at managing sales personnel? How effective is your sales management resource at managing sales activities? Try to answer candidly and honestly. We recognize that you undoubtedly have very strong product knowledge and technical skills when it comes to benefit plan design. But if you are like most firms, your track record at optimizing producer, consultant or account manager talent and new sales production is something less than stellar and could use a substantial make-over.

Perhaps you are not convinced yet that this is critically important to your business practice? Consider that with the combination of normal client attrition and compensation compression arising from the Affordable Care Act’s market impact, your firm needs to increase your new revenues by 15-20% just to make the same top line revenue this year. Perhaps you have not considered it in quite this manner.

So how is all that new business going to be generated? Are you personally going to do that much more in personal production as the chief “rain-maker,” while you also continue to manage the rest of your business operations? Not likely, right? And attracting new clients is the lifeblood of any business.

So, what can you possibly do to address this critical need? Your firm can get much more effective at the entire sales management function. Well, maybe you aren’t sure what that entails. Effective management of the following functions, among others, is what we mean: recruiting, selection, hiring, new hire orientation, goal setting and sales accountabilities, managing sales activities and conducting effective sales meetings.

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"Consider that with the combination of normal client attrition and compensation compression arising from the Affordable Care Act’s market impact, your firm needs to increase your new revenues by 15-20% just to make the same top line revenue this year."

Remember, there is no sales management problem that cannot be solved by effective recruiting. However, once you hire someone, the real challenging part begins. People need to be managed, and sales people are no different. When we talk about hiring sales people that are “self-starters” they are clearly a very small percentage of the general population. But they can be identified and effectively managed.

Your sales manager will need to be effective at goal setting and holding people accountable for the attainment of your organization’s sales goals. Remember, you cannot manage sales results; you can only manage sales activities. By managing the right activities you will achieve the sales results that you expect.

So, do you have a sales management system? One that you follow every day and every week? I can hear you saying, who has the time to do all those management activities? My comment to you is: can you afford not to? If your day is filled with the mundane, tactical tasks of your practice, you are right; you don’t have the time to properly and effectively manage a sales operation. The key is to manage the important – not the urgent. The urgent will always get done, but the important will never get done unless you pay attention to it and manage the right activities.


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