Performance vs Results


Over many years working closely with B2B sales teams it has always been of great interest to me to understand where the focus lies in managing sales teams.

Some managers seem to just focus just on the numbers; a one-on-one review might be for an hour and all that is discussed are the sales numbers, numbers that you can't change.

The really great teams seem to focus on their performance. The things they do day in, day out that ultimately deliver the results. Performance is a leading indicator, something that you can tweak and change that will impact on the future results.

The high performing sales managers understand that if the sales people do the right things consistently well, the numbers will look after themselves.

So what can you do? Well, what we believe is important is to focus on the vital behaviours that drive results. These behaviours fit under 4 key categories:

  • Gaining broad and deep insight

  • Developing and implementing proactive initiatives

  • Delivering consumer value

  • Having a strong business rhythm or cadence

If you want to change the results your sales people are delivering, have a think about the behaviours that are important. Then focus your efforts on coaching each person on improving their behaviours. We have seen turnarounds happen quite quickly, often an uplift of results of 15-20% in 3-6 months.

The great thing about focusing on behaviours to drive performance is the team can learn from each other and coach themselves. Who in your team is proficient (consistent and effective) in certain behaviours. What do they do and how do they do it? Ask them to share their experiences with others in the team, maybe they will apply some of the learning to improve their own performance.

Finally, the real kicker is if you can assist your team to improve performance day in and day out through behaviours the likely outcome is each person in your team will start hitting their targets (rather than only half of them). This will result in happier and more confident sales people with success breading success, and as a sales manager your life is much easier when your team are hitting the numbers.

Tips from John Buchanan, Beyond 19, Coaching Practicing Lead:

  1. In sport, in business, in politics in most aspects of life results are the key determinant of success so they cannot, and should not be ignored. The key question is how did I or we get those results, good or bad?

  2. Individuals should be their own best coach, and a business should be very clear on the basics that it needs to do to give itself best chance of success.

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