Avoiding catastrophe is big business.
Companies can’t afford to have a Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico, a Fukushima Daiichi nuclear failure, or a Costa cruise ship sinking. That’s why people who oversee the design and maintenance of safety and environmental management systems are paid b-i-g money.
The latest trend in this industry is called “barrier-based” risk management, where a series of small early-warning systems are put in place to improve safety compliance, mitigate risk, and maintain companies’ positive reputations. The theory is that if you can recognize an impending disaster with this smaller barrier early on, you can sustain a small amount of less costly damage, communicate with everyone involved, and move quickly to barricade the major assets, preventing failures on a grand scale.
In business, that’s called a long-term competitive advantage.
Are you doing that kind of “barrier-based” risk management with your sales team?
If a salesperson is underperforming, wildly over-performing, or has a change in behavior that could result in negative consequences, a manager needs to have a series of barriers in place to avoid catastrophe with that rep’s client list.
A weekly summary of key metrics, such as the # of first-time presentations, outbound calls, or value of business closed, should be monitored and watched closely by the sales manager. He or she is actually the RISK manager as well, making sure the early-warning systems are in place to avoid sales department disasters, maintain sales targets, and keep the company’s reputation with its clients as spotless as possible.
What should you be measuring and monitoring? Here are a few suggestions to consider in your own risk management program for salespeople:
- # of new sales calls weekly
– # of contracts in the pipeline
– # of contracts/new business sold
– # of repeat customers closed
– $ value of contracts proposed
– $ value of contracts closed
– # of accounts on “perpetual projection” to be closed
– # of absences/missed meetings/late arrivals to meetings
– # of lost or cancelled contracts
– # of vacation/sick days exercised
– Observed behavior/personality changes.
Just as in the world of disaster preparedness, if the sales effort falls short, there are many people who suffer. Keep that risk to a minimum by implementing regular “barrier-based” systems of identifying cause-and-effect relationships with each salesperson, and holding them accountable for their part in keeping the system up and running.
– Bill Guertin is CEO (Chief Enthusiasm Officer) of The 800-Pound Gorilla, a sales training and consulting firm whose clients include the ticket sales departments of dozens of professional sports teams, including those in the NBA, NFL, NHL, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, and NASCAR. He is the author of two books, including The 800-Pound Gorilla of Sales: How to Dominate Your Market, and speaks regularly to corporate and conference audiences on how dominant thinking can improve sales performance. Reach him at bill@The800PoundGorilla.com, or learn more at www.billguertin.com.