People before numbers — this statement might seem counterintuitive to some, but that’s how managers should address weekly standups, meetings, or check-ins with salespeople in the “sales by design” approach. Instead of drilling down on numbers, you should be asking for stories about their customers. The numbers aren’t necessarily on the backburner or less critical. Being fixated on the customer’s needs should always be placed ahead of the number. Otherwise, the customer and their client’s needs get devalued.
Covering these details in forecast meetings can make a big difference. It’s worked for my team and me. I’ve found managing sales by design to be successful. Set up weekly meetings with your sales team, one synch on Monday and a retrospective meeting on Friday. Run through opportunities and deals in the pipeline. Have your sales team give context to where their customers are in the pipeline by telling a story. One way is to include a tag in your CRM like Salesforce with a status update on the respective customers. This way, the process is more transparent. It also gives you, the manager, a chance to ask about stories, offer suggestions, and articulate the customers’ point of view. As “Naked Sales” continues:
“That gives both parties a more realistic view of what the pipeline and forecast actually may be. By focusing the conversation on creative ways to get close to the client, pressure eases from both sides and deals get bigger. Not only will this approach get you more sales, but it’s more fun for everybody.”
You’ll find that your team will get a yes or no sooner with fewer touches when you prioritize people over numbers. However, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. “By focusing on people first and numbers second, both improve.” Relieving your team from the pressure of quotas allows them to spend more time discovering, thinking about the bigger picture, and considering new strategies — Maybe even new customer categories. Additionally, in your weekly standups, your sales team has a chance to gain visibility in the company. As the book states:
“As a sales manager, there’s a big payoff to be had by focusing on what’s desirable and interesting to your sales teams and their clients.”
Numbers matter. However, successfully managing sales by design takes co-creation not just with the customers but also with your internal team. Winning also requires reflection and the ability to make the connection. So make time with your team and listen to their stories.