Skip to main content
Silicon Valley Sales Group, Inc. | Santa Clara, CA
 

This website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience.
You can learn more by clicking here.

Dave Mattson

What does it take to be an effective leader? Do the skills that make you an effective manager—planning, organization, and communication—make you an effective leader? Or, does it take something else—something more?

It’s that time of year again. During the month of January, we’re likely to make promises to ourselves about how we’re going to do better, how we’re going to shake things up in the year to come, how we’re going to make a positive, lasting change in our lives and our careers.

It happens every single year. You begin with lofty sales goals and quotas in January – but by December, you wonder what happened and end up trying to figure out where your team went wrong. Lack of motivation may not be the problem – you may just be taking the wrong approach to goal setting.

Our experience with sales teams is that less than 20% of all salespeople set written goals of any kind. We estimate that the income of this elite minority of salespeople is predictably and consistently greater than the 80-plus percent who don’t set written goals — combined! You can help each of the members of your team join the ranks of the top performers… by helping them to craft strong written goals.

Having a big pipeline of “prospects” is typically seen as desirable. The more prospects you put into the pipeline, the more will eventually emerge as customers. At least that’s the theory. And the theory is partially true. Some of the people you put in the pipeline will become customers. The question is, “How many will be customers and how long will it take for them to materialize from the other end of the pipe?”

Leaders need to be involved in both strategic planning and team goal setting, but there’s a built-in problem here. Teams often tend to focus on immediate tasks, on “putting out fires,” and on familiar routines rather than the strategically vital organizational targets we set for the coming year.

The transition from employee to manager is tricky in any position, but it can be especially challenging in the sales department. The skill sets are different, and the boundaries can get blurred in sales. Whether you are currently a sales rep looking to advance your career into sales management or a newly minted manager trying to make the transition to leader, there are some important things to keep in mind as you evolve from one role into another. 

The last quarter of the calendar is both relieving because the end is in sight, but also foreboding for many sales teams if sales targets have not yet been met. An incredible amount of revenue exchanges hands in the last quarter, and many companies know that it can make the difference between a good fiscal year or a bad one, especially in product sales. Managers are regularly tested to find ways to push teams over that last mile. 

Strategic leaders don’t settle for minimum achievement today. They are regularly looking forward, anticipating needs, and preparing for new goals tomorrow. That outlook always places these leaders one step ahead of others, and it supports why they are seen as leaders and the go-to people for an organization.

Most people who spend a little time searching on the Internet or in a bookstore can quickly find a guide on how to write a business plan. However, just following these templates doesn’t guarantee that the business plan produce will be successful or even good. A successful business plan needs quite a bit more to actually be useful and even more to be functional and successful. As the elements come together, if done correctly, the most important component of success will come from the business owner and leadership versus the company itself.