Sales Execution.
By Rick Johnson
Friday, 4th June 2010
Execution involves the day-to-day activities of the salesperson and for most industries, this entails both planned, proactive tasks and opportunistic, reactive events that the salesperson uncovers by doing the right things in the right place at the right time. 

It's critical that the progress of the tasks in target action plans is carefully monitored to avoid surprises.  This is the equivalent of monitoring your daily exercise before the effects start to show up on the scale.  The SEP circumvents the most common mistake made in distribution today: trying to manage results.  You must manage activities because it's the activities that produce results. 

Once the results are in, the horse is out of the barn and everything you do from that point on is reactive.  If you proactively manage the activities, the expected results will follow.


 The feedback process is where the real magic of the SEP comes in.  A universal scorecard is essential for creating competitive energy within your sales force and motivating them to focus on strategic objectives.  The scorecard should include a small number of well-designed metrics that are regularly updated. 

This information is extremely valuable for:
  • Identifying the best opportunities for performance improvement
  • Creating a level playing field
  • Driving continuous improvement
  • Providing performance feedback
  • Encouraging and measuring cross functional selling
  • Offering key information for the review process
Monthly territory review: the cornerstone of the SEP

 The monthly review process is a critical component of the SEP that enables the sales manager and his sales representative to discuss, plan and measure success.  This is how a good manager enables his salesmen to capitalize on their natural talents and abilities.

The review process should include the following:

1. Review of all target accounts
2. Review of all cross functional selling opportunities, or lack of them
3. Review of specific territory objectives, including sales to plan and gross profit to plan, and assigned account objectives
4. Knowledge of products, customers and customer organizations.
5. Ability to apply this market knowledge.
6. Development of a favorable attitude as it pertains to that knowledge and those applied skills
7. Required course corrections

This is not a session for reprimand or criticism.  The review should be designed to achieve maximum participation by the sales representative.  Industry best practice has proven that such representative participation is one of the most effective methods of developing both an attitude for learning and a drive for successful accomplishment of goals and objectives.

 Next, enthusiasm must be created.  Enthusiasm is one of the most important traits for a sales manager because it is contagious. Remember, sales representatives will learn very little if they are mentally falling asleep.

Finally, the sales representative must have confidence in the program; he or she must trust the content of the program and truly believe that it will provide personal benefits.

The review process is extremely critical to the success of the SEP. It must be taken seriously and performed at a standard of excellence that supports the intent and objectives of the overall program.   It requires 100% compliance throughout the company.  

Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution's "Leadership Strategist", founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com.

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