Our jobs, as sales people and managers, are complex and multifaceted. To simplify it, we tend to divide what we do into a lot of different pieces. For example, as sales people, we may look at territory or account management, prospecting, managing opportunities through the buying cycle, call planning/meeting management, pipeline management/forecasting, administrative functions, time management, training/learning and so forth.
As managers we may look at business management, planning, performance management, recruiting/onboarding, coaching, training, team building, expense management, strategic planning, working with our sales people on deals, visiting customers, solving problems for our people, and more.
In doing our jobs, it’s critical that we understand and execute the entire job–we have to do everything expected in the role, not just our “favorite” parts or those that are easiest.
Too often, however, we tend to focus our time on certain areas. For example, as sales people, we may focus on the deals in our pipeline, forgetting that we have to continue to find new deals to keep our pipelines healthy. Or, as managers, we get consumed with the business management aspect of our jobs, spending all our time analyzing data and reports, trying to discern what’s going on and what to do about it.
There are parts of the job that may be tedious, or that we just don’t like. No sales person I know likes the administrative parts of their jobs, doing reports, updating CRM and so forth. Many avoid prospecting. Managers often avoid coaching and development because it may involve difficult conversations with their people.
The problem is, we have to do the whole job if we are to be successful, maximizing our performance and contribution to our organizations. Each of these components of our jobs are linked to the other areas (we need to think in systems). Neglecting any area eventually ripples through to every other part of our job, adversely impacting those and our performance.
As sales people, if we don’t prospect, our pipelines empty. If we don’t invest time in territory or account planning, we aren’t optimizing our prospecting. If we don’t focus on meeting management/planning, we aren’t using our time or the customers’ time effectively and not maximizing our value. If we don’t to the administrative tasks, we eventually lose track of our priorities and what we must do to achieve our goals.
As a manager, if we spend all our time planning and analyzing, the performance of our sales people suffers and we lose touch with whats really happening with them and in our territories. If we aren’t constantly building our pipelines of qualified candidates, if we aren’t recruiting the best/right people, the performance of the organization suffers and we have to invest too much time in addressing bad performance issues.
We don’t invest the same time in each part of our jobs, the amount of time will shift, based on what’s most critical at the moment, but if we are to maximize our performance on the job, we have to do the whole job.
How are you spending your time?