With numerous surveys appearing to show that the British work the longest hours in Europe, most of us look forward to our bank holidays. However, for sales-led organisations in particular, the resultant short weeks impact heavily on selling time. How then, do we make the most of what is left?
1. Forewarned is forearmed. Remind your sales people and their line managers in advance and ask for constructive suggestions they could implement.
2. Create ‘non-revenue’ targets to encourage and maintain activity: eg a minimum number of new prospect calls/contacts to be made in the month.
3. Alternatively, you can take the opportunity of a shorter, quiet week to do some serious forward planning. Again, make your management team and/or sales people do the bulk of the thinking by getting them to contribute.
4. You can do this within the forum of a sales conference with a focused agenda which directs towards a series of measureable objectives. The format of the day(s) and venue can be as formal (and expensive!) as you wish: from using the company boardroom or installing yourselves in the corner of a nearby hotel coffee lounge, to a total no-expense barred ‘away day’. To keep everyone interested as well as involved, plan a mixed programme. For example, brainstorming sessions and pencil/paper business games can be used to vary the pace. Keep up a steady supply of snacks and refreshments to sustain concentration levels.
5. To maintain productivity, consider getting sales people to swap sales territories or areas with one another. To keep any risk to a minimum, you can set the rule of ‘dormant’ or ‘dead’ accounts only. With nothing to lose, it can be surprising what a different voice or face can achieve. To get everyone focused, create a points system in addition to any targets such as one point for an effective telephone call to the decision maker, two points for a confirmed appointment, three points for a quote, etc.
6. Finally, don’t underestimate the good old fashioned prize incentive, whether it’s a bottle of wine or a week at the chairman’s Tuscan villa. Again, you can get creative with a points system to keep everyone motivated.