You’ve been there. You started a job, got a new manager, hired a new consultant, or your company got a new customer relations management (CRM) tool. You went from allowing your salespeople to manage their own schedules and activity to recording every phone call, meeting, and email they receive each day. Now, they’re frustrated and feel like you’re being a micromanager. So, should high-achieving salespeople complete call reports? It depends.
Focusing on activity metrics versus performance is a bad idea. When companies require a specific number of calls they tend to lose focus on the individual salesperson’s process they already employ to be successful. Managers start to focus on making the activity number, instead of making the revenue number.
Garbage in, garbage out. When the expectations are on specific numbers of calls, the call reports are “creative” (in other words, made up). It’s to no fault of the high achieving salesperson. The numbers are inflated because they were determined by management for the entire team and not determined by the salesperson for their individual success. In addition, reports managers pull with “creative” information are not of value to anyone.
When the high-achiever turns in a “creative” call report; they feel bad for doing this, but if they are completely truthful about activity, they are reprimanded for not making the grade. It’s a no-win situation and puts the salesperson in a compromising position. Make it up and make your manager happy or tell the truth and make your manager upset?
Having high-achieving sales people complete activity reports isn’t a terrible thing, but it does make some salespeople feel less trusted by their company. If they are high-performers, what difference does it make if they complete your call report? It’s doubtful this will improve their performance.
If you’re a high-achieving salesperson or the manager of high-performers, keeping track of activity is a great idea to help you manage your business. You can track your accounts, you can track your correspondence, and you can possibly manage more accounts by having a systematic approach. In today’s world of electronic communication, using a CRM program is a huge opportunity to keep you organized. As long as management is willing to engage the salesperson in the goal-setting process, it should be a good thing.
When a manager focuses on performance and uses activity databases as a means to coach a high-achiever through ebbs and flows of business, the report becomes a useful tool. Tracking can help to identify patterns of business so the salesperson can develop an action plan for managing revenue, productivity, and future growth.
Setting reasonable expectations with each individual allows everyone to gather good information, builds trust, and employee engagement. These things also lead to better morale, good communication, and longevity.
Now if you have a poor performer, activity reports are a must to help identify and coach weak areas. But, this message is about high-achievers!
There are cons and pros to tracking activity. Before you employ this new practice in your company, proceed with caution. Get buy-in, make sure they are used properly, and set realistic expectations. Do everything you can to support your high-achievers; they are your biggest customers. If you don’t take care of them, someone else will.
Do you need help improving productivity or employee engagement? Ask me about Jeffrey Gitomer’s world-class workshops.