How Managers Can Ruin Productivity
Jan 6, 2017
Written By: Chris Mauro
Category: Sales Pro Tips

Hey sales managers, stop slowing your team down.

Some bosses have been known to memorize license plates and prowl parking lots to check up on their employees’ productivity. We don’t recommend that.

We also don’t recommend the following practices for tracking field rep productivity:

Become a Facebook Stalker.

If you have to rely on social media channels to see what your reps are doing, you’ve got a few problems that need to be addressed immediately.You likely don’t trust your reps enough to let them go into the field without you being there; you probably also believe that your reps are distracted enough that they spend their field time on social media.

You can get around both of these issues by improving your relationship with your reps. Build trust by improving the communication structures that you’ve been relying on; for example, you can organize group chats and virtual “water coolers” to simulate a social experience for field teams. This will not only help you and your team members get to know each other better, but will provide them with a social media–like app that keeps them focused on work instead of play.

Request To Approve Everything

It’s good to get involved in your reps work, to ask what they’re working on, and to make sure they’re doing the job correctly. It’s not good to do this to the extent that you’re actually preventing them from getting anything done. If you ask to approve every move that every rep makes, you’ll be so overloaded with paperwork that it will take you a week to approve everyone’s daily requests.

Instead of asking to look over every document, take some time to review your data and determine what activities drive success and what activities are more questionable. Ask to approve travel, expenses, and activities that don’t fit into the overall brand strategy, and when making changes, discuss your reasoning so your reps can continuously improve and adjust their behavior.

Call Ad Hoc Meetings

Most reps schedule their days and their weeks far in advance. A check-in call in the middle of the day can be disruptive and may not produce great results, as a rep on the go may not have access to sales reports or forecasts that could be useful on the call.  Be thoughtful and schedule meetings, allowing reps to prepare and adjust their timelines.

Many times we forget that status calls with your manager can be a stressful event for reps at any level, even if we are just checking in. Be mindful of what you are asking during these calls, and try to recall your early days and how you felt when this happened to you.

Ask For Everything In A Spreadsheet

You and your reps are busy even without added data entry, so it makes sense that they don’t like manually recording their every move, and you don’t like analyzing all of their notes.

While it’s important to track and analyze account and rep behavior data, manual data entry that relies on spreadsheets is not the most efficient way to go about it. Use a CRM in conjunction with an activity tracker app like LilyPad to track data without wasting your time.

Stay Silent

Intervening too frequently is a problem, but not intervening at all is just as bad. Successful teams operate under a united brand strategy which is delegated by the manager and reinforced through group training, one-on-one coaching, and feedback to data analysis. If a manager does not unite the team with a single vision or help reps identify strengths and weaknesses, neither the team – nor the brand – will grow.

Never Delegate

You know the saying “If you want to get something done right, do it yourself”? Pretend you’ve never heard it before.

Your reps were hired for their competence, intuition, and skill. Trust them to follow up with accounts, explore new markets, and target new leads. As manager, it isn’t your job to carry out these tasks; rather, it’s your job to ensure that your team performs optimally.

Show Off Bad Email Etiquette

If every email you send has six CCs, demands a read receipt, and is followed up with an “OK” or “great” or an emoji, you need to step back and reevaluate your communication style.

An email account is a sacred space where, theoretically, important information is transferred and stored. An email account that is overloaded with messages intended for other people becomes difficult to navigate and loses its value. So before sending a message, think about the content of the message and how valuable that message is. Consider whether a CC or a read receipt is truly necessary, or whether a non-essential message could be sent over text or through a different channel.

Looking to improve productivity instead of destroying it?

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