By Kevin Steffey
Hopefully within the first few weeks of the second half of the year, you have taken some time to review the strengths and weaknesses of yourself and your team and are ready to start putting together a plan for the second half. We have provided some good thoughts for you to use in our earlier post “Using the Strength of Your Sales Team to Accelerate Growth“. But, what to do about your weaknesses? Given the pressure in the second half to achieve results, I recommend the following three approaches to your weaknesses:
- Prioritize based on impact to plan: The number one focus should be the weaknesses that have the greatest impact on your immediate goals – not pushing on all fronts at once. The choice of what to address is not always obvious. There are always many fires to fight or crises to solve, but those are not always the items that will have the biggest impact on your results. I tend to find that the top issues impacting your plans are: a) Sales Team effectiveness and specific reps that are not pulling their weight or are focused on the wrong things, b) Product delivery – you can’t achieve your revenue if you can’t deliver your product and the impact on customer follow-on business is often impaired, or c) Expenses are out of line.
- Take the first steps: Most weaknesses can’t be solved with an instant fix. Whether the weakness is poor performing employees or broken processes, there are often many steps to go through to address them. Sometimes it may seem daunting given the ticking clock towards the end of the year, but you need to get started. Engage your HR team or a recruiting firm to start sending resumes for top quality sales representatives, or pull together a small task force to identify short term and long term improvements to speed up your delivery or reduce costs. The longer you wait to start, the more you risk the weaknesses not just affecting this year, but next year.
- Engage others. As a leader or individual contributor, it is rare that the weaknesses can be addressed alone in a timely manner. The fixes are often multi-dimensional and can be understood and addressed through change if you have others involved and bought in on the approach. Paint the picture of the challenge in hitting the plans and the urgency of the end of year deadline to build a sense of urgency with the team.
Kevin Steffey is President of Naviga Recruiting & Executive Search, a national Sales and Marketing Recruitment firm. Kevin and Naviga have a passion for sales and marketing positions due to their direct impact on the growth of their customers. Check out www.navigarecruiting.com to engage a partner in growing and developing your team.