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On Schedule

Whew, two weeks without writing my blog. What happened? I was on vacation.

I won't bore you with my highlights or pictures; however you do know the Sales Management Guru will turn his vacation experience into a sales leadership analogy.

My vacation started in Budapest and then moved on to (by boat) to Vienna, Melk, Passau and Nuremburg. We then traveled to Prague by bus. One of the interesting experiences was traveling through a series of 25 river locks that allowed the boat to move easily up and down the various levels of water on the Danube. I have used locks on the Mississippi river a number of times, and even in Tennessee we have river locks... So why was this so interesting?  The captain told us that they had to "book" lock times a year in advance!

What did that mean? It meant that we had to leave each city at predefined time, travel at a presumed speed and reach each lock at the pre-determined date/time. What does that have to do with running a high performance sales organization?

If you have heard me speak, you would know I normally build into the program  with these words: Discipline, control and accountability.  When we are consulting with organizations not performing up to expectations or working with sales teams struggling to succeed, we normally find sales management lacking in discipline. Examples are easy to find; sales meetings don't start on time, sales training meetings are skipped by salespeople because schedules were not published 90 days in advance or not properly planned, sales management is not meeting at set times with each salesperson for monthly, quarterly or semi-annual reviews or (worse) there is little or poor communications between the president of the organization and sales leadership because a formal monthly priority setting meeting was never scheduled.

Several years ago I asked and was given the weekly schedule of a professional football team's game week. For each day of the week practice times were broken out into 12 and 15 minute segments, with specific training defined for special times, offense, defense, film, etc... both with classroom and field practice times set. Game day schedules included a full agenda of events including breakfast, religious meetings, team meetings, bus/transportation plans and post game reviews. You may have heard of Lombardi time -- if a player showed up on time, he was already 10 minutes late! Professional organizations are run in a planned approach, not by chance or an ad hoc action, but with precision. The boat captain achieved his goals with the cooperation of 150 passengers that "had to be on board" 30 minutes before departure or they were left behind.

Make a commitment to make sure your sales organization is  well oiled and well organized  as you move into the fourth quarter and 2011. This will help to make you arrive on time and on schedule for your quota-busting sales celebration events.

Posted by Ken Thoreson on September 20, 2010 at 11:59 AM


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