Top 5 Summer challenges for Sales Managers

1. Holidays

Your customers, your team, yourself - all need a holiday.  The challenge is that this will slow down sales progress on your key deals.  The good news is that most people book holidays in advance and so you can plan for it.

Tip: Work with your customer to get the deal over the line early.  If that isn't possible, draw up clear milestones and relationship maps for the customer and your internal team for clarity about who is doing what and when; from now through to closing the deal.

2. Motivation

You may be into Q2 or Q3 of your financial year.  Q1 went well because of the fresh start to targets, or maybe you had a great end of year and have carried some sales over.  Trouble is, sales are slowing as people are slowing down towards their well needed holiday!  Research shows engaged sales people 37% more than their less motivated peers, so take action to avoid the dip.

Tip: Review your progress with your team collectively and individually.  Celebrate success and then focus them on some short term goals that are achievable but stretch them.  Help them see that a good performance in these 6 weeks mean they will enjoy their holiday a lot more!  Watch this humourous 12 minute video

3. A Team Divided

Because of absence due to holidays and the extra workload, the team dynamic will be under stress.  This is where a "performing team" can slip back to "storming".  Add into that mix, the reflection time that people have on holiday, they may come back with the holiday blues and take time to get back up to speed.

Tip: This is where the role of the leader is pivotal.  Be a visible leader -  encourage communication and mutual support, recognise individual contributions across the team and departments, deal with tension and conflict appropriately.  

4. Strategic Focus

Where is your team performance year to date?  What is working, what is not? How does performance this year compare to the same period for last year?  What is going to get in the way of hitting targets by year end?  What can you do to mitigate this? Reviewing performance regularly is a key activity for you that will enable you to be confident about hitting that end of year number.

Tip: Now is a time for reflection on your team performance but also your own as a leader and manager.  Take stock of where your strengths are and where your weaknesses lie.  Focus 90% of your activity using your strengths, and 10% on developing your weaknesses.

5. Personal Performance

It’s probably not just your team that need a holiday!  Managers and leaders are sometimes considered to be bulletproof and that consistent driving force in every business.  But you are human too!  What are you going to do to reward yourself for hard work?  How will you maintain your energy and focus?

Tip: Give yourself weekly goals and reward yourself for the effort you put in.  Focus your efforts on the key activities that add a real value to your performance targets.  Plan in activity that recharges your batteries and maintain a healthy work / life balance.  Make a solid plan for your holiday with clear delegated and communicated responsibilities for both your internal and external customers.  And if you do have to take your phone on holiday, be strict with yourself and only look at work emails once per day at most!!

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