Take a Systematic Approach to Problem-Solving

“Continuous improvements in any area eventually transform the operation.” — Peter Drucker

Let’s face it. No matter how well you run your sales organization, sometimes problems seem to come out of the blue: Your top producer decides to quit or retire, the market dips, underwriting standards change and the list goes on. When problems arise, it is important to look at how they get identified, analyzed and resolved. All too often, it seems that managers don’t know what the real cause is and as a result, they choose one of the usual fixes. You’ve heard these before: “Let’s change the compensation plan, let’s have a contest,” and my personal favorite, “Let’s hire some super producers from the competitors.” Regardless of the problem, what works is having a systematic approach to improvement. This requires management to define sales activities and the corresponding results. Problems can then be more easily identified — and corrected — when they are tied to specific activities.