Three Issues to Master for Success in 2015

As we close out this year, it makes sense to discuss what actions managers need to take to ensure sales success going forward. In my experience, managers often misunderstand what drives success in mortgage origination.
In Aligning Strategy and Sales, a great book by Frank Cespedes, the author covers the choices, systems and behaviors managers need to implement to generate effective selling. According to Cespedes, there are three issues that managers must master:

• Salespeople
• Sales Force Control Systems
• Sales Force Environment

1. Salespeople.The number one challenge is always about people. Not surprisingly, managing people is the most difficult task in driving repeatable success. But the hard questions need to be answered by managers about their sales staff, such as: Do I have the right people to implement my strategy’s required sales tasks? Am I hiring people who have learned skills that match what my company is doing and not what our competitors are doing? Do I have people with the right attitude and skills to be successful in today’s market? Are 80% of my sales force meeting their budgeted goals? If not, what am I am doing to develop my people to what I need now in origination?

2. Sales Force Control Systems. Do I have the right management practices in place to quickly identify who is underperforming and whether the issues are correctable? Are there key performance indicators to alert management when a sales team is in trouble? Looking at month’s end numbers is too late.

3. Sales Force Environment. The environment in a given group is really about a company’s culture. In many ways, the environment is shaped by how well communication works across organizational boundaries. Are sales and operations always fighting? Does senior management have a shared vision that all employees buy-in to or are there disagreements between groups?

As Cespedes wisely states, “no framework is all encompassing but the three keys are the actionable core for alignment between strategy and sales and success.” No company can achieve or sustain success without tying their strategic choices with how well they are managing their salespeople, sales force control systems and sales force environment.

Do you have the right strategy and behaviors to be successful in 2015?