College football and sales follow a similar track. In most cases they end their year at the same time. And like sales, the end of the year is the time of reckoning, when everyone asks how many games did you win? A lot of coaches jobs are in real jeopardy this year, most notably Notre Dame’s Charlie Weis and my alma mater University of Colorado’s, Dan Hawkins.
How do you decide when it’s time to send a coach packing? Is it their record that year, or several years? Do you take into consideration other factors, such as schedule strength or years as the head coach? When is it time to kick your coach to the curb?
Letting go a sales person is a similar challenge. How do you decide to let go of a sales person?
Some organizations give sales people one quarter and if they’re not performing, they’re out. Others give a year. Some make the decision on a person by person basis. Determining when it’s time move on is a critical decision of sales leaders.
For me it starts with the circumstances. I want to know what the market is doing. Is it shrinking or growing? I want to understand the track record of the rep. Have they consistently made their number in the past? However the biggest factor for me is their plan and their execution. I pay close attention to what the rep or manager is doing and how they are doing it. I know months in advance if a rep is going to make it, because I will see it in the decisions they make. I watch how they develop their account and sales plans. I focus on their strategy, initiatives and tactics. I evaluate their environmental assessments. I monitor their contingency plans and how they respond to unforeseen changes. I focus more on what they are doing to get results, not just the results.
Determining when enough is enough, is an ongoing process. I will normally know long before the end of the year. Making your number is being deliberate. It’s about execution, and planning. All of which can be observed long before the results are in.
If you’re waiting till the end of the year to decide when enough is enough, you’ve waited too long. The signs are present long before the results are in. You just have to be looking.