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BRIDGING THE GAP

The Critical Role of the First-Line Sales Manager


in Re-focusing the Frontline Sales Effort

First-line Sales Managers are the critical link in the performance lifecycle of a pharma
sales representative. By applying the four sales management disciplines that re-focus
their team onto high-yielding sales activity, first-line Sales Managers can more
effectively and efficiently bridge the performance gap and build high-performing teams.

Bridging the Gap: The Critical Role of the First-Line Sales Manager in Re-Focusing the Frontline Sales Effort

CONTENTS
PAGE 2:

First-Line Sales Managers: Worth their


Weight in Gold

PAGE 3:

Discipline

PAGE 4:

Manage Performance Using the


Principles of Tight-Loose

PAGE 8:

Drive Adherence and Buy-in to Segmentation


and Targeting Processes and the Sales Model

PAGE 11: Run a Consistent, Efficient and Effective


Management Rhythm
PAGE 13: Set Clear Quality Standards and Build
Effective Teams
PAGE 15: Conclusion
PAGE 18: Blackdots 4 Disciplines of Sales
Management Program

Bridging the Gap: First-Line Sales Managers: Worth their Weight in Gold

First-Line Sales Managers:


Worth their Weight in Gold
The profound and compounding impact a Sales Manager have on their sales teams means that
one high-performing Sales Manager is as valuable as a handful of high-performing sales reps.
High-performing Sales Managers manage teams that achieve superior results and the
cumulative effect of their efforts far exceeds the revenue uplift achieved by a single
high-performer working at the frontline.
Benchmark Managers are those first-line Sales Managers that fall within the top Quartile
across the proven drivers of Sales Manager effectiveness. Benchmark Managers matter
because they materially impact the bottom line. High-performing Sales Managers teams beat
their targets and drive almost four times more growth across their portfolios (see Figure 1 and
Figure 2).

AVERAGE TEAM
ON-TARGET-PERFORMANCE

AVERAGE TEAM
PORTFOLIO GROWTH

5.1%

104%
88%
Benchmark
Managers

Core
Managers

FIGURE 1
Benchmark Managers build teams that achieve 16%
greater On-Target-Performance than teams managed
by Core Managers*

1.3%
Benchmark
Managers

Core
Managers

FIGURE 2
Benchmark Managers build teams that grow their
portfolios 3.8% faster than teams managed by Core
Managers*

* Based on 18 months of Quarterly territory sales data (and controlling for new hires, territory size and changes)

Unfortunately, first-line Sales Managers often bear the brunt of organisational squeeze.
Buried by admin, over-burdened by their many masters and bogged down wearing too many
hats, Sales Managers increasingly find themselves consumed by everything but sales. In fact,
selling and enabling their teams to sell more, better, and more effectively is often the last
thing on their burgeoning to-do lists and a task many find hard to even get to.
Yet focusing sales teams onto high yielding activity is without question the most important part
of a first-line Sales Managers role. When they do this with focus, diligence and discipline; they
directly drive results.
So, how do we better enable our Sales Managers to focus on managing sales in order to drive
predictable, repeatable and sustainable high performance?

Bridging the Gap: Discipline

Discipline
Blackdots benchmark research has isolated four key
management disciplines that differentiate high-performing
first-line Sales Managers from the core. These are not simply
management practices or leadership prerogatives. They are
tangible, sales-specific disciplines that, when applied
effectively, make a material difference to the results achieved
by the sales engine as a whole.
High-performing Sales Managers apply discipline to the ways in
which they:

dis ci pline*
noun

1. to train oneself to do
something in a controlled
and habitual way.
2. the practice of training
people to obey rules or a
code of behaviour.
* Oxford University Press; 2014

1. Manage performance using the principles of Tight-Loose


2. Drive adherence and buy-in to segmentation and
targeting processes and the sales model
3. Run a consistent, efficient and effective management
rhythm
4. Set clear quality standards and build effective teams
Each of these must be applied with consistency, in a controlled
and habitual way, in order to truly reap the rewards from the
un-tapped potential that is our first-line Sales Managers.

Bridging the Gap: Manage Performance Using the Principles of Tight-Loose

Manage Performance Using the Principles of


Tight-Loose
We all know a one-size-fits-all approach to
managing sales rep performance is ineffective.
Yet many first-line Sales Managers still fail to
adapt their approach to the specific needs of
individuals in their teams. In fact, compared to
82% of Benchmark Managers, less than 50% of
core
Sales
Managers
view
managing
performance as a dynamic, active and ongoing
activity (see Figure 3). This drops to an
astounding 13% for low-performing managers.

ACTIVE PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

82%
48%
Benchmark
Managers

2nd Quartile
Managers

13%

33%
3rd Quartile
Managers

4th Quartile
Managers

FIGURE 3
Benchmark Managers are more likely to view performance management
as a dynamic, active and ongoing (vs. static, moment-in-time) activity

This is not the only difference between Benchmark Mangers and their broader peer population
when it comes to managing performance. Notably, Benchmark Managers are far more likely
to recognise the importance of coaching compared to core or low-performing Sales Managers
(see Figure 4). Interestingly, when Sales Managers (across-the-board) do provide coaching,
this coaching is by-and-large rated as effective by their team members (see Figure 5).
COACHING EFFECTIVENESS

COACHING PROVISION
6.5 hrs*

* coaching hours per rep per month

6.4 hrs*
90%
54%
Benchmark
Managers

2nd Quartile
Managers

67%

4.1 hrs*
33%

2.1 hrs*
12%

3rd Quartile
Managers

4th Quartile
Managers

FIGURE 4
Benchmark Sales Managers are almost three
times more likely to provide coaching than core
Managers

24%
Benchmark Managers

Core Managers

FIGURE 5
Benchmark Sales Managers also provide more
effective coaching in addition to the heightened
provision with which they dispense it

So the real challenge is how we get Sales Managers to coach more, and then more dynamically
adjust the way they manage different individuals using a consistent set of principles that still
reflects the unique needs and requirements of each sales professional.
Typical approaches take Year-To-Date On-Target-Performance as the starting point for
assessing and driving performance. In pharma however, this is a particularly poor indicator of
performance because of the lack of doctor prescribing data and associated difficulties in
predicting product demand.
Yet if we add to this another measure of performance - that of Performance Trajectory - we are
able to develop a more complete view of the reps overall performance. Useful metrics for
measuring performance trajectory include backward-looking Compound Annual Growth Rate,
forward-looking opportunity forecast, or a combination of the two.

Bridging the Gap: Manage Performance Using the Principles of Tight-Loose

This multi-dimensional approach offers a deeper level of insight into performance and a more
robust platform from which to determine the best way to managing the individuals
performance in the immediate term. By introducing the second dimension of performance
trajectory, Sales Managers can segment individual reps into one of four Performance Profiles
(see Figure 6):

Performance Trajectory

Improving

EMERGING

EXCELLING

Below Target
Performance Improving

Above Target
Performance Improving

DEVELOPING

PLATEAUING

Below Target
Performance Declining

Above Target
Performance Declining

Declining
Below

Current Performance vs. Target

Above

FIGURE 6
The four Performance Profiles allow Sales Managers to segment their teams according to each reps current
performance and performance trajectory.

With these insights in-hand, Sales


Managers also possess a more granular,
insightful
snapshot
of
the
true
performance distribution of their teams in
terms of the outputs that matter today and
tomorrow.

4.5%

EMERGING

EXCELLING

DEVELOPING

PLATEAUING

% Volume Growth
(Median = 1%)

Having segmented reps into their relevant


Performance Profile, Sales Managers can
build individually-relevant coaching and
performance management plans for each
rep and focus on progressing each rep up
the performance curve.

-2.5%
100%
On-Target-Performance

90%

110%

FIGURE 7
Scatterplot of Territory On-Target-Performance and
Compound Annual Growth Rate for the representatives
of a major pharma company benchmarked in 2013*
* Based on 18 months of Quarterly territory sales data
(controlling for prouct maturity and underlying market demand)

Bridging the Gap: Manage Performance Using the Principles of Tight-Loose

The ultimate goal of the Sales Manager is to accelerate progression of each rep up the
performance curve into the Excelling quadrant as quickly as possible. To efficiently enable
sales people to excel and outperform, Sales Managers need to master the ability to adapt how
they manage their reps across the the performance management cycle:

SET
OBJECTIVES

PROVIDE SUPPORT,
GUIDANCE AND
COACHING

EVALUATE
PERFORMANCE

Define individual
performance and
development goals and
objectives (such as
specific activity)

Provide feedback,
coaching, mentoring and
support in pursuit of the
defined performance and
development goals

Follow through and close


the loop on outcomes
achieved against the
defined performance and
development goals

Depending on the individual reps Performance Profile, Sales Managers can adopt a
tight or loose approach at each stage of the performance management cycle:
Correct Performance
Management Approach

EMERGING

EXCELLING

LOOSE

Always

Hands-off, Low-touch
Support, Guidance & Coaching

TIGHT

TIGHT

Explicit & Clear


Objectives
DEVELOPING

EMERGING

EXCELLING

Hands-on, High-touch
Support, Guidance & Coaching

PLATEAUING

DEVELOPING

PLATEAUING

EMERGING

TIGHT

EXCELLING

LOOSE

Medium-Length
Performance
Evaluation
Cycle

Long-Length
Performance
Evaluation
Cycle

DEVELOPING

PLATEAUING

Armed with this knowledge, Sales Managers can adapt their management style to best suit
each individual rep. The Tight-Loose framework focuses Sales Managers onto what matters
most: managing sales. And we know that Benchmark Managers apply these principles more
than anyone else in their Sales Manager peer group (see Figure 8).
TIGHT-LOOSE APPLICATION

50%

Benchmark
Managers

40%
2nd Quartile
Managers

33%
3rd Quartile
Managers

17%
4th Quartile
Managers

FIGURE 8
Benchmark Managers apply theTight-Loose management
principles and adjust their approach to the performance
management cycle to best suit each individual rep

Bridging the Gap: Manage Performance Using the Principles of Tight-Loose

In general however, the frequency with which Sales Managers fail to adapt their approach (or
adapt it correctly) when managing their teams signals tangible missed opportunities to lift
performance across the board. The potential performance uplift from implementing
Tight-Loose principles is significant and an opportunity worth leveraging.

Actions to bridge the gap:


Manage Performance Using the Principles of
Tight-Loose
1. Consider the current performance (using metrics such as On-Target-Performance) as
well as the performance trajectory (using metrics such as Compound Annual Growth
Rate, Opportunity Forecast, or a combination of the two) of each sales rep
2. Segment sales people into their respective Performance Profile based on the current
performance vs. performance trajectory mix - Are they Developing, Emerging, Plateauing
or Excelling?
3. Manage each of the four Performance Profiles using the correct Tight-Loose mix
across the three stages of the performance management cycle (setting objectives,
providing support and guidance, and evaluating performance)

Bridging the Gap: Drive Adherence and Buy-in to Segmentation and Targeting Processes and the Sales Model

Drive Adherence and Buy-in to Segmentation


and Targeting Processes and the Sales Model
Building an army of True Believers - those who follow the defined processes and actually see
them as enabling - is absolutely fundamental to the long-term success of any sales
organisation. Why? Only adherence to process can drive truly repeatable, predictable and
sustainable results. In pharma, this takes the form of the:
1. Defined segmentation and targeting process;
2. Call coverage and frequency planning process; and
3. Organisations sales model
Benchmark Managers extract maximum value from the processes their organisations have
created and invested in, and effectively leverage their organisations defined sales model to
drive more sales.
Even where other sales tribes out-perform True-Believers (eg. Mavericks - who typically
make up approximately 5-10% of the frontline fieldforce), their population size is significantly
smaller, they are harder to find, and frequently operate in unpredictable or unsustainable ways.
High-performing sales organisations focus on building their army of True-Believers to ensure
long-term, sustainable profitable growth.
True-Believers
Compliants
Mavericks
Self-Reliants
Clueless

Follow the
defined
processes and
see them as
enabling

Follow the
processes, but
dont see them
as enabling

Defy the
processes and
do their own
thing

Dont know
processes exist,
and work it out
for themselves

Dont follow any


processes yet
recognise the
lack of processes
hinders them

Base Case

- 5.1%

+ 1.1%

- 6.9%

- 9.2%

Grow their
portfolios faster ...

4.7%

-0.5%

4.0%

-12.0%

Believe targets are


achievable ...

60%

33%

44%

46%

37%

Spend less time on


non-sales activity ...

27%

38%

33%

35%

49%

... and represent


lower flight risk

28%

52%

45%

40%

51%

True Believers ...


Contribute more
revenue ...

FIGURE 10
True Believers deliver repeatable, predictable and sustainable performance results for the organisations they work for

Bridging the Gap: Drive Adherence and Buy-in to Segmentation and Targeting Processes and the Sales Model

A common misconception is that sales reps dont like process. In reality, if the process is seen
as an enabler of performance and is simple to follow, then the value of adherence is
appreciated and True Belief develops as a result.
Adherence to process is what fundamentally drives the behavioural predictability associated
with True Believers and underscores the sustainability of their performance outcomes. True
Believers are far more likely to:
Focus on making (rather than taking) orders
Have an external focus on proactively pursuing growth opportunities
Hit the potential rather than just the plan
With the belief that they are working with, and being supported by the organisation, True
Believers align their personal goals to those of the organisation and sell with the wind at their
backs. This engagement means True Believers want to stick around which also results in
lower flight risk. As their performance improves year-on-year, True Believers become an
increasingly valuable asset to their respective companies.
If True Belief is a fundamental ingredient that drives performance, then driving True Belief is a
critical ingredient of the Sales Managers role. But how are they to do this effectively?
Building an army of frontline True Believers necessitates being a True Believer oneself, and
this is what our research has confirmed. Benchmark Managers consistently demonstrate
greater clarity around their organisations processes, appreciate the utility of these processes
and understand their enabling qualities. In other words, they are True Believers.
Furthermore, Benchmark Managers proactively drive True Belief among their teams and
become critical conduits in the creation of more True Believers within their organisations
(see Figure 11).
BENCHMARK MANAGERS PRODUCE MORE TRUE BELIEVERS

77%

Benchmark Managers

55%

FIGURE 11
Benchmark Sales Managers are 22%
more likely to manage True Believer
sales teams than core Sales Managers

Core Managers

Bridging the Gap: Drive Adherence and Buy-in to Segmentation and Targeting Processes and the Sales Model

When rated by the frontline around process understanding, advocacy and coaching;
Benchmark Managers score higher across all key True Believer dimensions:
PROCESS UNDERSTANDING
Benchmark Managers possess a superior personal
understanding of their organisations segmentation
and targeting process, call coverage and frequency
planning process, and sales model. 93% of
Benchmark Managers understand and apply these
processes meaningfully, and 94% can explain them
clearly and deeply.
FIGURE 12
Benchmark Managers have a superior personal
understanding of their organisations processes

89%

67%
36%

44%

Benchmark 2nd Quartile 3rd Quartile 4th Quartile


Managers Managers
Managers
Managers

PROCESS ADVOCACY
Benchmark Managers promote and positively position
their organisations processes with their sales teams.
98% of Benchmark Managers adhere to their
organisations processes, and 87% stress the
importance of following the process with their team.
88% create opportunities via meaningful application of
these processes, and 90% are consistent and
disciplined in their use of systems and tools,
organisational language and methodologies.

89%

63%

48%

39%

FIGURE 13
Benchmark Managers are far stronger Benchmark 2nd Quartile 3rd Quartile 4th Quartile
Managers
advocates of their organisations processes Managers Managers Managers

PROCESS COACHING
Benchmark Managers adhere to their organisations
Learning and Development processes far more than
core Managers. 88% of Benchmark Managers provide
effective coaching and training on these processes.

80%
44%

28%

35%

FIGURE 14
Benchmark Managers integrate their Benchmark 2nd Quartile 3rd Quartile 4th Quartile
Managers
organisations processes into coaching and training Managers Managers Managers

When it comes to driving adherence and buy-in to the organisations segmentation and
targeting processes and sales model; the Sales Manager has enormous influence, casting a
long shadow on adoption across their teams.

Actions to bridge the gap:


Drive Adherence and Buy-in to the Segmentation,
Targeting and Sales Model
1. Establish absolute clarity on your organisations defined segmentation and targeting
process, call coverage and frequency planning process and sales model
2. Integrate explainations and advocacy of these processes into your consistent sales
meetings and forums
3. Make explaination of your organisations processes a Business-As-Usual component of
all (formal and informal) coaching and training interactions and activities

10

Bridging the Gap: Run a Consistent, Efficient and Effective Management Rhythm

Run a Consistent, Efficient and Effective


Management Rhythm
Eliminating the costs associated with poorly-run sales forums represents one of the greatest
efficiency and effectiveness quick-wins in every pharma company. Although sales forums and
meetings exist to enable and re-focus the frontline onto high-yielding activity, all too often they
evolve into a catch-all for everything and everyone, and rapidly lose their real utility and value.
The best management rhythms - the integrated program of sales forums and activities defined
by the organisation - are consistent, efficient and effective. In benchmark sales organisations,
three out of four frontline reps believe their organisations meetings and forums are run
consistently, efficiently and effectively.
RHYTHM CONSISTENCY
Benchmark Managers run more consistent
meetings (see Figure 15). Their consistency is
strongest in running disciplined sales meetings
where sales strategies are developed to
profitably grow key segments, geographies,
verticals, products and services, or alliances.
FIGURE 15

Manager rhythm consistency

45%

Benchmark
Managers

40%

44%

38%

2nd Quartile
Managers

3rd Quartile
Managers

4th Quartile
Managers

56%
Benchmark Managers are also far more consistent
when it comes to performance
management forums. They consistently run formal and organisation-wide performance
evaluation and development planning for sales reps and sales leaders, as well as consistently
engage in target setting forums more so than core Managers (see Figure 17).
RHYTHM EFFECTIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY
Benchmark Managers are also more effective
and efficient in the meetings and forums they
do run (see Figure 16).
Benchmark Managers run meetings and
forums that are perceived by the frontline to be
twice as effective than those run by core
Managers.
Benchmark Manager effectiveness is strongest
in running forums focused on strategy and
development, with nearly two-thirds of all
Benchmark Managers developing growth
strategies and providing 1:1 coaching and
development (see Figure 17).

55%
34%

35%
15%

Benchmark
Managers

2nd Quartile
Managers

3rd Quartile
Managers

4th Quartile
Managers

FIGURE 16
56%
Manager rhythm effectiveness and efficiency

11

Bridging the Gap: Run a Consistent, Efficient and Effective Management Rhythm

So how do Benchmark Managers establish and run more consistent, effective and efficient
forums? What information do they share and discuss?
MEETING / FORUM FOCUS

STRATEGY
Develop sales strategies to profitably grow key segments,
geographies, verticals, products / services, or alliances

CONSISTENCY

EFFICIENCY AND
EFFECTIVENESS

Benchmark
Core
Managers Managers

Benchmark
Core
Managers Managers

41%

37%

61%

25%

24%

27%

55%

27%

63%

62%

57%

30%

Regular and robust client prioritisation based on potential, fit and


convertibility

33%

34%

45%

32%

Disciplined sales meetings

76%

58%

51%

23%

27%

28%

63%

27%

Formal and organisation-wide performance evaluation and


development planning for sales reps and sales leaders

45%

33%

43%

28%

Formal and organisation-wide


objectives for salespeople

49%

43%

63%

31%

Gather, organise and use market and competitor intelligence

RESULTS COMMUNICATION
Timely performance reporting and results communication to sales
people and sales leaders

SALES PROCESS AND OPPORTUNITY IDENTIFICATION

DEVELOPMENT
Provide regular 1:1 coaching and development

MANAGE PERFORMANCE

target-setting

of

financial

FIGURE 17
Benchmark Managers are disciplined across a suite of diversified forums and meetings with far superior
consistency, efficiency and effectiveness

Benchmark Managers operate to a more consistent, effective and efficient management


rhythm across the meetings and forums that matter most.

Actions to bridge the gap:


Run a Consistent, Efficient and Effective Management
Rhythm
1. Take stock of all of the meetings and forums being run across your organisation;
documenting the core purpose, participants required, frequency, running agenda, roles
and responsibilities
2. Build out a quarterly schedule of forums that eliminates duplication and ensure
coverage of the focus areas of strategy, results communication, sales process and
opportunity identification, development and performance management
3. Crystalise the new meeting and forum objectives, running agenda and roles and
responsibilities. Communicate this to meeting and forum participants, and adhere to
the execution schedule

12

Bridging the Gap: Set Clear Quality Standards and Build Effective Teams

Set Clear Quality Standards and Build


Effective Teams
There exists an enormous amount of literature on the impact of the 1-Up Sales Manager on
their direct reports. Blackdots benchmark data supports this.
Benchmark Managers are consistently rated by their teams as being highly effective in setting
clear expectations and goals to work towards (see Figure 18). They are much more effective at
helping their teams understand what good looks like, and role-modelling these behaviours and
disciplines (see Figure 19). Benchmark Managers are good at enabling teamwork across the
team and with other groups (see Figure 20) to drive people enablement and performance (see
Figure 21).
EXPECTATIONS SETTING

96%

Benchmark
Managers

94%

69%

2nd Quartile
Managers

FIGURE 18
Benchmark Managers
expectations

ROLE MODELLING

52%
3rd Quartile
Managers

are

better

78%

35%
4th Quartile
Managers

at

setting

Benchmark
Managers

2nd Quartile
Managers

55%
3rd Quartile
Managers

40%
4th Quartile
Managers

FIGURE 19
Benchmark Managers are better role models for
their salespeople and provide good examples of
organisational values

Benchmark Managers are much more


effective at setting expectations, with 88%
of Benchmark Managers rated as doing a
good job of explaining sales roles and
expectations of performance.

85% of Benchmark Managers consistently


demonstrate the desired organisational
values, with nine out of ten being rated as
providing a good example.

TEAMWORK AND COLLABORATION

ENABLING PEOPLE & PERFORMANCE

93%

Benchmark
Managers

76%

2nd Quartile
Managers

87%
57%
3rd Quartile
Managers

36%
4th Quartile
Managers

Benchmark
Managers

60%
2nd Quartile
Managers

46%
3rd Quartile
Managers

30%
4th Quartile
Managers

FIGURE 20
Benchmark Managers are better at facilitating
teamwork, collaboration and learning from one
another

FIGURE 21
Benchmark Managers are superior at enabling
people and performance

Nine out ten Benchmark Managers are


rated as effective at seeking and listening
to input from team members. 79% of
Benchmark Managers facilitate teamwork
and encourage salespeople to share
information and learn from one another.

At least seven out of ten Benchmark


Managers eliminate unnecessary barriers
to selling effectively and are attentive to
the developmental needs of all team
members. 85% supervise salespeople
fairly and offer constructive feedback
around sales performance.

13

Bridging the Gap: Set Clear Quality Standards and Build Effective Teams

The value of these disciplines cannot be under-estimated, especially when we bear in mind
people join the company, but leave the manager. With these things in place, Benchmark
Managers achieve higher frontline satisfaction and engagement overall (see Figure 22). The net
consequence is that flight risk is substantially minimised (see Figure 23) and ROI from your
team and investments maximised.

FRONTLINE SATISFACTION

FRONTLINE FLIGHT RISK


Undecided
Likely to leave

17%

18%

83%
59%

20%
11%
Benchmark
Managers

Core
Managers

FIGURE 22
Overall satisfaction is higher in sales teams managed
by Benchmark Managers

Benchmark
Managers

Core
Managers

FIGURE 23
Reps managed by Benchmark Managers pose a far
smaller flight risk than those managed by Core
Managers

Actions to bridge the gap:


Set Clear Quality Standards and Build Effective Teams
1. Use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound)
framework for setting performance objectives, and ensuring mutual buy-in exists from
the frontline around the objectives
2. Create a true culture of teamwork and collaboration by promoting and facilitating
information sharing across the team, as well as opportunities to learn from one another
3. Collectively determine opportunities to eliminate unnecessary barriers to selling
effectively with the frontline through the introduction or elimination of (un)necessary
Business-As-Usual processes or systems

14

Bridging the Gap: Conclusion

Conclusion
As the critical link in the performance lifecycle of a pharma sales representative, first-line
Sales Managers need to possess an understanding of the management disciplines proven to
move the performance needle. The critical role of the first-line Sales Manager is to do exactly
that: manage sales. Getting disciplined around the four proven drivers of performance in a
controlled and habitual way is your fast-track to sales performance uplift:
1. Manage Performance Using the Principles of Tight-Loose
Apply a consistent approach to managing performance and tailor that approach according
to the Performance Profile of the individual. It may be tight. It may be loose. Or a
combination of both. But always start with setting tight objectives in the performance
management cycle.
Consider the current performance (using metrics such as On-Target-Performance) as
well as the performance trajectory (using metrics such as Compound Annual Growth
Rate, Opportunity Forecast, or a combination of the two) of each sales rep
Segment sales people into their respective Performance Profile based on the
current performance vs. performance trajectory mix - Are they Developing, Emerging,
Plateauing or Excelling?
Manage each of the four Performance Profiles using the correct Tight-Loose mix
across the three stages of the performance management cycle (setting objectives,
providing support and guidance, and evaluating performance)
2. Drive Adherence and Buy-In to Segmentation and Targeting Processes and the
Sales Model
Consistently demonstrate, role model, and advocate application of the organisations
processes. Sing the same mantra, whatever that is, and sing it over and over again until
everyone joins in.
Establish absolute clarity on your organisations defined segmentation and targeting
process, call coverage and frequency planning process and sales model
Integrate explainations and advocacy of these processes into your consistent sales
meetings and forums
Make explanation of your organisations processes a Business-As-Usual component
of all (formal and informal) coaching and training interactions and activities
3. Run a Consistent, Efficient and Effective Management Rhythm
Define a clear set of sales forums and execute them consistently. This is the drum beat to
which the team marches. Without it they are soldiers wandering lost in the dark.
Take stock of all of the meetings and forums being run across your organisation;
documenting the core purpose, participants required, frequency, running agenda, roles
and responsibilities
Build out a quarterly schedule of forums that eliminates duplication and ensure coverage
of the focus areas of strategy, results communication, sales process and opportunity
identification, development and performance management
Crystalise the new meeting and forum objectives, running agenda and roles and
responsibilities. Communicate this to meeting and forum participants, and adhere to the
execution schedule

15

Bridging the Gap: Conclusion

4. Set Clear Quality Standards and Build Effective Teams


Be clear on what you expect of the team and everyone in it, and consistently role model the
sales behaviours you expect to see in them.
Use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound)
framework for setting performance objectives, and ensuring mutual buy-in exists
from the frontline around the objectives
Create a true culture of teamwork and collaboration by promoting and facilitating
information sharing across the team, as well as opportunities to learn from one
another
Collectively determine opportunities to eliminate unnecessary barriers to selling
effectively with the frontline through the introduction or elimination of (un)necessary
Business-As-Usual processes or systems
So when it comes to enabling our Sales Managers to focus on managing sales to drive
predictable, repeatable and sustainable high performance; the formula is not elaborate nor
complicated. Rather, it is eminently practical and profound in its applied simplicity. The secret
sauce is discipline.

16

Bridging the Gap

17

Bridging the Gap: Blackdots 4 Disciplines of Sales Management Program

Blackdots 4 Disciplines of Sales


Management Program
Blackdot have created the 4 Disciplines of Sales Management Program, designed to ensure that
your Sales Managers become more effective in executing the proven sales management
disciplines required to continually re-focus your frontline onto high-yielding activity. What are
the core components of the Program?
DYNAMIC DIAGNOSTICS
Complete pre-workshop Sales Manager effectiveness assessment for each
participant, illuminating strengths to leverage and gaps to address, as well as internal
and external benchmark and performance rating comparisons
CONSULTATIVE LEARNING
2-day workshop covering modulated learning on the 4 critical sales management
disciplines:
Coaching and Performance Management
Process Adherence and Pipeline Integrity
Sales Management Rhythm
Frontline Engagement
INTENSIVE COACHING
Two personalised 1:1 coaching sessions, at 4 weeks and 12 weeks post-workshop,
covering:
De-briefing of Dynamic Diagnostics insights
Individually-relevant application of the 4 critical management disciplines
SALES ENABLEMENT PLATFORM
12-month subscription to the Blackdot Sales Enablement Platform, providing:
Centralised, 24/7 cloud-based access to coaching and development plans for
each report
Access to a suite of educational, experiential and exposure-rich best practice
activities, tools and
resources designed to fast-track development for frontline salespeople
Ongoing frontline team assessments against the 7 critical frontline behaviours
Benchmarks and assessments of team and individuals against external, peer
group (eg. industry) and internal (eg. company, divisional, job family) benchmarks
Access to internal and external community groups that enable the sharing of
best practices and receipt of the latest updates and push tips

18

Bridging the Gap: Blackdots 4 Disciplines of Sales Management Program

What Critical Learnings are Included in the 4 Disciplines of Sales Management Program?

MODULE

LEARN HOW TO ...


Use performance data to determine whether reps in your
team are Developing, Emerging, Plateauing, or Excelling

1. COACHING AND
PERFORMANCE
MANAGEMENT
How do I get the most
out of each individual
salesperson?

2. PROCESS
ADHERENCE AND
PIPELINE INTEGRITY
How do I lift our
opportunity volume, size
and conversion rate?

Use tight-loose coaching and performance management


principles to adapt approaches to setting objectives,
providing support and guidance, and evaluating performance
Use individually-relevant, needs-based coaching and
performance plans to support and develop individual team
members
Drive process adherence and buy-in to build an army of True
Believers (those that adhere to your organisations processes
and see them as enabling)
Diagnose and address pipeline bottlenecks to convert sales
activity into results using defined measures of success
Learn how to forecast accurately at the individual and team
level
Leverage benchmark insights to assess current overall rhythm,
individualised forums and identify key areas for improvement

3. SALES
MANAGEMENT
RHYTHM
How do I leverage key forums
and meetings to focus the
team on whats the highest
and best use of their time

4. FRONTLINE
ENGAGEMENT
How do I mobilise my team
around common goals,
quality standards and
non-negotiables?

Develop and refine your suite of high-impact, value-adding


forums and meetings that cover strategy, results, sales
process, opportunity identification, personal development and
performance management
Execute a better-sequenced schedule of efficient, effective and
consistent forums

Review and reset expectations around performance behaviours


and roles to drive greater frontline role and goal clarity
Facilitate greater teamwork and collaboration to encourage
salespeople to share information and learn from each other
Establish minimum standards and behavioural expectations
with your team to lift accountability

How First-Line Pharma Sales Managers Benefit ...


Ready access to best practices for immediately uplifting team and individual
performance
Equipped to run more effective coaching, learning, sales meetings and performance
improvement initiatives
Centrally manage and track all coaching, learning, sales meetings and performance
improvement initiatives

19

Contact Us

About Blackdot

Contact Blackdot to learn more about Blackdots 4


Disciplines of Sales Management Program and how to
bridge the gap for more effective execution of the 4
management disciplines proven to drive performance.

Blackdot exists to assist our clients


to achieve more predictable,
repeatable, and sustainable sales
performance.
What makes us unique is our total
fixation on the use of data-driven,
evidence-based
techniques
to
understand what does (and does not)
drive sales performance.

North America

Europe / Africa

Asia Pacific

347 5th Ave


New York, NY 10016
United States

The Broadgate Tower


20 Primrose Street
London, EC2A 2EW, UK

Suite 1, 185 Gloucester St


Sydney, NSW 2000
Australia

+1 646 205 8059

+44 (0) 20 3551 6894

+61 2 8246 7300

enquiries@theblackdot.com.au
www.theblackdot.com.au

By viewing the sales engine


holistically, as an ecosystem of
component
parts
that
work
interdependently to impact sales
results, were able to identify the
root cause of whats inhibiting and
enabling your current performance,
including quantifying the payoff in
actually getting it right.
Armed with this knowledge, we
stand alongside our clients who
engage us to define, implement and
embed change programs that bridge
the gap between hoping and
knowing youll deliver top and
bottom
line
performance
improvement.