Sales Managers, Directors, Marketing Managers or any role where you oversee a role that requires a dedication of time to achieve results for the business, will often hear or have heard various excuses as to why someone hasn't achieved the results they are targeted to achieve in their day to day role..
The data is crap...
Not reaching anyone via phone today...
I don't know what it is but I am just not getting the results I deserve...
No one is looking for our services at the moment...
No one will do anything at the moment due to covid...
No one has the money at the moment...
... I could go on and on here but I won't as I am sure you can think of many other excuses we hear. I feel and have felt your pain and I know you really want to turn round to these people and tell them to stop procrastinating and get on with it.
Yes, the individual you oversee is most likely procrastinating, however...you can impact this massively by investing your time an analyse how they are investing their time!
Let me give you an example; I was leading up a team of new business development executives who were responsible for generating new business appointments for their sales team to then sit appointments. They used a number of methods from LinkedIn through to telemarketing to generate the opportunities.
It was a normal day in the office, the environment was the same, the buzz of sales was in the air and we were off to a good start. My number one SDR agent at the time was not hitting his pledges and on this very rare occasion he ended up on a doughnut every day for the past seven days (for those who are asking what a doughnut is, it's a 0 on the board or not hitting anything that day, week or month).
Previous to this point he was hitting his numbers day in day out. If anything I am certain the majority of the people in the office could have placed bets confidently on this individual hitting their pledge every day.
After a few hours on a Thursday afternoon of listening to the frustration and procrastination building and building, I then asked the agent if he could join me the following morning around 7am to sit down and hash out what is going wrong (knowing he'd be quite willing as he always was in early).
The next day we sat down together at his desk (it is important this happens in their normal environment) and he started to real off everything that is going wrong.
I then stopped him and told him; "I am simply here to just watch what you are doing and how you are utilising your time before analysing further and then I will provide advice and insight as to what is going wrong"
.... The long confused look and a slight frown in what I said is not an uncommon reaction however after a ... "right... okay" he then started to flutter and started to tell me what he was doing and giving me reasons.
Within about 20 seconds I was confident that it is time management and planning of his day is the reason for the dip in results, however I needed to be sure.
I asked; "How do you normally structure your day?
He said; "Well, I don't have a structure really, I try do my connection requests in the morning then some messages and then do some calling and then by about midday I might send some more messages and then..."
I then interrupted him; "Okay, so I am interested in how many connection requests you are sending per day?"
He Replied; "about 35-40.. no... actually about 50-60 per day"
This instantly provided me an insight that he doesn't track or set KPI's
I replied; "So how many messages do you make per day?"
He replied; "urmmmm... about 15 ish a day, actually I am not sure, I can come back to you"
I then knew what was going wrong;
"I am confident I have found out where you are going wrong. You have the techniques, you have the methods, you just don't utilise your time well. Even if you were to only work between 9-5:30 you could still be doing better than you are doing by planning. The time currently is 7:15am, for the next 45 minutes I want you to plan how you are going to utilise your time for the whole day. Once you then have a plan, I then want you to set yourself smaller KPI's, for example 8am-9am to send 25 connection request (of course scrutinise the business and their profile before clicking connect). Then list how much time you want to invest in personalised messaging and hold yourself accountable for delivering the numbers."
This wasn't the first time I spent 15-20 minutes with a team member to analyse how they were utilising their time and it won't be the last. By doing this I know in return it will save the business a lot of money. The individual I used in the example then went on to generate enough opportunities each month to ensure he delivered a minimum of £35k in sales each month of a target of £24k, now if I carried on and ignored that individual it would have costed the business a lot of money. To give you some insight, in just the 7 days of not generating opportunities, we lost £7,903 in potential revenue by that person not being in control of their day... crazy really!
We have a rule in our company - For those who want to join the elite and achieve 20-40% more than their target each month, you must protect the 'Golden Hours'! Complete all of the administrative tasks outside of core hours but still set yourself targets and timescales to complete tasks. Do not let anything interrupt your tasks. Proposals, connection requests, emails etc. Unless important/urgent, all of these tasks can be done outside of core/golden hours.
As leaders, we must invest time in understanding how others are investing their time. I am certain if you have any underperforming individuals in your team right now, sit down with them and really see how you can save time and help them plan their day.
"Time is money" waste it now, pay for it later - Benjamin Franklin