Process to manage time more effectively to ignite sales
In the course leading their teams, sales managers have many responsibilities to contend with, many of which impact their teams’ performance. These responsibilities manifest themselves as decisions in areas such as people management, customer issues, sales opportunities, KPI setting, etc. The amount of time spent on making such decisions cascades to less effective sales performance: the more time a sales manager spends on making decisions, the less time he or she has to influence team performance in the sales arena.
In this article, you’ll learn about a 6-step decision making process that will enable sales managers to make decisions more effectively, and therefore manage their own time and that of their team better. It is also a process that is transferrable into sales itself.
Why is time important in decision making?
If a manager has made a decision and then needs to revisit that decision, he or she will lose valuable time. The delay can frustrate the sales team, damage a manager’s reputation, and diminish the quality of sales made. Assuming that there is no new information, the original decision will not be changed – providing, of course, that the decision has been made using a logical process.
The process of selling and buying is ultimately one in which decision making drives success - by employing this 6-step decision making process, a manager and his or her team will improve the quality of decision making and decrease the time it takes to make decisions. It is also a process that can be used to guide a client through to a positive decision to make a purchase.
Step 1: Information gathering and objective setting
Ask questions to discover the problem or opportunity, and decide upon the objective. Questions to ask may include:
- What is the problem?
- What is the current state, and what is affecting it?
- When must the decision be made?
- Who may be affected by this decision, and should they be involved in making it?
- Are there others who can help?
These questions guide the manager as to how to make the decision, and whether it requires teamwork or stakeholders to be involved.
Step 2: Identify the options available
The decision maker must work with an open mind, and be receptive to alternative options that may solve the problem faced. If working in a team, it will be important to communicate effectively, promoting healthy conflict to increase engagement in the process of solution discovery. There is no room for office politics in this 6-step decision making process: a cross section of perspectives will deliver the most creative and constructive ideas.
Step 3: Compare and evaluate the options
Feasibility, risks, and benefits of each option will need to be assessed, as will the impact they may have on others. This should help to reduce the list of options, with the most viable remaining in the process while the others are discarded.
Step 4: Make the decision
Having studied each option in turn, sought feedback, and discussed with the decision making team, the decision is close to hand. This stage is where the final decision is made – a decision that is considered and defendable with logical argument.
Step 5: Implement the decision
Now is time to put the decision made into motion, with the idea evolving into concrete action. The resources needed to do so will have been decided in the earlier stages of this process.
Step 6: Check the decision
Having made the decision and implemented it, the final step is to ensure that the action taken is producing the outcome expected and answering the problem or opportunity identified in the first step. If the results are not as expected and objectives are not being met, then the manager will need to identify why and take new action to correct.
When making decisions, it is necessary to make the most informed decisions possible. Whether making these decisions as an individual or as a team, working through the 6-step decision making process systematically and thoroughly will ensure better and faster decision making. Poor options will be avoided, as will those that lack the resources to be implemented.
In sales, being able to guide your team to better decision making is key to improving performance. The same process can be employed by salespeople when guiding customers through to making a decision to buy.