When the Sales Goals Change but the Behavior and Results Don’t

Suppose that you need your salespeople to find significantly more new business. Perhaps you’ve wanted this for a while but it’s only recently that you communicated this to your salespeople.  You’ve changed the goal but after a month your salespeople’s behavior and results haven’t changed at all.

Let’s compare this to weight loss.  You decide that you will finally lose that 30 pounds you’ve been carrying around for several years.  Your goal changes but after a month, the weight hasn’t begun to decrease.  Did the behavior change?  Was there a change to either diet, lifestyle or exercise?  With weight loss goals, it’s usually very apparent that the weight won’t come off until at least one of those three behaviors change.

Unfortunately, with salespeople, it’s not always apparent that a modified goal requires modified behaviors.  As much as salespeople tend to take the path of least resistance, sales managers tend to enable them by not holding them accountable and not providing the right type and amount of coaching and motivation.

You can change salespeople’s behavior but it takes more than asking or demanding.  You must be able to provide a reason, explain the benefits, share the plan, set expectations, and have a timeline.  You must be able to coach to the new goals, hold them accountable to the new behavior, and be willing to enforce consequences when you don’t see the anticipated change.

Or, you could simply allow them to continue doing what they’ve been doing…

I wrote an article on just this subject back in September.  It was the Hierarchy of Sales Coaching – How to Change Behavior.