OK. Sales are down. What can you do next?

It’s Q1 and your sales are down, what can you do?


I faced a similar situation in Q1. As VP of Sales of a Canadian pharmaceutical organization, we faced the SARS crisis. Access to our customers became limited. Hospitals and physicians were also limiting sales rep visits.


Marketing started calling the sales numbers down for the year, blaming the SARS crisis. As head of sales, I had few options. What I did know was that I had to utilize my resources where they were going to generate the greatest revenue.


Back to basics:


In sales, your biggest resource is your sales force. The best place to deploy your sales force is in the field. The field is where they generate revenue. So we went back to basics. Activities such as administration, training, and meetings are all important but are non-revenue generating. We initiated a simple 3 point plan:


  1. All training was canceled. Trainers were redeployed into the field to help coach sales reps.
  2. Sales managers focused on field visits and were in the field four to five days a week.
  3. Sales reps found creative ways to see their clients or focus-in on hospitals and physicians they could access. Their goal was to focus on making more sales calls.


These 3 basic steps allowed us to overachieve our sales targets by year-end. In the end, the SARS crisis resolved itself. In 2009, the economy may take much longer to see an upturn, but the basic principles of redeploying your resources on revenue-generating activities will still apply. 


Sales leadership is about focusing your resources on what will have the biggest impact.


Focused on your success!