Spot The Difference, Or Else!

My youngest daughter's latest obsession is competing with her big sister. Here's a picture of the little one running a race with me on the weekend. She worked incredibly hard to stay well ahead of her older sister.

I noticed the competitive streak again over the weekend as they played a "spot the difference between these two pictures" game in a local restaurant.

Ella is becoming great at finding the familiar places that those games change the picture (Hairstyles, number of knots in a rope, how many freckles on a face, something missing from one image, etc.)

Recently, I've had to play the corporate version of that game.  

Instead of "spot the difference between these two pictures," though, it's "spot what's wrong with this job description."

It's an important game. 

It's crazy, but I've found that the fundamental issues were often quite apparent in the job description for the sales manager position. 

The sales manager job description alone can be used to diagnose critical flaws in the entire corporate strategy.

Let's play a round together – I'll post a few elements from a sample job description, and we'll play a game of "spot the issues."

  • Responsible for quarterly sales quota and accurate forecasting for the territory and account base
  • Develop and execute a sales management strategy designed to create accountability and meet company revenue goals
  • Develop and implement strategies for client retention and new client acquisition
  • Coach, train, and develop the sales team as needed
  • Self-starter who can successfully work both independently and as part of a team

So what issues did you spot?

Here are a few things that are sounding the alarm bells to me:

  1. It's prioritizing the responsibility on quotas and revenue, rather than putting a focus on revenue-generating activities.
  2. It's abdicating the responsibility of developing processes (sales process & retention process) to the sales manager. It indicates that there's no actual sales process defined in the company.
  3. The descriptions of the coaching/development couldn't be vaguer – it indicates that there is no real coaching culture at the company
  4. It finishes with the wishy-washy, wasted cliche of wanting a "self-starter" who can work both independently and with teams. There are no other ways to work.

It's your responsibility as a company to have a strong sales process in place. 

It's the responsibility of your sales manager to ensure that your process is being followed properly and to coach against that process.

If you're asking new hires to come up with a sales process for you, you've abdicated your responsibility, and frankly, you deserve the poor results you're sure to get with that approach.

What did you spot?

Your Challenge For This Week: 

We played “spot what’s wrong” with a sales job posting, but this can be applied to any key position you’re looking to fill. 

Are you abdicating responsibility for the very role you’re hiring for?

Have you neglected to develop the processes & tools that are required to succeed, and instead bank on hiring “superstars” who will figure it all out for you?

Are you using vague descriptors like “develop and implement new client retention strategies”?

In the company above, they're basically saying you can expect no corporate structure, no processes defined, and that if you can’t re-invent the wheel on your own, you're not going to make it.

I always tell my clients we start with the basics first. 

  • It's impossible to have strong revenue growth without a properly defined sales process. 
  • It's impossible to have a customer-centric culture if you haven't taken the time to develop your customer service procedures, complaint handling processes, or internal script books. 
  • It’s impossible to have a world-class customer experience if you haven’t actually mapped out the entire customer experience.

So play the game today.

Look at your own company's job postings, and see if you can spot anything that's wrong.  If you do, I’ll bet you a bottle of fine scotch that your team isn’t performing to its capability.