Personnel Development in Sales: Further Education with the Triple-A-Matrix


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Whether you call it Point of Sales or rather poetic the place of truth: In sales, company success is the key. If the sales are sold, but this does not necessarily have to be the sales. Find out in which cases what measures help.

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Markus Spleen _BEN9228be_cut_500x500Markus Milz is founder and managing director of the business consultancy Milz and Comp.

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Good Company sell even in bad times

Of course, there are successful and less strong sellers and, of course, there are changing market conditions. But quite honestly, functioning companies sell above average even a lot of products and services in bad times. However, if the warehouses are full despite innovative products and highly qualified service staff or consultants are waiting for orders, many companies react reflexively. They start a training marathon for sales and define their reporting in such a way that the salespeople hardly have any air left to go to the customer, make calls with him or make promising promotions.

Not always, but not so rarely, the result of these measures is sobering. Taking into account the immense costs involved in a qualified training of a distribution armada, the question arises of the true reasons for success. Sure, the image of a company as a harmonious and finely tuned organism may be tapped. But this metaphor quickly makes it clear that it can be affected in the body when its viability is compromised. When an organ fails or falls behind its performance, not only this organ is affected but the entire body.

Willing, able, may

These three, so simple-sounding words stand for three very important elements of operational efficiency and entrepreneurial competence:

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  • Want = willingness to perform
  • Can = performance capability
  • May be possible

The “willing” is entirely in the hands of the employees, who must be highly motivated, highly committed and focused on the ball. Of course, the employer must ensure that motivation is not artificially impaired.

The “must” lies within the sphere of influence of the managers and the company itself, for example in the form of job descriptions and organizational charts. Sales managers often place high hierarchical hurdles and put thumbscrews where free hand would be the better choice. When companies cut down on active sales time through unnecessary bureaucracy - for example, through oversized reporting or redundant meetings at headquarters that require longer journeys by field staff, they need not be surprised that more is written and tagged instead of sold.

Responsibility for “ability” is a shared responsibility of both parties. For example, every employee has to meet the requirements of his job and must always be capable of learning, competent and reliable. Among other things, the manager must recognize these competencies, steer the appropriate tasks and organize adequate further training. The proportion of managerial tasks increases at the expense of doing with each level that is climbed on the career ladder.

Chefs do not work. They lead

Bosses who “do too much” and do not lead enough are not only insufficiently performing their management tasks. They also demotivate their teams because they feel blocked and patronized. In addition, many managers are too easily drawn into action by allowing employees to delegate tasks back to them. If someone can't do something, you do it yourself instead of leading the ignorant to light through further training. Those who join or take up leadership should always take heed to the fact that the proportions of technical and methodological skills on the one hand and social and personal skills on the other hand change. In terms of time, executives are more socially and personally at work, while their employees act more professionally and implement methodological things. “More” and “rather” here do not mean exclusively.

So if there is a traffic jam in the sales department, first of all it has to be analyzed not only in the form of hair-clips, but also in the face of the true bottleneck. Nowadays, experienced salespeople are filled to the brim with knowledge that their fifth qualification training simply does not benefit. If you still believe that it is the ability to select the most suitable further training, its people must know very well and should rather individually as a general education. But as already indicated: far more rarely is it the assets of the employees than one suspects. Frequently, either the wanting is frustrated or the need to be restricted unnecessarily. Only a clear position determination makes it possible to find the best and most promising measures.

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The Triple-A Matrix

Up to this point, the terms "want, ability and must" are still quite empty. They have to be filled with life to get from theory to practice. However, this “life” does not simply mean to provide a description of the content that can hardly or only vaguely be qualified and quantified. So that the terms really come to life and shape the operational processes, a matrix is ​​helpful, which allows the greatest possible objectivity in the assessment. The three “A” of the triple A matrix stand for

  • Wishing = ambition
  • Ability = Ability
  • May be = Accountability

What sounds simple at first glance is in reality a very complex mixture of management and staff tasks and the associated instruments and methods. The best practice, the state where everything runs perfectly, is provided with tools that ideally help to maintain this condition or restore it in the case of underachievement. A systematic procedure along the matrix makes it possible to translate rather diffusely formulated tasks into concretely formulated to-dos and to control their solution. So companies know at any time, where they are already successful and where there is still catching up to do.

The deficits to be diagnosed result along the best practices as their negative. But beware: since in almost every human being self-image and external image are a bit apart, the deficit determination might prove to be difficult, particularly in the case of executives. After all, no one likes to give his construction sites - if he can manage them at all. Here the addition of an external and thus objective consultant can be useful.

WANT = AMBITION

Now we come to the first A of our matrix - the will. It should be emphasized that this unwillingness does not necessarily mean that employees refuse to work. If this is the case for some, you have to separate, of course. “Not wanting” means that one partner or both hangers are missing, which maximize the drive or, conversely, there are conditions that restrict the motivation. Sometimes this happens barely noticeably because, for example, employees still bring 100 percent in a bad working atmosphere - exactly the maximum that is possible in this atmosphere. If the mood were better, it would still be 100 percent, but then relative to the new circumstances. And so they perform 115 percent compared to the previous situation. Miesepeter bosses who believe that their employees should be just as good under their knout as with their philanthropic competitor are extremely wrong. Wanting is also about resources that cannot be tapped without certain measures.

WANT for executives:

If everything is perfect, executives are characterized by:

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  • the team spirit,
  • communicate business objectives and visions,
  • motivate their employees and prevent demotion,
  • Success appropriate and transparent reward,
  • Self-awareness,
  • Radiating optimism,
  • Make decisions quickly and enforce them
  • and inspire the members of their team.

Is sand in gear, are the effective measures:

  • Executive coaching,
  • Leadership training,
  • Motivation workshops,
  • Team building events,
  • optimized time management that separates “doing” and “leading”, as well
  • the installation of regular target-finding discussions.

WANT for employees:

Strong employees:

  • follow the goals set for them,
  • work motivated and committed,
  • feel recognized,
  • act innovatively,
  • are aware of their value and contribution,
  • fit seamlessly into the team,
  • enjoy the working environment and are
  • always ready to change.

Absence of one or more properties are the appropriate measures:

  • the establishment of a profit culture,
  • a key figure-based monitoring of the employee's contribution to the company's success,
  • the implementation of employee activations and
  • the implementation of motivation systems and performance-oriented remuneration.

CAN = ABILITY

As mentioned in the introduction, what you can do is leverage, which is where companies are most likely to start when business falter. A combination that not only promises a lot and keeps little, but even aggravates the situation is particularly fatal: expensive training on topics that everyone already knows, coupled with excessive control and extensive reporting. The first one costs unnecessary money and the second motivation. The ability does not increase, but the desire for it - and especially in sales, the sales-active time is additionally curtailed. However, if any deficiencies are properly diagnosed, follow-up assessments can help navigate the jungle of skills and development opportunities.

CAN for leaders

Ideally, executives have the ability:

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  • Competencies to recognize,
  • to promote these competences accordingly,
  • methodical feedback,
  • Strengthen strengths and weaken weaknesses,
  • Competence planning,
  • Employees in processes and
  • to ensure comprehensibility of the management action and its instruments.

If something is wrong, recommend to the executives:

  • the creation of meaningful requirements profiles,
  • the implementation of assessment centers and a profiling,
  • targeted seminars, trainings and coachings,
  • the development and a CIP of profile and evaluation systems,
  • the creation of a standardized feedback system,
  • a reset and higher level of recruiting policy and a
  • Employer branding that attracts and ties strong executives.

CAN For Employees:

Outstanding employees, however:

  • correspond to the required requirements profile,
  • work at any time competently,
  • have development opportunities,
  • participate in the Continuous Improvement Process (CIP),
  • know and master the daily business,
  • are always up to date in their field and their industry,
  • experience and prove to be capable of learning and
  • have high social qualities.

The skills of the employees benefit from:

  • individually tailored seminars, trainings and coachings,
  • cyclical employee development,
  • Audits and competence-enhancing Gap-to-close,
  • Development needs determination,
  • systematic personnel development and
  • targeted application to qualification profiles

CAN = ACCOUNTABILITY

Experience has shown that owners, managing directors, sales managers and department heads find it difficult to analyze clearly and to be open to correct analyzes. Your employees are equally struggling with this problem. After all, many of the deficits that impair the right to touch touch areas of personality in which one is reluctant to admit weaknesses. In addition, a clear view of the status quo often contradicts the perceived “that has always been the case and has always worked”. For these reasons, many of those responsible and those affected stagnate in insisting that what cannot be should not be. And because this is so human and emotionally understandable, there is often enormous potential hidden in this field that is normally negated. But if these sources can be tapped, the profit for everyone is enormous.

MUST be for executives:

Successful, fully developed executives:

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  • delegate tasks professionally clever and comprehensible,
  • pay attention to the areas of competence of employees and colleagues,
  • show and prove confidence in their team,
  • encourage to take over responsibility,
  • tie their people into decisions,
  • present responsibility,
  • appreciate and reward constructive cooperation and
  • provide generous and reasonable room for maneuver.

Suitable development measures for managers are:

  • the proactive promotion of process, rather than silo and departmental thinking,
  • a flexible allocation of responsibilities with a documentation system,
  • a symbolic reward system for taking over responsibility and
  • the visualization of career perspectives.

MUST be for employees:

Employees who are “allowed” and who are allowed to bring this life to life:

  • enjoy, use and live their responsibilities,
  • are looking forward to their trust
  • reward this trust with reliability and performance,
  • are flexible and accessible,
  • acting project- and success-oriented,
  • know and use escalation regardless of personal circumstances,
  • prove themselves as co-architects rather than administrators,
  • cultivate and extend their expert status on their own responsibility.

Employees develop and improve through:

  • a flexibilisation of the organizational structure on processes,
  • the clear definition of escalations,
  • a high discussion culture of work processes,
  • predominantly project - related competence allocation and the
  • Standardization of dif- ference-free competencies.

As is easy to see, the circumstances, laws and aids described so far apply not only to sales and sales management, but throughout the company, where all areas work to the point of sales. It is always essential to have a clear view of the situation through a sometimes relentless analysis of the status quo, not only if you want to overcome bottlenecks, but also if you want to implement a successful continuous improvement process (CIP). As the saying goes: "If you stop getting better, you stop being good."

Thus, before a company drives its salespeople through a marathon of motivation workshops and sales seminars, it should first and foremost examine exactly where the bottleneck or the bottlenecks that provide bitterness in the place of truth lie. If this test is concluded with clear results, the design of a more successful future can be translated into targeted measures and made into a company's reality.

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The Triple-A-Matrix at a glance

(Click to enlarge)

Spleen-Comp_Triple-A-Vertriebsentwicklung-BP

Spleen-Comp_Triple-A-Vertriebsentwicklung-TO

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