Sales Management: Manage Your Team Their Way

Managers, how often have you heard, “I want a new territory!” Unfortunately, most of these team members do not devote any time towards their strategy or objective. Does the problem have to do with ineffective sales management?

Past employers and clients have often appointed my skills to transform Inside Sales and Teleprospecting teams that offer dismal results. To date, I have completed transformations at 56 companies. Every situation displayed the same symptoms. Teams were given a set of objectives and specifics on how to meet said objectives.

Each situation displayed a lack of results and poor morale. Ultimately, the problem was a lack of effective sales management.

Director of Inside Sales

For instance, as a Director of Inside Sales for a $100M Educational Software company, I was appointed to the task of generating incremental revenue from the Inside Sales team.  During the second week of my employment, a team member (Ms.B) had already sent in a request to be removed from her current territory, due to her lack of success in the region. Ms.B was a hardworking and competitive individual who had burned out from her inability to fulfill her quota. She held her “bad” territory accountable for her lack of success.

Furthermore, when I examined the plan for Ms.B’s territory; which should have mapped out each district and key personnel, alongside a strategy on how to penetrate each territory, she claimed to have none. Thus, I began to collaborate with Ms.B to create a plan that would allow her to penetrate her existing territory. I reassured her, if there was no growth or positive results within a two-month timeframe, I would transfer her to a “better” territory.  This was the end of the year and she had only 2 months to meet her objectives.

The GOSPA Methodology

I presented Ms.B with the GOSPA planning methodology and requested that she obtain some basic details about her territory, such as the total number of districts, key personnel (Directors of Curriculum and Superintendents), etc. After gathering such information, I began to guide her through the GOSPA method. I magnified the importance of keeping this plan short and simple, which would allow her to review and modify, on a daily basis – according to studies, becoming more effective, with each review

We began by mapping out the strategy that would allow her to meet 110% of her quota, keeping her desired commission in mind. Each week, we would regroup and assess her placement according to her GOSPA plan. Over the course of four weeks, she began to recognize that her target objective of, 110% of plan, was too high. Ms.B modified her plan to an objective of  105% of quota. By the end of two months, she reached her quota of 105%, while remaining in the same territory, as well as receiving “President’s Club” membership for the over-achievement of her quota.

GOSPA – Planning for Success

“My way or the highway.”

However longstanding and embedded a statement, this is no longer an effective strategy for management. Companies risk creating a rift between them and their employees. Youthful, budding employees will question the reasoning behind methods that restrict experimentation, while experienced employees will prefer to utilize their own, proven methods with which they are most comfortable. In both situations, allowing the employee to become engaged and access the way that is most effective for them to achieve, their quotas, is more productive and yields greater results when compared to following a rigid set of processes.

Accordingly, you, as the manager, have your own set of priorities and objectives that must be met within each quarter. It is your responsibility to enforce behaviors that will allow your team to achieve their objectives. The more youthful employees may believe their social media, internet, and technology skills are the best techniques to meet their objectives. The more experienced employees will have their own techniques. However, these strategies may not be in line with your target objectives. Although it is your responsibility to assure the productivity and effectivity of your teams, placing strict rules and requirements for certain tasks may make your employees feel constricted and lower morale.

The question remains: “How can my team meet their objectives without the implication of an authoritarian management?”

The answer is GOSPA (Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Plans, and Activities).

GOSPA is a short, 1-2-page planning tool, which outlines specific tasks that will allow each team member to meet their Key Performance Indicator (KPI). As each KPI is met, the probability of meeting each objective also increases. GOSPA has been a longstanding tool for companies to meet their objectives. I was introduced to this concept in 1991, by the Chief Sales Officer for one of my employers, who required each Field Sales and Inside Sales person to build a quarterly GOSPA plan. It was a highly effective tool and I began using this methodology throughout my career.

An effective GOSPA plan aligns employee’s goals and objectives, with the objectives and KPIs of the management team.   GOSPA allows each employee to create a plan to meet their objective that best fits their position, giving a sense independence and value by allowing them to contribute in the decision-making process.

Manage Your Team Their Way

The most effective way to manage employees is to allow them to find their own technique towards success. Building a GOSPA plan (which you, as manager, will review) will help employees find their mistakes and correct their actions, and remain accountable for monthly and quarterly results. As a manager, I require all of my teams to build a quarterly GOSPA. When Teleprospectors and Sales Management Teams know their Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Plans, and Activities, you, the manager, can review their KPIs against the plan during your weekly meetings. Now, it is their responsibility to meet and stand by their stated objectives.

During the GOSPA planning sessions, I recommend that the manager and employee create an agreement for the consequence of not meeting stated objectives. Suppose, a team member is unable to reach their GOSPA plan, as an example, you can discuss the methods of additional coaching/support/performance improvements that may be required for the individual to meet their numbers. Advanced planning removes the element of “surprise” for the employee, giving them the push to reach for help and constructively criticize their own performance.

As a manager, it is your responsibility to train the team in the various ways to implement their GOSPA plan. However, you must review each GOSPA for its practicality. Team members often get enthusiastic about GOSPA for its ability to align to their personal goals (my recommendation). For example, let us propose that one of your team members needs a certain amount of commission to purchase a new car. If she aligns her GOSPA to this plan, she will become more motivated to work towards her plan and succeed in her objectives.

Example GOSPA in Sales Management

The following is an example of a draft GOSPA plan to highlight how a rep will begin the GOSPA process.  This format has worked well for my team members.

GoalTo Be The Top Producer Of The Sales Department
ObjectivesGenerate $2 Million in Sales for 2017 or 110% of quota. Earn total commissions of $100K
StrategiesOn-Board At Least 5 of Top 25 Lenders, each quarter.
PlansIdentify & Demo to Decision Makers at Top 25 Lenders
Activities1.Review Trade Magazines to help identify new large customers of top credit unions in the US.


2. Make calls to all of the top credit unions to invite them to a demo.

3. Ensure that I make 50-60 dials per day.

4. Have at least 4 key conversations with influencers or decision makers, every day.


GOSPA – A Powerful Planning Tool

GOSPA planning is most effective when it is applied on a quarterly basis. They should be short and simple, allowing your team to review and modify their plans on a daily basis. However, GOSPA plans should not only align themselves to corporate goals, but also their practicality. If objectives are set too high, there is a higher chance that goals will not be met. As an example, if a team member builds a GOSPA plan to meet 150% of their quota: this is not practical due to the number of calls and emails required for prospect contacts each quarter. Your job, as manager, requires you to examine the practicality of these GOSPAs.

GOSPA is a powerful planning tool.  When it is implemented and managed regularly, team members are given more control of their destinies and results.  The payoff for managers results in a successful and highly motivated team. 

Alicia’s Tip: Use GOSPA to help your team self-manage to corporate expectations.  GOSPAs should be based on team member goals, such as the amount of commission they want to earn, each quarter, or awards they want to achieve, such as Teleprospector of the Quarter. Keep the GOSPAs simple and easy to review. Manage your team’s GOSPA’s to ensure that they are realistic and map to corporate goals.

Read the book The Radical Pipeline Strategy: How to Grow Pipeline and Revenue by Optimizing Sales Development. This book outlines tested best practices and implementation strategies that I developed while rebooting and building 65 SDR and Inside Sales organizations.