Dear Jon Letters...

JHW Hospitality Dear Jon Letters


A series for clients and colleagues who are seeking support, asking for advice, and hoping to reignite their passion for hospitality.

Dear Jon,

I’ve seen you recommend that sales people need to track their activities and I want to start doing this with my employees. I know they are going to resist the change. Can you please give me some reasons to help convince them this is a good idea?    –J.G., Des Moines, IA


Dear J.G.

Good for you! Implementing an activity tracking system is a great way to start improving your sales. I’m a firm believer in the old adage “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”


Unfortunately, I also know that sales teams who have “self-managed” for a long time can be quite resistant to a new tracking system. It will be important for you to present this change in a way that reassures them that you aren’t attacking or critiquing their work. As their manager, it is your goal to supervise them, but you should avoid micro-management. This is about accountability and setting up reliable systems, not uncovering your weakest employee through some kind of Hunger Games competition. That’s why you need to stress your role as a support for your team.


I suggest you emphasize the way activity tracking will help your company standardize how you do things. Developing client relationships and moving them through your sales pipeline is key to sustained success. Once you have a protocol for tracking how your company does this, you’ll see more reliable sales growth. As your company grows, it will be easier to train new sales people in your system. And in the unfortunate event that one of your existing sales people is called away unexpectedly (e.g., because of an illness or family emergency), you or someone else on your sales team will be able to step in and cover for them. Even the most contrary of sales people should recognize that these are all positive benefits for the team!


Having a sales activity tracking system will also help you help your employees. If someone on your team isn’t delivering the results your company wants, you need to be able to review where he needs support. Is he losing business to competitors because of his slow response-time? Does he not follow-up after sending proposals? Does he reach out to enough new contacts? Identifying his areas of weakness gives you both the opportunity to target specific skills that need strengthening. If you make this an opportunity for learning and development, your team won’t feel threatened. In fact, they may come to recognize the tracking system as the career-enhancing tool it can be!


Good luck, J.G.! Let us know how your team responds.

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