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Trustpointe, Inc. | Indianapolis, IN

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by Tim Roberts

Dear Sales Managers,

For the past 14 years I have been reading the sales call reports that you send me. Permission to weigh in, please: These are sad, mind-numbing, wishy-washy, careless, thoughtless and unacceptable. Yet before you gush with concurrence, I need to ask you a teeny-weenie little question: Why have you accepted them?

Sales people owe you information. They are paid to be intelligence officers. As front-line reconnaissance specialists, their mission is to bring you and your company market intelligence that shapes your business plan. Their key performance indicator is to make gains. They are to gain contacts, gain opportunities, gain competitive intelligence, gain a competitive edge, gain richness of insight, gain hard data, gain victories, gain lessons learned...I think you gain my point.

Your sales team is paid to make gains and they are to constantly be feeding you new information so you can create appropriate strategies. The challenge is they're not good at reporting their intelligence gains in a fashion worthy of executive approval. There's not a court of law in the land that would accept their "evidence." There's not a corporate board member alive that would accept 95% of the sales call reports I've read.

Gaining sales intelligence is both skill and art. So is reporting. You're charged with high-level decision making. You're the one who stands before leadership to report on ground-level sales activities. You must insist on substantive, accurate and timely reporting. Careless, thoughtless and unacceptable won't work as the economic climate revs up.

At Sandler Training, Trustpointe, we help our clients gain intelligence. To learn more about the skill and art of sales call reporting, call Tim Roberts at 317.845.0041 or email

Remember, your people are paid by the amount of information they gain, not give.

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