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Project Management Issues

Hello all,
I am an account Manager for a very large commercial electrical, network and industrial contractor.
I am running into some problems with managing all I have going on. My job consist of building new relationships while trying to maintain ongoing customers along with the projects that they may have going.
I don't find enough time in the day to do all this efficiently or my methods are not efficient. I have been in sales for over ten years but only in my current position for two years. I have a multi million dollar quota to meet on top of everything else. I am questioning weather I stay too involved after a project starts, but I believe that my customers deserve that with the size of investments and importance of the projects we completing for them.
Seems like the other salesmen I work with play a lot of golf and have no problem meeting their even higher quotas.
Can anyone give me suggestions. I spend my whole day running from appointment to appointment and returning 40 to fifty calls and emails in between and things still fall through the cracks.
please help if you can. - by HOG Fan
Greetings Hogfan:

I suspect the reason your co-workers are playing a lot of golf is because they have created 'systems' to help them track all their on-going projects.

When I was a young man I worked as new home project manager. The person who had the job before me was fired for being unable to take care of the various stages of construction of 25 homes. Managing the construction of 25 homes all at one time, all the various stages each is in, the scheduling and supervision of sub-contractors, bringing the job to a close on time, is a monumental task, believe me.

They only way I could do this was to create a master planning board. I bought a huge calendar that showed each day for the month. I hung it in my office and spent the time to track each job by writing down the necessary information into each day slot, which allowed me to simply look at the planning board and tell exactly what stage of construction each house was in.

I would write down the stages and tasks that had to be done into the slots for the next 3-4 weeks. I did this in pencil because the sub-contractors did not always finish their individual jobs on time, and that allowed me to make changes when necessary and inform my boss and the home buyer.

Having this master planning board really helped me to organize and schedule ahead of time all the necessary work that had to be done, and when.

In addition to my planning and scheduling and supervision duties I had to do code inspections 5-10 times per week. Instead of physically taking the time for this I spent my own money and hired an inspector to take care of this for me. It freed me up to concentrate on the planning of my 25 homes (and allowed me to play golf if I wanted). It usually cost me $50-$75 per week for this inspector, but it was well worth it.

Maybe you could create some type of master planning board Hogfan? Try brainstorming and see if you can create some 'systems' related to your job requirements that will help you become more organized and efficient with your time. Make a time plan for your appointments, meetings, and phone calls, and don't waver from these plans.

Don't try and handle too many different things all at once. Before you leave work for the day write down what you must do tomorrow and break these tasks down due to their importance and number them according to what must absolutely done first, second, third, etc. When you get to work the next day attack the number 1 first and complete it, knock out number 2 next. Go on down the line during your workday, cross off what you completed, and whatever doesn't get done that day put it on the next day's list (with another number according to importance). Always make your next day's list before you go home at night.

Try planning your entire week out ahead of you. This will take some stress off you because you will have a written plan and you can 'see' everything you must do. When it's written down and organized it doesn't look so intimidating. If you just try and 'wing it' each day you become overwhelmed and stressed and you won't be operating at your maximum efficiency.

...Coach Doug - by Dougd55
What percentage of your time is used for building new relationships and what percentage of your time is used for maintaining ongoing relationships? - by Marcus
Doug, Thanks that all sounds great I hoppoing that I can do this electronicaly with my blackberry.
Marcus,
It depends how many projects are ongoing, right now I am spending more than 60% of my time putting out fires weather they are on the jobsite or invoice issues etc..
the other 40% trying to find new business and keep up with all the paperwork that is required of me. - by HOG Fan
Great Post Doug. - by Indep Rep
Doug, Thanks that all sounds great I hoppoing that I can do this electronicaly with my blackberry.
Marcus,
It depends how many projects are ongoing, right now I am spending more than 60% of my time putting out fires weather they are on the jobsite or invoice issues etc..
the other 40% trying to find new business and keep up with all the paperwork that is required of me.
HOG Fan,
When you say putting out fires, what are you exactly talking about. Are these fires created by a source out of your control or something that a procedure or person change could help you to be more productive?

Henry - by Indep Rep
Hello HOG Fan,
Sounds like you need a little assistance indeed. Good on you for asking. Prioritisation of tasks and Time Managment play a big part in Account Management.

Some Account Managers work longer hours initially in order to catch up. It might also be the case that you have to much on the go depending on how you are comping. Make sure you keep a record of the clients you see - New and Previous and if you think you have to much or should hold off searching for new clientelle be sure to present your current client list to your superior and descuss this further.

Set your self a strict diary on which to follow and work from there. For instance:

Every morning I get to work and Make follow up phone calls from the previous afternoon. For 1 hour I call and make appointments for the afternoon. I then prospect and propose deals before my first appointment. After all of my appointments I make another follow up phone call to the clients I saw today to makesure I covered all basis. Then Go home and plan the next day.

- Keep notes
- Don't keep holding off
- If it appears it's head - tackle it
- Don't promise what you can't deliver. - by Jabber
I work in the construction industry so nothing ever goes as planned. I could have anywhere from 2 to 3 contract jobs going on along with 3 to 4 service calls a day, when I say Fires I just mean that things happen to hinder the completion of the jobs, that require my attention either on the phone or in person to make sure that things are being done propoerly and all parties are satisfied. - by HOG Fan
I work in the construction industry so nothing ever goes as planned. I could have anywhere from 2 to 3 contract jobs going on along with 3 to 4 service calls a day, when I say Fires I just mean that things happen to hinder the completion of the jobs, that require my attention either on the phone or in person to make sure that things are being done propoerly and all parties are satisfied.
So your responsibility is to watch over the new account and chase while while fizing issues with construction sites?

If I were you I would have a chat to your emplyer about either putting someone on or simply cutting you some slack. At least until you settle into the role - There should be training for you. - by SexSells
I may be painting a unfair picture.
my company has job foremen on every site along with a project manager to watch over them. I am brought in if we need to talk to the owner on design or scope changes. These jobs would happen with or without me. I try to stay involved as much as I can, and maybe that's my problem. - by HOG Fan
I think many MANY people are in your shoes. We as salespeople are tasked with finding and nurtuting relationships. We are asked to rely on others to bring the project to a successful close. Unfortunately that doesn't always happen and when our reputation is on the line, instinct tells us to jump in.

For me, it all comes down to delegation and trusting others. It is very hard for me to keep my nose out of things when I sense something might go south. The people on my teams are very good at what they do, but they are not always adept at hand-holding and nurturing relationships.

I think that if you (we) can do a better job of gauging the severity of a situation and staying out of the kitchen when we aren't really needed, we will find ourselves with more time to do our jobs. I've also found that by constantly rushing in to save the day, I set the expectation that I will always be there to do so, which makes it harder for my project teams to do their jobs.

When we land a big deal, we tend to get very protective of it. I think it has more to do with human nature than sales. That said, spending too much time with problem-ridden clients will not only suck the wind out of our sails, but will also end up costing us money. Spending 50% of your time to keep a few clients happy comes at the expense of not finding new ones.

If I were you, I would ask that management took a serious look at creating a position for client satisfaction during the delivery process. A buffer between the client and the front-line workers who is compensated based on the clients overall satisfaction from signature to delivery. On deals this size, a 50-60K position to free you and your counterparts up for more sales would be a no brainer. It's up to you to trust that person.

Justyn - by Justyn
I feel like you know my frustrations. and yes I try to be superman especially to clients that do over 500k a year with me.
But, I am going to try and cut the apron strings a bit.
I will let you know how it goes
Thanks, - by HOG Fan
Good Luck!! - by Justyn
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