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The management cycle, a systematic approach to boost your company's growth

management 1

Imagine that your team members permanently contribute to the management of your company. Would that boost your growth?

Managing well means getting people to do what needs to be done. The need to manage well applies to all hierarchical levels of the company, i.e. management cannot be limited to the company's top management committee; everyone must be involved in management, naturally with different responsibilities and dedication.

To be able to do this, people need the right tools. One of these is the management cycle, which repeats annually, allowing everyone in the company to contribute to managing it properly.

A few stories

Some years ago, when I was a partner in a multinational consulting firm, from 2003 onwards I instituted the practice of meeting monthly with the entire team to report on the progress of our activity and budget execution, show the results and lessons learned from completed projects and answer questions and discuss issues that the consultants raised. My aim with this practice was to make the team aware of the type of work we were doing and who knew how to do it, so that the team knew who to turn to when they had similar problems and so that the consultants could collaborate in expanding our activity in the clients where they were present, contributing to the firm's growth. As well as achieving what I wanted, the consultants told me that the monthly meeting had two other effects: on the one hand, it gave the team cohesion, because they were rarely together due to being at the clients' facilities carrying out the projects, and on the other hand, it gave the team encouragement by recognizing and celebrating people's success in the projects.

In 2007, one of the projects my team undertook was the creation of a purchasing center. It was a huge project for the team, accounting for around 80% of the previous year's turnover. At the time, I prepared a new budget and one of the consultants asked me the need for it, because without it our performance would be excellent and we would all have great evaluations. I replied that maintaining the initial budget would distort our performance and create the risk of the rest of the team becoming complacent, which would damage our activity and reduce our turnover in the following years, because it would not create the necessary opportunities to develop the team and thus be able to promote the best consultants. She understood...

When I left the multinational consulting firm, I was CEO of a company that sold health insurance and health plans through various sales channels. One of them was a contact center, whose operators were performing poorly. I had left the consultancy, but the consultancy had not left me, so I analyzed the performance in detail and noticed that there were four groups of operators, one with few calls and low effectiveness, another with few calls and high effectiveness, another with many calls and low effectiveness and another with many calls and high effectiveness. I began by asking the team leader to present this analysis at the weekly meetings, with detail by day and operator. It was a novelty and, as no one likes to look bad in a picture, the results improved immediately. However, there was still room for improvement. I then agreed with the team leader to work individually with each operator to help them with their specific difficulties, which allowed them to adjust their approach and improve significantly, achieving good results consistently.

The management cycle

The stories above illustrate the importance of each of the macro-activities in the management cycle.

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The management cycle represents the company's annual management cycle, from planning objectives and activities to to learning resulting from the activities carried out and the results achieved.

The management cycle applies to the entire company, but the description below specifically covers sales, which serves as a guide for all other areas of the company. In other functions, instead of sales objectives that cover the entire activity, there are other types of objectives, for example number of clients served, purchasing amount, number of processes, volume of transportation.

The management cycle has eight macro-activities:




This activity consists of defining the commercial plan (marketing and sales). As the old saying goes, "fail to plan is the plan to fail", so you need to:

  • Clarify the growth strategy, which includes defining the relevant elements of the company culture, cliets and markets of operation, product and service offering, sales channels, price positioning and brand.  
  • Defining overall sales targets by territory, channel, client segment and offer, taking into account growth strategy, sales history, estimated sales for the current year, active contracts, sales potential for the following year and desire to grow.
  • Distribute the sales targets by month, taking into account the overall sales targets, the seasonality of the business, the life cycle of the offers and the capability of the sales channels. 
  • Create a commercial action plan, including structural and operational activities.
  • Create an integrated marketing plan aligned with the strategy, the sales plan and the commercial action plan.
  • Communicate the marketing and sales plan.

This activity consists of estimating income, revenue, costs and expenses according to sales objectives.

All levels of management in the sales hierarchy must participate in the budgeting process, both to contribute with their knowledge of reality on the ground and to obtain their commitment to subsequent execution.

Sometimes this process uncovers the need to adjust the planning made previously, and an iterative process of adjustments begins until a final alignment is achieved between the sales plan and the sales budget.


This activity is fundamental to management. As the old saying goes, "what gets measured gets done".

This activity should be carried out by everyone in the sales hierarchy, from the sales leader to each salesperson, naturally with different monitoring scopes, using SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound.) metrics.

Given the wide range of possible metrics, the responsibility for choosing the relevant metrics for sales management belongs to the sales leader and the leaders of the territories, channels and sales teams.

The periodic collection of metrics and the reports presenting them must be permanently available to everyone in the sales teams, preferably

including objectives, results and performance, which relates the results to the objectives.


Communication is essential for the fluidity of a company's operations, but it can also be damaging if it is excessive, or if the content is inadequate, or if it is directed at the wrong recipients. Hence the importance of defining a communication plan, internally within the sales hierarchy and with other areas of the company, and externally with clients and intermediaries.

The internal plan includes organizing sales meetings and sending out relevant information, such as comparisons of the performance of territories, channels, teams, salespeople, intermediaries, promotional campaigns, incentive programs, success stories, client testimonials, sales arguments, news, satisfaction survey results.

The external plan includes sending a subset of the above information, usually in less detail, and holding events such as conferences, seminars, product launches, incentive program launches, fairs,road shows, webinars, visits to showrooms.


Celebrating success is fundamental to maintaining the enthusiasm of sales teams, both internal and from intermediaries. Without enthusiasm, any sales team's results are far below their potential, because clients can see it in the eyes of the salespeople.

Enthusiasm is like a fire, it must be fed frequently over time, otherwise it goes out. And the fuel is success, which must be celebrated whenever justified.

Celebration can be as simple as applauding the good performance of a salesperson or manager at a sales meeting. It can also be a team toast, or a team lunch, or a team recreational program, or any other situation in which success is distinguished. The celebration can be accompanied by a written message that the team is made aware of, or an announcement on a wall board or monitor that is visible to many people in the company.


Sales forecasting is a difficult but necessary exercise because it involves anticipating what will happen in the future. It must be as close as possible to what will happen in reality because it has an impact on the whole company, not just sales, but also in the areas of production, logistics, client service, marketing, finance, purchasing and personnel, among others. The entire sales hierarchy must be involved in this activity.


No company is perfect, nor are sales managers and salespeople infallible, so it's always possible to improve. Anyone in the sales hierarchy should incorporate reflection on opportunities for improvement into their routine, at least monthly.

A good approach is to go through each component of the business enablers and each activity in the FI methodology's business cycles, ensuring that all aspects that influence sales performance are included. After identifying the opportunities for improvement, you need to define the adjustments to be made. Sometimes the adjustments are small and can be made immediately. In other cases, it requires a change project, which has to be discussed and incorporated into the territory's or channel's action plan, and may also involve intermediaries.


Learning is constant and some people learn more than others in the normal course of their daily activities. However, a company, or any team, only learns by sharing experiences and knowledge between people.

One of the requirements is to produce and keep up-to-date documents describing good practices, lessons learned and frequently asked questions, hosting them in an easily accessible repository.

Good practices, lessons learned and frequently asked questions should be discussed at regular global sales meetings, by territory, by channel and by team.

With the approach above, your company carries out all the activities necessary for proper management, involving everyone and benefiting from their contribution.


The management cycle is an innovative concept, based on many years of research of best practices around the world in all types of business. By implementing it, your company uses an approach that involves all its people in management, giving you competitive advantage.

Now you know what you need to do to manage your company properly and boost its growth.

Filipe Simões de Almeida

Managing Partner, FI Consulting

Published on 11-Mar-2024