When I wrote my EBook: 50 Ugly Truths About Owning and Running Your Own Business…and 5 reasons why you should do it anyway I was responding to a number of misperceptions I was hearing from entrepreneurs. Historically, at any given time six out of ten US adults is thinking about starting their own business. A number of new entrepreneurs are emerging that I refer to as “necessity-preneurs “who were downsized and can not find new employment, are deciding to launch their own businesses as they want a much more active role in the security of their careers. The last group are cashing in their 401k and or borrowing from friends or family to buy an existing business and in a short amount of time realize they really just bought a job and they are quickly running out of cash.
Are Your “Salespeople Hunting Elephants With a BB Gun?” Answer 10 questions…
As I have shared in prior posts, salespeople are like water; they find and take the path of least resistance. Having carried a sales bag for years I get it; it takes a tremendous amount of work to sell a large number of new accounts when I can sell one big account and make the same amount of money, and possibly more. The problem is most salespeople are ill equipped to land big accounts so they are hunting elephants with a BB gun. When your team hunts elephants with a BB gun they not only fail to hit sales objectives, and fail to increase the number of prospects in their funnel….there’s a high probability they are irritating the elephants.
Some of my fondest sales memories were landing some big elephants in the markets I served like; Wal-Mart, Block Buster, Musicland Stores, Nintendo, Dell, Blackberry, and others….and I have to admit it was a rush. I had a big advantage though and that was training and sales tools to land big accounts (elephants). When you sell big accounts you must understand how they buy, who is involved in the buying decision, and aggressively pursue the economic buyer. ( the one who has the power to write you a check) Just as if you were hunting elephants on the plains in Africa, you would equip yourself with a different set of equipment (tools) to bag your trophy, than if you were hunting rabbits or squirrels in Ohio. The environment is different, your weapons are different, and the net number of targets and shots you can take is very different.
One common problem I am observing in the market today is salespeople are hunting elephants with a BB gun and getting frustrated and surprised when they fail to bag their trophy.
How do you know if your salespeople are hunting elephants with a BB gun?
- Have your salespeople focused on and failed to close elephants in the past 6-8 months?
- When you ask why they failed to close the sale, all they say is price?
- Do you keep hearing “good meeting” but fail to see an order or a clear understanding of what was achieved at the last meeting and what the next step of the buying process is for the prospect?
- Do you notice the entire sales territory is underperforming to plan?
- When you ask about the territory performance, does your salesperson always add the elephant to the discussion?
- Are other team members complaining they are being pulled into this “big” opportunity and they are not seeing the sale moving to a close?
- Has your salesperson said something like; the account just went dark?
- Have you seen new leads not being followed up on in a timely manner?
- If you did bag an elephant in the last 6-8 months, was it significantly under your profit targets?
- ..I saved the hardest question for last …What does your gut say, should your salesperson be presenting large key accounts in your market? Are they trained and have they demonstrated the ability to listen and present solutions to problems? Would you want your salesperson calling on you?
So how did your team score? If you answered “yes” to four or more of the above, your salesperson is hunting elephants with a BB gun. How did you answer question #10? If you said “no” stop irritating the elephants in your market today.
There are a number of problems with your salespeople hunting elephants when they are not equipped to win;
they fail to bring home all the rabbits and squirrels in their market
they only irritate and make the elephants angry and that anger is attached to your companies’ brand
they compromise margins and they are operating in the domain of losses
they pull resources from other areas of the organization that fail to meet their objectives
Market leading sales organizations understand the buying process for large key accounts is different than the smaller accounts they serve, and they provide the tools and training to clear the jungle and bag those market elephants.
How is your team’s sales history bagging elephants?
What is the main reason your salespeople say as to why they failed to win their trophy?
How many other opportunities are not followed up on that they could close with a BB gun?
Do you agree or disagree elephant hunting requires different training, tools and experience?
If your team wants to bag some elephants, are you equipping them with the right tools and training? Or are you counting on them to “just make it happen”?