Fixing Sales Performance Problems; Frequently not a “How To “Answer

I am passionate about fixing sales problems and growing businesses profitably. For 30 years now I have been selling and or leading sales and a big mistake I often see executives without a sales background make is assuming the sales problem is a “How-To” ( Salespeople  do not know how to…)  problem when in most cases it’s a “Want-To” problem. (Salespeople do not see how this change will benefit them)

If you Google the word “Saleswill find over 2.7 billion entries.

If you search “Sales How To” you will find close to 4 billion entries.

If you search Amazon there are over 1.8 million books written on Sales.

If we search the words Sales Seminar you will find over 37 million entries.

And last if you search for Fix Sales Problems there are 175 million entries.

So let these numbers digest a bit and do you see anything odd ? There is a ton of “how to” advice about the topic of sales ….I wonder why? With so much How to information available, why are businesses still struggling with sales?

I had a meeting recently with some executives who shared their sales problems. I would love to say it was some unique new dilemma but in reality it’s something I have seen many times. As I asked questions I could tell they had researched this issue and found many people with similar advice on how to fix their sales problems. They have worked on this problem for over a year and have not seen measurable improvements. Why?

What have they done to this point?

Why is fixing sales problems so are to execute?

Defining areas to fix is pretty easy; however driving a behavioral change in your salespeople is very difficult.

The key to making any change in how you lead your salespeople is your  salespeople must be sold to want to make the change. They must see that this new technique, way, process, sales tool,technology will somehow make them more money and help them hit their sales goals or whatever you implement will fail…it’s just a matter of time. As a salesperson at heart and having led sales teams, I have researched  the personality of successful sales people and one common trait is a high score in the Utilitarian personality trait. This trait basically says; Salespeople do things if they feel what they are doing or about to do will somehow produce a desired reward in a short amount of time. The quicker this new technology and or training help them make more commissions the higher your probability of your sales team embracing and executing a new behavior. A behavior repeated over and over again becomes a habit and that’s what we all strive for.

One of the leading frustrations of CEO’s is sales execution. You have an off site meeting for three days and create a strategic plan and tactics with key performance indicators. One of your action items was sales training and its completed, but six months into the year the CEO discovers the salespeople are not doing anything different than last year ( and we all remember how bad those sales number were)…why?… Because no one sold the salespeople on why these changes, software, techniques would make them more income. Sales failed to make a change because you tried to solve a “want to” problem with a “how to” solution.

What new product or sales training has your team had in the last 12 months? Have you seen an improvement in sales?

Are all your salespeople using that new CRM System you just invested in? Why not?

Did you see a noticeable return on investment from those sales seminars last year?

If you answered no to any of the above you have been trying to solve your sales problem with a “how to” and failed to make it a “want to”

My wife teases me all the time that salespeople are the easiest people to sell…and its true! Why not sell your team instead of tell your team the next time you want to implement something new to support your vision to create sales velocity in your organization?

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Mark, I could not have said it better. Everyone one of these issues is real. I have actually refused to take on clients or training, when the reason and attitude are not there. Thanks for sharing.

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