customers often share little things that annoy them and we quickly move to justifying what we do, or “defending the fortress “instead of listening and making necessary changes. It is my desire to serve my family.to listen to their needs. So although my wife has mentioned her concerns a number of times over the past 24 years, I quickly mentally rationalized the feedback and did not listen and I did not change my behavior. I failed to be intentional about something that obviously concerned someone I cared about. It would take little effort to accommodate her requested change in my behavior. However it would require a change of habit.
Over the last few weeks I have been discussing common myths business owners and leaders believe to be true about the fixing sales problems and how to immunize future sales performance. I recently went for my annual flu shot and the myths people in line were discussing as truths reminded me of the five main myths sales leaders need to lose to fix poor sales performance and how we can immunize future sales results. Before I can help you fix your sales problems we need to dispel the 5 myths that you may be carrying as market truths;
You cannot Train your way out of a sales problems alone.
You cannot Manage your way to improved sales alone.
The Economy is not the only reason for your poor sales performance alone.
Hiring outside help to work on your Sales Process will not hurt your current sales.
Just because you have Good Sales Now does not immunize you from future poor sales results.
What is the best way to immunize your sales performance from poor results?
Clean Sales Management as I shared in a previous post entails being in your market on four legged sales calls with your sales team. As a reminder, you are not there to close sales but to observe buyers.
You need to answer;
What is their buyer journey today?
What sales process is your team using? (… if any)
What are common buyer personas your team is presenting?
What criteria are important to your buyers today?
When your buyers shop for a solution, where do they go, what process do they use?
Are there any “Spin Cycles” in your current sales process that no longer mirror how your buyers are buying today? (Spin cycle- those places in the sales process where the sale stalls, spins, or even goes dark)
What tools could your salespeople use to overcome or eliminate buyer Spin Cycles?
As a sales manager, and more so if you are the VP of Sales you have a number of activities all vying for your time and attention. Having been a VP of Sales and Marketing myself I experienced the following all pulling me like they had a gravitational power of their own;
Your CEO and President want answers to specific questions
Hitting your new sales goals
Hitting your profit objectives
IT wants to book SAP training and your opinion on what a CRM should do
A/R wants help collecting from difficult customers
Marketing wants your sales guys to ask their buyers …. (you fill in the blanks)
Cost of Quality meetings
Meeting with the CFO forecasting ROI and sales forecast for new products
HR wanting to have succession plans in place, quarterly performance reviews, performance improvement plans, and on-boarding discussions
Product Development wanting to know why we are not hitting new product sales
Meetings with Product Engineering discussing problems with their last new design
Product Marketing wanting to meet about why sales is not closing a higher % of leads
Social Media group wanting stories from the field
More meetings you did not even know were on the list
…do I need to keep typing or do you agree I have lived this?
If you try to do all of the above you can quickly become an “an office bound VP of sales” and this is the beginning of the death of a sales VP. The reality is you (we) need to do all of the above and more. However what keeps us employed, hitting our bonus objectives and answering the top four activities above; answering President and CEO questions strategically and timely, hitting sales goals, achieving profit objectives and controlling expenses…you need to be in the market practicing clean sales management. In your market you become aware of market changes, viruses, which can infect your sales results early and keep your team’s sales performance on plan.