20 years ago today the Berlin Wall came down. It was described as “the triumphant end of a failed system”. Like the Berlin Wall, organizations throughout the world have walls, inner kingdoms, silos, that add no value to their markets. As I discussed in a previous post ; Silos are Great for Shooting Missiles not for growing Market Leading Organizations, “Tear Down Your Dysfunctional Silo’s and become a Market Leader. If your organization has silos, walls built around business units designed for kingdom building and a self serving desire to feel superior its time to change. As your business prepares for 2010…tear down those walls!
By Mark Allen Roberts
I believe there is a problem festering deep within a number of companies that may, if left untreated be the single biggest threat to your team achieving sales, profits and your bottom line objectives. A study not long ago said 60% of your employees plan to leave when the economy improves. Well the economy has and is improving? Is your organization at risk? Most companies think they clearly understand salespeople, what motivates them and how to motivate them to achieve super human sales results…and most are wrong. In this post I will share what sales super stars need, why sales stars will leave, and how to keep and attract top sales performers.
Like all my posts this post has been swirling around inside my mind for weeks. This one however has bounced around much longer. I have my opinions based on leading sales and marketing teams for over 30 years…do I share them? what if the experts have different opinions? My desire when I write it to share what I have found to work to help you make strategic corrections , adjustments before you find your business in a crisis of chaos. So how do I best serve you? The more I thought about it the more I delayed following up my last post; Why Do Star Salespeople Leave? (it is not what you think)… I decided to share what I have experienced and provide thought leadership from others in hopes of helping better serve you and your organization.
When I am asked to help a company turnaround their sales, increase sales, I always use the same process and it starts by identifying current market truths. I bring them into the light as the Bible guides us to do for once in the light we can clearly see them and address them before they become terminal. Then I seek internal truths about your companies’ true strengths, weaknesses and ideally clearly define your distinctive competence in the perception of your market. Once we have this information we can shape and design a go-to-market strategy that drives explosive results. So I want to use this same process to identify what I am referring to a “Sales Force Sink Hole” that could result in one….two…or even three of your top sales producers leaving your team and crippling your results. I hear that voice of clients past saying; let them leave I will just hire more… Before you quickly jump to being defensive you need to ask yourself some practical questions;
How long does it take for a new salesperson to gain traction and start truly adding value to your bottom line?
What is the cost of lost revenue when a Sales Super Star “just leaves”?
If you are truly honest, it takes much longer than it should for a new salesperson to gain traction and losing a top producing salesperson (or two or three) is estimated to cost you up to 10 X their annual compensation package. Note; When I keep saying one-two- or three it is because when your top salesperson leaves, studies show there is a high probability your other top performers will leave as well. So why not intentionally create a culture that keeps and attracts sales super stars? Why not understand what truly makes sales stars tick and meet those needs?
What are the top 12 ways to keep and attract top sales super stars?
Be a company that has a history of doing what it promises, doing what it says it will do for internal and external customers
Take the time to clearly articulate expectations, objectives and why those objectives must be met, and quickly follow up on questions and concerns
Top sales people are competitive, they need it, and they thrive on it so intentionally build it into your culture
Be a winning team
Top salespeople win, its what they do. They win new business, more orders from current customers and they desire to be on teams of other winners. Do you have a team of winners or do you need to fix areas of your company that are underperforming and have been for some time?
Most executives that do not have a sales background assume its all about “money”, but in reality top salespeople thrive in organizations that are driven to be the best just like your top salespeople.
Leaders have High Emotional Intelligence
Teams that are open and transparent, that welcome new solutions attract and retain top salespeople, they have the courage to say “I don’t have all the answers today but I know a process to find them, and I will”
Strong Values and Integrity
Do not ask your salespeople to compromise what is best long term for the market and its customers to hit short term financial objectives
Strategic Compensation Plan
A results driven plan that is easy to understand, reinforces desired objectives of your strategic plan, and has no cap, no claw backs
Organizations that learn to actively listen to identify and bust through common roadblocks in the sales process, listen and sense their market, that are agile and adapt quickly to strategic shifts in how buyers buy and the criteria they are now using to make buying decisions
Sharpen the Saw
An almost paranoid drive to constantly improve your people and processes with training and new technology
Make what you do about more than you, your numbers, make it a quest , top sales performer embrace objectives much bigger than themselves
Lead and Coach, do not Manage
We lead and coach people, we manage processes, don’t confuse the two
If you are committed to focusing on this area and intentionally creating a culture that keeps and attracts top sales performers then I recommend you also visit the below links to content to serve you and your team.
Clayton Christensen’s “How Will You Measure Your Life?”
Micromanagers: 6 Reasons your Employees Don’t Like You
War underway for top sales talent http://blog.sellingpower.com/
10 laws of successful sales management http://www.thepeasegroup.com/_
Communicate clear expectations http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-
How to hire, find a sales star http://www.salesforcesearch.
10 tips to motivate people http://humanresources.about.
How people are motivated to work http://
How to motivate sales people http://sales.about.com/od/trainingasalesstaff/a/Motivating-A-Sales-Team.htm
Want to Jump Start Sales and Morale? Write a “Passion Statement” For Your Business…. http://www.nosmokeandmirrors.com/2010/05/24/want-to-jump-start-sales-and-morale-write-a-%E2%80%9Cpassion-statement%E2%80%9D-for-your-business%E2%80%A6/
Does my business need a “passion statement”? Take a short quiz… http://www.nosmokeandmirrors.com/2010/05/26/do-i-need-a-passion-statement-for-my-business-take-the-short-quiz%E2%80%A6/
I hope you found the above useful and you agree keeping sales happy and productive is about much more than just “money”.
“Sales Super Stars leave when their intrinsic needs are not met and they validate this decision with extrinsic conditions”
– Mark Allen Roberts
What have you found to keep and attract your top sales performers?
Do you agree with the above 12 ways to keep and attract top sales super stars?
Which of the above do you believe is most important? Why?