The recent economic challenges has caused many owners and managers to have a sense of urgency in bringing in sales like never before. It was not long ago when simply having the open sign turned on meant people would buy and revenues would come int. Not anymore.
The desperation caused by low sales numbers had resulted in businesses responding by demanding more from their sales personnel. It is believed that placing more pressure on the sales team will result in increased sales activity and make up for the massive loss in revenue.
Many of these businesses believe that the loss of sales is due to a sales force that is not working hard enough or taking the steps required to generate enough sales activity.
Although in certain circumstances this may be the case, it is not always the case.
The Beatings Will Cease When The Moral Improves!
So in response to the low sales the call goes out from management for the sales team to do: more outbound calls, more cold calling, more presentations, more proposals, and produce more reports. The sales force very quickly learns that quantity is more important than quality and they begin to fill up their appointment books as quickly as possible.
Anybody and anyone is contacted whether they have a need or not. Not soon afterwards, proposals are being produced and the pipeline reports are showing all sorts of activity.
Usually at this time sales managers either by their own directive, or as a result of executive management, begin to produce report after report. Sales data is collected from the field and analyzed in hopes of developing a favorable forecast of future revenue. Surely with all this activity and all this monitoring there will dollars appearing at the end of the day?
Then When you Thought You Heard It All….
A new “motivating” sales team contest is introduced in hopes that this will make sales force into trying harder. Now this is not the regular sales contest that you would expect to see if
things were going well with the company. No this “contest” has the look and feel of the famous scene from the movie, “The Boiler Room”.
You might remember in the movie, the sales people are told that first prize is a new car, second prize is a set of steak knives, and THERE IS NO THIRD PRIZE (since you are then fired).Sad to say, it is not uncommon to witness a company both laying off salespeople while at the same time announcing a “new” sales force contest.
In the end of this wild cycle of activity salespeople begin to look for new job opportunities while giving the company a bunch of activity to look busy and maybe save their jobs one more week. Once the salespersons finds a new position (greener pastures), they quit leaving a lot of empty promises in the pipeline. All along the company’s revenue continue to drop off and expenses rise.
In part two we will look at what works and does not work when dealing with a sales team that might not be performing.