In part one we introduced some of the problems companies face when simply demanding more from their salespeople these days.
In this second part we will look at where the hidden costs are for most companies and what can be done to overcome a non producing salesperson or sales team.
Although what is discussed here pertain to a mid to large sales organizations, the same issues also affect small companies with only one or two salespeople. By taking note of these common misconceptions and the practical solutions presented here companies can significantly improve their bottom line
Wait a Minute, These Reports and Projections are Full of Lies
The problem with simply demanding more production is the misconception that increasing activities (in of themselves) will result in improvements to the bottom line. In most cases, the increase in sales related activities does not lead to more revenue. Rather, what happens is equivalent to a golfer incorrectly practicing his swing over and over. At the end of all that practice all he/she has done is perfected a bad swing.
In other words, wrong or bad sales efforts only end up producing little or no actual revenue.
A second serious problem is the assumption that the sales people already know what the right activities are and how to properly implement them for bottom line results. Truth be told there is more ignorance in effective sales strategies and procedures now than ever before.
This is due in part to the booming economy that all businesses have been experiencing for the last several years. Recent national surveys of sales organizations show that there are large pools of salespeople who have never had any sales training at all.
Now some of these salespeople do have product training and know the features and maybe the benefits of their products. Yet, just being able to explain the features and benefits of a product or service will not result in more sales.
After all, just about anyone can get this information about any product freely on the internet. As has often been said, today the customer is better informed than ever before. Not only does the customer know a lot about the product/service, but they also know about the competition and what they offer.
Therefore, what some businesses are finding out is their salespeople may be nothing more than order takers. Yet, what most businesses really need are professional and skillful consultative salespeople and they don’t have that.
Is All Lost? Is There Anything That a Business Can Do?
The best way to avoid these common misconceptions and frustrations is to invest now in a sales training program that will not only give salespeople the necessary skills to be effective, but also determine what specific strategies and procedures are essential to increase the bottom line. A sales consultant (someone who is not part of the company) canl give an objective opinion of what the needs are of the salesforce and not be blinded by company politics. This is a time when egos and traditional management ideas need to be put aside for the good of the company. Companies simply can no afford to keep doing things the same way hoping to get a different result.
Next, by strategically understanding the customer’s needs, and then implementing the appropriate activities to meet those needs, the sales force will be more effective. This often means not only sales training, but developing and implementing the proper organizational culture that will reinforce the training. I assure you that companies that have made this investment have translated those efforts into long term bottom line profits.
The good news is that many sales training and sales performance programs are cost effective and can provide you with a verifiable return on your investment in a short period of time.
Maybe I will Just Sit this One Out.
Now there will be those businesses that will refuse to do anything and just wait for things to get better. So given that cracking the whip did not work, all that is left is to fire the salespeople and wait it out. The idea and hope being the sales will come in (or not) with or without the salespeople, AND the savings on salaries will help the bottom line.
Ah, if only that were true…
Seriously, waiting for the economy to get better or for the sales force to take the initiative and obtain the necessary training is wishful thinking, and could put an organization on the course to financial ruin. As I stated above, companies that stop being reactionary and make the investment now will not only survive, but actually thrive during these times.
However, if history is any indication, most companies will not do anything and just repeat what they have done in the past. This is why the members of the Bay Area Mastermind and their companies succeed when others simply fail.
Each month we provide our members with key information and strategies to help them avoid common mistakes and grow their operations despite any economic uncertainties. If you would like to experience the Mastermind, take advantage of the Test Drive.
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