In my last post, I promised to outline the FIVE challenges facing modern sales leaders today – so here we go with the first one….
Even companies that enjoy the luxury of clearly superior products, realise that those products will not sell themselves. As a minimum, companies need a sales force comprised of skilled professionals who understand the application of the product range, have an in-depth knowledge of their customer base, market sector and of course the competition. But even all these elements together are not sufficient to ensure optimum performance levels and profitable sales.
So What Is A Sales Process?
Put quite simply, it is a set of procedures, which determine how a company wishes its sales team to operate – “The way we do things around here”
The most successful organisations have implemented a process and an all-encompassing framework for defining performance standards. This involves assessing, appraising, developing, reviewing, providing continual feedback on performance, as well as implementing efficient and relevant process tools
Lack of Direction
Far too frequently, competent salespeople are expected to channel their own activities into the areas that will produce the quickest wins. Unfortunately, left to their own devices, they don’t develop and pursue a formal strategy for moving a sale tangibly forward during each prospect interaction, neither do they have a clearly defined set of goals against which to measure the progress they are making Typically, their judgment is based on gut reaction and is purely subjective i.e., “Oh yes, I’ll get that order, he likes me”, because salespeople have to be optimistic by nature. They end up “dancing around” with prospects, in the hope that eventually they will get to their chosen point on the dance-floor i.e. -the sale. In this scenario, the customer has complete control.
This lack of a planning is often fatal, because, as recent research from The Results Corporation PLC discovered,
60% of clients buy after five “No’s”, 22% after the second “No” and 14% after a third “No”.
Yet 44% of salespeople give up after the first rejection,
A well-known oil company discovered that it took their best salespeople an average of three visits and five follow-up calls to convert a prospect into a client. Yet, their average sales performers only visited prospects twice and then gave up, costing the company millions of pounds in wasted sales effort and even more in lost potential sales opportunities.
A Discouraged Sales Force Diminishes Sales Efficiency
When their efforts don’t pay off immediately, even experienced salespeople tend to become discouraged. They spend more and more time struggling to meet their sales quotas and working less and less efficiently.
Feeling increasingly powerless to influence prospects, they may also begin to press for a sale in ineffective ways – for instance, by arranging formal product presentations to prospects that they have not even qualified or who haven’t yet agreed that they need the solution. They allow prospects to milk them for information without getting a commensurate commitment first – and even worse, they fail to defend margin and make unprofitable sales in order to achieve quotas. The details of what goes wrong differs for each individual salesperson but the net result is always the same, a discouraged sales force, diminished sales efficiency (i.e. wasted investment of sales time and resources that fail to produce high quality sales) and, consequently, increased cost of sales which inevitably drastically reduces net profit.
What’s the bottom line? Sales never result efficiently and with maximum revenue unless the sales process is continually and closely managed. But before the sales process can be managed, it must be manageable.
Sour Cream Rises to the Top
Wednesday November 18th 2009 11:00AM EASTERN
Your Invitation to Attend a Significant Sales Event
In challenging times average sales managers tend to be exposed, they cannot hide. So why is the average tenure of a sales leader less than 18 months?
The reasons for failure is simply many sales leaders do not fully understand what the real job is or have never been trained effectively to lead, manage and motivate their organizations.
This Top Sales Experts Roundtable will address the challenges of sales management with a prescriptive approach to defining the duties and responsibilities of the position.
Set the pace for your firm and position your career for success, learn from five of the top sales leadership coaches in the world, what really separates top sales leaders from the sour cream.
“The ideal sales manager acts as a sales leader, a catalyst for change and continuous improvement and a positive force within the entire organization. They understand their priorities, their team and have a vision for the future”
Ken Thoreson, CEO of Acumen Management Group.
Ken will be joined by……
Dave Brock – founder and CEO of Partners in EXCELLENCE,
Steven Rosen – founder and CEO of STAR Results
Danita Bye – founder and CEO of Sales Growth Specialists
Jonathan Farrington – Chairman of The Sales Corporation
Are you ready for 2010? The Sales “Holy Grail”: Sustainable increases in revenue and profits achieved consistently, reliably and by design is achievable…. Join us with my compliments, to discover how.
Reserve your FREE place HERE