Damn Salespeople Don’t Know What the!&^%$#@! They’re Doing! That could very well be true.
Yet in the course of working with companies seeking to improve their sales and sales team performance, I have observed a disturbing and far-too-common behavior within what I will call the sales culture of these companies: Poor sales are often the fault of sales leadership and not the salespeople.
Salespeople and their problems
Now, if you happen to be in sales leadership and find this statement a bit uncomfortable, imagine how I feel when I have to explain it to my clients, also usually in sales leadership, and who happen to be paying me. Awkward. Frankly, that’s not the answer they’re looking for to the sales problems they’re looking to me to help them resolve.
Here are a few of the reasons why it is often true.
[Judge yourself, and let your conscience be your guide.]
- Sales management has a responsibility to its sales team.
- Sales management is the management responsible for overseeing sales — whether it’s called executive management, C-level management, HR, or something else. Regardless of your salespeople’s experience (or not), how well you are paying them (or not), how hot they are (or not), or their contracts or quotas, they need that management’s clear direction.
- If your competitors are killing you, their salespeople are better trained than yours.
Almost all of the time. How current and relevant are your training programs, materials, philosophy, and expectations of such training? What about the training structure? Does it make sense? Do those involved with training have concrete and enforceable performance standards? They should.
Your website and other corporate online presence don’t support, runs counter to, and/or complicate sales efforts.
If someone is considering spending money with you, they will undertake at least the minimum due diligence of checking your online presence. This usually happens before there is a meaningful salesperson encounter, and probably during the process, if they get that far with you. Make it easier on everyone. Make your website and social media the tool they should be for the sales team that needs them.
You are hiring the wrong people for the wrong positions at the wrong compensation. This can include wrong qualifications which further impact productivity. The wrong person that lacks qualifications makes the performance level low, which further impacts the team’s overall effectiveness and meeting the deadlines. This is a worst-case scenario that can impact revenues and overall sales.
In a similar manner, the wrong hire can impact team cohesion and create a bad atmosphere in a work environment which is something nobody wants when creating a profitable business. On the other hand, people who are not compensated enough for the job they performed may impact their desire to be present in the company, or their devotion which in the long-run impacts sales and the atmosphere in the company.
OK, a bit harsh, but if you are doing even one of these, you have a serious and probably systemic problem in your company. This is costing you money with respect to compensation, lost sales, and the beating you’re taking from your competitors who know how to hire effectively and getting the sales stars you passed on for the wrong reasons. Or, they never applied to you in the first place. Or, worse: Word on the street is you don’t best position your salesforce for success. Make no mistake, this is complicated. You must do this right — now and going forward.
If you’ve gotten to the point where you are at least open to what might be happening at your company, give me a call at 718.662.8581, email me in confidence, or schedule time for a chat here.