How fit is your sales team?
Why do people hire personal trainers? They already know they need to eat better and exercise more, but a trainer will develop a customized work-out routine, push them harder than they’d push themselves, and hold them accountable for their progress. That’s the same approach you should take with your sales process improvement.
Just like the dieter who can never seem to lose that last 15 pounds, if your company’s sales are lagging maybe it’s because you need to change your focus and start doing things differently.
Step on the scale: Examine your starting point
Begin by looking at what you have been doing. What have you tried? What were the results? Companies typically try everything from training and incentives to re-dividing territories and even changing the players. Most of the time, they end up relying on the individual sales people to decide for themselves how best to do their jobs.
Develop with a more effective (sales) fitness routine
Look at your sales history. What can you learn about the companies that said “yes” to what you do? What did they like about you? What did the sales process look like? How can you teach all of this to your sales people?
A personal trainer’s fitness plan will describe which exercises to do and how many repetitions are needed to build up certain muscle groups. Likewise, you should be able to tell your sales team: “If we do it this way, in this volume, and follow roughly this approach, then we should get better results.”
This is the formula for what I call a company’s “secret sauce”, and the recipe is different for every company. Identify this and you’ll probably be following metrics you’ve never examined before.
To get in better shape, learn how to push through a few “walls”
Trainers show clients how to overcome each fitness threshold. Similarly, in your sales methodology, you’ll want to show your sales people how to push past objections.
In any competitive situation, for example, only one of you is ever going to be the cheapest. Learn how to win even when your price is higher. What is it about your company that will make the customer be willing to spend more money?
Why are so many people willing to pay $4.50 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks? A Starbucks coffee shop offers them something they can’t get at home, even if they brew Starbucks-brand coffee beans.
Help your sales team understand why people should desire what’s in your secret sauce even if it stretches their budget more than your competition.
An ultimate fitness goal may be to finish a marathon but a first milestone may be to run a 5K. Similarly while it may take six to nine months to see the results in your sales cycle, you should start seeing improvements in your newly identified metrics after a few weeks.
Are your sales people changing how they do things? Are they calling on different types of clients? Are they chasing opportunities more like the ones you know you can win?
There’s a certain order to how your sales team will start flexing its new-found muscles. First you’ll start to see different activities taking hold. Soon, you’ll see the volume of that activity increasing. Before long, there will be more deals in the works with different kinds of accounts.
Then it will be time to start measuring actual sales revenue increases compared to last year and the last period. And get ready to celebrate a victory.