If any of your salespeople are not meeting and exceeding their sales goals, consistently, predictably and profitably, consider the following items as potential culprits:
1. Consistent Product Knowledge Training - It’s not enough to train your sales professionals on product knowledge once, or even once a year, and expect them to retain, master and leverage that knowledge. There must be ongoing formal product knowledge training, not only on your products, but that of the competition, to reinforce the knowledge and expertise of your sales people.
Some business owners, CEOs, and sales leaders believe that product knowledge training should be done on the salesperson's own time, and not on company time.
That’s all fine and good, but if your salespeople are struggling to exceed their sales goals consistently, it might be time to make consistent, formal product knowledge training, and testing, a consistent and vital part of your company and sales culture.
2. Consistent Selling Skills Training - To quote entrepreneur and founder of Lightspeed VT, in order for any training to be successful and take, long-term, it must contain “good content, repetition, accountability, practice and role-play. Training must also be something you do, not something you did.”
An ongoing, consistent and strategic selling skills training regimen is essential to keeping your sales professionals sharp and fully capable.
If you’re not training your people consistently, both sellers and sales leaders, on the same content, and following it up with coaching and mentorship to reinforce what's learned, and having your sales managers coachin your salespeople, you’re wasting your money on training.
3. Sales training and product knowledge training are NOT enough to achieve ongoing, sustainable sales growth.
In order to bridge the gap between product knowledge, sales training, and consistent sales growth, salespeople must learn how to increase their influence with potential buyers before, during, and after the buying process and sales process.
This means development and honing key disciplines of influence including advance communication skills, leadership skills, negotiation skills and sales presentation skills.
Without refined skills, distinctions and insights into these critical disciplines, all the sales training and product knowledge in the world will not yield consistent sales results.
4. Activity and Messaging - No matter the industry, top sales professionals that produce consistent sales results get the right message, in front of the right people, the right number of times.
To do so requires a sufficient quantity of focused, consistent activity, coupled with quality interactions with the right prospects.
Too many salespeople are using a spray and pray approach hoping that it magically produces the outcomes that are expecting.
5. Data Crunching, Pipeline Management, and Forecasting - While all are important, and definitely have their place, even though "the numbers don’t lie," they do not tell the full story.
Both sales people and sales leaders need to be in customer accounts, and conversations, consistently, to know the full story so that they can more accurately predict outcomes.
6. Coaching and Mentorship - It is vital to create an embed a consistent and predictable coaching and mentorship relationship between sales leaders and sales people.
Many sales leaders shy away from, and even completely avoid, implementing a coaching and mentorship program into their sales culture, because they dread the pushback from their sales people. In some cases, they avoid it completely because I don’t want to lose what they perceive to be good salespeople.
But your coaching and mentorship practice doesn’t have to be a love-hate relationship. In fact, it can be a love-love relationship, when it’s approached properly.
Rather than taking on or implementing a “gotcha“ when you do something wrong environment, be sure to create a ask-based, show coaching environment where salespeople feel comfortable making mistakes, and working through challenges, so they can become stronger and more confident in their selling skills and sales behaviors.
7. A poorly defined or inconsistent sales process.
It’s astonishing how many sales organizations, small, medium and large, lack a clearly defined sales process that is used consistently, by all sales people, company wide.
In many cases, there’s never been any formal sales training, to get all of the sales people on the same page, with a common sales language, and everyone is operating from their own makeshift sales process, if they have one at all.
If, as a sales leader, you have not taken the time to clearly defined, map out, and train your salespeople on a proven sales process, all the other training, coaching, and mentorship you could provide could potentially be derailed when the salesperson doesn’t know when, how, or why to leverage a proven process that yields predictable results.
After considering the above, ask yourself, what if anything needs to be shored up, created, implemented, or improved upon to help bridge the gap your sales people may be facing.
Many times, sales leaders are too close to the situation to be able to properly discern and identify what’s broken. A fresh set of eyes and ears might be beneficial in helping expand possibility thinking, and innovating one's approach.
Get involved in a mastermind with other sales leaders, from across industries, to help you see things you might be missing.
If you need further assistance, we'd be delighted to speak with you and help you to improve upon any training or process improvements needed. Visit www.sellingwithinfluence.com , email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 225-384-0693