Most sales teams have some level of what I call “sales dysfunction”.
I have yet to meet a sales team that did not have some potential for improvement. The sales dysfunctions we often identify include some combination of the following:
- Poor Job Fit
- No CRM / poor CRM use
- Poor sales processes
- Evidence of Golden Child(ren)
- You are not involved.
Poor Job Fit
Many people want to make money… Precious few can actually sell. Most sales teams have team members from yesteryear who were hired based upon a relationship and are order takers rather than sales professionals who add value.
If you have read my posts, I passionately believe in using a valid sales assessment test like the TriMetrix® HD to identify high potential sales talent. The risks of hiring low performers without a tool like TriMetrix® HD are just too high.
Naturally, you may be thinking to yourself, “We have good sales people.”
Sure you do. Everyone has a beautiful baby and no one wants to acknowledge the child that has a face only their mother could love.
If this were baseball, I could assess your entire team and hire away the A-Rods (Those who seem like they are top performers but actually pose by "enhancing their performance" through big talk). If you have a spread in sales performance of more than 2-3 times between your top and bottom salespeople, you have a job fit problem.
Want to dramatically improve your sales? Hire better sales talent.
No CRM / poor CRM use
It blows my mind that companies still rely on notepads and the individual whims of salespeople to capture Client information. Hey… Try this sometime… Do a search of a particular conversation with a Client using your sales team’s notepads and napkins… Ineffective.
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool like Salesforce (we have been using SF for 12 years) is absolutely indispensible in creating intelligence and performance accountability. If you are not using a CRM tool like Salesforce, do yourself and your shareholders a favor – sign up.
I strongly recommend Salesforce. Why? Because it works.
Intelligence is created by:
- Reviewing accounts and sales opportunities to identify how to help your sale team add more value.
- Predicting with a fair degree of accuracy your sales numbers for the quarter and year.
- Comparing conversion rates to identify coaching opportunities of low performers.
- Identifying if you have a product problem or a performance accountability problem (a sales person who is not putting in the time).
Performance accountability is created by requiring all Customer and prospect engagement be recorded in a standardized fashion. My philosophy is “if it is not in Salesforce, it did not happen.”
Speaking of accountability… Even if you use a CRM like Salesforce, you have to actually use it. The best sales people dislike using a CRM and many companies “reward” high performers by saying, “You do not have to use Saleforce very much.” That is a lousy idea because it reduces intelligence and it destroys accountability and morale with the rest of the sales team.
Everyone must use a CRM system. Period.
Poor sales processes
Unfortunately, few companies have standardized sales processes including the selling cycle, recording of Customer/prospect interactions, proposals, and follow-up. By standardizing your sales processes, consistency and accountability are created as well as valuable time is saved.
Evidence of Golden Child(ren)
Most sales teams have a “golden child” or two who are not held accountable and are virtually untouchable. The existence of a “golden child” means lower sales performance, productivity, and sale's team morale. I find this especially common in small companies.
If you have a “golden child” on your sales team, you probably think you are fooling everyone. I can walk into any sales team and after talking with each team member, I will know with certainty who it is.
You are not engaged.
Sales teams require engagement by you. Whether you are the CEO or sales manager / VP, you must be engaged for at least two reasons.
- Your counsel. If you are the CEO, especially if you are the founder, you have precious experience that can help close the sale. Furthermore, many prospects love to see the CEO involved.
- Your encouragement / inspiration / motivation. As CEO or sales manager / VP you must engage your sales team to encourage them during difficult times, inspire, and motivate when necessary.
Chances are you have a combination of the above-described problems and the good news is they are easy to address. You just have to decide to address them.
Remember… Interested people do what is convenient. Committed people do whatever it takes.