Greta Schulz: The 4 Issues that Prevent Optimal Sales Performance
The following is based on research findings conducted by Nightingale Conant in conjunction with other sales and learning specialists. 2,663 sales organizations took part in the survey to help Sales Directors understand the issues that prevent optimum sales performance results.
I want to share these as well as my thoughts on the issues.
A POORLY DEFINED SALES PROCESS, which diminishes sales revenues. Even companies that enjoy the luxury of a superior product line or suite of services know that their products and services won’t sell themselves. At a minimum, companies need a sales force comprised of skilled professionals
who understand their products and who know both their customers and their market.
DEVELOPING A CONSULTATIVE SALES PROCESS
From the perspective of Sales Directors, developing a consultative sales process means developing a comprehensive, formalized and step-by-step outline of what salespeople are expected to do. This outline includes the activity and calls they must make, the relationships they should establish with prospects and a clear path to each sale.
It’s only when such an outline is in place that the sales management is in a position to;
- monitor the sales force’s activity,
- assess problems as they arise, and,
- redirect individual sales representatives’ efforts efficiently.
Although many organizations appreciate the importance of being customer-focused and talk about their “consultative sales process,” surprisingly few actually implement it fully.
LESS TRAINING WITH HIGHER EXPECTATIONS makes it difficult for sales directors today to deal with the fact that many corporations today provide less upfront training for their sales staff than in years past yet attach increasing importance to staff development!
Not surprisingly a corporation’s investment of human capital in the form of training and education of staff, is not separable from the general expenditure of a corporation. It therefore appears as a cost on the corporate balance sheet. Additionally, the lack of on-going reinforcement and development training is part and parcel to this deficiency.
NOT HAVING THE RIGHT MANAGEMENT PROCESSES IN PLACE to mentor, coach, and hold accountable salespeople for optimal results.
Good salespeople don’t necessarily make good managers
The single most common mistake that organizations make is promoting their number one salesperson into the role of sales manager, thereby depriving themselves in a single stroke of their best producer and hamstringing their sales force with an ineffective manager. The skills required for managing, mentoring, and developing a sales team are totally different from those required for selling. As a result, it’s not uncommon to find newly promoted sales managers who regret having taken a
management position and may even leave to get back into sales.
NOT HAVING A PROPER HIRING PROCESS is one of the most important yet misunderstood of the issues. You wouldn’t build a home with a poor foundation, you wouldn’t take high school baseball players and put them up against a major league team but we are so often taking a mediocre sales force and spending time and money on them with expectations they will never meet.
1)Identify the Ideal Candidate.
Most organizations don’t take the necessary time or energy to do this step well. If someone interviews well and their resume says that they have experience we often jump to fill the need. We then can check off that box and move to the next issue. This can lead to disaster. First we must identify the qualities that will make this candidate successful for your company, not just any organization. Have they sold high- priced products like yours before? What level of decision maker do they need to be in front of to be successful at your company? Benchmarking is key in hiring right.
2)Search for the Ideal Candidate.
A good way to start this step is by asking yourself this question: "If I found someone better than my best person tomorrow, would I find a place for them in my organization?" If the answer is a resounding YES, then why are you only looking when you need someone? A good salesperson is not on “Monster.com or Indeed.com”, They have a job. You need to find them while they’re working and
talk to them about your opportunity.
3) Pre-Qualify the Candidate.
This should be done on the phone and should take no more than 10 minutes. What you are looking for is to see the style of the representative, their ability to ask questions and have some general knowledge about your organization.
- Assess the Candidate.
- Interview the Candidate in Person.
At this stage in the process, the candidate has met your initial criteria and should be asked to take an assessment. The assessment should be able to uncover weaknesses that are hidden and can’t be picked up in the regular interview process. Some examples of these "hidden weaknesses" are the ability (or inability) to discuss money, having an overwhelming need to be liked, and the ability to recover after a feeling of rejection, just to name a few.
At this point in the recruiting process, you should be able to concentrate on things like eye contact, hand shake, personality, bonding ability and hopefully the candidates´ ability to ask you questions, not just letting you do all of the talking. Your assessment should also have given you some questions to ask based on the results. The ability to look outside of your gut is important.
Who is Greta Schulz?
Greta Schulz is the president of Schulz Business SELLutions based in Palm Beach. She has been involved in sales, sales management, marketing, and training for over thirty years. She is a National columnist of “SELLutions” in over 30 business publications across the country and a contributing author of New York Times bestseller Masters of Sales. Greta has her own bestseller she’s written called, “To Sell IS Not to Sell.” Now in its 2nd addition. Greta helps organizations improve their sales processes and build their businesses on referrals.
Greta is also a noted motivational speaker speaking to large corporations and organizations around the nation. She is a business graduate of The University of Miami.