Success in sales is not based on luck. There are clear actions that companies can take that separate the bad from the good, and the good from the best. Often poorly-performing companies look for help, but what about the sales team that’s “good enough,” but isn’t quite at that next level? What principles can they follow that will help them outpace the competition?
When all levels of management have completely bought into enhancing their sales culture, results improve drastically. Transforming your sales team is not an easy task or an overnight fix, though. Managers will be faced with people who are now provided tools and a process to help achieve higher results, and new comfort zones will come into play. Managers who roll up their sleeves, understand change is an ongoing process, and help their people align their personal goals with corporate goals will perform at a higher level. The stronger the shepherd, the stronger the sheep.
Hire Top Sales Talent
Many companies are quick to hire and slow to fire, where they really should do the opposite. Companies that have instilled a strong hiring process to find highly coachable and trainable people have greater long term success. They avoid hiring candidates who may look good just to turn them loose and hope for production; instead they identify (rather than attract) the correct person in their ad, properly assess and interview the candidates, and follow their documented onboarding process strictly for new hires. They understand that the first 13 weeks are the most important of a new hire’s life cycle and prepare them to succeed.
Follow the Process and Review Key Performance Indicators
A precise sales process should be developed and enforced in order to increase efficiency and success while also establishing a common language your salespeople can use to reduce confusion and mistakes. The process must correlate to staged pipelines to ensure consistency. Your sales people also should understand 3-5 KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) that will accurately predict future business instead of managing closed business, which is a lagging indicator.
A colleague of mine who I greatly respect once said to me, “it is common sense, unfortunately it isn’t common practice.” These principles may seem like common sense when you read them, but my experience in working with sales teams tells me they are certainly not common practice. Make them law in your company, and you may be able to take that next step from just being a good sales team to being truly great.