Recent research conducted by Nightingale Conant and their associates in to Sales Performance has confirmed what we have always believed are the key areas of differentiation between performing sales teams/organisations and those that are failing to get the results and rewards they deserve.
In summary, they surveyed 2,663 sales led organisations, seeking to establish the difference between performance and non-performance in the sales arena. There finding were:
1. The ‘Wing It’ Mentality – 82% of business owners /CEO’s had no business wide consistent sales process to engage sales prospects. Therefore, behaviours were predominantly reactive as opposed to proactive
2. Lack of sales knowledge and the application of any sales knowledge – 42% of business owners/CEO’s agreed that their business did not have sufficient sales skills to sell at a consistent enough rate to support growth….meaning they were working flat out to stay still…
3. Failure to comply with agreed sales processes that had been tested, proved to be effective and robust. 90% of business owners/CEO’s said that sales people confused sales activity with productivity, consistently calling low level prospects and chasing poor quality business.
4. Thinking small – 89% of business owners/CEO’s claimed that the sales teams didn’t think big enough.
5. Business owners/CEO’s overwhelmingly agreed that Sales Managers needed to play a higher level role in terms of coaching/mentoring/training and developing the people within the sales team, whilst fighting the urge to take on the negative, ‘it can’t be done, ”it’s a tough market’ attitude of the sales team
Here is my translation of the above:
1. Strategy comes from the top – if the sales team don’t have a strategy it’s because the company doesn’t have a strategy for the sales team. Successful sales led organisations don’t get lucky and pull in the numbers, they have a company plan to achieve, look at any of the successful companies today and consider the company vision, not just the sales teams vision.
2. Ok, fair cop. However, I’d just like to explore a little further though and question how customer centric is the rest of the organisation. If sales staff are working so hard to stay still what is the rest of the business doing to help them retain business? Who is accountable at what stage of the customer journey?
3. Totally agree. One of the easiest ways to turn around a sales team is to get them to question how they spend their time. Immediate light bulb moment.
4. Agreed. This goes back to the strategy adopted by the organisation. If that is driven by numbers and numbers alone, then expect to create busy fools. There is another way….and that requires more thinking and more productive doing. Smarter not harder folks.
5. Easy one to blame the Sales Manager…not entirely without foundation. However, it is a collective journey to success…if the Sales Manager is buying the sales teams negativity, maybe the organisation needs to look at its sales communication strategy coming from the top.
Interesting reading and definitely evidenced by lots of my experience in the sales field.
If you think your organisation maybe benefit from a confidential chat about improving your sales performance, contact me on the details below.
Principal and Lead Consultant – Morton Kyle Limited
0779 002 1885