My sales team is driving me crazy!

“Why can’t they just do what I’m asking?”  “Why aren’t they increasing their activity levels?” 

“I’m just asking them to do what’s in their position description – if they did that they’d hit their targets!!”

I hear these comments all the time.  But telling these sales managers that they’re not on their own with this challenge doesn’t make them feel any better.  They’re frustrated, they’re under pressure and they feel like they’re running out of options.

So, why do sales people continue to do the same things that aren’t producing the results they need to achieve, yet expect a different outcome?  It’s the very definition of insanity really.  And, I don’t really think they actually believe the same behaviour will yield better results. 

 

This is the problem.

Any sales manager knows that getting someone else to do anything is virtually impossible when they don’t want to do it.  Sales managers are left with performance management,  reducing head count or becoming a micro manager.  None of these options are appealing….or effective at engendering long term change.

 

There is a solution. 

For anyone to change, first they must want to change and have a reason to change.  For change to happen, they must see that their current behaviour isn’t working and won’t get them what they want.  An external counterpoint is needed that gets them to see the situation as it really is, its impact on the organization/customers/the team/them and that unless something shifts, it’s not going to be great for them.  Change is coming and they have a choice: to be part of that change or to have the change happen to them.  Most choose the former.

Many sales managers struggle with using sales results on their own as the external reference point because they’re lagging indicators.  The horse has already bolted.  What’s difficult to measure are the leading indicators; in particular, the behaviours that will achieve the results. 

Sales managers need more than their own feedback as that external reference point because it can be argued against by a sales person (if even only in the sales person’s mind) as one person’s opinion, or that the sales manager has something against them, or that the sales manager’s presence during client meetings put them off so they weren’t at their best…..You get the idea.

Once you have mapped your sales process in stages, and broken down that process into the observable behaviours that demonstrate what good looks like, you can use consistent criteria to use as the foundation for an objective conversation.  What matters is that specific examples of great and poor must be provided by both the sales manager and the sales person for it to have real impact.

Working with an external sales expert can support sales managers and give weight to what they’re saying.  It’s similar to parenting a teenager: you can say something a thousand times and be ignored, then someone else will say the same thing once and it’s a revelation!  What matters is that one way or another they hear it.

This criterion can enable a sales person to see that perhaps the way they’re doing their role isn’t the most effective. Perhaps that even though they can provide examples of great action, they’re not as consistent as they need to be.  Then you have the foundation for a new action plan.  And you have the foundation for the sales person setting their own action (using the evaluation criteria) to focus on and implement.  It’s very hard for human beings to argue with themselves.

 

View our other posts

Consistent AND Effective

Sales teams must get into action now.    Yesterday in fact.  Waiting for the mythical “return to normal” has well and truly been debunked with further lockdowns, physical restrictions and extended travel restrictions across Australia. But it’s different now.  It...

Are You Listening?

I keep hearing 80’s band Pseudo Echo playing in my head…   ”I say, you say, weren’t you listening?  Now it’s too late, you’re not listening…”Ahh, such wisdom lads….:)   But let me return to the present day!  Once another person feels like they’re not being...

Recurring Theme

It’s fair to say that I speak with dozens of people directly and indirectly each week.   Most of these are salespeople, sales leaders, business owners and C-Level decision makers.  What concerns me is that in conversation after conversation, organisation after...

STOP IT

Everyone knows how to have a conversation, right?    Everyone knows how to create powerful, instant connection with another, right?  Everyone knows how to adjust their behaviour in order to make someone else comfortable, right?  Everyone understands the power of...

Network strength will be the key

Build your network before you need it   This has never been more relevant than it is right now. With more people facing redundancies, the market shrinking for sales people, much success for securing new work and getting in the door will come down to the strength...

Get Cut Through in a Recession

Lockdown restrictions are easing.   People are starting to return to the workplace in some states.  For many sales teams, they’re back on the road, able to see customers and prospects in person – albeit in compliance with distancing regulations. If sales teams...

Is Your Team Ready to Sell to Customers Who Don’t Want to Be Sold To?

Read the room people.    We’re back to work, but not like it was before.  It’s different.  We’re different.  We’ve all changed. COVID has taught us to think about how our actions impact on others.  So now that lockdown restrictions are starting to ease somewhat,...

Growth Happens on the Edge

Growth Happens on the Edge   I’m quoting one of the greats: my dear friend and colleague Natasha Facci here.  It’s true. Whether you’re an organization or an individual, we’re not stretched enough while everything is running smoothly.  After all, if it ain’t...

Go there first

This morning I heard a sobering statistic about the number of suicides in one weekend.  It stopped me in my tracks.  Literally took my breath away. If that stat was about COVID-19 deaths, we’d all know about it.    But it in a way, they are related.  While many...

No touching: the future of retail

Despite a spike in retail sales in March the month ended with most retailers closing their doors, stand down employees, and apply for the Jobkeeper allowance.   Unlike the supermarkets, sporting goods stores, home entertainment stores and those catering to the...