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

Unexpected lessons from COVID

One of the things I drive and encourage in my client work is a practice of review and reflection.    It encourages and promotes a greater level of self awareness, learnings to take forward into future situations and link new concepts to existing knowledge.  It...

Why Connection means more now than ever

A big part of my business is facilitating workshops with sales teams and their leaders….these days, all of these are on Zoom.    One of the things that initially worried me was how well I’d be able to connect with the participants as I’m not able to physically...

Hibernation

I’m a Victorian.   Just as we faced the end of stage 4 of lockdown there’s no real end in sight…we’re all just hoping we can have a “normal” Christmas.   Now I know it can seem that the weeks are kind of flying by on one hand, but I think it’s because one...

Output over Optics

Remote workforces are here to stay.    While in many ways we’ve never been so “unseen” the essence of the value we bring to others has never been more exposed than it is right now.  Poor sales approaches, poor leaders, poor company values, poor work practices….ta...

From What if to Even if – A practice of positive action

Things are tough right now.   Regardless of where you live, the impact of the decision for Victoria to effectively close up shop will be felt by us all.  It’s just a matter of degrees.  Victorians will of course feel it more acutely. It is human to be despondent...

WIIFT?

No it’s not a typo.    We’re so used to seeing WIIFM that it makes sense that over time perhaps we’ve taken that on at an extreme level.  In business, it can mean transactional relationships that only exist to get something from someone else, and in society,...

Courage before Confidence

Like the chicken and the egg…which comes first?    Like any symbiotic relationship, one indeed strengthens the other.   When it comes to reasons I hear salespeople giving for not achieving outcomes, “confidence” seems to be reason number one.  Confidence in...

Uncertainty is the new certainty!

We’re all connected.    It’s why the 6 week lockdown also impacts businesses that supply products and services to Victorian businesses, market for them, buy from them, speak with them, learn from them …. as well as the thousands of Victorian small businesses,...

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...