A “sales job” is one of the more elusive occupations when you begin to think about what it is that salespeople actually do day in and day out. In many cases, business owners and managers don’t really care what their salespeople are doing as long as they hit their target number.
Here are a couple of problems with that philosophy:
The hiring and onboarding process for salespeople is extremely vague and typically leads to a high turnover ratio.
It’s difficult to verify that a salesperson is working hard if you don’t know what they’re doing or not doing consistently.
If a salesperson is struggling to hit their number it becomes challenging to coach them effectively.
In theory, I believe most business people probably wouldn’t disagree with any of these points; however, when you start to look at how their sales process is organized and how they recruit and train sales people, you might not know it. This is because business owners have a tendency to focus on sales results from “game to game” instead of what they want to accomplish in a “season.”
Let’s take the sport analogy a little bit further.
Think about your favorite team for a minute.
Do you like one of those teams that consistently wins and has a long track record of success? Who has built a legacy for winning throughout their history?
Or are you usually frustrated because your team seems to change things around from game to game and season to season, all the while continuing to lose?
Sports teams that win over and over again do so because they have come up with a philosophy for the type of team they want to be. Sports analysts love to call this a team’s “identity.” For example, some teams in football have an “in your face identity” and they will traditionally line-up to run the ball straight down the middle of the field, old school style. Others are flashy by comparison and include more trickery and style in their playbook. In either case, the teams that are successful are the ones that define themselves and stick to what it is they believe in. Only then, when they have established that identity, are they capable of developing and executing an effective “game plan” each week and each season.
From that perspective, they are effective in creating specific roles and responsibilities for each player in all scenarios. Everyone knows what to do and they are prepared to execute.
During and after a game the best coaches spend a significant amount of time analyzing stats and observing game film to understand what happened so they can work to improve on their weaknesses and plan for the next game.
Your sales process is absolutely no different. If you are constantly scratching your head and feeling like a fan of the Cleveland Browns (sorry to some of the most loyal people in the world) then it’s time to get real and get organized. Stop banking on finding the Johnny Manziel of sales.
So how does all of this specifically relate to your sales process? You need to define your “identity”and be confident that your “players” understand how you will win together.
How do you do it?
Build Your Playbook
Develop all the steps in your sales cycle starting with lead generation all the way to servicing a newly acquired customer.
Decide how to structure your process: Should you have a separate lead generation team or should your salespeople do their own lead generation?
Set goals for what a win looks like for the team.
Define Your Players
Evaluate who in your company is involved in the sales process and what their role is.
Salespeople should not be solely responsible for “selling” in the same way that a quarterback isn’t solely responsible for “winning.” Selling is a TEAM SPORT.
Create a Team Environment
Develop a culture of helping each other achieve the organizational goals.
Avoid creating (or reinforcing) silos between marketing, operations, sales, and product development. These departments should work together (see above).
Game Plan and “Watch Film
Track, analyze and discuss all key performance indicators that relate to each team player.
Do this as a group and follow up with players when necessary for additional one-on-one coaching.
Once you have organized your team in this manner, each team member will have a solid understanding of how their “job” is defined and, most importantly, how it impacts the chances of the whole team winning or losing.
Think about how this will clarify your recruiting process; you’ll know exactly what types of skills you are looking for and exactly how you will use them.