Sales Leaders... Are You Future Proofing Your Sales Team?Nov 22, 2021
“I’d say handling people is the most important thing you can do as a coach. I’ve found every time I’ve gotten into trouble with a player, it’s because I wasn’t talking to him enough.”
Let's all stop and think about this quote for a moment... The people on your sales team are your most precious assets, yet how many of you engage in true conversation with your salespeople?
How many of you are coaching your people up?
What are their goals, desires, and dreams?
Where do they want to be five years from now, do you even know?
Salespeople are the engine that drives profits, growth and success.
Just like the engine in your car, your salespeople need maintenance on a routine basis to keep them humming along nicely.
Mechanics will tell you that the best-maintained engine can break down due to the unexpected failure of individual parts.
Let's apply this same thing to your sales team... I will ask you to think about the following:
- When was the last time you conducted routine maintenance within your salespeople?
- When was the last time you gave your salespeople a sales health check-up?
Attention to all sales leaders... The sales health of your salespeople has a direct bearing on the health of their sales pipeline
Are you being proactive or reactive when it comes to the sales health of your sales team?
ARE YOU FUTURE-PROOFING YOUR SALES TEAM?
Let's just get this one out on the table, your sales team is not going to close every sales opportunity they are involved in.
A consistent batting average of between .275 and .300 in baseball, and a professional baseball player sets themself up for a huge payday.
Ironic isn't it, they fail to hit the ball 70% of the time?
- How many on your team are falling 70% or more of the time to close their targeted opportunities?
- How many on your team have holes within their sales funnel?
- How many on your team are carrying the same opportunities every month on their funnel report?
The lack of opportunities can be attributed to one thing - prospecting or shall I say lack thereof!
I'm saddened that many in sales have developed prospecting phobia.
Prospecting phobia attacks 1 out of every 2 on your sales team. This doesn't happen overnight. It is slow-growing and self-induced.
Through years of scientific research, I believe I have pinpointed the root cause, and even identified the culprit.
Allow me to introduce you to the culprit... It is YOU!
Hear me out on this before you go and hate on me...
When your salespeople spend unquantifiable amounts of time babysitting their client base, moaning and groaning about how busy they are, not paying attention to growing new business, cross-selling or referral opportunities because of all the "stuff" they are doing while subsequently being rewarded extravagant President's Club trips, I call this Enablement by Management.
My sales leader friends, you're the reason why many on your team fail to close more new business!
Sales leadership, you have hypnotized yourself into believing what you are not doing doesn't work.
COLD GLASS OF WATER
Article upon article tells us how it's harder than ever to sell. Let's layer into the current business climate, and where does this leave you and your team?
How many on your team are 'at' or 'above' their plan number year-to-date?
Now let's just stop here for a moment... You might be saying "YES" to the question but how much of this was "lay me down" and "recurring" I challenge you on this one.
It concerns me, as many of you have been bitten by your sales management sins of the past.
You have let complacency, your ego and yes fear set in. You have allowed it to get the best of you!
The way it was is the not the way it will be
When was the last time you reviewed how your team engages with their clients?
Is it possible they could sell smarter and more effectively than they are at this very moment in time?
You see, the status quo, it's not working and it’s getting worse! This is the time to rise up and look for ways to improve your sales results. Rather than lamenting, bitching, and moaning - do something about it!
It is not 2019 any longer!
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR TEAMS RESULTS
Growth and comfort, they do not play well together
Mindset plays such a critical role in your ability to succeed or fail. If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll prevent yourself from trying new things. You will miss out on the opportunity to broaden your skillset as well and gain new experiences to help your team grow.
What can I gain, what do I want to learn, and what opportunities will be lost if I prevent myself from taking new actions?
How will this affect my sales team?
“Most people miss opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Thomas A. Edison
Helping your team to grow their sales is work, are you up for it?
YOU MUST DEVELOP A NEW MINDSET
Right now, what are you feeding your mind?
What new ideas and trends are you uncovering within your specific industry?
You must continuously be adopting new competencies and skillsets. In turn, it is your responsibility to coach and teach this to your team in order for them to become better.
Imagine the head coach on any professional sports team... if they aren't enhancing the level of their teams' play, what usually happens to them? Need I say more?
We all can agree, being open to new ideas does not come easy. In fact, change plays mind tricks but without the right mindset, learning will not occur. Your team will not grow!
"When the leader lacks confidence, the team lacks commitment."
Do you believe that you can cultivate your team's ability to learn?
It’s not about getting things right the first time, it’s about learning over time. You must realize, for your team to succeed within this hyper-connected, rapidly changing business world, you must adopt a new mindset.
YOU MUST ADAPT TO CHANGE
The gap between relevance and obsolescence is growing wider. If your salespeople are to remain relevant, they must adapt to change. They must do so before "change" beckons the call. This means you must adapt to change yourself.
Relevancy... You must foster an environment of self-education. You and your team must immerse themselves in emerging trends within your industry; to anticipate new direction and foresee the writing on the wall which demands innovation.
Coach-up your salespeople to remain relevant by:
- Welcoming and learning from failure
- Asking for help and soliciting feedback
- Becoming voracious learners
- Becoming focused on self-growth
- Becoming focused on self-accountability
- Checking their ego at the door
"If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less."
General Eric Shinseki
YOU BUILD SOCIAL NETWORKS
In reality, like it or not, the presence of all types of social is here to stay.
Social networks offer an excellent opportunity for your team to demonstrate their expertise.
Your clients have social networks. Your targeted accounts have social networks. Prominent people in your marketplace have networks.
Are you starting to smell what the social networks might be cooking?
Failure to cultivate social networks will become a recipe for disaster within your team.
Sales managers and leaders... You are responsible to ensure all your salespeople meet or exceed quota!
Coach or find a coach to help your team create the mindset and skillset to develop their social networks to help augment growing their business.
Salespeople are one degree of separation from their best sales opportunity, many fail to capitalize on this as they are poorly connected to their client's networks.
Questions to ponder right now...
Are your salespeople building networks or finding excuses?
Are your salespeople looking for and actively listening to their client's networks or finding excuses?
Are you salespeople starting new conversations and building new connections or finding excuses?
Social networks might be the key to unlocking new conversations and new opportunities.
ONE FINAL THOUGHT
Are you accepting a failure to adopt and adapt a growth mindset, thus settling for the status quo?
A status quo mindset, it's a sales death sentence.
Set aside and squash the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mindset.
This would be acceptable if your current sales conversion rates for profitable new business were 2-3X higher year over year.
The growth of your sales department rests with your ability to grow yourself.
What will you do about it?