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Sharpened Management Focus Needed to Refocus Lagging Sales Efforts

April 16, 2015
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor


If you were to ask buyers at companies across the U.S. what their biggest pet peeve is when it comes to dealing with sales personnel from vendor organizations, they would probably cite a lack of preparation. Often, sales people don’t have background information on the companies they are reaching out to. They may lack of correct sales support materials or information kits. They may not be able to answer questions about price and availability. When a prospect knows more information about a product or service than a salesperson, there is a real problem.


There are steps sales managers can take to turn around a lagging sales effort. In addition to ensuring that sales works with marketing to ensure that sales enablement materials are up-to-date and easy to use, managers can start to right a program that’s on the wrong course by building a database of best practices: figure out what’s working and what’s not, and use the successful efforts as a framework to build more, according to a recent article by Rachel Clapp Miller writing for Business2Community.

“Which of your reps are succeeding and which ones are facing challenges?” she asked. “If your low performers aren’t making their numbers and they’re dragging the team down, then it’s likely you have a talent issue that needs to be corrected. There’s no reason to leave the success of your organization to chance. Statistical research can help predict behaviors that are needed to be successful on the job.”

By focusing on specific, results-driven behaviors that can be observed and coached, managers can ensure that sales personnel are not wasting their time on fruitless efforts and are instead applying themselves to tasks that have been proven to work. This has the added benefit of helping managers to be able to predict future levels of performance, leading to better crafted sales plans and more precise predictions of future sales. 

More thoughtfully crafted sales plans or territory plans can help managers and sales personnel know when they’re off target on a month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter basis, so missed targets aren’t a surprise at the end of the year, according to Miller.

“A territory plan can be a valuable tool to assess improvement areas moving forward,” she wrote. “An effective sales plan provides benchmarks for salespeople to hit throughout the quarter and year. It also provides the critical line-of-sight you need when your salespeople miss the mark.”

Finally, Miller recommends that managers ensure that sales personnel are not getting sidetracked by bells and whistles and are instead focusing on value.

“Salespeople can fall victim to the latest magic-bullet product feature,” she wrote. “As a result, they spend their sales conversations touting the new function, forgetting to focus on value. It’s a classic symptom of Seller Deficit Disorder. If your organization has released new features, make sure your sales reps are still creating value in their customer conversations in a way that maps to the customer’s required capabilities.”

 



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