The other day, a decision-maker at a company asked me:
“But why should I train my salespeople every year?”
The question I posed to him by way of response was:
“Would you take your children out of school?”
Seeing that he was looking at me suspiciously, I explained.
There are two ways to lead a sales team.
One is to let go, guide things, and control their work. For example, seeing the number of proposals and meetings they make, how many deals they do, etc…
Another is to try to have a concrete plan of evolution for each person on the team to have more consistent commercial results.
“But isn’t that a lot of work?” you may be thinking.
Of course, it is, but in our opinion, it is the only way to achieve a solid and consistent commercial organization that is based on solid pillars.
The process doesn’t have to be very complicated. It has to be consistent, simple, and religiously followed every year.
You may be thinking, “but how do I implement this in my company/team?”.
Start by analyzing whether or not business activity indicators are the right ones to allow you to measure where your people have the most significant training needs.
It is not enough to analyze the number of meetings or visits, and the number of proposals delivered won or lost.
You have to go further and break your business process into smaller components.
- Prospecting: No. of contacts made (phone, email, social networks, etc…)
- Meeting or Visit: No. of meetings or visits held
- Proposals: No. of proposals delivered
- Negotiation: No. of proposals that move to an intermediate stage where prices and other proposal components are discussed
- Wins or Losses: No. of proposals won or lost and the reason for each situation
This is even a simplified process. Of course, we have clients who have implemented much more complex procedures and many more variables, but it serves as an example.
By having these numbers for each person on the team, it is possible to analyze which is the “bottleneck” of each salesperson.
For example, we may have a person who is exceptional at prospecting and gets a lot of contacts, but he rarely does it when it comes to the closing component.
So his “bottleneck” will be the closing component.
But we can have another salesperson who is precisely the opposite, who is a complete stinker when it comes to prospecting, but when he gets to the closing stage, it is rare for him not to close a deal.
So, in this case, your “bottleneck” is the prospecting phase.
Having identified where the problem lies, our action as Sales Directors or Managers is to work together with the salesperson to eliminate these problems.
This can mean sending him out for training, but it can also mean going with him to the street and helping him with the difficulties he faces.
You should make it a habit in your company to go out with your salespeople and accompany them in their daily routine, and otherwise, when you have to do it, it can be seen as an alarm signal.
Being a common practice is seen as part of your way of doing things and not as an intrusion into their work.
Why are we advocates of follow-up processes in the field?
Because sometimes it is the only way to see reality without colored glasses.
Glasses that we often put on as commercial directors and managers.
If a salesperson is a lousy salesperson, it may be due to their lack of professionalism and the lack of their management helping him, or her evolve and grow as a salesperson.
Let’s be honest, do you think that professional and well-trained salespeople abound in Portugal and are free to be recruited?
The experience of the recruitment processes for sales teams that we frequently carry out tells us that there are not.
The opposite is true.
It is even said that “the good ones are already taken”.
That’s why we often don’t have the people we would like to have on hand.
In these situations, the role of the Sales Director or Manager is even more important in directing and creating the conditions for the team’s evolution.
And you, would you take your children out of school?
Also published on Medium.