How to Guarantee a Permanent Improvement in Sales Results – Part 3
Hello and welcome back. In part 1 of ‘How to Guarantee a Permanent Improvement in Sales Results’, we covered insights found in our research, highlighting issues that Sales Leaders are experiencing today. The focus is about how to address these issues and in part 2 we covered the importance of Planning and Direction.
Here in Part 3 we cover a key issue; Lack of Essential Skills.
A lack of essential skills leads to below average performance and of course below average results.
During the 70’s and 80’s it was common for larger organisations to put their new recruits through a 12-18 month training programme. I myself was a fledgling with IBM in the early 90’s and they didn’t let you in front of a customer for 6 months. Today sales people consider themselves lucky if they get an initial 2 weeks worth of training. But it’s more likely that they get 2 days covering the soft skills needed for their role and the rest is on the job.
So what are the issues here:
- Less training with higher expectations.
- Selling in difficult times – many companies have decided their best strategy is to recruit expert talent. The reality is it is difficult to find truly talented people that are perfect for the role.
- Huge demands on sales people – fact. It is tough out there, in lean times, you have to work harder and think smarter. Therefore skills require fine tuning and constant practice.
- Lack of ongoing reinforcement and development – even with initial training there is no guarantee of success. Skills grow rusty over time, and it’s only human to forget newly learned skills if we fail to revisit them on a regular basis .
- Change – everything around us is constantly changing and only a versatile learning platform can manage this constant, sometimes immediate change – markets, technologies, competition, customers preferences. Think about Millennials, who learn differently to the generations before them, their training needs are very different.
In today’s environment development and training are more important than ever before but must be delivered in smaller more frequent chunks with less disruption to the daily flow of sales peoples work. We must work more efficiently, collaboratively with better results.
So what are the solutions?
Coaching – there is lots of talk of implementing a ‘coaching culture’. Training alone does not guarantee a winning performance, this success comes from daily support and guidance from leaders. Whether delivered through face to face, phone or email – those sales leaders that have a strong coaching culture attract and retain the best talent.
Training – found to have a huge influence when based on specific needs i.e. tailored to the individual. This designed method is truly effective when revisited and reinforced at regular intervals – it is important that skills are reinforced by every level of management – you are a model of excellence.
Mentoring – a sales person chooses a mentor (usually a high performing colleague) who can act as a model or guide, and consult with them on an ad hoc basis. This is a win-win situation since the best way to learn is to teach.
The biggest challenge and opportunity for all sales leaders, who are hard pressed for time, is to find a way to provide the continual support that is needed. Successful sales leaders have a range of supporting tools and resources to enhance the impact of their coaching time. Therefore, whatever you use, it must be flexible, participative, and above all fun – this encourages individuals to get hooked on their own continual development.
Thanks for reading Part 3 of How to Guarantee a Permanent Improvement in Sales Results. Part 4 will focus on ‘Failure to Follow up on Sales People’s Activities’, this lack of attention reduces efficiency and consequently results – I’ll provide a few solutions to help combat this issue.
To download a summary of the research click here.
Thank you for your time, if you wish to get in touch, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org