The reason why sales organizations fail to achieve budget is that they lack the resolve to direct their salespeople to focus on only a few important things. Most sales organizations try to do too much and many end up with overwhelmed sales people who underperform.
It’s the last quarter of the year. Like every year, it’s national sales meeting time. Companies bring their salespeople together to review upcoming marketing plans, hold sales training and talk about the sprint to the finish line.
Yet the tried and true approach doesn’t work. The facts don’t lie: over the last 5 years only 50% of sales people actually make quota, according to The Bridge Group. Many salespeople who are not making quota have already given up on this year and are highly disengaged.
The question many of the mangers ask me is, “What can I do to close more sales and to ignite my sales team from now to the end of the year?” What I tell them is to get out and coach. Be in the field and help your reps develop. But this is only part of the answer.
The problem stems from pressures to perform. Most companies are very short sighted and work on a quarter-to-quarter basis. The stress of delivering quarterly numbers creates two major problems within the sales organization.
1. Management Panic
Senior management gets panicked when they fear that the sales team will fall short of quota. As a result they start to develop a slue of tactics that may help produce more sales. The flavor of the month approach prevails.
Marketing does their part by creating additional programs for the sales reps to implement.
Training pitches in and develops programs to improve the sales skills. Management of course needs more reports so they can explain why sales aren’t coming in.
Sales reps are forced to juggle more demands from all corners of the company.
2. Sales Rep Overwhelm
The end result of continuous information overload and multiple demands is that we get distracted from the key factors that are going to make us successful. The sales people who can stay focused and ignore the added distractions are the ones who are going to achieve quota.
What happens is that your sales people become overwhelmed and they begin to get frustrated, become very negative and stressed. When this happens we see a decrease in productivity, engagement and motivation.
To justify their jobs, sales reps run around and ineffectively try to implement all the new things they are asked to do.
What I find is the sales people who can cut through all the distractions and stay focused on the key factors for success are the ones who are going to make quota.
Going back to the question that I am frequently asked. “What can I do to help my sales people win more sales?”
I respond by saying, “give your sales people the gift of focus.”
3. The Gift of Focus
Focus creates the energy to ignite people to achieve success.
As a sales executive or manager make sure you are very clear and can provide direction to your sales people on the 2-3 key tactics/programs/industries that are critical for success. Take the time to really consider all the different activities your sales people have on their plate and really drill down and identify the 2-3 activities that are essential to their success.
By taking the time to be clear on the 2-3 key success factors (KSF) you can reduce some of your own panic and stay focused on supporting your team on executing the KSF. You can also communicate to senior management what you are focused on and will get the buy in that will allow you to maintain a focused effort and a focused team.
Once you have senior management on board with the KSF you need to take the time to communicate, reinforce and support your sales people so that they clearly understand that they must focus on the KSFs. Don’t burden them with minutiae and make-work projects that yield little to no revenue. It is up to you to help them focus their energy on what is going to make them and the organization successful.
This will lift the burden of overwhelm off your sales peoples shoulders and have them energized and focused on sales execution.
Try it. I know it works!
Steven A. Rosen, MBA Author | Coach | Speaker helps companies transform sales managers into great sales leaders. Steven is the author of 52 Sales Management Tips – The Sales Manager’s Success Guide. To find out more, click here. Steven’s Focused Coaching Program designed for the busy sales executive, manager and new manager. Focus is the key to achieving greater personal and professional success! For more information email Steven at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 905-737-4548 or visit http://www.starresults.com.
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