New Years, Commitment and the Sales Force

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 @ 17:01 PM

new-years-resolutions

A significant percentage of the annual revenue for gyms occurs in January. By late February or March, you can stroll into most health club without lines and work out without interruption.

We all know why. People’s desire for fitness spikes with a New Year resolution but their commitment fades rapidly when the “pain” of doing the work becomes reality. 

Salespeople suffer from the same problem. Whether it’s prospecting for new business, social selling, nurturing centers of influence or walking away from low probability opportunities, the majority of salespeople quickly slide back to their old ways.

While 70% of the lower half of salespeople have strong motivation, fewer than fifty-percent of that group have strong commitment. The next 35% see their commitment scores jump to 80%, but unfortunately, the percentage of salespeople who take full responsibility for any lack of performance is only 34% and 46% respectively.

This morning I spoke with a CEO who lamented this very challenge. In his case, a high percentage of new hires had failed to become productive. When I asked about sales leadership, he said they’re good at motivation but weak on accountability and managing behavior. In my experience, it is an absolute requirement to close the commitment and responsibility gaps.  

Creating sustainable change in a sales force requires sales leaders to change what they do, how they do it and the frequency and cadence of the interactions with their salespeople. To accomplish this, CEO’s and presidents must hold their sales leaders accountable and provide them with weekly coaching.

Resistance occurs because change makes people uncomfortable. Doing what’s normal regardless of whether or not it is effective, feels right. This applies to everyone, executives included.

January is the preferred time to assess and reset.

Whatever your role, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What should I stop doing in 2019? This is possibly something you enjoy or feel productive doing.
  • How can I get others to hold me accountable?
  • How do we I / we raise our prices?
  • How do I spend my time now? This must be as detailed as analyzing your credit card statement.
  • How should I be spending my time?
  • What specific metrics must I / we be held accountable to?
  • What do I / can I do that has the most positive impact on the business?
  • How do I spend more time doing this?
  • Why did I / we not achieve more in 2018?  Don.'t rationalize
  • Which opportunities currently in the pipeline should be removed?
  • In what areas do I need coaching?
  • Am I committed to getting a coach, if not why?

We are all going to have good days and bad days. Our desire and commitment will vary depending on circumstances. Change will always feel uncomfortable at first.

I think we should ask ourselves, "am I really committed to being a better salesperson, sales leader or executive and what must I change to hold myself more accountable?"

Topics: coaching culture, sales and sales management tips, sales productivity, sell more

The Science of Developing Salespeople - Data Makes The Difference

Posted by Chris Mott on Mon, Aug 27, 2018 @ 19:08 PM

pipeline

Objective Management Group has tested 1.8M salespeople since 1988. Of this, 6% are elite and 11% are strong. The remaining 33% who assess in the top-half represent the majority of most companies’ salespeople. Not surprisingly, half of the salespeople in the bottom lack good development potential, meaning they are not highly motivated to improve.

 Applying this data to a sales force of ten, two are strong, three are in the middle, two plus are weak, and two plus are very weak. Most CEO and Sales Executives agree with this breakdown.

This means the best salespeople (most return) to develop are the five in the middle. 

On the sales side there are four primary obstacles to accomplishing this:

  1. Poor Sales DNA
  2. Excuse Making
  3. Weak Selling Competencies 
  4. Low Figure It Out Factor.

For sales managers, the limitations are:

  1. Ineffective coaching,
  2. Not enough time spent developing salespeople,
  3. Ineffective sales process,
  4. Lack of holding salespeople accountable
  5. Impatience

                 The table below shows where you should focus the development for people on the bottom.

Skill / Conceptual Obstacle

Top Three Salespeople

Bottom Two Salespeople

Difference Between the Top and Bottom

Follows Sales Process

59%

39%

20%

CRM Savvy

48%

32%

16%

Reached Decision Makers

48%

29%

19%

Qualifier Competency

62%

42%

20%

Consultative Seller Competency

52%

34%

18%

Has No Need for Approval

52%

18%

34%

Able to Control Emotions

45%

24%

21%

Comfortable Talking About Money

47%

15%

32%

                 This table compares the remaining three salespeople to the strong group.

Skill / Conceptual Obstacle

Two Strong

Top Three

Diff Top/Bot

Follows Sales Process

66%

59%

17%

CRM Savvy

63%

48%

15%

Reached Decision Makers

58%

48%

10%

Qualifier Competency

73%

62%

11%

Consultative Seller

64%

52%

12%

Has No Need for Approval

74%

52%

22%

Able to Control Emotions

61%

45%

16%

Comfortable Talking About $

77%

47%

30%

Improving people’s adherence to a well-designed milestone-based sales process is strongly correlated with positive development outcomes. Weaker salespeople need both skill development and coaching to overcome their DNA gaps while stronger salespeople benefit most from continuing to overcome their DNA challenges.

Additionally, the development effort required to move someone from the bottom to the middle is different from moving someone from the middle to the strong category. Sales managers need to be flexible and patience enough to accomplish this.

While the notion of coaching salespeople differently is not new, using accurate time-tested data to help achieve this makes a huge difference in the results.

Consider the following reasons why starting with science is crucial.

  • Managers usually know what their salespeople’s gaps are but not why they exist
  • Mastering a new skill is easier when salespeople also fix their DNA challenges
  • Good data focuses development in the right areas
  • Makes it easier to improve time allocation for development
  • There are more high-return conversations
  • Talking about the underlying issues can increase trust and value

Sales Managers can more easily coach their salespeople up with data.  If you want to know more about your salespeople click here.

Topics: sales data, 21 sales core competencies, improving your sales team, How should I coach?, qualities of great salespeople, coaching culture

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