When it rains it pours, especially when it's coming down in buckets!
Buckets are important, especially when you're attempting to coach up a salesperson or even improve your own sales performance. If you don't have the OMG evaluation at your fingertips and can't lookup the scores in 21 Sales Core Competencies, or see which attributes need to be improved, you'll need to think in terms of buckets.
When salespeople are struggling, there are five primary buckets to consider:
- Pipeline - Their pipeline sucks
- Urgency - they haven't been successful uncovering compelling reasons to buy so that urgency can be created
- Qualifying - they haven't been able to get their good prospects fully qualified
- Closing - they aren't converting their qualified opportunities
- Attitude - they lack a positive outlook.
All other issues you might identify should appear in one of those five buckets.
Now let's place the three traditional groups of salespeople into buckets:
- A players: They are the best salespeople in your company and exceed quota and/or expectations, but outside of your company and industry they might not be A or even B players. Everything is relative.
- B players: They're not as good as your A players but they do meet quota and/or expectations.
- C players: They are chronic under achievers who fail to meet quota.
Next, let's integrate the buckets of salespeople with the buckets of challenges.
|Salesperson to Coach Up||Likely Issue(s)|
|B Player||Urgency and Qualifying|
Let's pretend we're dealing with a C player who has an inadequate pipeline. We have five more buckets to explore:
- Effort - they aren't making enough calls or attempts
- Engagement - they aren't getting their contacts engaged in the conversation
- Messaging - they aren't using proven, time-tested, positioning statements to get contacts engaged
- Delivery - they don't sound very good delivering the message
- Conversions - they aren't converting their calls to meetings
In this scenario, you may not be able to identify a single bucket to blame but you have to start somewhere. If effort is an issue and you don't fix the effort, the other four buckets don't matter. If effort is lacking due to discouragement from past ineffectiveness, you may need to work on the other four buckets before you can return to effort.
It can be overwhelming to identify exactly what you need to work on to improve sales performance. If you can learn to think in terms of buckets, you'll have a better chance of working on the right end of the problem.