Some of my long-term problems had such simple solutions. If only I had thought of the obvious solutions first. For example:
For decades, I could not drive for much longer than two to two and a half hours before my eyes would get so heavy that I risked falling asleep at the wheel. Day or night, year after year, all of our trips were based on how far I might have to drive. And then I discovered the solution. Sunglasses. Yup, with prescription sunglasses, my driving fatigue became a thing of the past and I can drive for hours and hours without getting sleepy.
For months, I had a bright red rash that would continue to reappear under my arms. While a prescription ointment would help it disappear after about a week, it would continue to reappear. And then I discovered the solution. Anti-perspirant. Yup, all I had to do was to switch from a deodorant to an anti-perspirant and voila, no more rash, ever.
For the last six months I had an acute eczema breakout in, on and behind my ears. It was really bad, and included burning and itching and flaking. I used 2 different prescriptions, Neosporin, Eczema creams, honey, balms, coconut oil and anything I could find. Nothing worked. Then I tried Aquaphor Advanced Healing Ointment and in three days it was cleared.
Are you getting the picture. Nothing worked and then sunglasses, anti-perspirant and Aquaphor. Simple, easy, fast, and powerful.
There are simple, easy, fast and powerful solutions for sales problems too. See my examples below.
Not enough new meetings? There four possible reasons and fairly obvious solutions:
- Salespeople aren't prospecting as required because they have call reluctance. Hire hunters. Hoping for change isn't a viable strategy.
- Salespeople aren't prospecting as required because sales managers are not holding them accountable. Hold your Sales Managers accountable for holding their salespeople accountable to agreed upon KPIs. Make it a condition of continued employment.
- Salespeople are prospecting but their messaging is awful. Have an expert change or tweak the messaging for prospecting calls.
- Salespeople are prospecting, have good call messaging, but they sound awful or are not being well received. They won't improve unless you have them trained on cold-call delivery.
Opportunities getting stuck in the pipeline? There are five possible reasons and some obvious solutions:
- Salespeople are not reaching decision makers. Opportunities are 341% more likely to get stuck if your salespeople aren't talking with decision makers. Get them trained on how to reach decision makers.
- Lack of urgency. Salespeople are not uncovering compelling reasons to buy, preventing them from reaching decision makers, getting money approved, and moving the opportunity forward. Get your salespeople trained on how to take a consultative approach and get your sales managers trained on how to coach up your salespeople.
- Not being the value. If prospects don't perceive they are receiving value from a salesperson, they have no reason to move forward with the salesperson. This isn't talking about value, explaining the value proposition or adding value to your solutions, this is the salesperson being the value. Get your salespeople trained on how to be the value.
- Salespeople are not following an optimized, staged, milestone-centric, customer-focused sales process. Have this process created and get the sales team trained on how to execute it.
- Not thoroughly qualifying their opportunities, causing inappropriate quotes, proposals and presentations. Get your salespeople trained on how to thoroughly qualify and hold your sales managers accountable for holding salespeople accountable to justify every proposal or quote.
Salespeople are under-performing and not hitting quota. There are an unlimited number of possible reasons, from poor selection, to ineffective or non-existent on boarding, to low Sales DNA, to skill gaps, to lack of motivation, lack of direction, lack of support, lack of training, lack of or ineffective coaching, and on and on and on. Here are a couple of obvious solutions:
- Have the sales team evaluated and get the data so that you know for sure if your under-performers can be trained and/or coached up or if what you see is what you will continue to get. If they are part of your past but not part of your future, replace them today. If they are part of your future, get them sales training. You'll also need to learn whether their performance or lack thereof, is self-inflicted or enabled by ineffective sales management. Learn more here.
- Give them an ultimatum but consider the length of the sales cycle. So many companies give salespeople 30 - 60 days to turn things around but if you have an 8 month sales cycle then you either need to give them 8-12 months, or tie the improvement to KPIs that are within reach of 30-60 days.
There isn't a single scenario going on with your sales team that we haven't seen, addressed, and solved in the past 37 years. It doesn't matter how small or large your team is, what industry you are in, which markets you sell to, what your price points are, how long you've been in business, how well-known you are, or what your challenges are. Some companies make the mistake of accepting and being resigned to these challenges, preventing them from getting solutions. These are the steps you must take to solve your problems:
- Acknowledge the problems
- Choose to take action
- Get outside expertise
- Pull the trigger
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