Sales Tips: Reality Check for Sales Management
By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales & Operations, CustomerCentric Selling®
Unlike other senior executives whose performance may not be as measurable and visible, when the sales organization is underperforming you don’t need to wait to be called into the CEO’s office to be told you have a problem. You know it. Everybody in the organization knows it.
I hope you don’t think that I’m trying to embarrass you by asking this question. I’m simply trying to see if you’ll acknowledge it. I find so many senior sales executives who, for whatever reason, don’t want to acknowledge the fact that they have a performance problem that needs to be addressed. They will continue to limp along, professing things will get better, when they have no real plan for dealing with an underperforming sales team.
Their lives consist of stressful senior executive meetings (where they get grilled about the team’s performance); missed monthly revenue forecasts; acquiescing to salespeople’s excuses; placing people on performance plans; directing their salespeople to work harder, and pursuing a traditional approach to selling that is no longer appropriate for today’s marketplace. That’s right, the marketplace has changed. How organizations research, evaluate, and purchase your offering has changed.
If your sales team is failing to meet its revenue goals, despite everything else that is going on, you’re ‘underperforming.’ I don’t know of any senior sales executive who wants to be saddled with that label. It’s embarrassing, discouraging and potentially career shortening. Look at former Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry. After 29 years and a dismal 3-13 performance by the Dallas Cowboys in 1989, the Cowboys fired the only coach they ever had. Don’t let the same thing happen to you.
The good news is that you can correct an underperforming sales team. I see it all the time. It’s possible to turn it around and save your reputation by acknowledging the problem, having a sincere approach, and by implementing a consistent, repeatable sales process; that salespeople can be taught to execute; management can monitor, coach and inspect; is aligned with your marketplace; and represents your company’s best sales practices.
Do yourself, your sales team, and your company a favor. Don’t wait to be told what to do. Proactively seek assistance. With help, you can correct an underperforming sales team.
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