Latent Need for CEOs? Controlling Sales
Sales Training Article: Why You Should Invest In Your Sales Team
By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
The phrase “giving lunatics the keys to the asylum” has always intrigued me. Some wonder how it can happen. I believe control isn’t ceded consciously nor suddenly in many instances. Over time situations devolve into chaos. Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs asserts that after air, water, food and shelter, people seek control. Most CEOs exert control throughout departments/areas of their businesses but I’d like to offer a notable exception: Sales.
For startup companies with promising offerings, hiring “A” Players is easy. Senior executives of fledgling companies recruit “A” Players, luring them with stock options, aggressive compensation plans, minimal administrative red tape and built-in promotions if things go well. After becoming successful, companies start to settle for B and C Players because stock options are cut or eliminated and compensation plans are less attractive.
Seller performance (% of quota) in any company can be calculated to decimal points, but how revenue is generated is largely left up to sellers. Generally, only about 50% of sellers achieve quota. According to the most recent CCS® Index survey, only 44.6% made their 2015 numbers last year. Can you think of another department where half the staff fails to meet expectations and where best practices are so difficult to identify and share?
Top-line revenue is critical to projecting earnings. The data for forecasting often amounts to opinions of salespeople asked each month to put in writing how good a job they’re doing. Those with thin pipelines inflate “forecasts” as needed with no realistic chance of achieving the numbers submitted. A perceived lack of control breeds acceptance. Many CEOs rationalize worrying about it away by concluding: “Sales is what it is.” Meaning they aren’t happy about it but feel powerless to change it.
Studies have concluded that organizations that implement sales processes achieve better top-line results. Nearly 77% of those surveyed in the 2016 CCS® Index stated that their sales process is effective in helping them achieve revenue targets.
The four (4) requisites to having sales process are:
1. Defined milestones for different types of transactions
2. A standard skill set for all salespeople
3. Sales Ready Messaging® to consistently position offerings for Key Players
4. Auditability so that managers can grade opportunities using buyer actions vs. seller opinions
Sales process is more important than ever. Without it, there’s no way to make enterprise-wide responses to align with the significant ongoing changes in buying behavior. Vendors that can meet the challenge can make the way their staff sells a sustainable competitive advantage.