Driving sales growth is something that every sales manager and business owner are concerned with. In this series of blog posts we will go through an real-world example that is similar to what many sales organizations are going through.
Welcome to XYZ Corp.
Let me introduce you to Sam, a sales manager at XYZ Corp. XYZ Corp. is a leading provider of automation software. One thing about Sam is that he seems to have a revolving door of sales people as there is always someone either leaving on their own or getting let go due to sales performance.
Tough to Find Good Sales People
With a decent level of sales staff turnover, Sam is always performing some hiring and training. He actually always wonders to himself where all of the good sales people are at and why he never finds them. None of his sales people seem to be able to perform as well as expected and don’t ever really help to drive sales growth.
Sam takes part of the blame for this as he thinks that it is mostly that he is unlucky with selecting the right sales people. His hiring process is a fairly simple one (and also a very common one) and that is to select the applicant based on their past performance and then the impression that they make during the interview. His philosophy is that, they were successful in the past and seem very personable, so he can push them through some product training, give them and territory and quota, and they should combine all of that together to replicate their past success.
A Common Sales Training Pitfall
There is one flaw in this approach to driving sales growth and that is that Sam is hoping that the new hire takes all the information he gives her and combines that with her past experience and will know what to say and ask when they are in the field and talking with prospects. You see, the problem here is that the product training that Sam gives includes some great information on what the sales person will be selling, but it does not tell the sales person what to say when talking with prospects.
When you first talk with a prospect on the phone or in person, you are not really at a point where it is productive to talk too much about your company and products. What is more productive is asking good questions about the prospect and discussing their business.
What happens next?
We are just at the beginning of the story here and we are already are on a bad course. Because all of the sales people that Sam hires don’t really know what to say when prospecting, it is going to look like Sam never hires the “good sales people” and that they never seem to perform as well as he hoped. Maybe it is true that “hope” is not a strategy.
From here, it seems like it takes a long time for the new sales resources to get ramped up. And the heartbreaking thing the Sam experiences is that right when a sales person seems to know what they are doing, they often leave and go somewhere else, fueling this consistent cycle of sales staff turnover.
It seems hopeless. Sam is never going to achieve his sales growth targets if this pattern does not change.
There is hope!
Even though this is a very costly downward spiral that he is in, don’t worry too much for Sam. In part II of Solving the Sales Growth Problem, we will look at what the root cause of this challenge might be.