If your company sales are stalled or declining, then it’s time to ask if you are doing all you can in order to develop a winning sales team. To ignore key areas of your sales structure could be fatal to the health of your business. Already examined these areas a year ago? Then it’s time to examine them again. So, what can your company do to ensure it will thrive and effectively compete in today’s selling environment?
Using your gut is okay, but add some science to your hunches.
If you’ve hired salespeople using your gut, you aren’t alone. That salesperson you just hired is so charming, and talk about a perfect resume! But fast forward six months, and that perfect person has alienated several current and prospective customers.
Have you ever passed over a sales candidate because they didn’t have industry experience, only to learn that they were hired by your closest competitor? And that new hire has already wooed three large clients away from your company?
Every employer can benefit from using a proven sales assessment tool that will add some science to the hiring process. Speaking from experience, an assessment tool I’ve used for years has prevented me from making many hiring mistakes. In one instance, I ignored the findings of the tool in favor of “my gut” and ended up hiring the wrong person for a sales management role.
Many assessment tools are also accompanied by a series of behavioral interview questions that will further assist you in determining fit for your sales role.
Has your sales team turnover been high? Have you struggled to attract top talent?
Does your current incentive compensation plan encourage your salespeople to land new business and continue to upsell existing customers? If your sales are stagnant or declining, then consider an immediate plan to evaluate the current compensation.
Figuring out how to compensate salespeople effectively is pretty challenging if you do not have a background in sales leadership. Bringing in an experienced, outsourced sales advisor to help you evaluate and overhaul your plan will save you time and money, and will likely prevent top performing sales people from leaving. In all of my corporate sales leadership roles, we brought in an outsourced advisor (one with a track record of building winning comp plans) to help us rebuild the compensation structure. The results of implementing a new plan? The sales people embraced the plan immediately and sales grew quickly and dramatically.
If you want to get there fast, use a map. Why hiring a great sales team isn’t enough.
You’d never use your gut (no map, just your gut) to take a cross country trip that was going to involve stops at ten key landmarks you’ve been dying to see. Or, maybe you would, and who knows if or when you’d accomplish the goals you set for the trip?
Many businesses fail every single day because they don’t have a road map (a strategy) to sales growth. Even the right sales team (whom you’ve assessed for fit) and the right compensation plan (one that you’ve built with the help of an experienced comp plan builder) isn’t enough – not having a road map will make sales growth impossible.
Sometimes you’ve got the right people on your current executive team who can work together to build a solid sales strategy. But more often than not, the team doesn’t have the time or the experience. I know of a very large company that just rolled out a sales plan that was not built to motivate sales people; it was built to satisfy shareholders.
An outsourced sales leader can align your sales strategy with the changing times; they’re out in the marketplace with other businesses similar to yours, so they know what has worked and what has not. A strategy and structure is not all that different from the ones you probably have in place for your warehouses, and other functions of your business. And an effective strategy will be embraced by your sales team because they’ll have a clear understanding of their roles and the road map to success.
Today’s selling marketplace has shifted towards a more structured and accountable environment. If your company embraces strategy and continuous improvement to the process of building a winning sales team, it will be in a position to thrive today and in the future.