article | February 10, 2013
How To Fix Your Sales Problems In The Right Order
I asked him questions. Lots of questions. Here is what he told me:
He also mentioned his sales force was frustrated. HR heard complaints about favoritism. Reps were discounting heavily to gain business. Future indicators showed problems. We concluded he had a mess on his hands. The Sales VP’s job was on the line. His boss wanted improvement now.
We both came to the conclusion that these problems were really symptoms. He needed to dig deeper to uncover the true root problems. And then prioritize them to uncover the way to solve them.
“How do I prioritize these problems and then ultimately the solutions?” he asked. Begin with a Sales Force Framework. Download it here.
This framework allows you to diagnose root problems. You can then prioritize these against the steps in the framework. This ‘sequence’ of solving issues will allow the solutions to be built upon each other.
For example, a few of the root problems in the case above are:
This Sales VP’s immediate reaction was to change the comp plan. “Let’s incent everyone to sell more new logo business” he said. “This will cause behavior change we are looking for to make the number.”
He couldn’t be more wrong. Fixing the compensation plan first was incorrect. Incenting new logo business will only further frustrate the sales force. Why? There isn’t a lead management or buyer centric sales process in place. The sales reps have to still rely on the old lead and sales processes. By placing these problems into the framework first, it allowed to prioritize the problems.
The first step above is to design a new Lead Generation and Sales Process. This Sales VP will be able to build off these new processes. A new Channel Program can now use the new Lead and Sales Process. Quota setting can be re-designed based on the new flow of leads. Compensation can now be changed using the new Quotas. This ‘sequencing’ of solutions leads to sustained quota attainment over time.
Call to Action:
Fixing sales problems can be daunting. Prioritizing the problem and the solution is critical. Follow the steps outlined above to eliminate loss productivity when implementing your solutions. Leave a comment about the successes or failures you have had. We can all learn from everyone’s examples.