As a benchmarking firm, we have a distinct advantage of speaking with VP of Sales from across 19 industries on a regular basis. Sales forces are not evolving as fast as the executive sales leadership would like. They have identified a sales talent problem. Why do you care? Because the maturity level of the sales force determines what improvement initiatives can be consumed by your team. If you want to know where to target your initiatives, complete our assessment by clicking here. We just completed a round of research on the current market problems for the sales leader. A year ago, VP of Sales were more focused on improving performance conditions.
The tide is shifting to talent; specifically sales rep talent. VP of Sales want their sales reps to evolve faster.
Below are three most common reasons for the lack of evolution with a fix for each:
#1 – Pace – front line sales management does not push the pace at which market information is consumed and absorbed by the sales force.
Fix – disrupt the current state an “outside in” vs. “inside out” customer and prospect review twice yearly. Quarterly Win/Loss is a best practice that should be adopted. Companies fail to get feedback from those that matter the most and win/loss is the best way to accomplish this. If you want to learn more, click here and you can get started tomorrow.
#2 – Lack of Business Acumen- sales reps inability to think like a business person is causing prospects/customers to increase the number of “no decisions” where they choose not to buy from any of the potential vendors.
Fix – coach on business skills, not selling techniques. In 2012, most customers have the ability to learn almost everything they can about a product or service without speaking to a sales person. They derive value when a sales person can help them connect a widget to a market problem. To qualify as a problem, it must have three things:
- Pervasive-see it all the time
- Urgency- in the critical path
- Money-the prospect/client must be willing to pay money to solve it.
#3 – Super Rep Syndrome – front line sales management is not investing in development of their teams. Because competition is growing more stiff and buyers are more knowledgeable, this is having an inverse effect on quantity and quality of coaching. Front line management are reacting by trying to parachute in and close more deals vs. improve their coaching techniques to keep pace with buyer changes. This is coming from direction from their bosses to make the quarterly number.
Fix – Executive Sales Management needs to be more visible in the field. It is impossible to coach a front line manager if you don’t spend time coaching via direct observation. Part of being a coach is understanding that your discipline to follow a methodical process around rep development is why your role exists. Your ability to scale is directly related to how many ‘A’ players you can produce and retain.
Now what do you do?
Answer the following question:
What one new capability will I bring my team to help them evolve faster? Looking for ideas? Read these tips here and your VP of Sales will thank you for pushing the pace. Also, don’t forget to take the maturity model assessment here.