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7 reasons why your sales team is not a sales force

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One of the main complaints companies have on a constant basis is that their sales team is not selling. To fix it, you need to ask a clarifying question, “Do we have a sales team or a sales force?” Sales teams wait for sales to occur. Sales Forces generate sales. There is a fundamental difference between these two sales ideologies and it will affect the overall predictability of your business income.

Think about it for a moment. If you are waiting for a customer to call you and give you a sale, it is impossible to predict when and how much. Sure, companies look at last year’s numbers and use them as an indicator of what should be coming in or what is commonly known as the execution rate, but what if it isn’t? We see this over and over again and when those numbers don’t come in, there is a great deal of pain circulating. You need a force of sales professionals who break the market with a productive activity that generates income. If you are salivating and wondering how to make this happen, you must first understand why your sales team is not a sales force. Through great experience, we have discovered that these are the top 7 reasons the Force is not with you:

  1. Culture: This is the most important and is almost always ignored. A culture of responsibility, hard work, and results will transform an organization. If everyone arrives at 9:00, they spend the first 45 minutes checking email, sharpening pencils, taking 30-minute coffee breaks, eating 2-hour lunches, spending the afternoon checking Facebook and email, and going out at 4:00, not much time to sell. This is something that occurs frequently in organizations and instead creating a sales culture from the receptionist throughout sales, operations, finance, HR, to the CEO is more powerful than anything else. What can i do. Create a selling culture and the culture will sell!
  2. Set clear and achievable goals and don’t touch them: If you don’t know where the target is, you can’t hit it. Goals and commission dictate behavior, so if you’re wondering why your sales people aren’t selling, you can first ask if you’re motivating the right behavior. Clear and concise objectives motivated by properly structured commissions will generate results. Goals can be challenging, however they must be achievable on planet Earth. For a salesperson, there is nothing worse than achieving an unrealistic goal. It will make them stop before they start. What’s worse than that is moving a target after it has been set. Hobbyist organizations set the goals and then penalize the sales force for reaching the goals by moving them up during the year. This will demotivate the entire team and watch sales go down the drain. A total killer culture!
  3. Structure: There are so many ways to structure a sales force and when you do it right, it is magical. If you get the right people in the right job, they will shine. Don’t let your hunters waste time farming and don’t hunt a farmer who doesn’t have the DNA to hunt. This is just scratching the surface, but getting the right people in the right place is a priority from day one. Also, once you’ve set up this structure, it’s okay to modify it, but don’t change it too often. We experienced a major multi-billion dollar company that decided to restructure the sales force, not once, not twice, not three, but four times in an 18-month period. Do you think someone was concentrating on selling? Set the structure and run with it! Retouch but don’t touch.
  4. RewardsFrom a used car lot to Fortune 500 companies, there will always be companies that destroy the motivation of their sales force by having an ambiguous commission plan or constantly modifying the plan to the disadvantage of the seller. These sales professionals sell to make money. Complete stop. When you play with it, you play with your results. Make the commission schedule clear and concise. Remember, this is going to dictate the behavior of the salespeople, so if you want your sales to go crazy, motivate them with good commissions based on a plan that is fair, challenging, and easy to understand that tells them how they will be paid.
  5. People and training: Sometimes you can’t turn charcoal into a diamond no matter how much pressure and heat you apply. It is not that someone has to be born to sell, but if they do not have the inherent skills and do not want to work hard, they are not going to perform. Selling is not easy and that is why good commission structures reward the sales professional handsomely for selling. It usually requires a great deal of hard work and a willingness to learn new skills, but it also requires training. If your salespeople aren’t trained enough to understand how to prospect, propose, and close through a disciplined sales cycle, they will either fail or be only partially successful. If you find that your sales are lagging behind and you have addressed the other steps on this list, then training is your priority!
  6. Results and forecast: This is an all-time favorite because it’s so easy to fix. Businesses that don’t keep track of their opportunities on a platform that Sales is easy to tell are not reaching their goals are asking for failure. This is no different than using a map. If you don’t know where you are, where to go, how far you’ve come and how to get there, how can you get there? Sales are no different. Get the right tools in place, and at this point, there are so many inexpensive options available to do this – like, Zoho, and Insightly – that you are without excuse. Do it!
  7. Administrative nightmares: This one is easy to see but the hardest to fix. If your salespeople spend all their time doing business either before or after a sale, there isn’t much time to sell. We witnessed this in organizations both in the US and Canada and in some organizations it was so bad that the entire sales force was afraid to make a sale due to the overwhelming amount of work that would follow. The sales staff is there to sell. Eliminate the administrative burden and make them sell! Remember, selling is a profession and good salespeople are professionals. You wouldn’t ask a doctor to fix your toilet, so don’t ask salespeople to do anything other than sell.

These are the 7 steps that are sure to help turn your sales team into a sales force. Take a look at your organization and see if you have covered all the steps. If you have done so and are not getting anywhere yet, several articles will be published in the coming weeks looking at each of these steps to help you further. If after that your team is still not a force, feel free to give us a call and our team will see if we can help you.

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