Companies spend billions each year on sales training, organisational development, leadership training and other efforts to ultimately boost sales results. Often this is a waste of money because nothing changes for the better. Too busy looking for a short term boost, magic bullet or quick fix, i.e. the 1-3 day motivational sales training event, many business and sales leaders miss the vital point that sales training, more correctly termed sales fitness and evolution, is a long term investment. Smart business and sales leaders know that clarity, leadership and accountability are the cornerstones of any business. So what can we learn from them?
Before you spend your hard earned money on a learning and development training budget and embark on your Sales Transformation Project have you done the following?
- Developed a clear and relevant vision, sales strategy and sales process to anchor your Sales Transformation project to?
- Established and/or communicated the reason ‘why’ the vision, sales strategy, sales processes and sales transformation project is important to the sales team and the whole business?
- Engaged business and sales leaders and gained their commitment to the vision, sales strategy, sales processes and sales transformation project from the outset?
- Set sales performance criteria, milestones and clear individual accountabilities?
- Created ongoing learning opportunities where regular reflection, review, coaching and refined application of the sales principles and tools learned is a regular activity?
- Integrated the tools, knowledge, language, and principles into CRM and other business processes?
The truth is to improve sales performance and achieve better sales results business leaders, sales leaders and their teams all need continued vigilance and discipline. There is no quick fix! There never was. Why the perception that a 1-3 day sales training event is going fix your sales problems and improve sales performance ever got air time is beyond me. Smart sales leaders know they are in it for the long haul and they make sure that, besides their vision, strategy, and processes being in place; clear, unambiguous, performance expectations are established and communicated to everyone in the business. Their sales people, sales managers and other key stakeholders are held personally accountable for their part in the plan and know the consequences if they do not deliver. The best business and sales leaders have planned ahead and consider every part of their business to see where they can seed the new sales way. They have a plan that integrates their sales transformation project across the whole business. They include everyone in their regular communication and do not let up on the core message. They know shifting old behaviours, beliefs, judgments and mindsets can be really tough and takes time; they are realistic and look at a minimum of 12 months to get the sales essential foundations in place and then build on these to continue the evolution and transformation. They set rewards and recognition around participation and completion of key learnings and milestones as well as sales input and output measures; they make sure that Sales Managers can and do coach, train, plan and measure performance and are held accountable for their actions. They control what they can control and leave nothing to chance.
They are committed to leading and migrating their sales teams and the broader business to a better, healthier, profitable place. So if you are thinking about embarking on a sales transformation journey, make sure that you are committed, organised and well equipped to be in it for the long term. If you need a partner to help you make sure they are passionate, knowledgeable, skillful, and determined to be in it with you for the long term. If you are offered any quick fixes that promise you the world then remember the old saying ‘if it is too good to be true; it is too good to be true’. Remember everybody lives by selling something. Author: Sue Barrett, MD of www.barrett.com.au