Excellence is in the details.
If you want to understand or more clearly articulate what it takes to run an effective fully functioning sales operation that has at its heart a strategic sales force then you need to take a holistic view and examine the many parts that make for having a highly effective sustainable sales operation.
Leading and operating an effective and efficient sales operation in today's world is complex. There is no running away from that. You need to know where to start and how to think about your sales operational effectiveness before you act.
Here are some common sales operation problems.
Which ones are relevant to you right now?
Responding to Changing Market Conditions & Increased Competition
- Is your sales strategy outdated and not delivering the returns it once did?
- Do your salespeople and leaders know what their real purpose is?
- Are your sales leaders and sales people reacting to market challenges and changes by discounting prices to win business?
- Are your salespeople losing clients to competitors and unable to say 'why'?
- Are your salespeople too reactive or lacking focus thus missing new market opportunities?
- Are your sales people hitting the wrong client targets or market segments?
- Are your key accounts managers losing strategic accounts to alternative offerings outside your scope?
- Are your products/services being replaced by disruptive technologies?
- Is your brand equity losing currency with clients and markets?
- Do your sales people and leaders struggle with articulating the real value they offer clients?
Lifting Sales Productivity, Performance & Morale
- Can your salespeople articulate the company's sales strategy, goals and vision and translate it into their own operational sales plan?
- Is there a plateau in sales productivity despite training initiatives?
- Do you suspect you have a team of professional sales visitors rather than a team of sales professionals?
- Are your sales people making more excuses than sales? i.e. always waiting for the right time to call...
- Are your sales people limited to talking product features and benefits instead of discussing business issues, real value, and viable solutions?
- Do you salespeople have an ad hoc /reactive sales approach – they follow no logical sales processes that can be taught to new sales people?
- Do you suspect that you salespeople are not prospecting for new business in new or existing accounts, instead they are just taking orders?
- Is your sales team struggling to meet sales budgets/targets despite KPI's and lots of 'sales effort'?
- Are some of your salespeople too busy having a 'chat' and making friends with clients instead of making sales?
- Are your salespeople's interviewing, listening & problem solving skills causing them to lose sales?
- Do your salespeople lack the business acumen to have real business conversations of value with their clients?
Inspiring Sales Leadership
- Do your salespeople know WHY? you are in business and what the organistion is trying to achieve?
- Are your sales managers behaving as 'super salesmen' instead of leading and giving the strategic direction the sales team needs?
- Are talented sales staff leaving unexpectedly?
- Are your sales leaders spending too much time managing salespeople who produce too few results?
- Are sales coaching sessions limited to 'informal chats' and lack any form of context or relevant sales content?
- Are your sales managers managing from behind a desk rather than leading sales effectiveness from the field?
- Is poor sales budgeting and forecasting letting your business down?
Creating a Sales Driven Culture across the Business Value Chain
- Does your business really care about its customers?
- Is internal competition or silo mentalities affecting the sales team's external sales performance?
- Is your business stuck in a reactive, passive customer service approach?
- Do individuals or teams across your business value chain struggle to answer "Why us?" and articulate 'how we help clients'?
- Do your internal teams really understand what your sales team is trying to achieve?
- Do you have misalignment between departments leading to confusion and lost productivity?
- Do you have a business culture that believes "We don't have to sell"?
- Are any other departments sabotaging your sales efforts?
- Are people resistant to change thus stifling innovation/ service/ sales/ results?
Defining, Hiring & Developing Sales People who Can Sell
- Do your new sales recruits take too long to get up to speed and earn?
- Do you know what GOOD sales performance needs to look like and how to recruit for it?
- Are you finding that your sales roles not aligning to strategy and are leading to poor execution and poor results?
- Are you hiring salespeople who sell themselves well in interview but fail to deliver results?
- Is a high turnover of sales or service staff affecting retention of other staff and clients?
- Did you find that your last sales training event didn't change anything and was a waste of time and money?
- Are your sales training initiatives limited to Product/ 'Motivational' sessions?