This year alone we have observed over 265 sales managers and sales management teams. We have assessed more than 134 sales leaders. And have had transparent conversations with over 45 CEOs. Over and over again I notice a common trend: Sales Teams are not improving. I hear things in Sales Meetings: ‘Keep doing what you did before’; ‘Don’t rock the boat’ or’ don’t try something new right now-the economy isn’t great so keep doing what you did’. The VP of Sales commonly shares this advice as well with their sales teams.
That is bad advice. Killer Advice in fact.
A VP of Sales (of a major organization) I know has been telling his team this advice for the past 9 months. Almost 8 months ago to the day I predicted he would not be in his job by July 1 if he kept up this message. He got fired last week. The reason: not willing to try anything new. Not willing to work on the basic fundamentals. Too worried about keeping his job instead of doing his job. Complacency.
Is this you? How can you detect your team is in a ‘rut’? Has complacency set in?
Three Ways Sales Managers Can Detect Complacency on their Sales Teams
20% of your Sales Team accounts for 80% of your Sales. Are you Star Struck? Your ‘A’ players definitely deliver for you. But is it at the risk of the team. Does your lively hood depend on one person? If it does, you are evolving? You keep doing the same things and expect different results. You know what Albert Einstein called you: ‘Insane’
Selling Time is less than 60% of Your Sales Reps Time Spent. Do you reps spend more than 40% on stupid stuff? Supply Chain issues, Forecasting Consumption; Excel Reports. Time has passed you by if this is the case. The internet has forever changed the way people buy. Customer interactions are at a premium. Its called customer intimacy. It is the only real differentiation in todays commoditized world. And unless you starting interacting with your customers more you will end up like the VP of Sales I mentioned earlier: Looking for a job.
Your Average Sales Cycle Length is Increasing. Is it taking you longer to sell deals? World Class companies are actually decreasing their sales cycle. You must not be World Class then. This is a telltale sign of complacency. If this is true on your team, problems have set in. Change your process. Revise your comp plan. Fire your ‘C’ players. Or you might be next.
Sound mean and cruel? This is the new reality. You are never standing still. You must evolve at a faster rate than the others around you. How do you evolve?
Read. You can never learn enough. But read articles/blogs/newsletters that matter. Don’t read the Hunger Games Books. (Subscribe to this blog)
Listen. To what is going on around you. Watch for new trends. Ask your customers what they are working on now. Contact your peers in the Linked In connections. Are they trying something new?
Change. Try new things and new capabilities. The level of your new capability acquisition (learning new things) determines your income level. What to make more money? Learn something new.