January 17, 2013

Are sales managers coping with a changing business landscape?

Is sales management training enough?

As a sales manager have you ever asked yourself this question? “Have you spent money on sales training, invested in a bunch of sales techniques and sales coaching and found that your numbers are still not improving?”

Are you frustrated that nothing you try works in the long run. If you’re like most sales managers, you must find it mind-numbing and soul-sapping to watch 80% of your sales force fail day in and day out.

In my opinion many sales managers think that by sending their sales staff on a basic sales training course that this will solve all their problems. As you know, it is just not that simple. If it were, my clients would erect statues of me hailing my sales training genius.

The game changers that sales managers are battling to cope with

The challenge is that we as sales professionals have not cottoned on to the fact that the game has changed forever. We are still trying to use sales techniques from the last century in this century. Here are some things for you to ponder on:

  • The Internet is the biggest game-changer in our (the) world. Your and my clients can get almost anything they want, where they want it and when they want it. More and more referrals are coming off your company website and less off your sales team’s telesales efforts.
  • Our clients are savvy. They already know what their problems are and how to fix them. They certainly don’t need a sales persons trying to persuade them through outmoded ‘solution selling’ sales techniques. Today’s sales professional needs to have business insight so that they see the big picture and help the client with more than the current pain. Today’s sales professional needs to be intelligent enough to disrupt the status quo and come up with a solution that will bring the client real return on investment
  • As sales managers we are often not cautious enough. We choose our sales staff unwisely in some instances. We hire sales staff after very little vetting and testing. We don’t have the stamina to interview 100 people to get one superstar that is the right-fit for the job. We don’t use diagnostic tools to scientifically reduce the risk of a bad hire. Nope, most of us rely on our gut-feel and hope and pray that it will work out alright in the end

So what’s are possible answers?

  • As sales managers we have to wake up to the fact that the Internet is a vital lead generating tool. So, we have to skill ourselves up in Internet marketing, social media marketing, content marketing and direct marketing, including email marketing
  • Our marketing department is not the enemy of the sales department. We’ve got to stop working independent of each other and start working together to generate and close leads
  • We need to start using technology to find the right sales person for the right job. The days of thinking a sales person can do everything are over. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? We want them to be a hunter, a farmer, a consultant, great on administration and brilliant with customer service. Seriously?

I’d love to have your opinions as to whether or not sales managers are coping with the changing business landscape and what we can do about it.

The business landscape has definitely changed and it is going to take more than sales training and sales management training to adapt to it.

Author: Jacques de Villiers Sales Training


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