There are ten key reasons why most sales people don’t work out. The consequence of any of these reasons is poor results, negative growth, a continuous cycle of churning salespeople at your expense, and frustration on your part.
Let’s discuss these reasons, and then in a free download at the end of this post, entitled ‘Feeding the Hungry: A guide to hiring and keeping great DOOH sales people‘ I discuss in more detail the right way to recruit, develop, and retain top salespeople.
Abandonment means that you fail to take any responsibility for the success of your sales pipeline, and dump everything into your salesperson’s lap. In other words, you shift the responsibility and the blame for poor results to anyone but yourself. Abandonment happens frequently; especially with technically-oriented business owners who don’t want to be involved with selling, and let’s be honest our industry is rife with these types of companies and owners.
When you abandon your salesperson, you provide no leadership or support to your salespeople. You set up them — and your company — to fail. As we’ll soon see, if you employ salespeople, you need to stay close to them and be involved.
- The silver bullet solution
Many business owners furtively hope that a salesperson will be the answer to their prayers, the instant panacea that will catapult their company into the stratosphere. While a good salesperson or sales force can make an enormous difference, they are rarely silver bullets. You still need to invest considerable time and resources to market your company, and to manage and develop your salespeople. Sorry, but there is no silver bullet.
- Poor conveyance
In a growing and emergent industry such as DOOH a persistent problem happens when the sales team hands a deal over to the technical team. These hand-overs lead to both internal miscommunication and prospect/client frustration. Salespeople and technical people speak different languages. Equally, salespeople often don’t sweat the details of scope when they close a deal, while technical people always do. Salespeople sometimes make promises to clients in order to edge out the competition, while technical people would rather under-promise and over-deliver. The end result of this situation — if it’s handled poorly — is that both your clients/prospects and your employees are unhappy during the transition from proposal to actual work. Whenever this happens your reputation is guaranteed to suffer.
- Not communicating expectations
As the owner of your company, it’s up to you to set specific revenue targets for your salespeople, and to identify expectations about the types and frequency of activities that your salespeople should undertake. That way, everyone knows if they’re meeting expectations. Unfortunately, many owners fail to communicate expectations clearly to their salespeople. When that happens, it’s common for salespeople to think they’re doing fine, while you sees them as failing to perform.
- The wrong remuneration increase the wrong sort of turnover
Salespeople are mercenaries at heart, and of course that’s a great thing for your business. So you may think keeping them happy is simply: pay them! However, though it sounds straight forward, coming up with a compensation scheme that works for everyone is a challenge. Some remuneration plans are so generous that salespeople lose their hunger. Others are too stingy to attract top salespeople and keep your top performers. The wrong remuneration plan will lead to increased turnover – of your best people.
- Scared to pull the plug
The only rule in sales management that has always held water is that out of every ten salespeople, three will be duds, five will be mediocre, and two will be superstars. It’s costly to waste your time with the three duds and five mediocre salespeople. If you have a mediocre or poor performer trying to sell your products or services, you cost yourself lost sales, and hurt the morale of more productive employees. Still, many business owners keep poorly performing salespeople around too long, instead of pulling the plug and finding a superstar.
- Hiring the wrong type of salesperson
There are two types of salespeople: those who generate new accounts, and those who develop existing accounts. Most business owners want salespeople who can generate new business, because they’re already good at developing relationships with current clients. They want the type of salesperson who can make cold calls, build new relationships, and close a deal with a new client (or bring a deal to the owner, so they can close it). Unfortunately, those same owners are often unclear about exactly what kind of salesperson they want. They get the wrong type, and are disappointed.
- Lack of convention to discuss the sales pipeline
Just as you need a language to discuss the process of designing and building a Website, you also need a language to discuss sales. Without this common language, you have no idea whether your salesperson is performing or not, or how much business has a reasonable expectation of closing.
- Not being equipped with the tools to do the job
Study after study shows that cold calling simply doesn’t work in isolation. Salespeople need solid marketing collateral, messages, and campaigns that get prospects interested to meet with them supported by an up to date CRM system which centralises all sales contacts and marketing activities. They also need a solid understanding of the services or products you offer. If you don’t provide this support, it’s your fault when they fail.
- Trusting them with the baby
Finally, and importantly salespeople are professionals and they need to be trusted. You’ve employed them to a job so let them got on with it. Listen to their ideas and give them the freedom to prove their ability and hunger.
‘Feeding the Hungry: A guide to hiring and keeping great DOOH sales people‘ has been produced for business owners and management of companies operating in the DOOH industry.
It provides practical information to help you build and grow your sales effort and meet both the typical sales challenge as well as counter the unique demands of the DOOH market place.