These statics make for uncomfortable reading:
Obviously the above statistics will have a huge detrimental affect on sales force capability to increase revenue and profitability.
What is the problem and what are the answers?
The contention is there is a knowing v doing gap. By and large most sales people are well trained in sales skills, process and methodology. They should be well informed on product and service sets and competitive advantage. Therefore knowledge and skills are not the issue. So what is? – I will extend the contention to pose that there are 5 generic challenges that anybody in sales faces.
Prospecting Challenge: Not enough time is spent effectively prospecting
Conversation Challenge: The breadth and depth of customer conversation is not happening or at the right level. There is a propensity to open up the laptop ‘show up and throw up’ about how great we are.
Qualification Challenge: Deals are not qualified hard enough leading to unrealistic and inflated sales forecasts.
Adversity Challenge: Setbacks result in reverting to comfort zones and displacement activities.
Confidence Challenge: Don’t be fooled by macho, egotistical outward show, this can belie an inward self-doubt and lack of confidence that manifests itself in the other four generic challenges.
The answer is all about mindset, the development of mental toughness of sales teams in the following areas:
Focus: Treat sales as a process and focus on the key activities that will afford success the greatest chance of happening as a natural output of the work put in.
Resilience: Being able to lean into the inevitable setbacks and mistakes that will happen. Not over personalise them but learn, and apply the learning’s from them.
Motivation: Learn what really drives us outside money. (Purpose, Autonomy and Mastery) Develop a personal value set that drives ones own behaviour when the going gets tough.
Self Confidence: Recognise the difference between self confidence and self delusion! Competency based self confidence can be developed by self-awareness of what the component parts are:
Empathy: A much muted but under-utilised personal trait. Suspending judgement and prejudice – the ability to understand somebody – else perspective without necessarily agreeing with it.