Over the last few years, a number of recurring themes have come out of the conversations we have had with the sales director community we engage with.
Year-on-year targets have increased, but investment in headcount to deliver on these increased targets have not kept up, flat lined or even been reduced.
Developing Focused, Resilient and Motivated Sales Teams
The ubiquitous and fundamental question we are asked is how do we get more from our people?
Whatever the results, the role of being a sales director in the current environment means we are likely to be challenged by the board of directors across responsibilities in several areas, all to do with ‘getting more from our people’:
The sales director challenge set
- The Market Growth Challenge: Results are being driven by the market; what are you doing to get ahead of the market curve?
- The 20:80 Challenge: Results are OK but 20% of your headcount are delivering 80% of the result, what are you doing to develop the 80%’?
- The New Logo Challenge: Great results from run rate business from our existing customer base but what are you doing to drive business from new logo acquisition?
- The New Product /Service Challenge: A vast % of the business is being taken from old product and service sets. Why is the uptake on the new product and service launched last quarter so poor?
- The Heroic Save Challenge: Results are OK, but are driven by a ‘heroic save ‘ approach at the end of the quarter. What are you doing to stabilise the results consistently month on month.
- The Pipeline Development Challenge: Good result last quarter but pipeline coverage is not where it needs to be, leaving us exposed next quarter.
- The Lead Conversion Challenge: We have invested a lot of marketing budget and resource in generating leads; why are the conversion rates so low?
If all or some of this is representative of the scenarios you face as a sales director, it is all an amalgamation of the challenges that your sales teams are faced with on a day-by-day basis:
The sales force challenge set
- The Prospecting Challenge: Not enough time is spent effectively prospecting. Because it is fraught with potential rejection, which means it is often displaced by other activities not related to the sales process
- The Conversation Challenge: Our sales teams do not have the breadth and depth of conversation with our prospective clients we would like (or at the appropriate level). They are more comfortable relying on generic presentation tools to tell prospective clients how great we are (global office locations, number of employees, and our current client portfolio) rather than understanding the business needs of the client or delivering business insights.
- The Qualification Challenge: Our sales teams do not qualify hard enough. They fall back on spending a disproportionate amount of time compiling beautiful looking proposals, which are misaligned and lead to unrealistic sales forecasts.
- The Adversity Challenge: Our sales teams do not recover well from the inevitable setbacks and rejections and fall back into comfort zones and displacement activities.
- The Confidence Challenge: Even beneath the skin of our most outwardly confident salespeople there can reside a lack of self-confidence, especially when challenged to sell at executive level, take on new product and service sets or practice a new sales methodology.
The challenge of conventional wisdom
The traditional wisdom, as a panacea for these generic challenges, is to invest in the traditional sales training on the new sales process or methodology that is in vogue. The inconvenient truth is that a vast percentage (87% according to research by Huthwaite International) will dissipate and die after 3 months. Thus wasting obscene amounts of shareholder budget and internal political goodwill.
A new, proven and effective approach to enhancing sales performance
The answer is all about mindset: developing self-awareness, self-determination and clarity of thinking in sales teams.
The good news is that there is compelling evidence that the tools of science from sports psychology, business psychology and neuroscience can deliver enhanced levels of focus, resilience, self –motivation, self-confidence and empathy. All personal attributes need to ameliorate the challenges in this blog.
sales-mind (UK) Ltd is a company that has comprehensively researched the above and developed a programme delivering a tool kit of techniques and mental constructs to enhance the mental toughness needed to succeed in the modern sales environment.
Companies from blue chips to SMEs from a diverse range of industries have benefited from this approach.
To enquire about our training sessions please contact us or call Mark Williams on 01727 220747.