HARDISON’S TIPS – NOVEMBER 8, 2021 – Stop Looking For Your White Knight Sales Rep!
It’s getting to that time of year, where we all look at the numbers and determine if it’s going to be a good year or a bad year. We huddle in the boardroom and look at revenue and profit and come to a conclusion.
- Good year … and we’re all high-fiving at the table.
- Bad year … and the finger pointing begins.
Here’s where you begin to get nervous if you’re a sales rep. Typically, the direction of most fingers point your way. “Sales just didn’t deliver for us this year.” And when asked to dig further, the easy answer is always – “We just don’t have a very strong sales team.” Thus begins the annual migration of salespeople to new companies. Well, it’s time to stop firing salespeople and start asking the hard questions. Without a solid sales action plan and approach, you’re destined to repeat history year after year and never find your White Knight. Consider the following:
Is there a strategic revenue growth methodology in place that will drive new sales?
A solid revenue growth methodology or plan takes into account the actions needed by all moving parts of the business in order to strategically drive sales. This differs from corporate strategy, and puts focus on driving revenue across the board. Having a sales-driven culture in your business will have everyone focusing on interactions (externally and internally) much differently.
Are we current on the needs of our customers?
The speed at which our customers change is double what it was just five years ago and will continue to speed up. If you’re not interviewing your customers on wins and losses, you’re missing a key component to the long-term success of your organization. Don’t assume anything here. Once you have that information, make sure to integrate it into your marketing plan.
Have we done our account segmentation work recently and understand who our targets should be?
Too often, companies haven’t looked at their current customer base or potential new customers in a very long time (maybe never). Understanding who your ideal customers are allows you to focus resources on winning their business. Take the time to identify your industry and benchmark your numbers against your competitors. Are you fishing in the right pond? Do you even have the right bait?
Are we engaging our customers where and when they have the need?
Customers today want options on getting information from you. Make that too difficult to get when they need it – and they’ll find someone who can deliver it to them.
Do we have a compensation plan that drives the results we expect?
Compensation is, without a doubt, one of the most overlooked areas in small and mid-sized business. Too often the reward isn’t aligned to the expected results, which equals stalled or declining revenue on a year-over-year basis.
Now that you’re looking at sales differently, don’t fall into the biggest trap of them all – sales training to fix revenue problems. If you’re having systemic revenue issues, a round of new sales training isn’t going to fix your problems. You need to confront these issues head-on with a well-crafted sales action plan and develop the necessary processes to overcome your revenue challenges.
So, when you’re in the boardroom this Fall, determining if the year has been good or bad – don’t jump to conclusions! Take the time to reflect on how your organization can improve its approach. Fix the foundational issues and long term success will follow.