Moving on from the “Hire and Hope” Model
Let’s face it, the lifeblood of any company is sales. Without sales, your business is dead. And it’s no secret that how we choose to lead the charge of sales is the difference between a good company and a great company.
Here’s the rub: Most business owners believe they personally have developed relatively strong sales skills. However, as companies grow, the ability to effectively develop the next generation of sales leaders falters. In fact, most businesses use a “hire and hope” model of sales leadership. Essentially, they hire dozens of sales people over the course of a year’s time, hoping to find a few superstars amongst the masses.
What’s missing in this ‘hire and hope’ model is a simple rule:
The ability of any company to sell its product or service is limited only by the ability of the leadership within that company to develop sales professionals within their organization.
You see, the problem is NOT the dozens of people being hired. Those new hires are well-intentioned, want to be successful, and have likely achieved a level of success in another organization. Instead, what is preventing exceptional growth is just a 5% shift in the power of Process, Mentality, and Technique that most often allows a team to move from good to great.
- A 5% Change in Process: Consider sales meetings. Often times, this once a week ritual is the bane of a sales person’s existence. It’s the time when they are publicly held to account for a quota they had no part in establishing, within a system they feel does not support their needs. Instead, instill some new energy into the sales agenda by shifting the meeting by 5%. Create time to:
- Be Tactical: Focus on successes first and within each of those successes identify and keep track of the specific tactics, strategies, or processes that led to the sales.
- Be Pipeline-Centered: Take the time to not just analyze who is in the pipeline but what are the tactics from the Be Tactical part of the meeting you will use to close the deal.
- Be Educators: You never truly know something until you teach it. By having the opportunity to teach sales, professionals develop and demonstrate their expertise, creating a sense of shared ownership.
- A 5% Change in Mentality: Salespeople are no longer the interchangeable industrial cogs-in-the-wheel from yesteryear. Salespeople are now INtrepreneurs–an entrepreneur withIN a company or organization. It’s time to embrace the shift by giving salespeople the freedom to create their own schedules, develop their own prospecting and customer development strategies, and cultivate and express their own expertise through a variety of methods. By doing so, you empower sales professionals to create their own destinies. And when put to this extraordinary challenge, sales professionals undoubtedly succeed.
- A 5% Change in Technique: The famous martial artist, Bruce Lee, could break a 1” thick board with his fist only 1” away. How? With his incredible and well-practiced technique. Just as Bruce Lee moved from good to great through his martial arts technique, moving a sales team from good to great requires a shift in a team’s sales technique.
As sales organizations, if we have an educational component to our sales meetings, the strategies almost always focus on outdated Industrial Model sales techniques such as how to reiterate the company tag-line messaging statement, fill out a new form, or how to create a great face-to-face first impression. The struggle here is that the world no longer operates this way. For example, sales professionals find reiterating company tag lines degrading, want to learn how to fill out a form through a brief online tutorial, and know that their first impressions are typically made through an email introduction or through a social media site such as LinkedIn.
To continue this point, while sales organizations continue to focus on “features and benefits” with printed materials, most sales professionals spend less than 50% of their day in front of their computers and rely primarily on their cell phones to stay in touch with prospects and clients. Yet, even with this reliance of sales professionals on cell phones, even astute sales professionals use only two phone apps on a regular basis to produce sales—email and texting (and possibly their company driven CRM, which they likely do not use).
It’s time to embrace the new tech tools that allow sales professionals to Amplify their Communication, Accelerate their sense of Urgency, and ultimately, Activate Trust in their prospects and clients. Most of these tools are available on a sales professional’s cell phone and are totally free of charge.
For example: At the next sales meeting ask how many of your sales staff have these critical apps (or similar ones) and use them on a regular basis:
- Skype or another method to have a face-to-face meeting via their phone
- Google Voice
- The company-wide CRM
- iBooks (to send company sales materials, PDF’s, and presentations)
It’s time to move away from the hire and hope model of sales force development. By focusing on just a 5% shift within your organization’s currently established processes, mentality, and techniques, your sales team will move from good to great.
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