Gitomer: Sales plan or a state of mind?
Friday, April 25, 2014 7:00 AM
All salespeople are given a plan, a quota or some kind of “numbers” to achieve as a major part of their job requirement.
The key word is “part.” The plan or the quota is a SMALL part of the achievement process.
How the company and leader support the salespeople and their sales efforts is another part – the MAJOR part.
The tools, the training and the encouragement to achieve will determine the salespeople’s ultimate beliefs, efforts and outcomes (AKA: Results).
Sales leaders will always make value judgments on their salespeople’s ability to produce numbers, but rarely will they step up to bat and self-evaluate their own effort to support and encourage their salespeople.
Sales leaders are quick to judge the capability of their salespeople strictly by the numbers.
CLASSIC EXAMPLE: If the number each salesperson is to achieve requires cold calling as a major part of the sales function, more than 50 percent will NOT make the grade.
SALES REALITY: Most salespeople resent the fact that they are held accountable for certain numbers that don’t have anything to do with actually making sales.
BIGGER SALES REALITY. Sales is not numbers; it’s a rhythm. Any kind of sales requires you to get into a rhythm, and that rhythm must be consistent.
BIGGEST SALES REALITY. In order for salespeople to feel “in the groove” and get the sales rhythm, there has to be leadership support, and there has to be leadership encouragement.
Leadership has to change the word “accountability” to the word “responsibility.” Salespeople are responsible for themselves, responsible for their outcomes, and responsible to their boss and their company for productivity.
Once salespeople become responsible salespeople, they are automatically accountable to everyone. But the boss and the company also have their own responsibility to support that salesperson 150 percent.
Here are the 7.5 responsibilities sales leadership has to salespeople in order for them to make their numbers happen without ever saying the word “accountability”:
1. Impeccable company, product and service reputation. This is foundational and fundamental to a salesperson’s belief system and a prospective customer’s belief system.
2. Social media attraction. Active participation in social media is no longer optional; it’s an imperative. And active participation, including one-on-one communications with customers, creates attraction. Attraction is also known as leads.
3. On-demand, Web-based sales and personal development training. Salespeople need information and answers in order to make sales.
4. An easy-to-implement philosophical approach to the sale. There must be an approach and a strategy to the sale that salespeople are comfortable with and will use.
5. The ability to differentiate from the competition. Salespeople need a value proposition, value-based statements and value-based questions to genuinely engage any customer.
6. Genuine, real-world, hands-on leadership encouragement. Senior-level executives, and sales leaders, must be out on sales calls as often as possible, which will help them when they make the next sales plan.
7. A generous comp plan. When the comp plan changes, make sure the compensation goes up.
7.5. Internal harmony. There must be a harmony between sales, accounting, shipping and any internal administration that deals directly with salespeople or customers.
I’ve just given you the tip of the sales performance iceberg. Most of the iceberg is not visible if the salespeople are fighting market conditions, customers and competition to gain a competitive and profitable edge.
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