Are you stuck?
While there may be debate about the state of the nation’s economic future, many CEOs tell us today that they are experiencing the perfect storm of longer sales cycles, shrinking margins and greater competition. Some believe that this may be a perfect time to capture new market share in anticipation of a turnaround.
You may be trying to deal with this storm without a surplus of available cash, or under conditions of tight credit. Business owners are frustrated with the lack of new business and the fact that few, if any, of their people relish the role of obtaining it. Most have people in a selling role, but the results are sub-par. Many feel they are being held hostage by mediocre salespeople who may have valuable information or relationships. The answer to these seemingly perplexing situations is you. By virtue of a simple choice, you possess much more power than you might think to dramatically upgrade your Sales Team and grow now. Upgrading to a true sales culture will not only affect your top line revenue, but can also improve your margins and net profit. Don’t feel over-whelmed—it’s much simpler than you might think. If you decide to go for it, here are simple steps to follow:
1. Acknowledge the Brutal Facts: If you want to upgrade to a powerful Sales Culture and reap the rewards that a powerful culture will bring, it is vital to realize that the very people you would like to change have chosen to behave in the way are currently behaving. They act the way they do for one reason–because they want to. So despite your strongest desires, they probably will not choose to do what you would like them to do – Hunt and Close.
2. Needle in a Haystack: Hunters and Closers represent a microscopic portion of the “salesperson population”. In fact, only a very small percentage of people are really suitable for taking on any part of a sales or business development role. If you have a small sales team, it is highly likely that you have NO Hunters or Closers.
3. Use Effective Tools and Processes: You must be able to identify that small percentage of people who can hunt and close. This isn’t hard to do if you use the right types of assessment tools and processes.
4. Raise Your Expectations, Trumpet Your Intentions: This is not the time to be ambiguous or vague. You must clearly communicate your unbridled commitment to create a powerful, lasting Sales Culture, especially to those who must carry part of the Sales Culture load. For example, let’s say you want the regional managers at your professional services firm to go out and find local business customers, the customer service call center to become proactive by making outgoing calls, or your professional service providers to bring new clients into your firm. In all of these cases, a common mistake management makes is to neglect the clear communication of expectations to those very people they would like to change.
5. Appoint a Competent Culture Transformation Director: Again, this is going to take steady commitment on your part. But it will pay off. Appoint someone who understands what needs to be accomplished as well as how to accomplish it. Then hold them accountable for executing.
6. Train and Coach: Make sure that the chosen stakeholders are provided with the training they’ll need to succeed in this strange new world of selling and new business development. The assessment tools can provide you with a development roadmap.
7. Demonstrate a Crystal Clear Path to Success: Don’t throw them out to sink or swim. Even with the most talented of salespeople, it is up to you to clearly define what it is they should do and how often they should do it.
8. Don’t Try to Push Water Up Hill: You must get buy-in from the people that will participate in your culture transformation.
9. No Surprises: You must be clear as to how their success will be measured.
10. Hold Them Accountable: The Culture Transformation Director must hold the participants accountable to doing what they agreed to do.
A sluggish economy is the absolute best time to perform a Sales Culture Transformation. With a simple choice, the right tools, and a simple checklist, you’ll be well on your way to higher revenues, increased profits and consistent performance.
Copyright © Joe Zente 2010. All Rights Reserved.
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