A WORD FROM DUANE SPARKS
Dear Sales Executive:
Can a sales force be “good” and not achieve its quota?
Is a sales force that achieves quota always “Good?”
There are many factors to consider when answering these questions. Sometimes companies gain a short-term product advantage over the competition, which makes hitting goals far easier. Also, under certain market conditions, customer demand for products becomes extremely high. Either of those scenarios, and several others, can make a mediocre sales organization look better than it is.
Conversely, a good sales force can be hobbled by factors involving products, economics, or market forces that make it especially difficult to achieve an annual goal. When external factors exist, and they always do, how can you determine if your sales force is “good”? Glad you asked.
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Author of Action Selling
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR SALES FORCE IS GOOD?If you’re wondering whether your sales force is “good,” basing your measure on quota attainment alone is probably not the best way to look at the issue. In fact, quota attainment just raises more questions: Is the revenue you’re getting the right revenue? Are your salespeople selling the right solutions, to the right customers, in the right way? How comfortable are you that your team would be successful at launching new products, attacking new markets, or calling on a different customer set? How trainable is your sales team? A “good” sales force is adaptable to changes that occur in the marketplace and to new assignments your company asks them to take on. How flexible is your team when called upon to make necessary changes in their sales approach? IF YOUR SALESPEOPLE AREN’T ADDING VALUE, WHY DO YOU NEED THEM? Would you consider your sales force a competitive weapon? All of us want a sales force that gives us a genuine competitive advantage—a sales force that adds significant value to our solutions. But, if that’s the case, then the question becomes: How capable is your sales force at differentiating your products and services…even when they aren’t very different? If your salespeople can’t do that, then how do they add value—and, to be blunt, why do you need them? That is the real starting point for discussing the question, how good is your sales force? Here’s a survey that helps answer it. Rank your sales force in the following criteria by circling the number that best describes your team: How did you score your team’s “goodness”? Use the following ranking to measure their current level:
My Team’s Total = ________
WHAT’S YOUR SALES FORCE’S GOODNESS?
The Goodness Survey obviously isn’t perfect. It doesn’t assign weights to any of the individual areas we measure—you might consider some areas more important than others. The survey may not include every topic that could go into an evaluation of your team. Perhaps your salespeople hit their numbers but don’t meet your expectations for accomplishing the company’s business strategy. Perhaps their sales behaviors aren’t everything you would like them to be.
Regardless, the Goodness Survey gives you an opportunity to look at measures above and beyond quota that could be improved. Bottom line: If your team hits their numbers AND you truly believe they represent a genuine competitive advantage for your company, then you’re in a great position, and you’ve done a commendable job of sales leadership.
WANT A “GOOD” SALES FORCE? FILL THIS GAP.
ACTION SELLING IN ACTION
“The main goal of all our sales conversations with customers is to create and build loyalty,” says Ryan Tracy, corporate sales manager for Dakota Supply Group (DSG), a Fargo, North Dakota century-old company that provides products and services in the electrical, plumbing and HVAC industries.
DSG used the principles of Action Selling to build itself into one of the largest regional suppliers in the industry. Action Selling has become the operating system for developing a quality sales and service organization that customers love to work with.
“By following the Action Selling process, we know what a high-quality, loyalty-based business relationship looks like. And, we know the precise steps required to generate more loyalty in every customer interaction we have.”
For information about how to make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.
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