Depending upon your point of view, the economy is either faltering or crashing but in
either case your revenue is likely to be down. So what is management's response: "Tell the sales team to stop complaining and get to work.
They need to work harder. We need revenue growth not constriction." I ask you, just how effective is this directive in reversing a
downward revenue trend?
What sales people take away from that message is that despite their previous success
and dedicated efforts to exceed their goals, they were somehow "asleep at the wheel" and if now they would "only work harder" all will be right with
the world! Faulty logic at best. Telling the team to work harder is merely counterproductive. Your best and brightest take offense
and the slackers, well, they're slackers for a reason and "management proclamations" won't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Ok, you're saying I just don't get it! What management means is that the
sales team needs to work smarter. Well, while I'll point out that the above logic can also apply to "working smarter"; I will grant that there
is some truth to the statement of working smarter. Management's role in working smarter however is an often overlooked critical component.
Sales teams are only as good as the tools they have at their disposal.
If revenue is down, stop the blame game and take a hard look at
the foundation of your selling process and look for ways to provide support and assistance to the sales team. Take
Value - are you delivering the value customers want? Has the changing economy changed
what your customers need? Take a hard look at what you believe your product or service does for your customers and ask the tough question - do our
customers still care?
Target - are you targeting the right customers? The old "throw it on the wall" approach
will produce revenue in good times but it is a recipe for disaster in tough times. Working smarter starts with the right value for the right
Clone Success - you will always see sales success regardless of the economy. Analyze
that success. It may not just be due to a "better" sales person. Is the success due to their territory? Their vertical market? Was the success in
current accounts or with new accounts? What did those customers buy and why? Build a "model" of the successful customers and clone them in the
territories of the entire sales team.
Lead Generation - a changing economic environment is likely to change your target
customers. Examine where and how you generate leads. Assess its ability to present the right value and capture the interest of the right
Technology- maximize your teams efficiency by utilizing new tech tools for lead
generation, social networking, client alerts. (see column to the right for tech list)
Your sales team is ultimately responsible for driving revenue. But in difficult economic times, they need
all the help they can get. Just telling the sales team to work harder or smarter is not the answer. Give them better guidance,
improved tools and reward the right behavior. And should you really have some slackers on your team - jettison them as fast as you
can. If they couldn't cut it in good times there is nor reason to believe they are suddenly going to "get it" and produce in tough times.
Sales teams are as good as we make them - give them the tools, the support and the incentives to continue to succeed.
For help in reaching your revenue goals even in tough
times, call Catalytic Management at 978-562-5001.
We'll help you Accelerate Revenue &