In a precarious economy where many businesses hang in the balance, at the mercy of the credit crunch and with the future uncertain, it is more vital than ever to ensure your business boasts the very best sales force. You need to push ahead of your competitors, aiming not just to meet but exceed your full potential to generate revenue. You have to go further.
So it comes as a surprise that many Sales Leaders and Business Managers don’t actually have a clear idea of how their sales teams are performing. Targets are being reached, and everything -on the surface at least- appears to be going smoothly. But what really lies beneath the numbers?
Sales targets signify the end result of the sales process: the final goal, the ultimate destination. What they don’t manage to explore are the different stages of the sales process or whether that result really is the best your team could have achieved. When considering performance, it’s worth looking beyond the final figures, and asking a few questions.
- Are your sales team simply continuing to meet targets solely through repeat clients, rather than reaching a healthy balance of new business?
- Are they confident in knowing how to go to market- where to source the best clients, how to pitch, what to sell?
- Are the team getting the most out of a sale? Are they aware of the negotiation variables, where to compromise?
- Are they motivated to utilise their time and go beyond what’s expected of them? To not merely sail leisurely towards targets, but to race beyond them?
If you can’t answer any of the above with absolute confidence, then perhaps it’s time to perform that long-overdue sales audit. Because it’s clear that targets alone don’t even begin to scratch the surface of sales performance.
Assessment in Practice
The process of auditing, assessing and then subsequently training, structuring and accrediting your Sales Team can delve right down to the bones of sales performance, finding the cracks targets alone frequently miss. As a vital health check for your business, it should never be regarded as a one-off, isolated process. Managed successfully, it can be the key to continued growth and development, even in a marketplace that offers little scope for progression. At a more basic level, it can prevent your business from crashing at a time when you are most dependent upon the Sales Team to keep you afloat.
How? Well, it will help you and your business to:
- Identify, attract and retain talent: do you have the sales stars you need to ensure success for the future of your business?
- Boost skills and expertise: your existing sales team may be performing well, but could they do even better?
- Stop the rot: perhaps you aren’t floundering or failing yet, but beneath the surface of your sales team, are issues beginning to take root and inhibit further progression?
Time to Resuscitate!
One of the greatest shortcomings of the Sales Profession is its lack of external regulation and assessment. In other professionally recognized and respected industries – let’s take surgery as an example - you would not only undergo a minimum of 10 years of training and assessment in order to qualify for the profession, but would continue to face further assessment and training for the duration of your career. You have to remain ahead of new developments, continually demonstrate your skills and pass rigorous assessment to ensure you are performing to the very best of your ability, without risking the lives of those in your care.
No such safety net exists in the world of Sales. Perhaps we are not responsible for the lives of others- but it may be argued that sales are the most fundamental, vital part of your business. Without good sales people, you don’t get sales. Without sales, you won’t generate profits. And without profits- you don’t have a business. So, with the life of your business at stake: shouldn’t an objective annual competency assessment be an integral part of your safe journey to success?