Stop Training Your Sales Team!!
The headline of this article may sound like blasphemy from a sales trainer who has over 38 years of experience training salespeople, but it is a heartfelt suggestion. When many CEOs and business owners see revenue problems, they default to a statement like “Let’s get some sales training going.” Whereas, in reality, I believe the same CEO will realize a far greater improvement when he/she trains their company to sell.
While writing my book The New Math of Sales Excellence, I realized that many sales suppressors exist within companies. In The New Math of Sales Excellence, we document that there are five metrics – and only five metrics – that can be applied to accelerating profitable revenue acquisition and/or, inversely (or should I say perversely), can and do suppress the acquisition of profitable revenue. Let’s take a look at each of these metrics.
- Number of first meetings: This metric has a very large, indeed, a huge impact on the ability of the sales force to generate new, profitable revenue from new accounts. If your company expects its salespeople to prospect and develop first meetings, then you are utilizing a sales process which was first documented in 1873.
Bring your sales process into the 21st century by developing a systematic, consistent approach to obtaining top-of-mind awareness with prospective customers and, most importantly, nurturing top-of-mind awareness until a prospective customer can be deemed a sales-ready lead.
Forcing your team to prospect reduces both the number of first meetings available to the team and the full-time equivalency of the team. Prospecting is not selling. Prospecting is searching for someone to sell to.
- Dollars per transaction: Many companies employ unnecessarily liberal policies regarding the magnitude and frequency of discounting that can be negotiated by the sales team. Implementing controls on this behavior will improve the profitability of the sales efforts.
- Conversion ratio: This is the one metric which can be impacted by sales skills training. Please note: This is one out of five. Sales skills training will help salespeople convert more qualified, sales-ready leads into paying customers.
- Length of the sales cycle: Again, this is a company training issue. If your sales team has to do everything by themselves (in other words, they are treated like a do-it-yourself “micro entrepreneur”, then your sales cycle will lengthen. Conversely, if selling is a team effort and other individuals can assist the salesperson, the sales cycle will be shortened. The shorter the sales cycle, the more transactions can be processed per calendar year. Take a look at what keeps your team from a shorter sales cycle.
- Full-time equivalent: Many companies allow inefficient and ineffective processes to complicate the life of their salespeople. These processes reduce the amount of selling time.
So, although a company may say they have ten salespeople, if those ten salespeople spend half of every day doing non-sales administrative tasks (as a result of circumstances that are allowed by management), then the full-time equivalent of that sales force is only five people.
Training your salespeople will have zero impact on a phenomenon that I’ve nicknamed “the sales prevention department”, which significantly impacts the amount of available sales time for the sales team.
So, I hope this brief article shows you that you can get far more “bang for your buck” out of training your entire team to work as a team to find, acquire and retain profitable relationships with customers in your market.
If you’d like to examine mathematically the impact of these five metrics on your company, click here and request my Sales Potential Worksheet. I will send it to you immediately, and it will guide you through a self-analysis of how your company can benefit from The New Math of Sales Excellence®. As always, I wish you…
Good Luck and Good Selling!!!
Sales Acceleration Coach