A good metaphor for your business is to think of your salespeople as race car drivers. They know how to drive, take the turns, and avoid crashes (you hope). Yet, every winning driver needs a stellar pit crew. It’s surprising how shortsighted managers forget this fact and wind up handicapping their sales people.
You probably provide your sales force with new product training, and/or sales skills/tactics training. These are the equivalent of giving your sales reps a good race car. It’s a start. It’s what you need to do to stay in the game. Even with these investments, we often hear a consistent set of complaints from CEOs and C-suite executives about their sales staff:
- “they never reach their quota”
- “they tell me we need to lower our prices”
- “they function as farmers, not hunters”
Comments such as these indicate just how much salespeople need a pit crew – and management is the only source of that support.
If salespeople are to increase their odds of winning that next big customer, then management needs to be in their corner at every turn. It means providing the measured value needed to score. If salespeople want to sell accuracy of orders, response time, customer training provided, for example, has the management team furnished them with internal metrics so they know if it is something to brag about? Or are they relegated to making promises that are suspect, as “we will accurately deliver your orders.”
Solid historical metrics are much better reinforcement than dubious promises. The tire change in business is providing salespeople with the value proposition that is current, measured and relevant. Most companies fail to provide salespeople with it because either they don’t know what’s truly relevant and/or don’t measure it.
Quality is often demanded by many industries’ customer base. If that is true for your company, does the front-line sales team know what their own company’s return rate is? What value proposition metrics are needed for sales to win? Has management provided it to them or are they just hoping to win with the wind at their back?
What other metrics might the sales force benefit knowing? Are they provided and kept up-to-date for the sales competition?
Management should consider how well your organization functions as a pit crew to support your sales force in their efforts to win. Proper support can dramatically improve the wins without resorting to price reductions. In addition, your ROI on sales training increases exponentially with this information.