CEOs and sales leaders, what one change can you make right now to have the greatest impact on your sales force?
Every sales organization has room for improvement, but what options do you really have? Where can you invest your time and attention to deliver the meaningful shift you’re looking for?
We’ve asked 1,000 salespeople what changes they think would have the greatest impact on their performance and recorded their Top 40 answers.
Here are ten desired changes from that list:
- Increase my deal sizes
- Reduce or eliminate negotiations
- Minimize discounting
- Expand to new markets
- Improve competitiveness
- Expand my buyers’ budgets
- Acquire a more diverse customer base
- Engage decision makers earlier
- Improve my own accountability
- Increase gross margins
After asking what changes they’d make, we followed up with a second question, “Right now, how much control do you believe you have over those changes?”
The vast majority of responses were a version of “Not very much.”
The truth is, you and your salespeople have more control than you think!
The Formula For Success
Sales is a game of probability; not a game of perfection. For games of probability like sales, success is defined as winning more than you lose and winning bigger and losing smaller over time. Maintaining this perspective is essential if you and your sales team are going to develop the ability to take control of growth.
True, your salespeople are NOT in control of their customers’ ultimate buying decision. But, your salespeople are in control of the decisions they make and the actions they take, as they lead buyers to change. This means the more structured their decisions and the more disciplined their actions, the more predictable their outcomes will be.
The more predictable their outcomes the more control they (and you) have over growth. This is the formula that enables sales teams to Take Control of Growth:
Decisions + Actions = Outcomes
D + A = O
Random or impulsive decisions and actions do not create consistent results and, therefore, cannot drive predictable, repeatable success. Only structured decisions and disciplined actions can combine to create predictable outcomes.
This is how mediocre salespeople become great and how great salespeople become elite money making machines. Applying this formula to the way each member of your team executes his or her role will spark their competitive drive and permanently end the excuse-making that blocks their potential.
Putting This Formula to Work
Making this formula work for your sales team requires leaders to understand and take responsibility for helping each team member develop their own Personal Operating System. One that optimizes the beliefs or mindset each team member brings to their role; beliefs that ultimately dictate the decisions they make, the actions they take, and the outcomes they create.
Well-oiled sales machines are run by sales leaders who are conscious of both the limiting and enabling beliefs that influence each team member’s performance. They understand that each salesperson on their team is ultimately limited by three things: 1) What they believe is possible, 2) The level of control they think they have, and 3) Their commitment to exercising that control every day.
The best way to use all three of these aspects to achieve your desired results is for each team member to apply D + A = O to their own sales territory and/or named account list. The absolute best tool to aid sales and customer-facing team members in making this happen is a unifying sales methodology; one that is tailored for each sales role and reflective of your team’s core values and sales culture.
To be effective, this unifying sales methodology must also be supported by a detailed sales process that ensures each team member is executing the STAGES and GATES that reinforce the structure and discipline required to overachieve committed goals.
When developed and applied together, your unified sales methodology and detailed sales process will produce a functional sales pipeline that collects and reports on key behavioral metrics like the number of qualified opportunities generated, average deal size, average win rate and average sales cycle time. Metrics like these, allow sales leaders and team members to gain data-driven insights into which decisions and actions are working and which are not.
With each of these essential tools in place, there is no need for you or your team members to guess or make assumptions about how and where improvements can and should be made.
It’s Not About Fate. It’s About Faith.
D + A = O. It’s a simple formula that great sales teams recognize and use to take control of growth every day. It’s a means of achieving immediate, individual performance improvements, as well as enabling your team’s continuous improvement over time.
Granted, there will always be elements of the job that are out of your control. But, having faith in your ability to exercise greater focus and accountability over what you can control, is far more likely to deliver the success you seek than simply believing it is all in the hands of fate.
Something else to keep in mind. If your salespeople don’t have the structure and discipline required to optimize their own decisions and actions, they won’t have the ability to predictably guide their customers’ decisions and actions. Unstructured and undisciplined salespeople attract and enable unstructured and undisciplined buyers who clog sales pipelines with low-quality deals that sabotage forecast accuracy, or ultimately end in no decision.
There is a better way.
To your continued success!