Sales Development Insight | CEO's playing a Role in Sales
This CEO Tip provides insight on why Business Owners often fail to implement the change necessary to drive their companies forward. The most obvious error that CEO's make is that they fail to recognize when to change. In other words they fail to acknowledge change needed for sales development. However it is usually not this error that holds companies back, but the second error: Upon recognizing the need to change, they fail to take action and commit to staying the course, as such keeping their companies stuck on a plateau.
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In the sales arena these mistakes usually manifest as follows:
Mistake Number One: Management Complacency | Management does not establish a sense of urgency for Sales Development.
Sales Decay, often is the result of several factors that occur over time. Unfortunately, many Business Owners don’t develop a sense of urgency until things have gotten out of hand. For example, when hiring, the employer has an optimistic outlook on the new hire’s performance that lingers for months. Often this outlook lingers in the face of diminished performance until the employee perceives his inadequate performance as being their expected level of production. While this transformation in expected performance is evolving in the new hire, the Business Owner is under the impression of expanding the sales team, when in fact both parties are compounding an existing problem:
Sales Team Complacency: Is the result of three key factors:
1. A Business Owner who runs operates through hope and optimism.
2. This type hires optimistic people with the attitude of "Wanting to move mountains" but who soon settle into an attitude of "Hoping to meet quota."
3. The Owner hopes change will take place, instead of implementing change—change in himself or herself, change in the system, or change in how they hold their team accountable.
Mistake Number Two: Management Fails to Prioritize Sales as the Initiative
Although Business Owners desire to increase sales they fail to articulate this as a priority. Everything takes precedence over sales: marketing, product development, and so on. But what could be more important than removing the obstacles to success?
When speaking to Business Owners, we see a common denominator present: Because of their numerous responsibilities they tend to repeatedly perform comfortable activities. It is uncomfortable to change the routine of their sales team. Driving people out of a non-productive comfort zone is stressful. They too often become paralyzed with the downside and fail to do what is most important for sales! In other words they have begun the process of allowing their sales team to manage, management!
Mistake Number Three: Letting Past Success Block Future Performance
Another reason for sales team complacency is that management often accepts excuses from sales people who have been successful in the past. It is usually those previously successful sales people who are most resistant—despite the fact that their past success may have occurred some time ago, and had been the result of positive conditions, rather than stellar ability.
To make growth a primary initiative management must engage in a brutally frank discussion regarding disturbing facts such as.
- Shrinking margins, - Client decay, - Limited success with new accounts, - Poor lead conversion
When is a company’s sense of urgency high enough to change? Typically this occurs when the Business Owner is convinced that status quo is more dangerous than change itself.
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In a recent article in Harvard Business Review, the subject of clarity, or clearly understood objectives were discussed. The article described how often Business Owners “own” information, yet fail to clearly communicate how to achieve the desired end result.
Case Study: FeDex® is known for “absolutely” having packages arrive overnight, without question! In New York a FedEx truck broke down and the replacement truck was running late. The driver initially resorted to running a few packages on foot. At the point of inevitable failure, this driver flagged down a competitor driving through the city and convinced the driver to take her to her last few stops. This story is a tangible demonstration of a company’s commitment to achieving goals and a complete understanding of the communication between management and the team responsible for carrying out the company’s objectives! The goal was not to drive a particular route each day. The goal was to ensure results.