The Biggest Sales Mistakes Sales Managers Make
The Major Sales Management mistakes that lead to sales plateau. Most sales organizations enter into a new year optimistic about their future sales results. The traditional approach is to begin each year with a bang that includes sales meetings, new company and individual goals, incentive plans, advertising campaigns and of course hiring new talent. By the end of March we begin to see that goals have not been met, advertising dollars have not translated into expected sales volume and that talent, well, often they compound the problem! One must understand that this process typically is relied year after year by sales organizations and the problems that seem common and constant are a direct result of this process. Let’s examine the process to uncover where the mistakes are made.
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Problem # 1 Business Owners often begin each year by scheduling sales meetings to motivate their team moving into the New Year. These meetings consist of laying out management’s plan that more often than not is not a plan at all. It is really across the board increases in sales goals or quotas requiring sales people to step up their game. This plan however is often presented without a MAP, a Measurable Assistance Plan. A Measurable Assistance Plan is analogous to a map used when traveling cross country. For example, if last year we traveled from Boston to Los Angeles, we did so taking a particular course and in certain weather conditions. However, this year we need to be more efficient as we need to shorten the time it takes to get from one city to another. What course of action or direction should we take? How will the weather differ from our experience last year? What do we need to do on a day to day basis that will allow us to make up the desired difference? Without a MAP (Measurable Assistance Plan) we often get the opposite of what we hope for.
Opposed to motivating the team, we de-motivate the group because without a specific plan and agreed to course of action they simply see these new quotas as additional time and energy on their behalf. Establishing new quotas without a real course of action and agreed to plan is simply a recipe for disaster. The optimism and excited expressed in January begins to fade quickly and is replaced by excuses and complacency. In other words this same sales team goes from wanting to move mountains……….. to hoping to meet quota!
Problem # 2 Business Owners, Presidents and Sales Managers often succumb to the complaints of the sales team. They accept the excuse that they have no leads, or no one to call. You see opposed to dealing directly with the root cause of the problem (they are not closing the leads that they have now) they actually compound the problem. What management often decides to do is to reduce their margins by investing more into advertising, to get more leads in order to continue to close less business! This mistake erodes the corporate bottom line. The focus must be on the fact that they are not closing the leads they have now!
Problem # 3 Business Owners, Presidents and Sales Managers once again dramatically reduce their margins by making mistake number three which often become their biggest anchor impeding their ability to gain the traction necessary to get to the next level. Opposed to solidifying their core sales team by training them, changing them and providing them with the necessary tools to become more effective, they decide to compound the problem by hiring more superstars.
Often when speaking with Presidents, Business Owners and Sales Directors we here at Peak Performance hear a common theme. When asked about the overall effectiveness of their sales team with regards to generating new business they typically respond in the following way. “Well, I guess if I were to rate my team for developing new business on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most effective, I would say they are not bad, they are about a 6.” Let’s look at this situation for a moment. Sixty percent effective! Are you paying out 60% of their salary, 60% of the auto expense, 60% of the advertising and marketing dollars, 60% of their benefits? You are investing 100% of your time, energy and capital into a stock that is only delivering a 60% return on investment! Opposed to implementing real sales structure for this stellar group of 60 per-centers management again decides to erode their margins by compounding the problem. What most sales organizations do is that they rely on the same hiring criteria used to hire there current group of 60 per-centers, in order to locate their next sales superstar! Their mentality is that if they locate a real star, then this person is going to stiffen the spine of the existing team and get their attention.
Remember something; you thought the current group of 60 per-centers were superstars when you hired them as well, right? What happened to them? What went wrong? You see, as human beings we acclimate. If for example you have an under performer playing on a poorly rated NBA team, who is traded to a top performing team, watch him acclimate upwards. On the other hand often top performers when traded to poorly performing teams acclimate downward. This is analogous to investing into a top race horse with a great record. However the race track this horse is expected to run on has holes throughout the course. Might this horse slow down? Might this horse eventually get hurt? Might this horse not perform at the levels you hoped for? Improving the condition of your track increases the effectiveness of your current team and provides a solid foundation for new recruits.