Does your sales team have
what it takes to win the game?
When having conversations with sales Directors, I am always surprised to hear how little time and investment is given to the training of their sales teams.
Is it not the sales team that brings the water to the mill?
A team that excels, is a team that always has on hand all the necessary tools, enabling them to fill the needs of a constantly changing business world .
Unfortunately, reality paints a completely different picture. Training of sales personnel seems to be the last dollar spent, and the first one cut, within companies, especially when times are hard. Actually, when results are not as hoped for, that is exactly when companies should be investing in the tool box of their sales staff. Here are a few examples of what they should be looking at :
How can you motivate a team to excel if no practice time is ever offered?
I like to compare sales teams to teams in sports. Is it not their ultimate goal to actually win the championship?
All teams in any given sport, practice a lot more often than they play the actual games. Why is that?
They practice regularly and repeat the same exercises and techniques over and over, until these have been mastered and each player excels in his role within the team. Their reflexes are developed and become automatic during a real game.
If the original game strategy is not generating the desired results, it is the coach’s responsibility to change that strategy for another one, which will enable the team to win!
To not be in constant communication with the team, is like asking the team participants to play wihout a score board!
What would it be like if a team played out in the field without a score board keeping them informed of their present results. Imagine a hockey team playing an entire game completely unaware of the scores during the game. Only at the very end of the game, while all the players are in their locker room, would the coach show up and announce to them whether they have won or lost?
If they have lost, is it not a bit late for them to learn that they were falling behind and that the original strategy should have been changed?
A lot of companies operate in this manner with their sales teams. They evaluate their team members on a yearly basis. Only during that one meeting do the team members find out the different issues that could have been adressed quickly, and possibly resolved.
To set objectives and strategies only once a year, when all seems real and possible is fine, however, a lot of things outside of our control can happen, and when they do, plan “ A” is out the window and no longer applicable. That is when it is time to create plan “B”!
A perfect example of this is September 11th, 2001. Who could have planned for two airplanes to crash into two gigantic towers, killing thousands of people, greatly impacting the tourism and transport industries until this day?
Who could expect such things?
This is why reality checks must be done on a regular basis with our teams. The question we should be asking is:
What has changed since our last meeting?
Based on the new facts, what new strategy must be put into place in order to face this new reality?
Here are a few questions for the coach
'When an entire team rows in the same direction towards one common goal, extraordinary results happen quickly and powerfully !'
Ghislaine Labelle, Professional coach