Pretty much every CEO or owner of an established midsized B2B business has the dream to take their business to the next level. There are, however, a range of common and easy mistakes that most businesses make when trying to increase sales revenue. Learn how to avoid the 5 most common mistakes.
- The training mistake: “Sales training will sharpen and improve the performance of the sales team!”
One of the biggest myths is that sales is a skill. Even better is the idea that sales people are born. Sales is not a skill (or DNA embedded) – it’s a process. Skill or talent may account for 20% of success. The worst misperception is the idea that two days of training on the latest methodology will make any lasting difference. Unless it is integrated into the process and constantly coached by sales management it will be a waste of time and money.
- The hiring mistake: “Hire Sales People with track record, they know what to do.”
It is a myth that sales success can be hired based on track record. Only 1 in 4 new sales hires deliver. Just because a pilot knows how to fly a fighter jet, doesn’t mean he can fly a commercial plane. The pilot needs to learn new ways of flying a plane.
It took your business time and a lot of experience to know how to successfully engage in a sales process. It is crucial to have this process articulated in a teachable and repeatable way. Include it as part of onboarding a new sales hire. This speeds up the onboarding process as well as ensuring the new hire will be successful. A thorough onboarding and 30-60-90 day ramp plan is of great value to accelerate their performance curve and saves you the mopping up after the firing 9 months later.
- The structure mistake: “I give my account managers a new business target.”
If you give a sales person a target, do you think they will they focus on the easiest or the hardest sell? Exactly! So why would an account manager with a customer base they farm, choose to spend an in-proportional amount of time on hunting new business with longer sales cycles, harder competition and lower conversion rates? Not a great use of time to make the number is it?
The result is consistently the same: New business revenue stays flat and you don’t add fast enough new clients to your base.
- The relationship mistake: “My products and services are good – I don’t have to worry about retention.”
A very, very dangerous assumption is that customer satisfaction equals loyalty. Loyalty comes only from perceived value and has not a lot to do with a high satisfaction score for fixing problems. NPS scoring has taken it to new and more realistic measures, but it is still a view in the rear vision mirror.
Equally misleading is the assumption that good customer relationships result in loyalty. Only a pro-active, consistent effort to enhance your customer’s perception of “value” is building loyalty and reduces attrition risks.
NPS scores and Customer S are a snapshot in time. It never replaces the need to treat your customers as the crown jewels of your business and greatest, most predictable source of profit. A good question to pose is: outside of service and support – how pro-active is your business in consistently adding value to your customer and increasing organic growth?
- The metric mistake: “I will manage the team better and set targets for calls, meetings and sales pipeline.”
The usage of CRM systems has become increasingly the replacement for good sales management. I see Sales Managers spending more time crunching numbers, than in the field coaching and mentoring or planning the next strategic move. CRM metrics have been hailed as everything! The more the better, because they seem to provide transparency.
Command and control at its best. If only the numbers would reflect the whole reality. If only activity targets and real time visibility would translate easily into higher performance. They don’t in principle and often cause push back from the sales team. It works better for transactional product selling, but definitely not in more complex solution selling.
And the moral of the story is:
There are no quick solutions or silver bullets when it comes to improving sales. It is all about a combination of right sales process, product and people. Cookie cutters don’t work. A Sales Action Plan that plays to the unique strengths of your business with a strong competitive market position, proven sales process and effective performance management will instill the Sales Mojo in your business.
About Business Backstage:
Ursula Dauenhauer, Founder of Business Backstage, is passionate about helping medium sized B2B companies to accelerate business growth. For over 15 years now, Ursula has helped business leaders to have confidence in the sales pipelines, build a scalable sales structure and get the Sales Mojo. For a conversation over a cup of coffee you can phone Ursula on 0401 147 493 or email email@example.com.