What is the purpose of a sales person?
A good question to ask yourself or your team is what is the purpose of a sales person? If you’re only thinking about your company then you might say the purpose is to drive revenue to the business. I wouldn’t suggest for a minute that this isn’t part of the answer, but if this is the only answer then my suggestion is your positive revenue outcomes may be short term.
Indicator has gained some valuable sales industry insights over the past three years, having worked with over 250 sales leaders, collectively responsible for over $8 billion in revenue.
So your sales team is not performing as well as you’d like them to. What can you do? If you’re like most sales managers, you will know that training is one of your biggest tools (beyond changing out people – but who says you’ll recruit better this time!) to drive better performance, which is so often the key to how to improve sales. But how do you make sales skills training effective?
Sales effectiveness drives the world around – economy, business, and relationships.
Business might be disrupted, markets may collapse, artificial intelligence may replace many jobs but a great sales person will always thrive. As a profession salespeople are brilliant at training and development with a long, proud history.
In this article, we explore the next frontier through the lens of biology. We ask the questions: can we get any better at sales? What has been achieved in sports and elite combat teams over the past 30 years is startling. Shouldn’t we be striving for the same things – Faster, Higher, Stronger? But not only in individual performance, as a team. Consider the power of modern teams such as the All Blacks, Team NZ and Navy Seals.
Presence, Flow and Eudaimonia
As a young doctor, I saw that the medicine applied to save lives, might have another purpose. Medical and biological sciences could be applied to improve and optimise life. The vision took me into Sports Medicine and then Resilience.
Easy - the sales manager’s job is to drive their team to make sales. It’s that simple, right? Wrong. It’s big and it’s complex.
How well is your team executing strategy and do they even get it?
The company away day workshop, done well, is one of the biggest value creators you can invest your executive team’s time in. How well are you leading and communicating your plan, what are your great wins, how well are your values providing a compass for guiding decision making, is there a positive culture and determination around your plans and budgets? These meetings are not talkfests – they’re discussions to get plan refinement, reinvention and most importantly - engagement.
Many Sales people are recruited and managed by non-sales people. Not surprisingly mistakes are sometimes made in the recruitment process.
More often, a non-sales person thinks that “all salespeople are the same” and then fails to understand why the appointment hasn’t worked.
This is an interesting question as the answer is everything and nothing. Everything - because we are all, always, trying to sell more, find new customers or channels ; Nothing - in that the CEO needs the confidence to rely on their sales team to generate revenue, drive quarterly growth and replace lost or churning customers, but overall, grow the business with profitable revenue.
However, most CEOs don't have a lot of sales knowledge - or ability. Sales in many organisations can be looked upon as the sleazy, pushy, used car salesman type role in the company (for more on this read Daniel Pink's book, To Sell is Human), and most CEOs don't come from this background.
Why is this? The answer is relatively sensible. Traditionally, people without tertiary education, but maybe with “the gift of the gab”, have tended to get into sales. People don’t necessarily need formal training or skills for a sales role, and while this has made the path easier, the lack of education can be a disadvantage for progress to a general management role - especially in a corporate or bigger company.
Anyway, back to the story.