The new shiny toy that kills sales people's mojo after a big win
I have definitely done this so many times. My mentor always says to me "The new girl is always prettier than the girl you took to the dance". So true. I can attest to that.
When you are running multiple teams within an organisation it is fascinating to watch people and how they react to different situations.
As a marketing organisation, having a sales person in various offices is always interesting. You can have so many types of sales people; the high achiever, the diligent do-er, the ego maniac, the promoter, the person who says they have the deal and it doesn't come through and of course a few lazy one's.
Depending on their psychological profile, managing a sales person can be extraordinarily hard. As many of our sales people have marketing degrees, they either are deep down a marketer, or deep down a person who wants to sell and make money.
We recently had a situation where a sales person who has a healthy ego, was able to achieve his sales quota one month after two months of work. Then the next month, it was all quiet because the adrenelin of getting sales, and winning can be so exhilirating that it puts you in another sphere - particularly if you get there before you thought you would.
In a company such as ours, there is so many areas people can explore and get their creative juices running. So, like a true sales person, they wanted more. The problem was they were looking in the wrong place. They stopped looking where the sales came from in the first place, and started focusing on their own future dreams. While we have to nurture this, we know that focus, diligence and routine is the only way to achieve goals month-on-month. More important than that is that when you achieve your goals you need to get back on the bike, as our sales quotas are monthly, not quarterly. If you don't get back on the bike you won't achieve it the next month.
What we have learned by watching people hit a quota than fall off the following month is that we need to change the way we manage the situation:
- Ensure consistency of sales performance before allowing them to spend too much time on other projects or ideas;
- Encourage ego and ambition - however, it is important to help them navigate the best use of both so that they don't come across the wrong way to prospects and your team;
- Set out clear definitions behind what the process is, and have them stick to it until they have spent at least 6 months achieve goals consistently;
- Find out why they are not closing deals and which deals are lost. For instance, if they sell to 10% of the leads coming through - what is happening to the 90% that have gotten away? Why did they not choose your product or service? Was the sales person too aggressive? Not aggressive enough? Slow to close? Didn't tell the company's story well enough? What is it that causes your company to lose sales opportunities?
- Discourage over-time. All sales people should be able to get their jobs done in 160 hours per month. In our case, the goal is that a sales person sells 5 clients per month, which would mean in normal terms 20 meetings per month over the phone or in person.
- Role play their scripts and how they sell.
- Ensure that you train your sales people to not over-sell their capabilities internally, as everyone on the team that have been there for a while, know what they have to achieve, and ultimately whether they are achieving it or not. Trust within the team is very important to company culture.
Being a person who has been there and done that, I know that it is easy to lose sight of what you are really there to do. Putting structures, systems, processes and daily goals is important to getting sales people into a rhythm that leads to success.