ACTG Sales Management Blog

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Why Are My Salespeople Not Perfoming as Expected?

Posted by Tony Cole on Fri, Jun 26, 2020

Why do so many of my salespeople fail to perform as expected?  It's a loaded question.  Or, is it?  In our corporate sales training experience, we've seen that evaluating underperforming salespeople in the pre-hire sales assessment is crucial for success in your business.

From poor diagnosis of the right contributing factors for success, to other candidates being eliminated due to weaknesses rather than hiring on sales STRENGTHS, there are specific reasons that not all of your salespeople are performing the way that you thought they would.

Did you hire them this way or did you make them this way?  Let's take a look...

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If you are a sales leader and you look at your numbers and the people producing those numbers, do you ever scratch your head in confusion over why you are looking at a lack of sales results?

Certainly, you didn’t hire these people to be in the middle of the pack or at the tail end of the conga line, but that is right where they are.  I know you don’t believe you hired them that way, but it’s either that, or you made them that way.

Don’t get upset with me here.  The reality is that your team’s performance is a result of who you’ve hired or what you’ve done (or not done).

So, in general, why do so many salespeople fail to perform? I have detailed answers to that question that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else besides right here.

  • Underperformers have 80% of the desire of top performers. *Note – not all performers have off-the-chart desire – that is about 7% of all top sales people.
  • Those that underperform have about 44% of the commitment to succeed in selling that top performers do.
  • These two factors combine to measure motivational level. Underperformers have about 60% of the motivation of your top people.

SUMMARY – Underperformers just are not as motivated to succeed.

SOLUTION – STOP hiring people that are not motivated to succeed at the highest level of performance!

Using the Objective Management Sales Evaluation, there are over 100 data points to measure the opportunity for sales growth of a sales team/organization.  Additionally, this data helps us to predict the likelihood of success of new sales people and managers. 

Here are some interesting findings based on the raw data I have from assessing salespeople (as well as firsthand knowledge of some of the people in the study).

  • Top performers are trainable and coachable
  • Top performers have a high figure-it-out factor
  • Top performers have a low need for approval and…
  • Top performers score an average of 86.8 (higher score is better) and underperformers score 39.6 for handling rejection!
  • Top performers are hunters, consultative sellers and closers (average score for skills is 55% of required skills while underperformers average 39.6% of required skills)

SUMMARY  Salespeople – regardless of tenure or previous success - need training and coaching. Also top performers handle rejection extremely well and move on.

SOLUTION  Do not hire based on past performance. (It’s like investing in a mutual fund – past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.)  During the interview process, reject the heck out of the candidate – the strong ones will recover and attempt to close you over and over again!

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The following data indicates that sales strengths are better indicators of success rather than sales skills:

  • Underperformers have 85% of the sales skills of top performers and have…
  • Only 71% of the sales strengths that support execution of sales skills and…
  • The severity of their sales weaknesses are 52% higher than that of top performers

SUMMARY – The skills are about the same, but those with strong strengths of desire, commitment, outlook and responsibility win.

SOLUTION – Make sure your pre-hire assessment process looks for strengths and “will sell” rather than just skills, personality and behavioral traits.

So, back to the original question:   “Why do so many of my salespeople fail to perform as expected?”:

  • Poor diagnosis of the right contributing factors for success
  • Candidates eliminated due to weaknesses rather than hiring for sales strengths
  • Too much credit given to sales skills exhibited during interview process
  • Lack of solid training and development on the root causes of poor performance

Now that you have the answers to the question, what will you do about it?

Topics: improve sales, sales management secrets, sales meetings, individual sales success, sales management responsibility, humor, inspect what expect, sales management skills, 8 Steps for Closing, hiring salespeople, sales practice, sales management, sales results, sales management success, improving sales results, sales metrics, inspiration, sales problems, hiring sales managers, sales management, sales success, keys to selling, sales pitch, sales performance management, sales prospects, how to manage salespeople, sales onboarding, hiring better salespeople, sales menagement, sales management tools, #1 sales assessment, hunting for sales prospects, how to improve sales results, initial sales meetings, how to get a commitment to buy, how increase sales, hiring top salespeople, sales recruitment, sales motivation, how to close a sales deal, how to hit goals in sales, sales skill assessment, consultative selling, 5 keys to coaching sales improvement, how to prospect, sales productivity tools, professional sales training, consultative sales coaching, insurance sales training, 5 keys to sales coaching, online sales management training, insurance prospecting system, consultative sales coaching cincinnati, consultative selling cincinnati, sales management training cincinnati, sales productivity tools cincinnati, hiring sales people cincinnati, increase sales cincinnati

5 Keys to Successful Sales Coaching & Growth

Posted by Tony Cole on Tue, Feb 18, 2020

In this blog post, we dive into the 5 Keys to Successful Sales Coaching & Growth and the idea that data can help you discover real-time information about your salespeople.  This data allows everyone in your organization to make real-time decisions and real-time and intentional coaching decisions.

If you're looking to increase sales in 2020 and beyond, utilize these 5 keys starting today!

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The article might disappoint you if you are looking for the latest and greatest in financial technology, sales technology, or any kind of technology for that matter.  Data is part of this article but not super BIG Data that you read about in the recent issue of Big Data Quarterly. 

The 5 Keys to Successful Sales Coaching & Growth have more to do with consistency in execution then any specific kind of sales enablement or CRM tool that you use. 

Successful sales executives and managers rely on data because they realize that it can, and will, provide you with real-time information.  The real-time data allows everyone in the organization to make real-time decisions and real-time and intentional (Thank you Bill Eckstrom) coaching decisions.

That being said, the technology and the data is useless unless you have these 5 keys on your sales management "key ring":

  1. Performance Management
  2. Coaching for Success
  3. Motivation That Works
  4. Sales Talent Acquisition Routine
  5. An Effective Selling System 

1.) Performance Management – In our Sales Management Certification and Quick Start Programs, we start with Performance Management.  Performance management should not occupy a lot of time, but must the be the base of everything else that you do. 

Performance management is a process of making sure that you: 

  • Establish consistent metrics to determine success
  • Conduct 1-on-1 meetings where people self-determine what success and failure is
  • Agree to a coaching process and methodology
  • Gather real-time information via Huddles
  • Report the findings of the data
  • Catch people early when they are not performing to the level they committed to

2.) Coaching for Success – Based on the extraordinary discussion and the subsequent Success Formula built for each person you collect via Huddles, you should:

  • Compare actual against the model
  • Identify choke points
  • Determine if outcomes are a result of effort or execution
  • Conduct 1-on-1 coaching sessions to help change behavior or improve skill.

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3.) Motivation that Works – As you see in the graphic below, salespeople are motivated in various ways.  How could you possibly motivate someone if you don’t know what motivates them or how they are motivated to be successful? 

The Sales Improvement and Effectiveness Analysis (Thanks Dave Kurlan and Objective Management Group) not only identifies the level of motivation for each salesperson on your team, but also tells you what motivates them. 

4.) Recruiting Talent that Will Succeed – There is a big difference between talent that can succeed and talent that will succeed in selling.  If your organizational growth is dependent on organic growth, then you need to have data that will tell you a couple of things:

  1. Is my current team wired and do they have what it takes to grow to the next level?
  2. Assuming you need more horsepower under the hood, then you have to make sure that your new hires have the:
    1. Will to sell
    2. Sales DNA
    3. Appropriate Sales Competencies

5.) An Effective Selling System – Must be staged with milestones to determine your salespeople's progress with their prospects. Too often, companies use a CRM system to get a numeric value of the pipeline and perhaps even values within stages of the pipeline.  However, if your data doesn’t include a numerical component that validates that steps are covered within each stage, then your pipeline forecasts are more subjective then objective. 

Additionally, it is THIS data that provides you insight into the effectiveness of the individuals on the sales team.  

Sales growth must become a priority and not just a problem that you continue to kick down the road.  Continuing to ignore the Grey Rhino will sooner or later cost you.

Are you evaluating sales training programs?  Can we help you find the right approach for your company?  Sign up for a personalized Demo of one of our programs below!

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Topics: increase sales, hire better salespeople, sales performance management, consultative selling, banking sales training, professional sales training, consultative sales coaching, sales force performance management, sales training courses, online sales training, hire better people, insurance sales training, driving sales growth 2020, 5 keys to sales coaching, online sales management training, sales training workshops, sales training seminars, sales training programs

Increase Sales in 2020| What Makes an Elite Salesperson "Elite"?

Posted by Tony Cole on Tue, Feb 04, 2020

In our second blog post focusing on increasing sales in 2020 and beyond, we discuss the differentiating factors between "elite" salespeople and the rest of the pack.  

What do elite salespeople do that makes them elite?  

In this post, we help answer this question, while providing advice for sales managers to help guide their salespeople into greatness.

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What do 11% of elite salespeople do that differentiates them from the remaining 89%, when they are faced with difficult questions, stalls and objections? 

According to Dave Kurlan at Objective Management Group (out of every 100 salespeople):

  • 70 rush back to the office to begin work on a proposal to tell their bosses that their large opportunity is very promising, because all 3 prospects in the meeting were "very interested"
  • 19 leave the call and make 2 entries in their journals - "propose" and "follow-up" - and they'll do both eventually
  • 11 are still at the meeting, asking more questions

Going back into our archives of the Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis, we find that those 11 salespeople that are still at the meeting have a pipeline that looks like the chart you see to the right. 

Those 89 that rush back to the office and/or make entries to propose and follow up with their prospect have a pipeline that is represented by the chart you see below:

The difference is that the elite salespeople do a great job of meeting people and qualifying them to a point where the prospect can be defined as qualified and closeable, based on specific criteria, or they can be identified as not qualified, or not closeable.

Weak salespeople on the other hand, when asked to score the same "closeable prospect", criteria questions fall considerably short of having a robust, and closeable pipeline. 

Normally, we find out that these salespeople:

·       Have not met with decision makers

·       Failed to uncover compelling issues to make a change or purchase

·       Do not have a timeline

·       Did not create urgency

·       Did not get an agreement on budget to be spent

So, the question becomes; “How accurate is your pipeline – really?” 

If the pipeline volume for your entire team reads $4,000,000 over the next 90 days, but only 11% of that actually has a chance to close, then you shouldn’t be surprised that only $440,000.00 shows up in sales. (when compared to the $4,000,000).

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The solution to the problem isn’t “run faster”; also known as “see more prospects”.  The solution is to get your people to schedule qualified appointments and then make sure they are capable of discerning between a suspectsomeone that is thinking about buying – and a qualified prospectsomeone that has made the decision to solve a problem.

To more effectively help your salespeople as a sales manager you must:

1.     Understand WHY they won’t qualify

2.     Get a complete understanding of their skills set for consultative skills, asking questions, creating trust and confidence and presentation skills

3.     Put less emphasis on closing skills and more emphasis on qualifying skills

4.     See how comfortable they are with having fierce and direct conversations

5.     Observe their commitment and willingness to do everything possible to succeed

6.     Understand their motivation to succeed and attain personal goals

7.     Gather data about their execution of the milestone centric sales process so that you can provide intentional coaching based on choke points.

The challenge(s), should you accept them are:

·       Find out exactly what the capabilities of your sales team are

·       Build and implement a milestone centric sales process and imbed that process in your CRM

·       Make sure that your sales managed environment includes the following elements:

  • Performance Management
  • Coaching for Success
  • Hiring Better Salesperson
  • Motivation that Works
  • Coaching an Effective Sales System

Sell Better. Coach Better. Hire Better.

 

Topics: Sales Coaching, increase sales, sales performance management, consultative selling, consultative sales coaching

The 9th (and Final) Sales Productivity Tool: Performance Recording

Posted by Tony Cole on Wed, Dec 18, 2019

In our 9th and final installment in the Sales Productivity Tools blog series, I dive into an essential item on the list: the Performance Recording tool.

In a smartphone filled world, it has never been easier to record a conversation than it is today, and the usage of audio recording can be used to improve skills in selling through roleplays, 1-on-1 coaching, and analysis. 

It is a vital tool that must be utilized in your organization!

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In my previous Sales Productivity Tools blog, I talked about the film room as an essential tool for improving skills on the football field.  As indicated, these film and audio tools should exist for sales managers and salespeople alike. 

In our world, audio recording is constantly being used to improve skills, check on compliance issues, and improve the quality of customer service.  Just think about the last time you called to check on a bank statement, a credit card charge or to make a change in a flight reservation. 

"This call will be on a recorded line." 

When that happens, what do you do?

  1. Do you hang up because you don’t want the conversation to be recorded?
  2. Stay on the phone because you don’t care if it’s recorded?
  3. When you do get a real person on the phone, ask that the conversation not be recorded?

If you are like most people, you stay on the phone and don’t give it a second thought.  When it comes to recording conversations in regards to the law, you should know the following information as is copied from Digital Media Law website:

"Federal law permits recording telephone calls and in-person conversations with the consent of at least one of the parties. See 18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(d). This is called a "one-party consent" law. Under a one-party consent law, you can record a phone call or conversation so long as you are a party to the conversation. Furthermore, if you are not a party to the conversation, a "one-party consent" law will allow you to record the conversation or phone call so long as your source consents and has full knowledge that the communication will be recorded."

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I’m not suggesting that you start an immediate campaign to record conversations between your salespeople and every prospect or client, but I’m not discouraging you from doing that either. The bigger problem you will have isn’t with the Federal or the State government, but more likely with your internal legal and HR departments. 

So, assuming for a minute that recording live conversations is off the table, let’s talk about what is on the table, and what you should be doing to improve your skills and the skills of those on your team.

  1. You should take time to roleplay in every sales meeting.
  2. On occasion (once or twice a week), make sure that someone records the roleplay, and then play the recording back for discussion.
  3. Use scorecards to evaluate the objective and responses during the exercise. It's helpful to ask yourself, or your people, these questions after the roleplay is complete. 
    • Did they get the prospect involved in the conversation as soon as possible by introducing themselves and then stop talking?
    • Did they ask permission to tell the prospect why they were calling?
    • Did they look, act and sound like a typical sales person?
    • Would you have continued to listen?
    • Would you have scheduled an appointment?
    • Was there value proposition compelling enough to get you to ask questions?
    • Did they start "selling on the phone" (talk too much)?
    • Did they get invited out to visit or did they invite the prospect to visit?
    • On a scale of 1-10, how well did they handle objections or questions?
  4. Record your 1-on-1 coaching sessions (especially when you demonstrate what you expect your salespeople to do on an appointment or call). 
  5. Make audio and video recording part of any training program.
  6. Provide objective feedback to recordings sent to you by your sales team.
  7. Occasionally use video recording but silence the audio so that you can focus just on the body language of the participants.

Here is something to consider when starting the process- expect some push back and resistance.  You have to be numb to that.  These are salespeople that should be strong enough and confident enough to allow themselves to be recorded. If they don’t, then that tells you something about what you’ve recruited.  Next, give your people planned vs. canned scripts to follow so that you can measure one performance against another. 

Finally make sure you do these three things:

  1. Keep and archive the really good performances and use them for training new people and for conducting more effective sales meetings.
  2. Give your people several chances to record so that they can practice to get it right and submit the one they feel is their best effort.  This leads to the improvement of skill through self-practice and evaluation.
  3. Create a bit of a competition – Our Company Has Talent!  Kind of a round robin event where everyone starts the competition, they work within team structures, the teams nominate their best participant and those nominated compete against others.  The winner gets the prize, as well the team represented.

Yes this takes work, yes this will work, and yes we can help.  Here is your call to action. Call us (877-635-5371) or email our team to inquire about a 1-day workshop on any sales topic you can think of.  We will consult with you on the skills and behaviors that you want improved within your organization!

Email a member of our team below: 

Jeni@anthonycoletraining.com – COO & CMO

Tony@anthonycoletraining.com– Founder & Chief Learning Officer

Alex@anthonycoletraining.com – Recruitment Specialist & 1-on-1 Coaching Expert

OR, you can schedule a meeting here: 

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Topics: hire better sales people, Sales coach, Sales Coaching, increase sales, sales performance management, sales productivity tools, sales conversations, sales effectiveness training, professional sales training, consultative sales coaching, corporate sales training, sales training courses, social selling, online sales training, hire better people, train the trainer

The 8th Sales Productivity Tool: Post-Call Debriefing Sessions

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Dec 05, 2019

Salespeople are often fooled that the opportunities in their pipeline are more qualified or closer to closing than reality suggests. 

In this article, Tony Cole will breakdown the activity of post-call debriefing and why it is so critical for improving results. 

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Back in my playing days, we had to wait a day to get the game film developed and delivered to the coach's office, so that we could review each player and how they performed. A couple of weeks ago, our Defensive Coordinator at Moeller HS used a tablet to coach his defense based on what had just happened on the football field.  With today’s digital technology, you can get your game or practice video feedback immediately. What a difference this makes!  

You can do the same with salespeople. 

The reason the game film is crucial is because the film doesn’t lie.  There are no opportunities for excuses, laying blame, or hiding from the truth.  In the film room, fierce conversations take place about converted opportunities, missed opportunities, the amount of effort given on a play, the outcome of a certain play, and so much more.  It can be intense because there is nowhere to hide.

Your post-call strategy sessions must work the same way if you are going to accomplish the following:

  • Improve skills
  • Change behaviors
  • Close more business, more quickly at higher margins

In order to do this effectively, you must know what should be done in an effective sales process by going through a checklist and marking those items that were accomplished so far in the process. A salesperson can, in reality, lie to themselves about what did and did not happen. The good news is that eventually the truth comes out in the results.

In other words when we teach out EPAS – Emergency Pipeline Analysis System – we look at several opportunities in the pipeline and calculate the probability of an opportunity closing.  If we examine 5 opportunities and the average closing probability is 75% or greater and none of the opportunities close, then we have a clear indication that something is wrong:

  • Either the producer is making up the data
  • The producer is failing in effectively executing the sales steps they are taking credit for accomplishing

In the end what you are hoping to accomplish is to help salespeople clearly see what the opportunity is, help them when they are chasing bad or unclear opportunities, model success for others and help your salespeople realize when they should walk from ‘opportunities.

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Sales Productivity Tools

Topics: effective sales coaching, Sales Coaching, increase sales, sales performance management, consultative selling, sales productivity tools, sales effectiveness training, consultative sales coaching, train the trainer

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

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