Sales organizations continue to invest in sales training but are often challenged when it comes to demonstrating that the training had a lasting impact on how their sales team sells. According to ATD Research (pre-COVID), sales organizations invested an average of $2,326 per salesperson annually on sales training. Interestingly, a survey by TrainingIndustry.com found that 43.5% of participants felt that sales skills training “needed improvement.” There are a number of reasons that sales training initiatives fall short.
Managing your team’s sales pipeline is both an art and a science – and that’s why it’s one of the most challenging aspects of sales management. At the heart of this challenge are differing perspectives as to what constitutes a healthy pipeline.
Sales leaders often express that their sales teams need to close more business. While these leaders may be frustrated with low win rates, this rarely has to do with how their sales people approach “closing,” but more importantly how their sales people approach “selling.” You’ve probably heard the sales cliché “ABCs of Selling: Always Be Closing” (made famous in the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross” and, irreverently, on “Saturday Night Live.”) You can imagine the hard-hitting sales rep arriving on the scene with his sales pitch to pound the customer into submission to close the deal (another cliché!). While sales professionals should strive to close business, the problem with this approach is that it is all about the salesperson’s objective and not about the customer’s needs and priorities.
One universal challenge of managing a remote sales team can be summed up with the simple question, “What do my sales reps do all day?” Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit and most sales reps are working from home, it’s even harder to answer that question. Let’s say I’m managing a remote team of five or six sales reps; how do I know if they are engaged and productive?
For decades, the annual Sales Kickoff (SKO) has served as the premier event for companies to bring their sales teams together to align around annual priorities and bond as a team. SKO agendas typically include the following elements:
How sales managers communicate and interact with their teams is crucial to building a winning culture, and keeping the sales team motivated. This is especially important as we work through the Covid-19 pandemic since teams are facing numerous personal and professional challenges. These challenges include working remotely, stalled opportunities, and learning to sell virtually.