Given the number of challenges sales organizations have encountered during the Covid pandemic, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of focusing on customers’ needs and priorities. While there are numerous distractions (personal and professional), organizations that are customer-driven have emerged stronger than ever.
Pipeline management is an ongoing challenge for sales managers. While it may seem that a pipeline with more opportunities is better, this isn’t the case if a large percentage of opportunities are stuck. These stalled opportunities lead to a bloated pipeline and create significant challenges for sales managers such as the following:
For some people, the word “sales” comes along with its own set of baggage and negative connotations. Your point of reference may relate to your personal experience with an overly aggressive “sales pitch” while going on a timeshare tour on your vacation. Or encountering manipulative “fear tactics” to purchase an extended warranty when you purchased your dishwasher. Unfortunately, this connotation can also find its way into business-to-business sales situations where companies get push back from their sales engineers and solution consultants who say their job is to help customers solve a problem - not to sell them more services.
In our research report 5 Hallmarks of High-Impact Sales Organizations, we identified sales coaching as the top sales management action to improve sales team performance. One of the key benefits of sales coaching is that it helps managers transition from chief problem solvers to sales team enablers. This force multiplier is particularly powerful as sales reps improve selling skills and learn techniques to advance sales opportunities.
Many sales organizations have become overly reliant on their top sales performers to achieve their goals. While it is convenient to say that we “hit our number” at the end of the quarter, the fact that a few top performers carried the team presents numerous challenges.
The success of a sales training initiative is based on multiple considerations as noted in my prior blog posts: How to Choose the Best Sales Training Company 4 Key Factors to Create a Sales Training Program That Delivers Results In reflecting on these posts, I quickly realized that not all criteria carry equal weight and that the “X-Factor” that makes for an outstanding training program is the facilitator.