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Sales Growth

5 Reasons Your Salespeople Can't (But Should) Be Successful.

By: Tallwave

You've hired and fired your fifth salesperson and you swear you're done with Salespeople altogether. You've heard about companies going "100% inbound", but it seems like a big black box… all you know is that it’s sounding pretty good right now!

It’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking...

Your reps are lazy. They don't know how to sell. They need you for every call or to bring any sale over the line. They don't produce their own leads, so what did you hire them for?!

They always complain and have excuses for why they aren't producing. Their Rolodex sounds impressive in the interview, but they never seem to produce after you hire them.

The most diligence you see from them is in the expense reports they submit every month. You're a good person. You know your product, and your market. So why do you have so much bad luck hiring crappy salespeople?

Consider for a second, that the problem might be you. Well, more specifically, the problem is with the system you've built (or haven't built) for your salespeople to be successful.

The Case for Sales Systemization

Remember that 99% of salespeople, to one degree or another, have an established sales background. They've been in companies that had some kind of sales process and sales system in place.

If you're asking them to hitch their wagon, but you don't have a system for them to enter, then most salespeople will struggle to know what to do... and they won't do anything very well.

5 Keys to Creating The Right Sales System

You’ve implemented it in some way or another. Trouble is, it can be hard to bring everything together all at once.

Let's talk about the elements of a good system for salespeople. If you’re not doing all of these things today… it could be the reason why your sales team isn’t shooting the lights out.

1) Build Lead Lists.
If you don't provide your team with lead lists, they'll develop their own. And sales reps are not very good at building lead lists. If you can't identify 10,000 of your target buyers, including their email addresses, the companies they work for, and some other basic information, then your sales reps will try to slowly... very slowly, build that list themselves.

That means, instead of dialing for dollars, or emailing for dollars, they are spending at least 50% of their time trolling Google and LinkedIn, and not being very productive at all. Your job is to figure out where to build lists so that your reps have miles of field to plow.

Consider using tools like Prospectify.io to help with this process.

2) Introduce Specialization.
The salesperson who is a rock-star Closer AND a rock-star Prospector is, frankly, a unicorn. He's a mythical beast that doesn't actually exist in nature. And even if you found such a specimen, he probably isn’t that good at producing both prospects and closes at the same time.

For most organizations, your goal should be to create specialized roles.

You want your hungry junior guy to make 100 calls a day and wake-eat-breath new business. Their job is to knock down doors. Then, take your senior rep and sick him/her on deals. Allow them to trust their instincts to foster an opportunity through close.

You'll find this pair of specialized sales roles will be twice as productive (and cheaper) than the equivalent pair of two "Closers".

For extra credit, utilize tools and other processes that you can deploy to automate some of the more menial tasks your team does everyday. You could consider an overseas resource or intern to do the REALLY manual (specialized) work required to be successful in sales. If you could ensure your sales rep messaged 500 people per week via LinkedIn, because you had the help of a dedicated overseas person making Connection Requests, how quickly could you change your rate of growth?

3) Transfer Knowledge
First, if you expect your salespeople to sell, but you haven't ever proven you can do it yourself, then you're probably doomed to fail.

No one can sell better than the founder, the CEO and the executive team. If you're a very early-stage company, you're going to have to find the basic formula for a successful Sales Cycle before any hired gun is going to figure it out for you. A good Sales Process defines the steps it takes to draw a customer in, win their attention, nurture them through the buying process, get their signature, and successfully on-board them.

Assuming you have that formula, now you have to transfer all of that knowledge to your sales team. Consider tools like GetGuru.com or Google Sites for building centralized places where your Sales team can quickly find value propositions, probing questions, discovery questions and responses to common objections.

You should also store collateral, decks, contract language and other helpful artifacts in one central place - it makes the sharing and version control process that much easier.

4) Create Focus
Don't ask your sales reps to chase every new idea you come up with. Let them experiment, but don't pull them out of an experiment prematurely. They need time to feel out a new market, or a new pitch, or a new product idea that you hope will take off.

Be disciplined about what you're doing, and don't fishtail in your focus because your reps will become schizophrenic.

5) Support Your Brand and Product
Really good Salespeople can sell vapor. But that won’t sustain your company forever. If your Product is not in the top 2 of your category, you have a choice to make.

Either you need to invest in your Product or you need to invest in your Brand. Recognize that all Sales and Marketing efforts sit on top of a great Product and a clear Brand platform. If you nail those two elements, they will cover a lot of sins in your Sales execution.

Looking for more? Listen to Jerrod’s latest podcast on ConversionAid.

Written by Tallwave

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