These days, it’s hard to be in Sales. Critics of salespeople have a litany of issues. Their selling approach is too aggressive. They lack discipline. They don’t understand what customers want and only pitch products. Analysts say Sales is just another channel that doesn’t meet customer needs. Studies show customers prefer not to engage with Sales.
Experts describe selling as a “numbers game”. The key sales performance metric is do more. Do more prospecting calls. Contact more businesses. Build bigger pipelines. More is Leadership’s response to reduced customer sales engagement. At the same time record numbers of sales people are quitting. Younger sales candidates (Millennials, Gen Z) avoid sales jobs. They’ve heard sales management won’t appreciate them or their efforts.
Gartner analyst Hank Barnes describes this as the Effort Effectiveness Crisis. He explains that sellers “do more” but don’t focus on what customers want. In turn, customers evaluate as little as possible because they are too busy. Barnes says we live in a world of sound bites. People react to headlines without digging into the context of what they mean.
Sales managers have tough questions about succeeding in this world of less talk, more activity. Their questions take on greater meaning in light of current attitudes about sales:
- How do I fix the challenge that half of our reps are not hitting quota?
- How do we grow revenue for next year knowing goals will surely go up?
- How do I update sales tactics, so reps perform in the down economy?
- How do I retain people and ensure that they feel appreciated?
Barnes points out that these questions only seem to be assessed on the surface. The answer is always do more – more leads, more prospects, more deals, more wins, etc.
I think it’s important to consider Mr. Barnes’ point. What is the basis for doing more? Is there a rationale for doing more if more doesn’t produce better results? (Hence, the effort effectiveness crisis?) Shouldn’t salespeople do something productive that doesn’t involve just doing more?
Here is my proposal – do more with less.
These issues have their root cause in daily sales tactics that salespeople execute. In other words, the source of many sales issues (such as effort effectiveness) is your sales process.
We’ve heard customers’ complex buying journeys produce more no-decisions than results. We’ve also heard sales people must be more empathetic, engaged, and disciplined. This means your sales process must be smarter and more thorough. It should help your sales people become more effective in their sales outreach. In this case, More is not better.
Sales Process Alignment Framework
Sales managers want their sales process to be more effective. But do they have a framework available that helps them make necessary improvements?
A Sales Process Alignment framework can restructure your sales process approach. The framework requires that you have defined sales process steps. This includes specific skills, behaviors and/or outputs salespeople must execute each step in the Sales Process. Metrics and skills are aligned to each sales step. Managers assess salespeople’s sales process execution and alignment. From this assessment, the root causes of many performance issues can be identified.
Getting more leads or deals is of no value if they don’t convert to sales. During the process, sellers must overcome barriers in the buying journey. Process skills, behaviors and outputs help Sellers better support buyers’ journeys. An effective sales process permits Sellers to be prescriptive in their sales approach to enable better customer decision making.
Managers should observe sellers execute these skills during the sales process. They must help salespeople build skills versus just asking for more activities. It is easy to ask for more. The challenge is that getting more comes at a cost of delivering “how”. It is the “how” that delivers more revenue.
Does this look like more work? It can be, but there are also ways to increase manager efficiency. Funnel Metrics has built a Sales Alignment framework to help Managers coach. They can easily assess, identify issues and design action plans that impact rep sales performance. In weeks, an Alignment framework can be built to support your sales process.
The effort effectiveness crisis won’t be solved with more activities. A Sales Alignment framework will improve sales performance and customer engagement. That will generate more revenue.
Funnel Metrics can help you enable your Sales Alignment framework. We share best practices and discuss how Sales Alignment within your sales process improves revenue outcomes. When doing more does not result in more revenue, it’s time to consider a change. You can reach us on our website: funnelmetrics.com