Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.
Sales leaders don’t let sales teams call crap.
Leaders can pound the table as hard as they want. They can insist on more calls, more meetings, and more proposals all day long. Leaders can bang the drum for these things very loudly. Reports can measure them. But reality is, if the team is calling crap it is all for naught.
Sales leaders and salespeople that can control who they call on need to ask three questions.
1. Where do I want to end up?
2. What factors are within my control?
3. What impact do each of these factors have on my end result?
Not all sales tactics are created equal.
Some suck up large amounts of time or capital yet barely move the needle.
Others, require little time and no additional investment, yet have major impact on results.
Do you know the difference?
If you are an individual salesperson and don’t know the difference the odds are that you are working harder and harder and seeing little difference in sales.
If you are a sales leader and don’t know the difference, you may be at the head of the line but your sales team is walking off the cliff.
Let me share two common scenarios.
Fairly frequently I will receive a code blue call and be asked to rush to the side of a dying prospecting patient. Sad cases. Some can be saved. Some won’t be. To properly diagnose such cases you have to ask “What caused this?” and check the vitals.
In a high percentage of these cases the root cause of the emergency is that the sales team is calling crap.
High quotas were in place. Reports were measuring all sorts of things. People were screaming “More, more, more” all the time. Yet the patient ends up on life support.
The group of targets most likely to buy, buy in larger amounts, and buy again are not being called much. The group of targets that are less likely to buy, when they do buy, do so in smaller amounts and change vendors on whims, nickels and dimes…. too much activity is directed toward them.
You can’t make a silk hat out of a sow’s ear.
It is not at all unusual for the autopsy to determine that 80% or more of sales efforts were being directed toward crap. Not only that, but there were enough “good” targets to keep the sales team busy for at least six months. But the “good” group was barely being worked.
Sad cases. How many have to die before something is done?
Another common scenario. Sales leader calls me long after an operation has been conducted. Says something like “Scott, can you help again. The team just isn’t having enough conversations, they should be dialing more, have more meetings. They don’t seem to be using the crm right. And those scripts we wrote, I really don’t think they are sticking to them. I think we should be doing more.”
Hmmmm. yet the conversation continues…. “However the good news is that the quality is greatly improved and sales are up. We just ended the best quarter we ever had.”
How can this be? “Good” targets are being called upon rather than crap.
Reality is that some factors have a disproportionate impact on results.
Even in scenarios where a lot of things could be done better, if sales activities are directed to a higher quality pool of targets results will increase.
You can screw up or be mediocre on a lot of things, but if you want sales results you must make sure that your time and money is being allocated to the highest-probability highest-value targets. No exceptions. No rationalizations. No “but, but, but.” Allocate your sales resources to where you will get the best results.
So sales leaders, be a friend.
Don’t let your sales team call crap.