- September 23, 2011
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
When I was young, my lungs would literally burn when I exerted myself on hot, humid days. It wasn’t until I reached my forties and experienced similar symptoms that I recognized that I had Asthma as a kid. But that’s not the best part. Both of my parents had Asthma so wouldn’t you think that when I described the sensations to them – my inability to breathe, the burning sensation, and huge fear, they would have recognized the symptoms? They didn’t want me to have Asthma, they didnt’ think I could have Asthma, they didn’t connect the dots to conclude it was Asthma and they didn’t send me to a doctor. They were in denial.
The same thing happens with your sales force. Your salespeople are exhibiting symptoms of ineffectiveness; it could be delayed closings, weak pipelines, deep discounts, lack of traction, existing customers being courted by competitors, bad timing, complacency, lack of upselling and cross-selling, etc. You see the events, situations and outcomes, and even offer suggestions and try to help. But you are missing the underlying causes for these repeated frustrations.
You don’t want it to be any more complicated than, “It didn’t work out this time”, but it is more complicated. Are you in denial too?
There are many underlying issues that cause under-performance on a sales force and you certainly don’t want to wait 40 years, like I did, to get them diagnosed! The analogy runs even deeper than you think. Your sales force probably HAS Asthma, because it isn’t getting all the oxygen it needs, it is constricted (limitations in skills, capabilities, competencies), and is performing to only half of its capabilities.
That’s why it’s so important to evaluate your sales force to understand what’s in the way, what needs to change, how much impact it can have, and how much more revenue your team can generate.
Denial? Or X-Ray vision?