- September 10, 2020
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
Your teenage daughter, growing 4-6 inches per year, asks for two new pairs of sneakers. She’s already outgrowing 3 pairs each year and these two, which are completely unnecessary, would keep her in fashionable footwear for only a few months. It would make total sense for you to say, “Let’s wait a few months until you’ve stopped growing so fast.”
An employee asks for a new car, believing that an SUV crossover (not the Maserati in the picture!) would be more practical than a mid-size sedan. There are 8 months left on the lease so it would be completely reasonable for you to say, “Sounds good. Let’s make that change when the lease comes to an end in 8 months.”
In both 2012 and 2016, companies everywhere were telling salespeople, “We’re going to wait until after the election.” There was tremendous uncertainty surrounding those two elections and companies didn’t want to commit to anything until they were sure who the next President of the USA would be.
Surprisingly, in the year of the pandemic, salespeople are not hearing the dreaded, “We’re going to wait until after the election.” Despite the polling, pandemic, and incredible divisiveness, companies are not pushing the pause button. But why?
It’s not because salespeople have become so strong that they have obliterated that put-off! 89% of all salespeople accept stalls and put-offs and that’s changed by only a quarter of a percent since before the start of the pandemic. That’s right. There has barely been a change in salespeople’s ability to overcome stalls and put-offs since before the pandemic. Ugh.
Biden has promised to raise both the corporate income tax and the capital gains tax if he gets elected so it can’t be fear of that.
It’s not because there’s a vaccine on the way which will help stop the spread of the virus because when it comes to Covid-19, nothing is certain.
So what is it?
Many companies already experienced at least 3 to 6 months of uncertainty and they can not withstand even 2 more months of that. As a result, companies are investing, streamlining, expanding, hiring and going all in to save their 2020s, and position their companies for historical growth in 2021.
As I review what our clients are hearing, what OMG’s partners are sharing, and adding my own anecdotal experience, there has never been a better time to sell!
But seller beware. Favorable conditions do not equate to easy selling. There is tremendous pressure on margins, competition is fierce, and the selling challenges are more difficult than ever before.
Current conditions require resistance proof sellers however only 54% of all salespeople fit that description and that’s improved by only 1% since the start of the Pandemic. Current conditions require salespeople to take a much more consultative approach and sell value. Unfortunately, only 12% of all salespeople have the Consultative Seller competency as a strength and only 30% have the Value Seller competency as a strength. Among the weakest of all salespeople – that’s half the sales population – the percentages drop to 2% and 7% respectively. As we begin to purge the virus, how can companies surge when half of their salespeople suck at selling?
Companies don’t really look as I just described them. We don’t see many companies where half the people in the sales organization suck. In many of the companies whose sales organizations we evaluate, most of the salespeople suck!
You don’t think that applies to your company but you aren’t really sure whether a quarter, a third, half, or all of your sales force sucks because some of your people sell more than others. Don’t be misled by distribution of revenue. Keep in mind that distribution of revenue usually has more to do with quality of the territory, number of established accounts, size of the established accounts, length of time in the industry, repeat business and call-in business than sales capabilities. There are only two ways to compare the relative sales capabilities of your salespeople:
- Have every salesperson look for new customers under the exact same conditions (calling on the same size accounts in the same vertical against the same competition in the same territory)
- Have us evaluate your sales force and from the more than 180 findings and 21 Sales Core Competencies, compare Sales Percentile scores.
The ability to compare the sales percentile scores of your salespeople is not the ideal reason to evaluate your sales force. But identifying where your challenges lie and learning what it will take to significantly increase sales is. Large and small companies alike that evaluate their sales teams learn that with targeted training and coaching in the areas identified, sales increases of between 30-50% within one to two years are very achievable. Some companies are able to double sales in the same period of time.
This is not the time to purposefully do nothing, wait and see, or worse, hope for the best. Improving sales effectiveness has a greater impact on your top and bottom lines than any other thing you can do, including cost-cutting, operational efficiencies and lay-offs.
When it comes to sales transformation, you don’t say, “let’s wait until things get better” because sales transformation is the very thing that makes things better.