Typical Client Issues

Delayed Closings

The global economy began its decline toward the end of 2007. After signs  that the economy has begun to rebound, many companies have continued to  experience delays in opportunities that were forecast to close. The obvious reasons are both typical and  superficial:

  • Not enough money available
  • They put it on the back burner
  • They scheduled it for next fiscal year
  • They haven’t decided yet
  • They put it out to bid
  • Other issues have become more important

The reality is that weaker salespeople understand these put-offs, and  great salespeople not only overcome them, but rarely experience them. We will help you identify whether any of your  salespeople can become masterful enough to overcome put-offs like these and  others.

 

Not Enough New Opportunities

With delayed closings the norm rather than the exception, and existing  customers often spending less than in past years, it is more important than  ever to find and close new business. This requires salespeople who have historically been more passive,  perhaps enjoying the less agonizing roles of account management, to take on the  more proactive roles of hunting for new business.

It sounds good in theory but in reality, your pipeline doesn’t indicate  that many new opportunities have been added. Many salespeople don’t want to hunt and some aren’t wired for hunting.

We will help you identify the salespeople who will  hunt for new business, can be trained to hunt for new business, and the  salespeople who should not be placed in proactive roles like hunting for new  business.

 

Low Conversion Ratios

Many companies find that the percentage of opportunities that actually  close is much lower than what it should/could be.

There are many possible reasons, including, but not limited to:

  • Ineffective sales process
  • Ineffective salespeople
  • Ineffective coaching
  • Ineffective listening and questioning
  • Ineffective or non-existent qualifying
  • Premature presenting, quoting or proposing
  • Ineffective targeting of accounts
  • Rushing through the sales process
  • Skill gaps
  • Weaknesses

We will help you identify the real reasons why your  conversion ratios are so low, and explain what needs to change in order to  improve them.

 

Ineffective Sales  Process

92% of the companies whose sales force we evaluate have ineffective,  incomplete, non-existent sales processes, or sales processes that their people  don’t follow.

But that’s not the real issue.

The real issue is identifying the reason for the lack of an effective  sales process. It could be any of the  following:

  • Sales Management doesn’t know what they  don’t know
  • Unable to define the correct steps in the  correct order
  • Unable to communicate the process to the  sales force
  • Not intuitive
  • Not simple
  • Not memorable
  • Not logical
  • Doesn’t create traction
  • Doesn’t create prospect engagement
  • Not predictive
  • Not repeatable
  • Doesn’t deliver consistent results

We will help you understand whether your existing process is effective  or not, and why not, as well as tell you what must be done to correct the  problem.

 

Turnover – Too Many Salespeople Don’t Make It

Turnover is very misunderstood. Between voluntary and involuntary  turnover, it is only a partial measure of selection, on boarding, cultural, and  sales management effectiveness. The  remainder of that measure can be found in the under achieving salespeople that  still sell for your company – a reminder of how your company is fairing in the  area of selection and development.

We can determine whether you have the right salespeople in the right  sales roles, and whether you have been hiring the right salespeople. We can also tell you what in your selection  criteria must change in order to improve your success at recruiting  salespeople.

There are many points in the recruiting process where simple mistakes or  unknowns can have a huge impact on the final result. Those include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Lack of a formal, structured, sales  recruiting process
  • Specification of requirements for the role
  • The Killer Ad
  • The sites used to source candidates
  • Ineffective use of recruiters or use of  ineffective recruiters
  • Use of ineffective, non predictive  assessments
  • Ineffective candidate filtering
  • Interviewing skills that are insufficient  for identifying sales talent
  • Weak on boarding program
  • Ineffective sales coaching and  accountability

When using our  assessments and process to hire salespeople, we will help you select the right  salespeople, who will succeed in your business, with 95% accuracy.

 

Mediocrity, Under Achievement & Complacency

If you have landed on this page, you must be very frustrated. A sales force that has achieved mediocrity  has not achieved much you can be proud of. The question is why?

Could it be:

  • Ineffective salespeople
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Ineffective coaching
  • Their goals
  • Ineffective/Inefficient sales process
  • Complacency
  • Lack of motivation
  • Excuse Making
  • Lack of training
  • Lack of turnover
  • Lack of direction
  • Lack of hunting
  • Lack of accountability

If you have mediocrity or complacency on your sales  force, we can identify the real reason(s) for the problem and tell you what to  do about it.

 

Ineffective Sales Management

The 5 most important core competencies of sales management are coachingmotivating, development, recruiting and accountability. When sales management is ineffective, the  problem is often that managers either lack the skills to perform these 5  functions effectively, or they haven’t learned to use their skills in an  effective manner.

In addition to the 5 core competencies above, sales managers must be  skilled in additional competencies that could have positive or negative effects  on their salespeople.

There are scenarios where the salespeople are so ineffective and cast in  the wrong role that the best sales managers on the planet won’t succeed at  coaching those salespeople up.

We can identify the impact your sales manager(s) are  having on their salespeople and explain how to improve their effectiveness.

 

Lack of Alignment

One of the findings that surprises most executives is when their sales  managers’ strategies are not aligned with those of the CEO.

In most companies, the CEO is usually certain that the strategies are  concrete, sound and have been communicated effectively. In most of those same companies, sales  management is directing the field to execute those strategies in a completely  different way.

Some of the reasons for this are:

  • Interpretation
  • Prior experience
  • Doing what’s comfortable versus Following  the Plan
  • Vague communication
  • Lack of direction
  • Lack of coaching from above
  • Lack of discussion
  • Assumptions
  • Unrealistic strategies
  • Inexperienced sales managers

We will help identify any alignment issues and help  you get the team back on the same page.

 

Excuse Making

Whether there are individual cases of excuse making, excuse making  limited to a particular team or group, or excuse making as part of the culture,  nothing can stunt the growth of sales and improvement like excuse making.

As long as excuse making continues, change does not take place. As long as salespeople can blame others, they  don’t take responsibility for their results. Until they take responsibility for their results, they can’t ask  themselves what they could have done differently. Until they ask what they could have done  differently, nothing will change the next time they are in a similar sales  scenario.

We can help identify the amount, frequency, type and  source of excuse making so that you can understand it and put a stop to it.

 

Losing Business to the Competition

Nothing is more frustrating than losing out to your competitors –  especially when you had a better solution, especially when you were this close,  especially when you thought you were going to get this business, especially  when it was forecast. Why did you lose  it?

In most companies and for most salespeople, losing business unexpectedly  comes down to one or more of several factors which include, but aren’t limited  to:

  • Salespeople had happy ears
  • Too many assumptions
  • Questions weren’t tough enough
  • Salespeople did not differentiate the  company effectively
  • Compelling reasons to buy were never  identified and addressed
  • Poor qualification
  • Poor relationship
  • Lousy job of putting the value proposition  into prospect’s context
  • Premature proposing, quoting and presenting
  • Lack of questions about the competition  and/or incumbent
  • Selling at the wrong level or to the wrong  people
  • Ineffective differentiation
  • Salespeople presented features and benefits  instead of asking questions
  • They were outsold

We can help you identify why you are losing business to the competition  and tell you what can be done to fix it.

 

Takes Too Long to Ramp up New Salespeople

Some companies don’t have realistic expectations as to how long it  should take for new salespeople to ramp up and develop consistency. Some companies are far too patient with their  new salespeople while others aren’t patient enough.

There are several potential reasons for this:

  • Selection
  • Lack of formal orientation and on boarding
  • Ineffective training and coaching
  • Lack of a baseline on performance
  • Lack of a formal sales process
  • Lack of reliable start up formulas

We can help you determine not only what your ramp-up  time should be, but also break-even and 5x ROI. When assessing candidates, we can predict the likelihood that a  recommended candidate can be retained through 5x ROI.

 

Inconsistency & Inability to Forecast

When the sales force is producing inconsistent results, it is very  difficult to budget, plan for growth, and write a business plan you can stick  with. At the heart of the problem is the  forecast; the most obvious of the areas in which inconsistency appears. With inconsistency, you cannot rely upon  forecasts because they have a track record of being wrong. Forecast business doesn’t always get booked.

We can help you identify the reasons for inconsistency from among these  potential causes:

  • Lack  of accountability
  • Ineffective  qualifying
  • Ineffective  coaching
  • Ineffective  sales process
  • Lack  of a formal, staged, criteria-based pipeline
  • Lack of pipeline inspection

 

Not Enough of a Sales  Culture

Many companies have cultures where sales is not center stage. As your company attempts to transition from a  passive sales culture to a more proactive sales culture, it raises many  questions. Those include:

  • Who can make the transition?
  • What will it take?
  • What will the challenges be?
  • What if your existing people don’t want to  change?
  • What if they aren’t the right people for  more proactive selling?
  • If you have to bring new people on board,  what should your new criteria be?

We can help you identify the challenges and paths to  transition your company from a passive culture to more of a sales culture.

 

Not Growing Fast Enough

If your company is not growing as quickly as you would like, there could be many reasons why it is stuck.  It could be:

  • you don’t have the right people in the right roles
  • sales coaching isn’t effective enough to get you to the next level
  • sales process not optimized
  • low conversion rates as a result of either ineffective salespeople and/or process
  • ineffective positioning against the competition
  • unrealistic expectations
  • not enough quality opportunities in the pipeline
  • salespeople lack consultative selling skills
  • salespeople lack the ability to sell value

We can help you quickly determine the cause of the problem and help get your company rolling along again.

 

Not Able to Scale the Sales Force

When companies are ready to scale but scaling doesn’t work, there are usually several common reasons why. They include:

  • processes aren’t duplicatable, transferrable or repeatable
  • ideal group of salespeople to form a core around which a sales force must be built is not yet in place
  • ineffective sales management
  • ineffective sales recruiting

We can help you quickly determine why scaling has not been possible and help you get the scaling process underway.

 

Not Sure If we Have the Right Salespeople

Most executives aren’t sure whether they have the right salespeople, or whether   their salespeople are in the most appropriate roles. Many salespeople, who were   good prior to the economic slump, began to struggle during and after the slump. Executives learned that while they were good enough to present, propose and take   orders, they weren’t strong enough to sell value in the face of low priced   competition, and overall resistance to spending money. The question now is   whether these same salespeople can be coached up and become effective once   again. We can help you determine whether you have salespeople that can make a   meaningful contribution to your future, or not.

 

Salespeople Lack Necessary Skills

In a tougher, more competitive economic climate, most salespeople lack the   skills to be as effective as you need them to be in order to help you grow your company. The question is, where are the skill gaps and can these salespeople develop the skills they currently lack? We can help you identify the skill gaps, whether they can be developed/trained/coached up to fill those gaps, as well as their potential upside.

 

Unable to Select the Right Salespeople

Most companies have an unimpressive track record when it comes to sales   selection, or the ability to consistently select salespeople that achieve and   over achieve. The question is whether you want to accept your track record as   an indicator of future hiring success, or you want to put the past behind you   and develop and embrace a sales recruiting process that is repeatable,   duplicatable and consistently delivers the talent you need to grow your   company. We can help you develop that process, using world-class tools,   strategies and competencies.

Comparison of Sales Selection Methodologies

Click here to download a PDF of Comparison of Sales Selection Methodologies

 

Unable to Find the Right Salespeople

Your ability to select salespeople is only as good as your ability to fill the funnel with a high volume of high quality candidates. Most executives don’t have the time or expertise to effectively overcome that challenge. Using our proprietary process, we can help you turn your sales recruiting process upside down, and impact both the quantity and quality of candidates that enter your sales candidate pool, identify those worth perusing, and guide you to select those that will succeed in their roles at your company.

 

Margins are Too Low

Low margins are a death sentence for already fragile bottom lines. In most cases, low margins are the result of salespeople who haven’t learned how or don’t see the need to sell value, and those who don’t have the advanced selling skills and/or mindset to decommoditize their products in the eyes of their prospects. We can help you identify the actual causes of your margin woes and guide you back to higher margins.