All those sales tools, programs, seminars and meetings business owners think are helping could, in fact, be hurting both their sales team and their revenue gains. It may seem counterintuitive — the more tools we give them, the better — but most high-performing salespeople thrive from customer contact, not from meetings or reports. The key is to start somewhere; choosing one problem that will quickly show results will provide the internal momentum to tackle other larger challenges.
Do a quick audit. The business owner should make a list of everything she wants to ask of her sales team beyond customer interactions and closing deals. This should include all CRM tools, reports to be generated, meetings and training. It’s important to include a simple sales team survey as well. What they have to say about what works and what doesn’t may be surprising.
Focus on behaviors and outcomes, not reports. Many salespeople spend too much time on documenting, which only equates to busywork. They should be encouraged, where possible, to focus on reporting results and outcomes rather than activities. In training, it’s better to select training modules that focus on behaviors of successful salespeople, not just the activities.
Eliminate redundancies. Capabilities presentations are a great example. It is common for multiple versions of the same presentation to be floating around an organization — each being tweaked and updated periodically by different people. Consistency helps branding and messaging and saves time.
Automate where possible. The business owner should investigate ways to automate lead distribution, reporting, the booking of meetings and other processes that are not active selling. There are many easily searchable and readily available tools and articles to help simplify the sales process. The key is to understand the trouble spots, then make it a management priority to free
the salespeople to do what they do best.
Larry Fredette is VP of Treasury Management, Arizona, at Enterprise Bank & Trust.