I had this topic in mind to be published as HEED’s 1st article back in June 2011. But the fear to be perceived aggressively held me back from distributing it. Today I should thank my friend, Michel for seconding me to bringing it up again.
On that similar date, June 2011, I had to decline a Sales Training inquiry. Unfortunately my response was received a bit harshly that day, although my intentions were good.Within my previous job, I had delivered a very successful sales training to the group. I have had a successful business relationship with the HR director of the group for almost 5 years. He contacted HEED this time to deliver some sales training, budgeted in advance. He was looking forward for another successful training, while being enthusiastic in supporting HEED in its early steps. I had to decline it, an action described by many as foolish. But I always believe we have to focus our energy on introducing the new concept of sales “Science into Selling”. So any non-core assignment would deviate us from our vision especially when the journey is significantly challenging.
I knew that we live in a world of instant gratification; Instant coffee, fast food, priority check in, etc. Consequently, we’ve been conditioned to expect results right now. But in a successful business world, it should never be the case. The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces that require discipline and focus to dismiss in order to reach the long lasting outcome.
I thus believed that behind similar inquiry could lie a real win-win opportunity. The inquiries that I receive from companies who are looking for sales training to increase their productivity; or from my respectful associates whom I didn’t have the chance yet to inform them all that HEED is not a sales training firm; as well as others who perceive that all consulting firms are training providers.
So I decided to break down the complexity of the issue and start by understanding first, why people search for sales training.
Real objectives behind hiring a sales training firm
Although the specific objectives of conducting a sales training may vary from a company to another, still there is some agreement on the broad objectives:
- Improve Morale and Motivation: To meet this objective coupled with reducing employees turnover, then training is a must. Such investment proves to the employees that they are part of an organization that perceives them as stakeholders and invests in them. Furthermore, it could ignite the enthusiasm back within salespeople to hit the field and steer the wheel again. Good sales people usually take this training a step further and leverage on building up their self motivational cycle. Others would only be satisfied by being engaged in these seminars.
- Increase Productivity: It was the most challenging objective to break down its complexity. It could be described like an iceberg, behind which falls a lot of sales challenges and problems that hold back your sales productivity. And every problem has its unique solution, to name few:
- Sales People being inefficient: Sales people being scattered by following a trial and error efforts to approach certain leads, conduct sales meetings, and follow up to close their deals.Building a concrete guideline and process for sales to follow, that synergizes with their customer segmentation, is the key to the success of our engagements. We put more than two intensive months to define, analyze, refine, and optimize our clients’ sales process prior to conducting any direction program for the entire sales team.
- Sales People spend too much time on admin work: the main reason behind this issue is always the fear of constantly approaching new clients. As process consultants, we interfere to break down our client’s sales targets into small objectives starting by # of calls, # of new meetings to conduct, etc… These objectives are scientifically stretched after thorough analysis of their sales activities. Such exercise has an effective impact on the client’s overall sales productivity.
- Sales People have low closing ratio: Yes, it’s the final touch that counts. But it is just like an architect putting his final touch to a house newly built. The final touch works only after successfully building all the blocks. Thus the reason behind low closing ratio might fall under:
- Sales People miss the final touch: In other words they fear to ask for the order. Some good intensive training programs might help solving this issue.
- Didn’t build the blocks properly: and this is mostly the case, where sales people run excited into closing the deal missing or dismissing many steps and factors prior to the closing phase. We have built and executed a development program that synergizes with the drawn guideline. The program circulates around evolving salespeople mindset and discipline to validate the accomplishment of each step in the sales process. The guideline describes the sales process that serves in directing salespeople on how to properly build these blocks.
- Improve Selling Skills: Usually such objectives’ main goal is to increase productivity. But still in some cases where some specific skills have been identified with low performance, managers would call for sales training. I’m a strong believer that selling is like living, there is no right or wrong answer or pitch. It’s purely a combination of a well structured sales cycle joint with a deep intention. The 1st (following a well structured sales cycle) could only be developed through an intensive tailored development program after developing the right sales process and directions. The difference is crucial.P.S> The 2nd (deep intention) might be developed through intensive coaching; but in most cases it is not easy to achieve.
Reason is well Defined => Solution is then designed
- If your main objective is to motivate again your salespeople coupled with lowering the hiring turnover, then some good sales training workshops in the market would be the optimal investment.
- If your main objective is to have a long lasting increase in your sales productivity, you should deviate your efforts to a different solution. A solution that caters the sales process at first, prior to developing and investing in the salesforce. The link between the two powers must be well settled to meet the set objective.
- If your objective is to further optimize your sales performance, then you should address the strategic level of the sales organization as well.
How we could Compliment
We are a boutique sales consulting firm focusing on assisting esteemed organizations looking for a long term solution with a sole mission of having an on-going increase in their sales productivity. We do this by putting science into the art of selling. A concept that has been proven successful. Irrespective of what sales problems, challenges, or sales potential our clients had, we were able to move shoulder to shoulder and guarantee the success of our projects.
Our engagements focus on addressing the strategic level, the sales process, and the productivity level. Our efforts normally range from an intensive duration of five to eight months for a medium-sized firm, including executing the set plan that link together people, strategy, plans and processes.