A key challenge business owners face with the sales people they employ is inconsistency in sales results. Many business owners struggle to pin down the exact cause(s) of these inconsistent results and usually end up churning sales reps on a frequent basis as a result of pure frustration. Of course, there’s a certain percentage of sales reps that just plain lack motivation or work ethic and that’s an entirely different issue.
My intent here is to address the sales reps that work hard, but are challenged in getting consistently great results. When sales reps deliver inconsistent results, the typical reaction is for owners to place blame on the sales person, (as, of course, it’s not the owner’s fault that the rep can’t sell, right? Wrong.) The ability for sales people to get consistently good results lies more in your control than you think. You just need an effective sales system.
Selling System Defined An effective sales system is predetermined approach that delivers consistent, predictable sales results for your business and it can be broken down into several key components: Your Selling Process, Role Definition and Training Program. Your Selling Process Your sales process is essentially a series of steps that orchestrate the interactions which occur between the sales person and your prospective or existing customers. It’s “what you do” and “how you do it” and includes all the supporting tools and resources needed for each step in the process.
You begin by breaking down the sales process you follow as an owner into sequential, detailed steps. If you already have a successful sales person, then include them by mapping out the process they follow as well. Once documented, then review the process and fill in any gaps that exist or any areas that need refinement in your process. With the steps documented, next determine the tools and resources needed to support each step in your selling process, including marketing materials, sales scripts, presentation information, proposals, forms, questionnaires, checklists, etc.
The next key in building your sales system is to define the role of your sales person with absolute clarity. This should include their job description, duties, and compensation plan. It’s also essential to determine what objective, measurable results are expected for the sales person and how your sales rep’s performance will be measured against those metrics.
Additionally, regular performance reviews should be scheduled with each sales rep to review their progress and provide coaching and help where needed. Each of these elements should be documented and developed into an appropriate position contract, to be reviewed and signed by both parties.
The final key is to develop and document an effective training program to teach new and even existing sales reps your newly documented sales system.
One approach would be to develop individual sales modules for each part of the process and determine how and when these will be covered in your training program. It’s vital to ensure that enough time and hands- on training is included as part of the training program. So many sales reps are hired and then given minimal, if any, training and then sent out on the street to bring in the business.
Some argue that learning by trial and error is the best approach, but our experience has shown that this approach leads to more sales rep churn or much longer ramp up times. Training your sales staff to follow your sales process also needs to be supplemented by training in the fundamental skills of selling, including prospecting, needs analysis, presenting, objection handling, closing, follow-up, etc.
It’s critical that these skills are also developed and it may prove worthwhile to utilize an outside resource for training on selling fundamentals. Training can also be supplemented with dozens of great books and articles written on the topic of selling every day. A key point to remember- training should not be an event; it’s a process and should be ongoing in your business. You can never get enough training and education on any topic, especially selling!
Brad Sugars founded the brand Action International in 1993 when he realized there was a disconnect between business advice and implementation. The answer was Action! Brad Sugars created a business coaching company so that business owners throughout the world can realize their goals in business. Today the company is known as ActionCOACH. To learn more about business, visit Brad Sugars Review blog!