A medium-sized software company was experiencing eroding market share, tougher competition, and slipping value proposition.
The company had invested heavily in a wide range of sales training, including courses on; sales tactics, major-account planning, and how to talk with “C”-level executives. However, 75% of the salespeople were missing their quotas, and sales were flat. The worldwide Sales VP was looking for a way to boost their numbers.
We evaluated the sales management team by focusing on their sales process, sales activity, pipeline, accountability, coaching, and sales management skills. We discovered that most sales managers had been top-performing reps who the company promoted into sales management.
The company had never given these sales managers the skills, tools, or clear expectations they needed to do their job.
We started with a two-day custom sales-management training program to teach all managers the science of sales management. Our sales management philosophy is that a well-run sales group should be like a well-run factory, producing consistent, predictable results.
By the end of the two-day training, each sales manager had created his or her own “sales factory.” We then installed a three-month implementation accountability program to get the managers to step up or get weeded out.
Within thirty days, the weak managers did weed themselves out, as expected. The other managers stepped up in varying degrees, with 5% doing exceptionally well. In the next six months, overall sales went up 27%.
The Common Mistake
One of the most costly sales mistakes a company can make is to promote its top sales reps to sales management. Statistics show that 82% of the top producers, which companies promote to sales management, go back into sales at another company within eighteen months. This situation is like taking your top-scoring basketball player at the height of the season and making him the team coach.