Sales team struggling? How to get to the root of the (real) problem
At some point, every sales manager is confronted with a team or rep who isn’t performing well. To get to the root of the problem, managers often spend time shadowing reps and listening in on calls. They believe there is a training issue or that they will uncover a reason to cut the rep loose.
I’ve done this myself in the past, and can say unequivocally that this strategy doesn’t work.
Investing in telephony solutions that allow you to record and listen to calls, and provide meaningless metrics such as how long the rep spends on the phone, often provides a skewed vision into what the problem actually is. That’s because listening to calls and shadowing reps only provides anecdotal information about a certain conversation. It’s easy to spot a place for improvement and believe this is the root of the problem.
As it turns out, this often is a red herring and the real problem continues even after training. The reason is that training often isn’t the issue. A missing process for prospecting is.
To illustrate, I recently was asked to consult with a company struggling with sales. I asked to shadow a team to see their sales process. One rep made six calls and never talked with a live person. Despite not making a live connect, it was easy for me to see what the problem was. Each of the calls was made to a unique environment and a different title. His approach to his prospect data had him calling one title in a large hospital, a different title in a community hospital, a clinic worker and webinar attendees.
Of course the rep felt he needed to research every single call in order to feel comfortable, which took a lot of time. In the end, his message to the contacts was too watered down to be relevant anyway.
What this team and all sales teams really need is a prospecting process. With a process data is segmented into groups by title path and organization type, and relevant messaging and peer mentions are built for each segment. A calling cadence (see image) is employed that maps out the frequency and duration of communication, as well as the type of communication attempt. For example, a calling cadence may specify an email and follow up phone call during the first day, a second phone call the following day, then stretching out interactions as the campaign progresses.
The process provides real business intelligence about what’s working and what needs improvement. Our recent infographic is a great example of the kind of intelligence available through a prospecting process.
Once the fundamentals are in place and reps are adhering to a prospecting process, companies may want to add a telephony solution to do individualized coaching. However, starting with telephony and ignoring the process is sure to take you far off the radar.
Chasing those red herrings just isn’t much fun.