Sales Managers – Is Your Sales Team Firing Blanks?

Sales Managers – Is Your Sales Team Firing Blanks?

How is your sales team performing?

Firing on all four cylinders?

Cooking on gas?

All of them?

Using the old 80/20 rule it can often observed that 80% of sales come from 20% of the sales team.  This can fluctuate however it is the case that the same people tend to bring in the largest amounts of money, and depending on how your client base is split either by something as basic as alphabetically, or something more sophisticated like sector or turnover you may still find that the money comes in from the same sources.

So what about the 20% then?  What the hell are they doing?

Well it could be that the 20% revenue they bring in still gets them to target but as a contribution it is smaller than the remaining, it could also be that they are newer members of staff, finding there way with smaller clients and so the expectation is lower. All good.


What about those people who aren’t bringing in much?  They are firing blanks.  I’ve met a ton of them too.  They tend to compensate for their lack of bookings or sales with the following behaviours. Recognise any of these?


  • They know a lot about their market
  • They know a lot about the specifics of their clients
  • They spend a lot of time researching clients before calls or visits
  • They email lots of clients instead of calling them
  • They have very high activity (call or meeting) rates but low booking numbers
  • They spend a lot of time out on long meetings but have low conversion
  • They are a whizz at producing PowerPoint (yawn) presentations for the client
  • They spend hours crafting sales proposals for clients
  • They always volunteer for training courses
  • They love a chat and always have an excuse as to why someone isn’t booking, usually based in blaming the current market.


It’s not that they cannot sell? They can. It is just that they spend too much time doing it, that they often oversell. They do not see the sweet spot moment where the sale in in front of them and it drifts out of view and they lose it.  Why? Because they keep talking, ‘turn up and throw up’ and the client just loses interest. What was once a need, a want, a desire or an urge becomes something less important all together. The prime client has been left, not closed, proffering no fruit, your sales person is firing blanks.


How Can We Help Make Them More Fertile?

Use Templates – Creating a new proposal or presentation every time is a waste of time. Unless you have the luxury of a dedicated sales support team who can do this, (oh and they will probably template) create a consistent template that can be adapted for any client and then before sending it out, get it sense checked for effectiveness. Store presentations and proposals that have converted into business on file so that these can be reused.  With PowerPoint, use something else please. It is so boring. Use something else like Prezi it is so much more elegant and memorable, oh and train your team to present properly and not just read slides off of a screen. Think about it, a presentation should unique, memorable and delivered with personality.


Fit for Purpose – Stop the sales person spending so much time over-perfecting presentations and proposals, think about what can make them work hardest. All that polishing and perfecting is a waste of valuable time, get the documents sense checked, rehears it a couple of times and then have at it. Get sales people to be aware of what it means for something to be fit for purpose.


Research Reduction – Stop the sales person from spending too much time researching the client. It is a core cause of procrastination and a source of sales call reluctance.  Give them a checklist of things essential at the early stage and then encourage them to establish more by asking better questions, perhaps create a checklist of these too, it will help to keep things on track.


Set them a W.I.N. objective – When the sales person is out or on a call set them an objective based on W.I.N. Work out what it is they WANT to achieve from the meeting, this is the dream if you will.  Then what they INTEND to get from the meeting or the next best thing and lastly what they NEED from the meeting, the thing they have to get or they walk away. The absolute minimum. Using this means the sales person comes away with something every time. Be it a sale, an action or an instruction from the client.


Dual Call – Go out with them.  Coach and mentor them. Get your hands dirty. Simple.  Lead by example. People cannot be what they cannot see, especially if you are trying to lead by example.


Use Client Qualification Skills – In many companies there will be a qualifying criteria to doing business with clients, it could based on number of employees, a minimum spend, an annual turnover or even a fully trading website. Whatever it is you have to establish whether the client is qualified or not.  I use a matrix based on previous training experience, the presence of a training budget and number of employees needing training. This helps me to determine whether something is worth the effort or not.


Set specific KPI’s as a Result of Training – Ensure your training courses have a set of actionable KPI’s post delivery.  If you don’t the training will have a little honeymoon period and then things will go back to how they were.  If you are to remain competitive use and apply training well and be sure to find out from the sales person what they want from the training too, and then once they have it, manage it. I work with my clients to help create these to help make it easier for them to see and ROI.


By applying these simple techniques and prevention measures, you can create a much more fertile sales team that will improve overall.  As the manager you are setting each person up to be a success and minimizing the chances of them firing a blank into the marketplace and therefore losing out to the competition, revenue that could have been yours.


Thanks for reading, I love having you here, drop me a line at Simon@serialtrainer7.comif I can come into your business and help your teams be the best sales people they can be.


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