Do You Have the Right Sales Team?
Do You Have the Right Sales Team?
This may be an uncomfortable topic for many sales managers. Good managers really care about the people that work for them so it can be painful to even think about cutting them loose. In some cases the employee has been with the company for years. Some may even be family members. Strong relationships can be a double edged sword … both a blessing and a curse.
Think back to the Oregon Trail. The pioneers are getting ready to go west to new lands and new opportunities. They are filled with excitement … promises of rich bountiful land for the taking, abundant game and wildlife, lots of water and timber and a benevolent climate. They’re hoping to realize their dreams at the end of their journey. While most have similar dreams and goals, planning and preparation varies widely. Some don’t do a whole lot. They grab whatever wagon and team they can find, load up their stuff and off they go.
Others are much more careful. They purchase sturdy wagons and meticulously plan for any possible emergency on the trail. They anticipate broken wheels and axels, blistering heat as well as blizzards, river crossings and mountain passes. They are as prepared as possibly for almost any kind of emergency. Finally they pick the team that will haul the wagon. Some choose horses, some choose mules and others choose oxen. Regardless of the type of team they pick, the common key question that the smart pioneers asked was, Will this team get me to my destination? Will it haul me up the hill? Everything else was secondary.
History tells us what happened to the pioneers on the Oregon Trail. Many made it. Many others did not. Did everyone with a good team make it? Of course not. There were other hazards that got in the way … drought, poor guides, attacks by hostiles, etc., etc. However few people made it without the right teams.
Step back and take a good hard look at your sales team. Will your team get you where you want? When the economy is strong and there is demand for your product or services you don’t have to worry too much about it. Selling is more about order taking than actual prospecting. Unfortunately boom times are usually followed by slower times. That’s when a good sales team becomes really important.
Assuming their timing was right, the pioneers had a relatively easy trek initially …no huge mountains, no extreme weather. Even the worst teams managed to do OK. Then they hit the mountain passes and things changed. No way, no how could some of those teams pull those heavy wagons up the hill.
Do you have the right sales team to achieve the company goals when times get tough? Do they have the core beliefs and skills to perform the activities that are necessary to succeed? Have they gotten complacent because life has been good? Do you need to sharpen the saw?
A survey by a major international consulting company found that of the companies that recognize that they don’t have the talent they need to grow their business, only 7% are doing anything about it.
Now is the time to make sure that your sales team is ready for the challenges ahead, not when they’re halfway up the hill and it’s too late.
Oliver Connolly coaches and mentors sales managers and vice presidents of sales. To learn more please go to http://www.clevelstrategic.com