Selling effectiveness is the #1 driver of revenue growth.
Yet in an increasingly connected world of communication, salespeople are more disconnected than ever around their own communication skills. Almost all salespeople consider themselves highly effective. To test this, just ask any salesperson you know whether they consider their own sales conversations just average.
Haven’t met one yet!
Social psychologists call this flawed self-assessment. I think it’s just blissful ignorance. Whatever the attribution, it’s incredibly costly and disruptive, and according to research by CEB, the problem is getting worse. Salespeople in today’s complex environment require more feedback than ever. Feedback brings their self-assessment back into reality, removing the blissful ignorance that impedes growth.
The problem is exacerbated when complex sales organizations confuse inexperience with ineffectiveness. They want quick results, so they hire experienced sellers for the field jobs. The newbies work inside, relegated to the bench to set appointments for the savvy veterans. Of course, after the dust has settled, how many of those very expensive “solution sellers” actually deliver on their promises? Not many. Instead, they blame the leads.
Sales ineffectuality is a pandemic.
Why isn’t this predicament improving? It’s not for a lack of good sales training or motivated sales coaches. The fault lies in mathematics. Sales Managers flat out lack the time, access, and data to deliver coaching feedback that makes sellers better.
The cost of ineffectuality is astronomical and real. CEB, the organization that gave us the Challenger research, put the cost at 20% of productivity. In effect, good coaching moves the revenue needle 20% north. But, the real number lies in the reverse – the 20% lost revenue due to little coaching.
Curbside coaching is wasteful and expensive. If you’re Fuller Brush company, the “ride-along” is how you improve salespeople. If you’re lead a complex sales organization operating in high-speed, dynamic markets, you think you’re more sophisticated – BUT THAT’S EXACTLY HOW YOUR SALES MANAGERS COACH!
Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting a different result, and expecting anything but an incremental improvement from curbside coaching today is insane.
In an era where Tablet technology and a standardized app can capture complex field sales conversations (i.e. notes/audio) and house them in the cloud, the constraints of time, access, and data are removed for Sales Coaches. Commercial Conversation Management means death to distance.
Ironically, even with technology advancements, most sales leaders still expect sales managers to coach the same old way. Why? Because gravitational forces hold them back – fear of trying something different.
Here’s where innovators gain the advantage. Leaders who are serious about solving big problems want to try technologies before everyone else for one simple reason – it’s the only way to get a competitive leg up. They don’t wait for everyone else to get the advantage first – they jump in early. Their competitors, guided by risk-averse managers and politicians, later wonder how they fell so far behind the pack, blaming everything but their outdated thinking.
Want to play – or play it safe? Technology can help solve the sales ineffectuality problems, but it’s going to require bold leaders willing to jump in to make it happen.