Is your sales team armed for success?

Most sales professionals know how to sell. They know how to generate leads, qualify clients, assess needs, develop proposals, manage objections and close deals.

In many companies however, employees with history of sales success don’t seem to make the grade. Managers look for fixes such as training, developing performance improvement plans and, more often than not, restarting the hiring process after employees quit or are let go.

This is a costly loss of momentum that often threatens sales budgets, but is usually stoically attributed to a poor hiring decision and an acceptance that ‘some you win, some you lose’

I know of several businesses that never seem to have this problem. Is this due to better hiring practices or something else?

A common thread is that high-performing businesses properly equip sales staff with all the tools they need to be successful, while others send them into the fray ill-equipped for the job they are expecting them to do.

While many organisations define ‘properly equipped’ as a brief induction process, a few features and benefits, a motor vehicle, a laptop and a handful of brochures, high-performing businesses know that the most important weapon in the sales armoury is a compelling value proposition that resonates powerfully with prospective clients and enables their sales resources to articulate critical sales messages:

  • What we do, that is important to our customers, differently and/or better than our competitors.
  • The tangible benefits a customer will accrue from using our product or service that are not available elsewhere.
  • Why a customer should select us in favour of the competitive options that are available to them.

In our experience, there are few business-owners who can articulate a meaningful value proposition, so it should come as no surprise that neither can their front-line sales staff.

A compelling value proposition is the most critical part of competitive strategy, and it is the responsibility of management to ensure that this is properly defined, relentlessly rehearsed and completely understood before releasing sales resources into the field.

About the author
Michael Evett has over 25 years executive management and board experience and a record of top-line and bottom-line growth in private, private-equity and public companies in the oil and gas, B2B and manufacturing sectors. This experience includes business and strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, business integration and organisational development. Michael is a director of a number of private businesses, and an Accredited Associate of the Institute for Independent Business.

Follow Mike Evett on Twitter @MichaelNEvett 

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