Is Your Sales Team Dropping the Ball? Here’s Why (and How to Fix It)…
Once upon a time when I started my marketing services company, NerdyGirl.co, I built a commission-only sales team of over 100 people and couldn’t, for the life of me, get them selling anything.
It was almost the death of my business.
So when that model wasn’t working, I thought I had no choice but to go to the opposite extreme and do ALL of the selling by myself.
Once I figured out how to set up my videos to do the selling for me, my new plan started going really well.
Too well, in fact.
Before too long, we realized that more and more, people were getting so excited to have me help them sell more stuff that I needed to charge more and more for my time, and charging more meant needing to answer more questions, and because we were selling so much I no longer had time to answer all of those questions personally, so I realized that I was going to need to give the sales team thing another try.
Naturally, having had so much trouble the first time around, I was pretty nervous.
But I also knew that building an effective sales team HAD to be possible, and dang it, I was going to figure it out.
The first step, I decided, was going to be to take full responsibility for my previous mistakes and figure out what I did wrong so that I could make sure not to repeat it.
Then, of course, I began a deep-dive learning binge into all things sales (which of course, I will be happy to pass on to you).
But before we get into all of the things I discovered during that process, let me first take a minute to give you a heads up about a few things I wish I had known the first time I attempted to bring other people on to help me sell stuff.
If your sales team isn’t performing, here are a few possible reasons why:
Reason #1: They aren’t as sold as you are on the product
No amount of money can compensate for the conviction that can only come from a salesperson who believes in the product she sells 100%.
Consumers can see right through you if your heart isn’t really in it, for one thing–
–but beyond that, salespeople who don’t fully believe in their product aren’t nearly as tenacious or committed as those who do.
Reason #2: You’re bringing on the wrong people
Not all salespeople are created equal.
Quantity is not nearly as important as quality.
So how do you find the right people?
You take people with excellent potential who have a hunger for greatness, you give them a product and a mission they can believe in, and you give them the opportunity and the tools and the mentorship to attain that greatness.
It’s not about the compensation plan, either.
That detail isn’t nearly as big of a deal as you might think.
The right people won’t just be in it for money because they won’t be bogged down by money issues in the first place.
This is really important.
Maybe one of the most important characteristics of a great salesperson, in fact.
There’s no such thing as a great salesperson with money scarcity issues.
I mean, we all have the occasional money worry from time to time, but you cannot afford to have people on your team who subtly apologize for charging people money, who give in at the slightest hint of a price objection.
You need people who are responsible, organized, confident and positive.
You need people who have no hesitation about the value of your product– who know it’s worth every penny.
That means being a little bit picky about who you’ll invest your time and resources in– not just assuming that the willingness to try to sell is very different from the ability, the skill of selling.
That skill can (and should) be improved upon, of course, but it rarely materializes out of nowhere.
So many of you are in such a hurry to build teams that you lose time developing people who had no intention of selling anything for you in the first place.
Ideally, you’ll bring in people who’ve had success selling other products or services who are looking to take their sales game to the next level.
Reason #3: You haven’t given them what they need to be successful
As a leader, you cannot expect to train your salespeople once and turn them loose and expect everything to go the way you want it to go.
It’s your job to know your customer journey better than anyone else, to be able to sell your product more effectively than anyone else, so that you know how to help your people do the same.
That’s why as you get started, you’ll want to take very careful notes about what works for you and what doesn’t.
You’ll want to write scripts. You’ll want to create training materials and offer supplemental resources your teams can use during the sales process to present more compelling arguments.
This is important…
You’re going to want to be following up with your sales team regularly to talk about how the process is going.
One thing that I’ve implemented recently with my sales team is a post-call debriefing form that they fill out after their calls.
The form is mostly multiple choice; it doesn’t take long to fill out but it gives me the opportunity to review the things being discussed as well as what’s not being discussed, so I can troubleshoot the process for them and with them.
It also makes it really easy for me to answer questions or address objections that come up during one person’s sales calls and share those insights with the whole team (because the fact that an issue comes up for one of them is probably an indication that it might come up again for another).
The other benefit of a debriefing process is that it reinforces to your team what’s important to you about the sales process in a non-threatening way.
What you don’t want this to feel like, however, is a report card. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being judged or micromanaged. You want this process to feel collaborative rather than punitive, like you’ll somehow “get in trouble” if you get it “wrong.”
That’s not what this is about.
This is about collaboration and communication and support.
Which brings me to the #1 thing I’ve resolved to do this time around as the leader of a sales team that I was remiss in doing the first time: I resolve to do whatever it takes to help my people succeed, including taking FULL responsibility if and when they don’t.
You cannot afford to blame anyone but yourself if your people aren’t performing, because every time you blame others, you give your power away.
There’s always something more you can do.
You can train yourself more.
You can tweak your scripts.
You can perfect your pitch.
You can create better resources.
You can train, encourage and develop your team better so they feel more motivated, more supported and most importantly, more SOLD on the thing(s) you sell.
You can examine every step of the process and see if you can get to the bottom of where it is that you’re losing people so you can address that area more effectively next time.
Or maybe, if none of that seems to be making a difference, you might consider whether or not the people on your team are the right people at all.
Ultimately, a salesperson’s job is to sell. Your job, as the leader of a sales organization, is to do everything in your power to help make sure they do.
That might include knowing where your time and energy are best spent. If it’s like pulling teeth to work with one person while another person, with the right support, could be a total rock star, then by all means, spend time with the future rock star!
No matter how they perform, though, respect your people. Treat them like the team you wish they were and they’ll rise to the occasion. Treat them like failures and rookies and they’ll behave like failures and rookies.
This isn’t about rewarding poor performance, of course– it’s about expecting the best from people. Seeing their potential before it’s fully realized.
People can surprise you, if you do the work to properly support them.
But of course, you won’t know exactly how to do that if you don’t first know how to sell stuff yourself!
What I learned from experience was that even though I could sell my company’s marketing services intuitively, it was going to require an entirely different level of knowledge and understanding if I ever wanted to be able to teach other people how to sell.
It’s one thing to do it, it’s quite another to teach it.
But I figured it out.
And I’d love to help you do the same.
Before I do that, though, I want to make sure you know the #1 biggest mistake I made the first time around that made it nigh impossible for my sales team to have success:
I placed too much of the burden of selling on THEM and not enough on ME.
The point of using personality marketing to fill your pipeline is to have your leads so prepared, so qualified, so eager to buy BEFORE THEY EVER TALK TO ANYONE ON YOUR TEAM that the sale becomes almost a formality.
You can’t expect your salespeople to do all the hard work for you.
It’s YOUR job to set your brand and your business apart.
It’s YOUR job to make a clear and compelling case for why you’re the best.
And it’s YOUR job to keep improving the quality of your message and your marketing until your salespeople are so swamped with leads, they only have time for the ones who cannot WAIT to buy from you.
Not exactly sure how to make that happen? Not to worry. You’re about to find out…
Want to Listen to the Podcast Version? Find That Here (or on iTunes, of course…)
QUICK NOTE: If you don’t have time to watch this or aren’t in a good spot to watch a video right now, make sure to pin it for later!