16 May How to Smart Size Your Sales Team to Maximize the Recovery (by Hunter Byington)
For the last 7 weeks, we’ve been quarantining with our oldest daughter, Brittany, her husband, Brady, (both engineers from MN who’ve been working remotely from North Dakota, since pre-schools were closed) and their 3 pre-school children. So, in addition to all the other initiatives, I’ve been a full-time gramma.:-)
Our youngest granddaughter, Joanna, is fascinated with grown-up shoes. It seems to be a great object-lesson for all of us to SMART SIZE during this time of recovery, doesn’t it! Thanks, Hunter, for a timely article.
The next 90 days are critical, aren’t they?
CEOs, presidents and business owners know that these next 90 days are critical for getting the sales team focused and on pace. They’re worried about what will happen to the business if they make the wrong decisions about where and how to focus the sales team?
Many confess that they will need to “smart-size” their sales-force in order to reach 2020 revenue goals. However, that’s a nerve-racking task, filled with potholes and mistakes that can cost the company big time in the long run.
Before mid-March, you most likely were on your way to recording excellent sales growth results. Many of the teams we were coaching, training, or recruiting had, what we call, “third world problems”. While they were frustrated in finding enough salespeople for their key positions, their numbers for the first quarter were shaping up as a down payment on a great revenue year. Surprisingly, poor salespeople were also on track to break even. Their clients were on track for a repeat of last year’s success.
Before you could say, “What a great first quarter!”, bad news about a new dreaded virus from the east, was spreading as fast as the virus itself. And now? No point in telling you what you already know or fear. In no time, your “Outside” salesforce found themselves trapped at home. Some of them had to adapt quickly to working remotely – something they weren’t hired or trained to do. The salespeople were learning new words such as “empathy” and offering “compassion” for their prospects/clients’ calls. They also began to learn a new set of bonding skills in an effort to determine one’s status. It continues today. And don’t even bring up the pipeline…
There are numbers to be met, revenue projections to be changed. Over the next few weeks, you will be closely examining your sales team. Your questions include:
How real is their pipeline now?
How many of your sales crew can sell without traveling?
Can they really work from home?
And what about them expanding their world of prospecting?
Can they get through in this new environment?
I’m hearing from many of our clients that there will be cuts in the sales force. What percentage is up in the air?
Get Answers to Key Questions
What will happen to your business growth strategies if you make the wrong decision about the way forward for your sales team? From my experience, after the last three economic events, the wrong people will be let go and overall, sales results will continue to slide.
So, this time, is there a way to look beyond the ugly and avoid the costly mistakes when it comes to making these key decisions?
Just maybe you will be open to a tool that will help you make those key decisions of who to retain?
In conjunction with our partners at Objective Management Group (they have evaluated almost 2 million salespeople/managers and over 20k businesses,) we have developed an impartial tool to help you make the right decisions. With the aid of an online evaluation, coupled with a deep probe of the sales group, this tool will at least answer key questions you need to ask to ensure you come out of this crisis stronger than before.
Whether you take us up on helping (just click here) or add our suggestions to your evaluation list, please consider these questions for the sake of your team and your future.
- Are my salespeople suitable for the role I’m asking them to play? Many salespeople were transferred into roles that just don’t fit. However, with the strength of the economy over the past five years, it didn’t matter. Now, it matters. How many of your salespeople were put into situations where they were able to produce, but won’t fit now?
- Are my salespeople trained and can they be coached in this new normal, challenging sales environment? Overall, we find that only 39% of the sales force even come close in consultative sales skills. Now they will have to dig deeper than ever before into all aspects of the client’s business. And if they didn’t ask the right questions in the past, what makes you so sure they will do the deep dive probing now?
- Will my Pipeline reviews be painful? Just looking at their sure-to-come-across-the-finish-line sales are tough. Surefire sales won’t and confusion on the replacements will arise. How strong/weak are they? What’s the criteria?
- Personal Bias is the number one reason company’s lose good performers. In the last three economic downturns, I can tell you that many great salespeople were let go due to emotional ties, years in the industry, and even the nonsensical “last-in, first-out”. Look for real performers, just like a football coach will do when choosing his star performers.
Ready to rightsize your sales team?
Copyright Hunter Byington, 2020.
Hunter Byington, CloserConsulting.com, has always been in sales. Since the age of 8 years old when he was selling Reader’s Digest subscriptions door to door or paying his way through the University of Alabama or selling unique, tailored marketing programs for Esquire Magazine, its always been about maximizing a client’s revenue, coaching the sales staff to new levels or hiring salespeople to get immediate traction.