This post may annoy some sales people but I felt compelled to share my thoughts. I was fortunate to be able to attend the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco last week. The 2-day event was squarely focused on tools, processes, and best practices to help sales teams achieve continually lofty revenue goals. As I sat through the keynote speeches and breakout sessions it was clear that the attendees and vendors had a singular focus of making it easier to engage with prospects and generating a higher volume of qualified leads for sales teams. The real question I was considering was, Will some selling teams squander these highly qualified leads because they wont act on them quickly enough – if at all!
Heres why I ask that question. One of the main problems we often see in the companies we work with is a real lack of sales work ethic. Selling is more than an 8-to-5 job but in many organizations the sales department holds themselves to a lower attendance and time management standard than the rest of their company. They often come in late, leave early, and in many cases conduct personal business during the normal workday, all of which detracts from their core mission of selling new business. Many sales leaders turn a blind eye to the issue – especially if a rep is at or near plan.
The real issue of low sales productivity will become more evident when the investments in high quality lead generation programs begin generating a significant volume of new leads. When leads generated exceed the teams ability to respond based on their current sales work standards one of three things will occur.
- Qualified leads will buy from a competitor before your team contacts them,
- Your sales person never contacts them at all,
- Your sales manger will ask for more sales resources because of increased lead volume.
These are all undesirable outcomes!
Changing the work behaviors of your sales team wont happen overnight but you can take steps now to make sure the team understands the expectation, risks, and rewards.
- Start by setting an expectation that unless you are a remote sales person you should be in the office unless engaged in a sales call, pretty basic right?
- For reps that wont follow up on assigned leads in a timely manner begin excluding them from the lead flow rotation.
- Reward sales reps that consistently follow up on marketing generated leads by giving them these extra leads.
Those reps that cant get with the program may not be keepers; if they wont work do you really want them tainting the rest of your team?
While it is true that sales people are measured by the revenue they produce, they are still company employees and should be expected to be at their office – or at a client location – during normal business hours. The come to work late and leave early sales behavior should not be tolerated. Set the right work expectation for your team and lead by example, there is always something that needs to be done.
We would like to hear your feedback on how you keep a strong work ethic alive in your firm, please drop us a line.