It’s common knowledge that the only way to create predictably, steady revenue is a combination of successful sales efforts, and there will come a time in the growth of every organization when the owner and/or leadership will decide it is time to take the next step and hire a sales manager.
What makes your attempts to build a successful sales team so painful are the failed attempts at hiring the “right” salesperson. Finding a compensation package that matches performance and putting a sales process in place that fosters performance, follow-up, and sales. So, when sales fail to result, follow-up and follow-through do not happen, the owner – who thought the sales process was running on autopilot because it had been set up and established in advance – feels disengaged and frustrated with the lack of sales results.
If you’re still reading, don’t despair. There is a better way to hire, manage and motivate your sales team. There are even MSPs who have done it with success. This blog will address the roadblocks that keep MSPs from building performance-driven sales teams that really produce results.
Roadblocks to Sales Teams that Produce Results
Knowing the challenges ahead and being able to address and overcome those challenges are the best way to get a handle on a broken sales model that continues to limp along and impact your bottom line. If you want to improve how your team finds and wins deals as well as the hand-off between sales and operations, you have to understand the sales mind and make it work for you. Here’s a list of roadblocks that get in the way:
1. Ugly Truth: Sales is a Grind
In our experience (that includes having three successful sales trainers and consultants in the mix) – effective sales managers have learned how to master a consistent set of best practices that day after day hold the sales team members accountable for achieving results.
According to sales trainer, Ben Altman, “salespeople need consistent, steady reinforcement and encouragement to stay motivated and accountable on follow-up and follow-through.” While many managers fear that encouragement may foster lazy behavior, clear, consistent goals with steady focus and encouragement are one of the secret ingredients for keeping your sales team successful in the face of constant objection.
2. Complexity Kills Sales Deals
Here’s another secret, solutions may be complex, but salespeople are simple. Your sales team has one goal, and that is to close the deal. As an owner or sales leader, ask yourself this:
- What exactly do you sell?
- What are your unique offering and the (business) value of those offerings?
- Can your entire sales team quickly and simply speak to that value?
- Do you offer several different types of solutions and “managed” packages at different prices?
More options and more pricing may not be better; it may just be more confusing.
3. Hire well. Train well. Sell more.
I know, this point goes without saying, but does it?
How many times have we hired the ideal sales candidate only to be disappointed and let down when that individual fails to produce? You might ask yourself, was it me? Is it you? What happened? And the truth is that it is probably both.
- There is no perfect salesperson right out of the gate.
- Most technical owners and leaders do not know what to look for when hiring a salesperson.
- Most MSPs do not know how long to allow for training time before seeing results.
Most MSPs operate using a broken or immature sales model. Truly understanding the profile of a successful salesperson and then sticking to a pre-hire checklist such as performing background and reference checks, personality profiling, and vetting questions will help you find candidates that stand a chance of performing to expectation.
4. Owners Should NOT Be Sales Manager
If the owner’s objective is to grow the business, they need to mentally plan to embrace a sales manager. The owner should be focused on the overall direction of the company, not knee deep in the details of specific opportunities. Managing and selling require different skill sets, and you will regret the day you hire your best salesperson to manage (because they are no longer selling!) The sales manager should be able to lead by example to show the team how to close deals, but their greatest asset to you is their ability to communicate and manage sales personalities.
5. Winning Sales Engine is the Sum of Its Parts
A strong sales engine will consist of clear vision (from the leadership team), effective sales management, talented sales members, compelling product offering, and a rewarding compensation plan. If any or all of these components are missing or loosely communicated throughout your organization, your sales team is confused (refer to point #2). You can’t expect more from your sales team than what you – as a leader can deliver. Address gaps in your vision, management, and offering. Take the extra time to hire well. Don’t be afraid to work with an outside expert to gain the skills you need to identify and hire the talent that is going to help your business grow.
Need help building a productive & profitable sales model?
Who doesn’t need help building a productive and profitable sales model?
At Bering McKinley, we teach you how to manage sales activities, not just salespeople. From helping you hire your first appointment setter to work out a new compensation plan, we are with you every stage of the way. Achieve your goals with a strong sales force. Let’s not forget your salespeople. We have trained 100’s of salespeople over the years, and we would be happy to start a conversation about how we might help you.