CEOs and Owners are often very smart people that come up with great strategies for growing their business. But for some reason, the strategy doesn’t work. It could be a flawed strategy or poor execution, but it could also be that they don’t have the right team in place. How do you know whether you do or not? Be honest and ask yourself these questions:
- What skills do your sales team members have to execute your strategy?
- Do you think all the members of your sales team possess these skills?
- Do you have a good track record of bringing in people with the right skills that succeed in your business?
If your answer to any of these is “No” or “I don’t know” then you should probably examine this area a little deeper.
Sales people can be the hardest working, most motivated, well-intentioned and loyal people in the world, but if they don’t know HOW to do what you need them to do, you might not have the right people for your team. And here’s the hard part – they may have been the right person for your team at one time, but the needs of the company may have progressed and this person no longer fits the company strategy.
So how do you figure this out, here is a starting point:
- Define what they need to be good at doing:
- Is it finding new accounts?
- Retaining and growing existing ones?
- Both? If both, what is more important to the business now?
- Break it down more–this is where a lot of companies fall down. For example, if you need them to land new accounts, further define it:
- Do they need to be good at developing their own leads or will they follow up on leads you provide?
- Do they need to be good face-to-face or good at phone skills?
- Do they need to be good at differentiating because the market has got more competitive?
- Do you sell to multiple decision makers within an account so they need to know how to navigate through the organization?
- Are you the premium provider that commands a bigger price? If so, do you need someone who knows how to build value throughout the process?
- Do they need good technical skills to explain your product or service?
I could go on and on. The point is to nail down all the things they need to be good at performing.
- Rank the defined list:
- Most people may not be good at everything, of all the things they need to be good at, what are the four to five most important?
- Compare your people against the list:
- How do they rank in each area?
- Are there holes you need to address?
- Make your action plan to close those gaps:
- In some cases, you can develop the right skills through training/coaching/mentoring.
- In other cases, it may mean replacing people which can be a difficult decision.
The bottom line is that your plan and strategy require certain competencies in order to execute them. If your team doesn’t have them, you may have a problem.