Shifting the Sails: Rep, Pitch, or Process?

It’s getting to the end of Q1 and you are already behind for the year. It is not so far behind that you are changing budgets and expectations yet, but it is time to change course and make sure you can drive your team (or your own sales) to make up the lost ground.

The most natural reaction is for a sales manager to:

  • Review your sales team and compare their numbers
  • Listen to calls or do a ride along and identify your bottom performers
  • Talk to HR, get a job requisition open and put some people on performance review

Usually during the field visits or call reviews you can find at least 2 or 3 things that the reps have gotten in the habit of saying that could be better. So you tighten up the scripts or talking points and redistribute them. Call a team meeting. Review what everyone was doing wrong and reinforce the new talking points so that they all have the best chance to qualify fast, create urgency and move to the close.

If you are currently a sales rep reading this, you have probably been through the drill more than once and have the best perspective on what is missing from the plan. Who is reviewing the sales process? Where are IT, finance, manufacturing and the manager in all of the critical review of what you are doing?

There is an art to selling, but the process needs to be tight for you to deliver the best value.

I’ve been fortunate enough lately to be part of such a review and have learned that both sides need to be pursued at the same time. Sure, we all can work on our pitch, the team under you constantly needs to be reviewed and new talent should be added when possible. But stopping there will result in the same revolving door in a few months.

While you review your team, review what they are doing. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you need to bring technical sales reps into the sale earlier? Later?
  • When does operations get involved in the sale?
  • Is the CRM working for them or are they working for it?
  • Who is responsible for the lead from cradle to grave?
  • Is sales in a separate silo from other parts of the business that you need to be successful?

Look within yourself as the person who likely put this process in place and listen to your reps. They may not always be right, but they should be heard and when wrong, explain why. You will find that your team learns from it and will commit to the new process.

Combine the art of sales with the science of sales: Your ship will turn faster and show sustained improvement when the reps and pitch work within a stronger step by step process.