Have you ever created and lead a Sales Team directly? Not from the lofty height of C-Level, but day after day in the trenches with your people? If so here’s a quick post for you the Sales Manager. In my experience there are four trends that are very common for most sales teams:
Your sales executive schedules an initial call with a prospect and it goes extremely well. You have a rather high-level discussion with the prospect and there’s definitely a lot of interest in your solution. You discuss some possible next steps and things seem promising. Unfortunately that’s as far as it goes…the prospect gradually drops out of sight and eventually you make the sales executive take them off their forecast…poof! They’ve vanished!
You’ve finally secured senior management support for additional resources for your sales team, i.e. more marketing dollars for events, new lead sources, inside sales reps etc. You plan and execute a new lead generation strategy and it produces…well…nothing! You solicit feedback from your sales executives and discover that they never got the hot new leads or that they we not viable or “real”. Often there isn’t even a common understanding / definition of a lead and different departments have completely distinct ideas about “what is a lead…” Communication breakdown.
The new quarter starts off after weeks of planning, training, and discussions with your team. They’ve been tasked with creating a pipeline of prospects and opportunities in excess of five times (5X) their quota. You have weekly reviews of all opportunities and everything looks good until shortly before the quarter’s end when your sales executives begin to move their “hot” opportunities to the next quarter. What’s even more troubling is that the sales executives can’t usually give you any specific reasons why they had difficulty forecasting. Now you have to be accountable to senior management while your team says…maybe tomorrow…
You’re spending a lot of time putting together sales activity reports for senior management. You have a CRM which you’ve used for years and the sales team constantly complains that it “takes them too much time to update it.” After making a business case to senior management, you get a new CRM solution with all the extras…the sales executives are now too busy to learn how to use it correctly. In addition, your “top” salesperson leaves unexpectedly…he takes all the relevant information about your clients / opportunities / prospects with him because he never put it into either CRM solution. Now senior management is asking for…information.
If you’re a Sales Manager and you’ve faced these challenges, share your experiences with us!
Best regards and happy hunting,