The field of sales management is quite a bit different than it appears to have been in decades past. Declining revenues does not immediately mean that the product is no longer fit for the market, it probably means that sales management is measuring the wrong things.

Sales Forecasting and Reality

Quite normal is the assumptions that are made that “all is well” when sales performance is at or above goal. When sales seem to be below or declining steadily, another belief system takes hold, and no one in the organization is at ease.

Sales revenues only tell a small part of the story. Sure, sales is a great barometer for checking productivity in terms of revenues to support the operational goals, but there’s much more to think about. When forecasting sales the belief is that the goal might be aggressive but achievable. Factors outside the market and within the sales organization need examination.

A manufacturing company utilizes a set of protocols produced by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These standards are based on best practices to measure incoming quantity and quality of inspecting the manufacturing and production of finished goods.

Not every business is a manufacturing entity, so these standards are not for everyone. But that doesn’t mean that not setting standards is acceptable. Standards beyond revenues generated and deals closed, as well as understanding the importance of quality and output meet or exceed your standards set.

Often these questions come up when evaluating the sales team that is under-performing. They are:

  • How much of my team is truly performing?
  • How will I be able to determine that factually?
  • How good is my sales force anyway?
  • What do I do if I can find out?
  • How long will this decline in revenues last if I don’t take independent action to correct matters?
  • Who is the most qualified to undertake this examination and correction of findings?

Building a World-Class Sales Organization

Sales organizations are complex beings. At the end of the day, building a sales organization that can compete with the world’s best is no easy or quick feat. Thus, the value of a competent sales consultant.

These individuals have the ability (or should have) to understand not only the math, but the behavioral and psychologic sciences that comprise an effective sales team.

Left to themselves, sales managers will try what they are knowledgeable of, which may not include all of the “tools and nuances” that should be utilized to change and grow a world-class sales team.

Unfortunately, many sales managers experience fits and starts when attempting to change behaviors and performance using the old approaches, which, for the most part, don’t work:

  • Utilizing specialized pricing; last-minute discounting, purchase incentives only diminish price elasticity
  • Assigning increased quotas to existing sales professionals
  • Shifting to a sales specialist overlay model – which results in too much conflict between sales and management
  • Trying an integrated sales model – which can fall apart as the conflict with co-sales attempting to sell high end and low end at the same sales call befuddles the consumer

Why a Sales Consultant?

Data is the key, and understanding which data makes all the difference. Effective sales consultants understand the complexities of sales teams based on both numerical performance, but also the psychological performance of these individuals as well.

Now, I don’t mean a sales consultant is qualified to diagnose mental health concerns or anything like that. What I mean is that the behaviors exhibited by sales people can fall into predictable and measurable data.

Sales consultants will most certainly undertake an exhaustive examination of a company’s goals and objectives, budgets, sales forecasts and the like. Outstanding sales consultants bring much more to the party than that, however. Implementing sales processes based on several factors can make all the difference.

Understanding all of the factors involved in the makeup of the sales team is also key to unlocking potential.

In a 2017 study conducted by Miller Heiman Group, Inc. the following conclusions were discovered:

Based on data from over 1,200 companies worldwide, as part of CSO Insights’ 2017 World-Class Sales Practices study, we will show that sales organizations that optimize their sales processes for engaging and working with clients significantly outsell their less adept competitors, achieving sales performance edges such as:

  • 37% improvement in overall revenue plan attainment,
  • 21% increase in percentage of sales reps making quota,
  • 31% increase in win rates of forecast deals,
  • 23% decrease in sales force turnover

Miller Heiman Group, Inc.

Remarkable statistics are something an experienced sales consultant should be able to produce. But remember the study was conducted in 2017, with both national and international participants. They’re still remarkable nonetheless.

There is a great amount of information from which to gather, but nothing takes the place of a disinterested third party to ferret out the key performance indicators that should be most important to the organization.

Based on a company’s particular management structure, sales managers may also double as sales trainers. Oftentimes such is the case. A good resource of understanding the role of training the trainer can be found here.

Sales consultants bring not only a fresh set of eyes, but they also provide bleeding-edge tactics and techniques that can pull the revenue slide back into an upward trajectory. Good old fashioned sales management is not the answer, as the rules of consumer engagement and conversion have changed so dramatically.

Today is about better outcomes, leaner teams, higher productivity and limited employee turnover. Sales consultants have the training of the mixed bag of math, behavioral, and psychologic sciences combined with key performance indicators that are structured to maximize outcomes and build stronger sales teams in the process.

sales management cartoon

Ready To Transform?

Are you ready to transform the sales process in your company? The first step is to use the form here and invite Laura to speak with you. The initial consultation is complimentary and will provide you with invaluable insights into enhancing the sales in your business.

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