How Do You Build A Successful Sales Program? Not How You Think
by Shawn Karol Sandy, on Apr 12, 2023 11:09:02 AM
We run across this situation quite often.
You started a business. You hustled. You busted your behind. You earned trust. You demonstrated experience and credibility. You brought in the customers and your business took off.
But at a certain point, you spent less time selling and more time “doing” and running the business. At the crossroads of stagnant revenue, slow growth and shrinking margins, you decide “I need to hire a salesperson” because you need more sales.
So, you hire someone you know who has been in the industry, or had a long sales career, or who says they “can do sales” as your first sales hire.
And 99% of the time, that results in a painful flop. Within 3, maybe 4 months of that hire, the salesperson is burned out, you are massively frustrated, and there are no new sales.
Nothing has changed and yet more time has passed.
Here’s why this mostly never works:
You, as a business owner, have most likely never been a sales director and created a sales program or sales team. Starting now with salespeople is not only a bad idea, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Without the structure of a Sales Strategy supported by a Sales Process, you have no Sales Program. Without a Sales Program, you’re spending time spinning your wheels when it comes to replicating your efforts and results in a scalable way. Hiring a seller and giving them no direction, infrastructure, or support is a bad bet.
So, How Do You Build A Sales Program?
Not with hiring a salesperson. But with determining what kind of Selling Organization you want to be. You can add one person to the organization, or two, or four, and expect them to carry the weight of all the revenue generation but in our estimation, that’s like only inflating one tire on your car and expecting to get anywhere efficiently or quickly.
Before you hire a salesperson, examine your current customer experiences, your talent and behaviors that promote customer opportunities and the resources you currently have in your business (hint: this is the start of your RevOps Optimization).
The hardest thing to change within an organization is the collective behavior of all employees and the meanings that the people attach to their actions. Culture is an intangible asset, a ubiquitous mindset that sets the tone for expectations, growth, limitations, ingenuity, creativity and rewards within your business.
- Is everyone within the business actively engaged in selling your product or promoting your solutions and services?
- What are your core values that drive employee/customer interactions?
- Have you created an environment in which each and every connection brings value to your customers?
- Does your business have a documented customer journey with rich and meaningfully designed customer experiences?
Behavior is the manifestation of your company culture—the actions of your employees or sales team in conjunction with their environment. Personal or professional, individual or organizational, behaviors are the attributes that determine success.
- How do your employees recognize customer opportunities?
- How should your sales team structure their day?
- What goals are they working towards?
- How is success measured?
- Are there benchmarks in place for “good, great and amazing”?
- What tools do you provide to execute the behaviors that support the culture of your Selling Organization?
Leverage available means and enact/execute behaviors. Think talent, time and treasure, to achieve your desirable end results. Your strategy is flexible but not a fixed plan. Strategy employs resources, uses knowledge and projects future outcomes based on current circumstances.
- What defines the ideal customers?
- Who needs you or your product?
- Is it clear to whom you are selling?
- Have you created clear processes to move buyers forward in the sales cycle?
- What is the value of your product?
- What is its impact on the market?
- What are the means in which you strategically employ the behaviors that support your culture and Selling Organization?
Drive, lead, execute the strategy and vision to achieve your goals. How you support, coach, and implement in your organization can get you where you’re going quicker, and more profitably.
- How do you implement the selling processes?
- How is your strategy introduced, coached and measured?
- What leadership do you provide?
- How do you measure progress of your team or program?
- Does the direction of the strategy consistently employ the behaviors that support the culture of a highly successful Selling Organization?
There is a learning curve to creating a successful sales program. Invest in the long term, the big picture, the whole enchilada, instead of allocating your precious resources to a quick fix which will yield frustrating results.
If you’ve identified that you have maxed out resources to the point where you need to invest in a “selling solution,” step back and think about creating a strong sales program that starts by creating a Selling Organization.
If you recognize one or all of these symptoms in your business, let’s talk about where we start building your Selling Organization.