We used to have this great framed poster in our sales ops office from Despair.com. It was an archer’s target where the second arrow was splitting the first demonstrating extreme accuracy and skill. Unfortunately, the two arrows were far from the bulls eye and the rather poetic caption read, “Consistency – it’s only a virtue when you’re not a screw-up.”
This flashback hit us when we started getting the annual uptick in inquiries from sales managers who are having very familiar results after the first two months of 2014. According to Jim Dickey at CSO Insights, less than 60% of sales reps hit their quota in 2013. Somehow our light hearted response to our new prospects of “well, at least you’re consistent,” didn’t get us any laughs, go figure.
The truth is the first two months of 2014 should be stellar compared to the holiday plagued last two of 2013. If you haven’t seen a strong increase in proposals and signatures so far, you’re likely behind plan. The time to act is now.
One solution that Jim advanced in his blog, “Sales Enablement — Who Needs It?” is, well, sales enablement. You can read the post but the crux of the biscuit was that helping your salespeople to be more effective and efficient could move the needle.
The hidden gem in Jim’s post is the “read more” at the bottom that links to an excellent case study by Ian Levine from Iron Mountain. In it, Ian explains how Iron Mountain piloted a sales enablement program before rolling it out to a tremendous and decentralized sales force.
The outcomes were surprising and fantastic. While the pilot yielded only a small increase in business, management astutely investigated how the sales team used their new found extra time. After determining that sales enablement meant a more balanced and pleasant lifestyle for their sales team, a nationwide rollout was ordered. The case study outlines a few other unforeseen benefits worth reading.
Our point is that your sales team has extreme skill and knows how to close business. If you’re in jeopardy of falling behind and know it, this is the time to keep them launching arrows, perhaps by enabling them or by giving them more bulls eye’s or both.
In any case, you need to target the business you want and go get it – now.
Sure, those in-bound leads are easy to get and “process” but if you’re off plan and still waiting for the phone to ring, you’re not taking action – you’re only being consistent, you screw-up.