Whether you are the leader of a large corporate sales team or an individual contributor and indeed everything inbetween, we face decisions as to which direction we need to head on a daily basis. Often utterly insignificant. Coffee or tea? Chips or salad? But more often than not we face tough choices that will be the difference between success and failure. These are the critical decisions we have to make. Do I hire the high energy sales beast or the steady Eddie? Do I offer a discount or stick to my pricing? Do I raise that issue with my boss or just ignore it?
However, some of the real tough choices appear when it comes to dealing with people. Its not surprising though. When you face the difficult choice to let someone go from your organisation, sales leaders will often agonise for weeks and sometimes months as whether they should let that person go. They like them. Even worse, they are friends and will attend each others BBQ's! But they're just not hitting their quota and you have no choice. The procrastination simply makes the situation worse. The window of opportunity to upskill them with training has gone and you just have to fire them and start again.
On the other end of the scale you may have to make that decsion to leave your current role and take that great offer at another company. Its more money and a bigger organisation but you will be leaving your friends, a comfortable job and a pretty good boss. You know its a great opportunity that will help you grow in your career but dont want to let go of what you have. Decisions!
In a recent survey (SiriusDecisions) of Global Sales Leaders it was reported that fewer than 70% of salespeople were hitting quota in 70% of organisations surveyed. And on top of this 71% of sales leaders didnt believe that their sales people could accurately articulate their proposition in business terms to their prospects! Its no wonder we all have critical decsions to make!
In truth, the majority of these decsions will boil down to 2 areas. The recruitment of key talent and the management of talent once they have been hired. Get these areas wrong and the domino effect of tough decisions starts. Whether you choose the wrong company or hire the wrong candidate, this wrong decision is a long and often lonely road. The failure to grasp why its not working means an inevitable missed target quota potentially blowing a team quota, lost revenue, lost bonus, kudos missed and your standing in the company severely dented.
That is why it is so critical to get the hiring process right before it takes place. Fail to plan and you plan to fail as the saying goes. Ensure that the scope of the role, reporting, training, on boarding, culture fit are all understood with an agreed interview process set. Get your panel of interviewers set and ensure that they are trained, briefed and fully understand what they are interviewing the candidates for. Interview carefully and complete the process quickly will ensure that you hire the best qualified candidate for the role.
But that is only part of the success criteria. Training once they are on board is critical. Product training, company on boarding and above all on going sales training. Make sure there are set points through the first year and beyond so you can check in with the candidate as to progress. Are they fitting in? Do they fully understand the workings of the business? Pairing new candidates with people in the business who can aid them in that journey will reaally help (both parties) and having a great mentoring programme also ensures success.