Most sales organizations do not regularly hit sales targets and before you leap to the factors outside your business the real answer is inside your business.
The more I study selling the more I know that selling and business development is an exact science. It is an exact science because if we create a set of repeatable events we are able to accurately predict – within an error rate of a couple of percentage points – the outcome. This is why sales success, all failure, is scalable.
Hope is not a strategy and is not scientific; every action does have a predictable outcome. In sales, we can test and by testing get a reasonably good expectation of the outcomes.
If the inputs are known then the outcomes can be accurately tested and predicted!
Here are five reasons you are not hitting your sales targets
1.You do not have a clear, highly defined, overall business plan
Without an overall business plan different aspects of the business will tend to move toward different goals. Long-term goals are often substituted by many short-term goals. This dilutes the energy and the resources of the business.
2. You do not have a sales process
A sales process is much like a business plan but designed specifically for sales efforts. A well-designed sales process allows us to know the resources available and the results from the use of those resources. Every cause has an effect, know your cause and know your effect. Test, test and test more – than invest money and resources.
3. You do not have a sales-focused organization
This is a big one and most businesses get this wrong. A sales-focused business is exactly that – selling is the focus of the business and everything else built around the selling function. When this is the case your business does not have an uphill battle to sell what you have. You first prove that you have a saleable product or service and then design the rest of the business – accounting, production, and delivery around supporting the sale! Is your customer service hurting your sales effort? Are your sales compensation plans acting as a disincentive?
4. Your activities are not aligned
In too many organizations the salesperson gets an order then is told by production that they cannot deliver or, by accounting that the payment terms are not acceptable or, by the owner to say they should sell what we have not what the customer wants. What percentage of your customers would never work with you again because you delivered late or your quality was not what to the level promised? How many sales are lost because a lead is not followed up in a timely manner? Get your entire team working as a team toward winning the sale! Never lose a prospect without doing everything reasonable to win the business.
5. Your salespeople are not trained
Selling is like any other skill – football, for example. Most people are quick to say footballers like Beckham are successful because they’re talented. But pay attention to this quote by Alex Ferguson, David Beckham’s early mentor and coach at Manchester United, “Beckham practiced with a discipline to achieve an accuracy that other players wouldn’t care about” Beckham trained six hours a day six days a week. Most salespeople I meet have not read a book on sales or taken a sales course for years – are they really performing at their best? Invest in sales training with a particular focus on trains your best salespeople. Your most talented salespeople will benefit most from sales training.
Turn your business upside down and think of every action, every rule, and every policy as supporting the sale. Do this and your business will be very different. Train your best salespeople relentlessly and only hire the very best salespeople you can find with proven track records of success.
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