The number one concern today of the CEO’s I speak with is the ability to retain and hire good people. In the sales arena, this is even more of a concern because everyone seems to think they need the superstar sales person with a tremendous amount of experience and a list of clients that will come with them. The other areas of the companies seem to have some sort of program that is provided to new hires. It boggles my mind to see the sales person “thrown to the wolves” so to speak.
OK, that comment is a little extreme with the “because everyone” part, but essentially, I find it to be true. But the reality is that the most experienced and the best people are not searching for jobs in your industry, regardless of what that industry might be. There are numerous reasons for this but what I find is that the most experienced people have found their comfort zone with regards to money, free time, comfort level and a host of other possibilities.
So, if we can’t attract the most experienced people how do we get a sales force that will accomplish what it is that we need to have them accomplish? We don’t have the time to bring on new bodies and train them. Schools are not providing an education in sales. Companies don’t have sales programs. And yet, the fundamental role of business is to sell product be it service, semiconductor, consumer goods, etc. We do that with a sales process.
The need to sell product is not going to change. Businesses have to do this if they want to be in business. What can change is bringing the sales force in line with the other divisions within the organization. Provide the sales people, managers and account people alike, with a sales process that allows them to grow into the best that they can possibly be. Sales people will be managed to a specific set of expectations and activity. New sales people can be provided with a roadmap to achieve their sales goals. Sales managers will have tools to manage the activity allowing them to adequately and intelligently provide their management with a forecast. A sales process, and the discipline behind it, will improve the ability of your company to manage the changing landscape of today’s market. It’s changing faster than we can imagine and the companies that realize this will attract the top performers whether they are experienced or not.