Posted by: drewdice | September 2, 2011

Top Draft Pick

This is my favorite time of year – seasons are changing, the weather is getting a bit cooler and more crisp, and football season is here! Pro, college and fantasy leagues – something about football helps me escape from the day to day for a bit of time – and fantasy leagues allow me to be in the ‘movie’ where I am a team owner – not sure why, but I really enjoy that, as well.

Of course, because I never turn off the business brain, this also makes me think about building a winning sales team and culture in an organization. I have a hard time thinking of a client or prospective client that I have spoken to recently who has not expressed a need to improve the effectiveness of her sales team. Here are some of the challenges clients verbalize:

– Too much variation in production across the sales rep population of the company
– Too much variation in production from region to region
– Sales people not spending enough time selling
– Retention is down
– It is harder and harder to get in front of qualified new prospects
– No predictability in sales forecasting

I could go on, but you get the point.

More often than not, here is what I hear clients expressing that they have done/are doing to remedy the issues listed above:

– Install new processes, policies and procedures aimed at better controlling the sales process (the thought is that control = better results in some organizations)
– More training – more training = better results, right?
– Move top reps into training and/or management roles – who better to teach new or underperforming reps than the most successful sales people, right?
– Change the compensation plan – sales people are coin operated, right? So, if you want to change behavior, change the pay plan
– Nothing – actually, many people I’ve spoken with are paralyzed into inaction – not sure what to change to shift performance, they stick with the devil they already know.

The reality (or, at least my reality) is that to make sustainable performance shifts, and to build a long term, high performing sales organization, it all starts with the definition of winning (Clear Intent). Organizations need to be explicit and aligned in the definition of the firm’s goals and objectives. You may think that is a no brainer, but I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve spoken with who assume there is clarity and alignment at the senior leadership level – and this assumption leads to unneeded friction, fractures throughout the organization, confusion, and ultimately, underperforming teams.

To give you a sense of what I am talking about, here is a video that discusses RWD’s approach to shifting performance in sales teams. I think you will find it both interesting and valuable. Please share your thoughts. Click here to view

In the meantime, good selling, and I wish you the best as you build your championship season.

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