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For as long as we’ve been studying how to create a high-performance sales culture, our goal has been to work out a formula that would enable sales teams to avoid the most common missteps in the process.
The Formula for Sales Performance Transformation
1. Choose Your Audience
Normally when companies try to address a sales capability gap, they focus on salespeople to the exclusion of everyone else. In reality, the sales force is only one subset of your audience. The first element of the formula, then, is to select your audience vertically.
2. Define Your Target
Don’t try to take on 50 things at once. If you could hit one or two targets, which ones would really make a difference? Create a common rallying cry that inspires each individual’s effort.
3. Design the Training
Your training design must be reflective of each audience and each role effected. The principal here is to teach no more than needed, but leave out nothing that matters. It’s critical to focus on the leaders — not only the individual contributors — because it is the leaders who are the advocates and keepers of the sales culture.
4. Engaged Execution
You can’t train for a marathon in a weekend, and you can’t learn a musical instrument in a single lesson. Getting good at anything is a journey—it takes time and deliberate practice. The execution of your new sales strategy must be expertly designed so that it’s easy for sales teams to do, and spaced over time.
5. Measure Results, Rinse and Repeat
Step 5 is where the systems calibration takes place: Did you achieve the target you set in Step 2? If not, how can you use what you’ve learned to refine and reengage?
Sales Transformation Engagements
FranklinCovey’s approach to transforming sales teams is different than most. We have a fundamental belief that an effective, long-term sales transformation takes place over time and must be integrated into the business as a whole. There are no shortcuts or silver bullets. It is a drip approach that deeply imbeds new behaviors and establishes a common set of skills and tools for sales teams to use in all client-facing interactions.
While every sales transformation engagement is unique, they all usually involve some combination of the following elements:
|Sales Leader Training||Typically delivered over three days by one of FranklinCovey’s highly experienced sales consultants, this kickoff session provides sales leaders the foundational mindsets, skillsets and toolsets needed to help their sales teams throughout the transformation process.|
|Sales Team Training||This one- to three-day kickoff session introduces sales professionals to the foundational mindsets, skillsets and toolsets they need in order to become highly effective at sales.|
|Playbooks||Step-by-step, expert-designed guidebooks that help sales leaders engage team members in collaborative practice exercises that ensure accountability and sustained performance improvement.|
|Sales Coaching||A combination of sales leader coaching & deal coaching designed to help sales leaders develop effective coaching skills and increase their sales team’s ability to hit their targets.|
|Virtual Training||A collaborative learning environment where the use of interactive video and audio technologies allow individuals to practice and polish skills without having to leave their home or office.|
|Online Reinforcement||Our state-of-the-art, online learning portal, 5 Online, provides real-time access to audio- and video-based training, key tools and much more.|
|Program Measurement & Reporting||A rigorous and transparent methodology based on the Kirkpatrick Model of Measurement and the systematic process of the ROI Institute used to continuously monitor, measure and assess the effectiveness of the initiative and present tangible results along each step of the journey.|
Common Myths about Building a Best-in-Class Sales Culture
When a sales organization realizes “we need to change,” it’s a golden opportunity to adopt the mindset and habits that truly support a high-performance sales culture. But there are a number of common beliefs that can actually thwart an organization’s ability to succeed. Here are some misconceptions that should set off the alarm bells:
“Our people are experienced. They don’t need training.”
Unfortunately, experienced workers often simply have more practice at doing things poorly. People typically learn their job in the first 1-2 years, so 20 years of experience is just as likely to mean two years of experience repeated 10 times.
“Investing in the sales organization to improve our sales capability won’t make an impact in this year’s revenue line.”
Oh yes it can. To use a sports metaphor, in most sales situations you’re not competing against Tiger Woods, you’re competing against your next-door neighbor Joe, who’s using his dad’s golf clubs. Your people aren’t up against your competitors’ top 1% or even top 5%, but against your competitors’ 95%. If your sales people can do a few things really well that distinguish them in the customer’s eyes, you can win — and make a huge difference very quickly.
“Selling can’t be taught. Either you can sell or you can’t.”
When someone claims that sales performance improvement training is a waste of time — or a leader talks of having made failed investments in sales training — it often turns out that previous efforts resulted in many individual success stories. The problem was that the organization didn’t apply the follow-through to translate individual successes into an enterprise-wide success.
“We have a whole HR organization. They’re experts in this space.”
Expecting HR to transform your sales organization is like asking your neighbor to raise your children. Sales leaders often miss that if they build a great sales organization—one that outsells the competition—the numbers will follow. This is the job of sales leadership.
“It’s too hard and it costs too much.”
The truth is, building a high-performance sales culture and capability doesn’t have to be hard, and it only costs too much if you try to do too much. By slowing down, selecting your target, and periodically measuring and refreshing your efforts, you can actually avoid going through a hard and expensive process.