Sales Ground Hog Days

Does anyone remember the movie Ground Hog Day?  Here are the cliff notes of the movie.  Phil is a grumpy, pompous weather forecaster who finds himself trapped in what science fiction refers to as a time loop while covering the ritual of ground hog day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  Phil quickly realizes that if he doesn’t change his ways or behavior, events will keep repeating themselves.  Hence, the name of the movie.  The movie has a happy ending and Phil changes to become a more empathetic and positive person.

Salespeople and sales managers are caught up in their own version of Ground Hog Day. They keep using the same approach, having the same conversations, which are leading to the same outcomes.

Here are just a few examples.

#1:  Sales Activity:  It would be nice if all companies provided a plethora of leads.  However, the reality is many salespeople need to source their own opportunities.  Here’s where the ground hog day movie starts. The sales manager badgers, begs or threatens the salesperson to do what he is paid to do. The salesperson promises to do http://siedc.org/wp/ better, however, he doesn’t calendar block.  The result is another week where “other stuff” takes priority over prospecting.

Sales managers can stop the bad rerun by setting and measuring key performance metrics for their sales team.  Work with each person on your team and create a business development plan that measures all activity leading to a first, exploratory phone call. Change your old, tired script of, “I hire veterans…I don’t need to set expectations.”  Veterans need metrics and measurements just as much as your rookies.  NBA or NFL coaches recruit and hire veterans all the time.  And those veterans have metrics in place that keep them at the top of their game.

#2:  CRM System:  Salespeople, do you really need to hear another lecture from your sales manager on the importance of logging your conversations and meetings with prospects and customers?  Instead of ignoring and hoping your manager will give up, make suggestions, recommendations or ask for additional training.

Sales managers, toughen up, and put in consequences for no entry of information into your CRM system. It’s time for you to show a new movie scene to your team. For example, if a there is no activity logged into a prospect’s account, that opportunity is up for grabs and can be reassigned to another salesperson—preferably one that is using the system!  It’s amazing how quickly salespeople adapt and change when there is a financial hit to the checkbook.

#3:  Sales Meetings. It’s time for a big yawn on this movie scene.  The sales team comes into the meeting with their sales pipeline report. A few are on time, a few roll in late.  Roll call begins and group denial sets in.  Salespeople go over their opportunities using words like, “I think ABC company is going to do something this month.”  (How would you like to be the CFO at your company, trying to handle cash flow, with an “I think” strategy?)

Sales managers, put on your coaching hat and make the sales pipeline reviews a training opportunity. Test the salesperson’s opportunities with basic questions such as, “What is the prospect’s pain? How much is it costing? What is the unspoken objection? What is their number one criterion for changing?” Instead of having roll call meetings, hold sales meetings where learning and earnings improve.

Model the behavior you expect from your sales team. If you expect them to show up early to sales meetings with prospects, start your sales meetings on time. Stop penalizing the organized and prepared sales person.

It’s time for a new movie. Put on your producer hat and create a new Oscar winner by changing your sales and sales management approach.



Colleen Stanley

Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc., a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, and hiring/selection. Reach Colleen… more

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