SPIF Tip # 50: How to Avoid the Four Most Common Problems of Sales and Marketing Management

Visiting a Chicago building materials company several years ago, I overheard a sales manager giving a pep-talk to four or five of his salespeople.

It wasn’t a bad talk. If you are in sales, you’ve heard these talks countless times. Your manager confirms how hard you’ve been working. He reminds you about the year-end promotions. He says what you need to hear to work even harder.

I remember wondering “Does this company offer its salespeople something more than pep talks and discounts to help them sell?” Most don’t. B2B salespeople everywhere struggle with advertising that doesn’t work, poor quality leads, proposals that don’t sell, and customers who don’t appreciate their value. 40% average turnover among salespeople is just one of the results.

And, it doesn’t have to be that way.

B2B sales is getting harder every year (see note 1 below). One reason is search engines, social media, and mobile devices give customers new channels, which they use to bypass traditional sales channels (see note 2 below). This makes it harder for B2B salespeople to find qualified sales opportunities. Another reason is that, compared to twenty or thirty years ago, there has been a general increase in the supply of high quality products. A shortage of customers is the inevitable result.

Despite such sea-changes, many business leaders still rely on pep talks and individual incentives to reach growth objectives. This might make sense within the fixed rules of a sports contest. In business however, markets, competitors, and technology can challenge the business model. Companies that fail to react put their employees at a disadvantage. Eventually, the skills and virtues of employees will become irrelevant.

Most companies do not have a scientific way to know which parts of their sales and marketing are working or not. Consider the salesperson working an account for six months without getting an order. Are they heroically earning the respect and relationship your company deserves? Or are they wasting everyone’s time? Do you have the right people in sales? Or are technology changes requiring new sales strategies and tactics? Is recent success a fluke in the market (a rising tide floats all boats)? Or is it due to exceptional management insight?

Companies need a scientific way to manage sales and marketing. This article will explain why change is needed now. It also explains why, contrary to most assumptions about sales process, success has to do with engaging the hearts and minds of your employees in meaningful, and often noble work.

To read the rest of this whitepaper opt in at www.salesperformance.com.

1 A CSO Insights study referenced on the next page of this whitepaper provides some proof of this.
2 According to Google and the CEB, most customers are delaying interactions with B2B salespeople until more than half of the decision-making process is completed. http://www.executiveboard.com/exbd-resources/content/digital-evolution/pdf/Digital-Evolution-in-B2B-Marketing.pdf

Michael Webb

Michael Webb founded Sales Performance Consultants to create a data-driven alternative to the slogans and shallow impact offered by typical sales training, sales consulting, and CRM companies. Michael helped organize and delivered the keynote speeches for the first conferences ever held on applying Six Sigma to marketing and sales. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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