The Top 5 Issues Facing VPs of Sales
Issue one - A poorly defined sales process. 82% of all CEO's said their sales organization had a process that was poorly defined or a process that wasn't being followed. A sales process is like a road map. If you pay attention it helps you determine if you are in heading in the right or wrong direction. A well defined sales process does the same thing. It should be consultative in nature, have defined steps that allow both parties to develop a better understanding of each other and a set of questions that help you qualify or disqualify.
Issue two - Lack of essential skills. 42% of CEO's said their salespeople lacked the essential basic skills needed to do their job properly-ouch. During the 70's and 80's it was common for large corporations to hire new sales recruits and put them through a 12- 18 month intensive sales development program. Those days are gone, leaving a huge skills gap! Odds are if you are younger then 40 you never received the type of training you really needed.
Issue three - Failing to focus on the right kinds of activity. 90% of CEO's said their salespeople focused on low payoff activities or called on the wrong people. It is a common mistake to confuse being busy with being productive. Top performers know what they are doing, why they are doing it and whom they are doing it with.
Issue four - Allowing "self talk" to sabotage your efforts. 86% of CEO's said their salespeople had negative thinking or self talk that was damaging their sales efforts. There are hundreds of examples but the most obvious has to do with discounts. Over and over again I hear salespeople say they have to be the lowest price to win the business. Every study I have ever read says that there are 4 - 6 other issues ahead of price but we have been "programmed" to think price is the issue. It is critical to understand how you have been programmed and how some of thoughts are working against you!
Issue five - Sales management not developing their people enough. 67% of CEO's said that their sales managers were not spending enough time coaching and developing their salespeople. The job of a sales manager is to coach their people just like in professional sports! Unfortunately if we don't have a sales process, salespeople with undeveloped skills or the wrong people coaching becomes impossible.
For salespeople taking responsibility for our own professional development is the key! Have a process, hone your skills, focus on the right kinds of activity, be aware of your thoughts, get some coaching, join a sales mastermind group, or join an association dedicated to your success.
Good sales professionals realize their strengths and weaknesses and create a plan that addresses their abilities. Great sales professionals repeat this process over and over.
Brian is the Chairman and Founder of the the United Professional Sales Association (UPSA). UPSA is a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington DC that has addressed the concerns and challenges of individual sales professionals. Brian has authored the world's first universal selling standards and open-source selling framework for free distribution. This 'Compendium of Professional Selling' containing the commonly accepted and universally functional knowledge that all sales professionals possess. The open-source selling standards have been downloaded in 16 countries by over 300 people. Over 30 people have made contributions.
Because UPSA is not owned by one person or any company, it is a member organization and guardian of the global standard of entry into the sales profession.