If there is one business process, which is not careful with its resources it is sales.  The simple calculation of dividing the required turnover by the average sales number per sales representative results in the sales team size. There is little focus on effectiveness. A lot of sales energy is wasted.

There are three main causes of sales energy waste.

  1. The sales process
  2. Opportunism
  3. Direction

The sales process

The sales process is the most obvious one. When we try to optimize the commercial ratios, the process is the focus. We start training the sales team. We let them apply new tactics and we try to keep everyone accountable. We push people to put in actions at every stage of the funnel. With monitoring we try to get everyone’s full cooperation to meet the company results. We push people to the limit.

Opportunism

The second, and more hidden source sales energy waste is opportunism. We like to believe that every opportunity is the next order. We assure ourselves of the competitive advantage or the client’s lack of options. We keep on pushing opportunities through the funnel, although there is no real evidence supporting the probability estimates. This source of sales energy waste is most dangerous. A lot of resources are spilled tracing questionable opportunities. Once the train departed, few people have the courage to disembark early.

Direction

Unclear company direction is third cause of sales energy waste. When sales people do not know what opportunities to pursue, they will always hunt for the easy business. Most of the times the easy business meets the competencies of the company, not causing much trouble. However, there is missed opportunity for growth. Most companies have a long term strategy, which requires changes in the current approach. If this long term strategy is not translated into a clear direction for the sales tem, they will get off track.

Solution

A major part of the solution is to recognize the above sources of waste. By accepting these sources of waste, you already solved half of the issue. Focus on all three, not only on training the sales team or adjusting the process. Do not expect an easy fix or a sales team without waste. Sales waste prevention should be on every manager’s agenda. It certainly is on mine.

To resolve some of your frustrations, I would advise to get your copy of “Industrial Sales – A Roadmap to Increase Your Sales Globally”.

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Industrial Sales - A Roadmap to Increase Your Sales Globally
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