Your sales team is performing well, you are reaching out to new prospects, turning them into new customers and revenue figures are looking healthy. Suddenly, however, things start to change. Your team is finding it harder to close deals and the percentage of staff achieving quota is falling.
Momentum is an important part of sales, and keeping momentum going is a vital component of talent management. Yet, many companies find themselves in a position where sales momentum screeches to a halt without an obvious cause. Here, we take a look at five potential explanations for why your sales team is losing momentum.
1. Your Sales Team is Suffering From Burnout
In many organizations, sales reps join with an enthusiastic attitude and soon start to suffer from burnout. The main reason for this is because many people are conditioned to dislike losing more than they like winning. In a sales environment, where rejections are inevitable, this can build up, so it is important to try to change attitudes.
“Reframe your sales reps’ perspectives by pointing out to them that the gain is huge compared to the loss,” says Steli Efti, writing for Close.io. “A gain is a new client, more money in the pocket of the sales rep, a step closer to the expansion of the company, and a higher growth potential for the individual.”
2. You Are Ignoring the Middle 70 Percent
Another common reason why teams lose momentum is because talent management efforts are focused too strongly on the top 15 and bottom 15 percent of sales staff. In many ways, this is understandable, because companies value their top performers and want to keep them happy, while also wanting their bottom performers to improve.
The problem, however, is that this approach ignores 70 percent of reps, meaning the vast majority of sales staff are in the middle zone, not feeling especially valued, but not feeling under pressure either. For this reason, sales leaders should work with every single sales person to create personal goals, give individual feedback and above all, establish a systematic approach to coaching with them.
3. Inadequate Investment In Sales Managers
Alternatively, a major cause of issues within a sales team is a poor relationship between a sales manager and the staff working under them. This is a problem when it comes to employee management, because a poor relationship between staff and their managers is a major contributing factor to morale problems and staff turnover.
Of course, if this is an issue in your organization, the fault could lie with you, rather than with your managers. A CSO Insights report entitled Sales Managers: Overwhelmed and Underdeveloped shows just how underdeveloped sales managers are, with 18.8 percent of organisations offering no training to sales managers whatsoever.
4. Your Are Offering the Wrong Incentives
Finally, there is the possibility that you are offering the wrong incentives. In general, many sales staff eventually reach a ‘comfort zone’, where they know their job is secure, where they know their performance is acceptable, but where they are no longer willing to take risks, chase more difficult deals or go the extra mile.
Part of employee management, therefore, is rewarding those who break this trend. For example, if your staff incentives are based purely on sales totals, staff may eventually focus on selling the products they are most comfortable with, to the clients they are most familiar with. On the other hand, if you offer incentives based on selling to new customers, or selling a particular product or service, you can help to maintain momentum and maximise your offering.
Sales momentum is incredibly important and surprisingly easy to lose. However, the loss of such momentum is often avoidable if companies help staff to overcome their natural dislike of failure, provide sufficient training for sales managers, offer the right incentives and remember not to focus all of their attention on top and bottom performers.
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