Most managers are not very happy about several aspects of how their organization sells. That is a key finding from 4 years of SellerNAV® data. What may be surprising to many is that managers are struggling to know what to do about this fact.
Research over the past 4 years with sales managers puts seller levels of satisfaction and confidence with sales process at just 65%. That is the findings of SellerNAV® data captured from organizations across 32 different countries whose combined annual sales exceeds $600 bn.
Thousands of salespeople have completed the online diagnostic rating how they (and their organization) sell. It measures their satisfaction and confidence with 97 sales success related variables identified through global B2B sales research. The result is a 65% satisfaction level among sellers with their end-to-end sales process or how they convert leads/contacts to orders and ultimately into satisfied customers and repeat sales.
Managers are daily presented with results putting the level of sales satisfaction or confidence among their team at 65%. But how do they react?
Sales Process Gaps – A Call-To-Action
The 65% score should have managers ‘up-in-arms’ – it should galvanize them into action. But for many managers the 65% statistic can be difficult to interpret – they are not quite sure how they should feel about such a rating.
It does not help that some managers appear to be bound by a sense of helplessness or inertia even when confronted by the data. The result is that managers are prepared to accept significant gaps in terms of their organization’s sales process and skill.
The reality is that changing sales strategies and behaviours is not easy. Managers must work with a given sales team and its set of skills, as well as within the confines of a given strategy. But in helping managers to understand their sales process score and its implications we can provide a real impetus for change.
Why Demand More From Your Sales Process?
There are 8 reasons why managers should demand more from their sales process – why they should rebel against a 65% level of confidence and satisfaction with how their organizations sells.
1. A 65% Score Is Comparatively Low
Is 65% a good score for sales process or should it be higher? Well let’s put it this way GM, Apple or Delta Airlines wouldn’t be happy with it – nor would their customers.
The graph shows how the level of satisfaction with the sales process is below that of so many other areas – you can find the detail here.
2. A 65% Score Is ‘Just About Satisfied’!
It is helpful to be reminded of the scale used by sales teams in rating how they sell. The visual below puts the science aside with the purpose of simplifying how to interpret the results:
Each person gets to answer on a scale from ‘very dissatisfied’ to ‘very satisfied’. For some questions the assessment measures confidence rather than satisfaction on a similar 5 point scale.
As the above visual shows a score of 65% for sales process means that salespeople are ‘just about satisfied’. Is that really enough?
3. A 65% Score Is Just A Passing Grade!
There is a lot of variation in how educational grades are calculated internationally. But in many places a 65% rating means your sales process is getting a passing D grade (or a GPA of 1.2). Worse still that is a E grade if it is an honours course. Clearly sales ‘can do better.’
4. There Is Still A Long Way To Go
A score of 65% on the journey towards sales excellence means that there is still a long way to go. Indeed, think of it this way – when it comes to sales excellence salespeople are landing in Denver when they should be aiming for San Francisco!
The 65% average rating for sales process in journey terms would be the same as leaving New York for San Francisco, but landing in Denver. At just 65% of the way there, you are 3 states short of the destination!
The journey toward a better sales process is resulting in some surprise results. For sales teams it is essential to keep an eye on the end goal or final destination!
5. There Are Just Too Many Obstacles!
What is getting in the way of your team selling more? Well, associated with the 65% satisfaction rating of the sales process, there are 9 things – some big and some small – but all with the potential to limit sales effectiveness.
The SellerNAV® sales assessment reviews your sales team for the key risks to target and barriers to sales. The results typically identify 3 big obstacles (rated below 56%) and 6 smaller ones (rated 56-69%) affecting sales performance.
6. Think Risk To Target
A 65% rating wouldn’t matter if it didn’t have implications for sales and in particular reaching target. But those areas that are under-performing could be the difference between missing and exceeding target. This is something that SellerNAV® demonstrates using your metrics for any key aspect of the sale that is under-performing.
What starts off as a relatively minor issue in quarter 1 can become a major obstacle by quarter 4. SellerNAV® offers sellers the opportunity to identify and tackle issues before they become obstacles to sales.
But it also addresses risks to target in the context of longer term growth. For example: How will a sales process that is performing at 65% cope when it is put under additional pressure in the form of increased sales targets and new hires?
7. You Are Missing Out On Sales Tools!
A 65% satisfaction rating for your sales process means that there is up to 35% of best practice that isn’t being applied. The resuts from SellerNAV® are key to filling in the blanks when it comes to best practice.
A 65% score means that your team will end up working harder rather than smarter. They are more than likely missing out on a lot of sales tools and techniques.
Think of each percentage point below 80% or 90% as an important new sales tool, or technique that your sales team says is not using. SellerNAV® will help you to identify the sales tools, behaviours and process improvements that your team can and should be adopting. It will also help you to calculate the impact they could have on sales.
8. There’s Good News & Bad News!
Some salespeople see the 65% rating as an opportunity, for others it is a challenge. The two perspectives are shown visually below. The question is: ‘Which ones motivates you most?’
For many managers sales excellence (or effectiveness) is an uphill struggle. But others adopt ‘glass half-full’ thinking, looking beyond a score of 65% to the potential for improvement that it offers.