All too often sales people face the wrath for sales failure or the celebration for sales success by themselves. It seems obvious, they are the ones on the frontline. It makes sense. If sales people aren’t making the number, it’s their fault. When they are, they should be celebrated. When it comes to sales organizations, I agree with the second statement but not the first.
When a sales team is failing or isn’t achieving it’s goals, I blame leadership and management.
If a sales organizations numbers aren’t were they need to be, blame should be squarely put on management. In his recently released book New Sales Simplified, Mike Weinberg lays out, in a compelling and articulate fashion what sales leaderships role in sales success is. Justifiably so, Mike dedicates an entire chapter to it.
He sums it correctly with this dose of reality;
Let’s be fair. It’s not all on the shoulders of sales. There are an array of factors completely outside the control of the salesperson and the sales organization. These factors can be obstacles and impediments to executing a successful new business sales attack . . .
Mike highlights 5 critical areas outside of a sales persons control the company, and I argue sales leadership, are responsible for;
- The reason for existence
- The direction the company is headed
- What the company sells and why they sell it
- Which markets to pursue and where the company is positioned in those markets
- The competitive landscape and how the company stacks up against the competition and why it is better or different
- Why the pricing model is appropriate for the value created in the market it is in against the competition the company is facing.
- Be Sales Driven
- Don’t create a sales prevention department
- Avoid creating unnecessary non selling activities for the sales team
- Don’t combine the Hunter/Farmer role.
- Let “hunters” hunt
- Build logical and helpful comp plans
- Create the “right” mix of base and commission quota
- Make the plans simple and attainable
- Don’t treat everyone equal, treat your superstars with respect
- Don’t micro manage or treat the sales team like children
- Build a culture that celebrates sales
- Treat sales people like the lifeblood of your company, because they are
- If sales people don’t feel valued, they will quit and that hurts the company
Sales people sell, that’s their job. But sales leadership and the sales organization create the environment they sell in, an environment that supports and enables sales or one that doesn’t. Chapter 3 in New Sales Simplified does a great job of highlighting the responsibility of the company to ensure a successful selling environment exists.
It’s easy to blame the sales people for disappointing results. It’s easy to look at sales people when the numbers are off. But, as Mike suggests, there are a number of responsibilities that fall square in managements lap and if they aren’t addressed it doesn’t matter how good the sales people are. I think Mike is right and Chapter 3 does a good job of highlighting these critical things.
New Sales Simplified goes beyond sales management, actually spending the majority of the writing targeting sales people and prospecting. The title is spot on. Mike does a masterful job of breaking down the challenges to selling and making your number in a its simplest form. Mike demonstrates amazing command of the nuances of sales and what it takes to make your number.
New Sales Simplified is an easy, fast paced read for most sales people. It’s a must read for newbies, and those who maybe stuck or need a refresher. If there is a drawback, the book maybe a bit remedial for superstars. New Sales Simplified doesn’t offe any new sales techniques or new sales methodologies. You’re not going to walk away with earth shattering new sales principles. But in many ways that’s what makes the book special. It’s a great reminder of what works and the tried and trued techniques that make sales people successful.
New Sales Simplified will ground you in what you know,remind you of what you forgot and give you a few new creative spins on the tried and true. It’s a great read and will keep you honest. In the end, the things in life that keep you honest are most valuable and New Sales Simplified does just that.
Have any you in the community read it? Feel free to leave your thoughts of review in the comments. I’d be interested in what you think.