Here are four lies sales leaders sometimes tell themselves.
- We have enough opportunities in our pipeline: No you don’t. All you need to do is test those opportunities to discover that many of them are really just leads. If you take out any opportunity that is over the average time in stage for a won deal, your pipeline will likely be dramatically smaller. When you ask for the names of all of the stakeholders on the buying committee, you will likely need to have some one hit you with the paddles to have your heart forcibly convinced to restart.
- My people don’t need help with the fundamentals. It will insult them: Wrong. They need help. They need more help prospecting and opening opportunities. They need more help asking for and obtaining commitments. They need more help strategizing on the obstacles that prevent their deals from moving forward. They aren’t going to be insulted when you provide this help; they’re going to be grateful.
- We have a sales process: Having a sales process and not using it is the same as not having a sales process. Do a little looking around. Ask questions. Use the process to guide your pipeline reviews and opportunity reviews. You’ll quickly learn that many of the challenges you have making your number are the result of your sales force not following a process, a process that helps them create value and gain commitments at every stage.
- Our sales force knows how to differentiate our offering. They know how to sell value: Ask your salespeople how you are different from your competitors. Go ask them. You are going to be shocked, surprised, and disappointed all at once. And if they can’t clearly define what makes you different and how it makes a difference for your clients, then how are your clients supposed to be able to see and understand the differences?
Which of these beliefs are you carrying now?
How do you know you have enough coverage in the pipeline?
How versed is your team in the fundamentals? What do you believe they need to improve?
Is your sales process being followed?
How does your team differentiate your offering? How do they sell value?