The allure of the magic bullet is a strong force. At times, it’s overwhelming, irresistible. The idea that there is an easy answer to a difficult question is a delusion. Here are four magic bullet answers that are really delusions.
Believing Headcount Equals Growth: Adding more people adds a lot to your sales organization. It absolutely adds costs, complexity, and an increased workload for sales management and leadership. But it doesn’t necessarily add growth. That requires something more than just increasing your headcount. You also need the right people, a training and development program, a good sales process, and the ability to lead the sales force.
Headcount isn’t the easy answer to revenue growth unless you are prepared to invest in all that is required to ensure that investment produces a return.
Believing Non-Salespeople Will Sell: They say that they’ve been told they belong in sales. They say they will do whatever it takes. And they are personable, charming, and persistent. But if they aren’t really salespeople, they won’t sell. They’re just non-salespeople. They don’t like to “bother” anyone. They don’t like to ask people for commitments because it makes them “uncomfortable.”
If someone really wants to be a teacher, they aren’t likely to be a salesperson. You can’t make them something they’re not. Could they sell if they really wanted to? Absolutely! But they don’t want to. They are unwilling.
Believing That Activity Equals Results: Activity is good. I’ve heard good things come to those who wait, but the evidence is to the contrary. Good things come to those who hustle and make it rain. But activity alone doesn’t always equal results. Results come from effective activity. Good sales management (and me management) is a careful balance of activity and effectiveness–not one or the other.
Too many salespeople are active without results because they are ineffective. Even more may be effective but take too little action. Activity alone doesn’t equal results. But neither does no activity.
Believing People Are Already Equipped to Succeed: It doesn’t matter if a salesperson has experience or not. It doesn’t even matter how long they’ve been selling. And it doesn’t matter that you hired them because they have experience. You may believe that the salesperson you hired is equipped to succeed, but they aren’t.
You owe any salesperson–every salesperson–you hire training, development, coaching, and leadership. There isn’t any circumstance when a salesperson can’t use more training in the principles of effective selling, the development of new–and greater–skills, the opportunity to be coached, and a leader that cares about them.
These four delusions, these misconceptions, can prevent you from doing what you really need to do to increase revenue and grow. Avoid the delusions and do the heavy lifting instead. It’s faster and more certain.
Why is it easy to believe that adding headcount adds to revenue? What does it really add?
How do non-salespeople convince you they want to sell?
Is activity enough alone to produce results?
What do you owe your sales force? What do you owe them even if they are experienced veterans?
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