I’ve hired hundreds of employees over the years and a lot have been sales reps. I’ve always tried to find the right person for the right job. Don’t we all? However, once we’ve spent all that time and money finding and then hiring the right person, what do we do once they start? We ask them to change.
“ok, I know you were really successful selling your way, but spend the first 30 days learning our sales processes, methodologies and systems.” Sound familiar?
Why change high performing reps?
What made the last five high performing sales reps you hired great? Was it that they could follow a process really well? Take orders? Do what they are told to do? Or were they highly motivated, engaged reps who delivered results no matter what? They probably did things their own way and not the way everyone else did the job. You hire great salespeople because they can SELL. Not because they can do administrative tasks really well and keep their forecasts up-to-date.
So why do we always ask sales people to bend to the will of the process? If we are honest with ourselves, it’s because we want good forecasts. We want better visibility into activity, pipeline and manage a predictable revenue stream. That’s the dream, that’s why we buy expensive CRM systems. It’s not for the reps to be more productive, even though that’s what we tell ourselves and the team. Don’t get me wrong, CRM systems will increase productivity. CRM’s are vital for high volume, transactional, inside sale roles. But you don’t hire high-priced sales talent to fill those roles. Complex sales cycles demand that you hire performing sales reps that can navigate and manage a complex sales cycle. So, why would you try to change great sales reps and mess with the process that got them to that performance level in the first place?
Isn’t there a better way?
As someone having built and led many sales teams, I asked myself;
“how can I get the information I need, without changing the way reps work? How can we get technology out of their way?
“The best sales reps that I know have a laptop and a smart phone. They live in email, on prospecting calls and in client meetings. That’s exactly where I want them to spend their time. ”
To get the returns companies need on their sales rep investment, sales people must focus on what they do best – selling. Frustrating systems and time updating the CRM and massaging forecasts is valuable sales time – wasted.
Do your reps have to change the way they work to get you the information you need for a trustworthy forecast? What strategies, systems, or processes have you deployed to be able to forecast accurately, and how is it working out?