Is Your Sales Team Engaged Enough to Sell Solutions?

4 business people cover their faces with "smily face" drawings

Are you seeing less enthusiasm in your sales force? You are not alone.

With each and every solution selling training workshop that we deliver, we hear tales of how much harder it is these days for sales teams to succeed – both internally and externally. Not only is the global economy more complex and intertwined but also the more local sales landscape has shifted. More and more customers are buying differently—they are better informed, expect more and arrive farther along in their buying process when they finally connect with a sales rep.

Many sales teams have not adjusted well to this new way of selling solutions. As a result, their sales reps are having a difficult time differentiating their offerings and selling unique solutions or value. The lack of enthusiasm you observe in your sales force is the result of their becoming disengaged due to unclear sales strategies, undifferentiated value propositions and increased internal and external administrative and legal hurdles. The sooner you can harness the full potential of your sales force by upgrading their ability to meet today’s challenges, the more enthusiastic and engaged they will be.

Our employee engagement survey uses three main drivers to measure sales force engagement.

  • Advocacy – Do sales teams think and speak highly of the organization – its leaders, managers, employees, products, quality and future outlook?
  • Discretionary Effort – Do sales teams think of ways to do their jobs better, improve service delivery and operational efficiency?
  • Intent to Stay – Do sales teams want to be a part of the organization?

Would it surprise you to know that our employee engagement research shows that sales forces consistently lag behind almost all organizational functions in terms of advocacy, discretionary effort and intent to stay? Perhaps not – high performing sales professionals typically have exceedingly high expectations regarding pay-for-performance, product and solution quality, future outlook and the effectiveness of related sales tools, processes and systems. If those expectations are not satisfied, they are at risk for disengagement.

As the growth engine and face of an organization, companies cannot afford to have a disengaged sales force. For every drop in advocacy, discretionary effort and intent to stay, there is a corresponding and direct drop in sales productivity. While the rate of sales productivity decline varies by company and industry, on average, a 10% drop in engagement equates to a 4% drop in sales productivity. This does not even include the hard and soft costs associated with the related sales turnover.

Sales leaders and managers cannot afford to disregard employee engagement as an “HR Thing.” It is a revenue growth, sales productivity and customer satisfaction thing. If you are concerned about sales engagement and performance, here are three steps we recommend you take:

    1. Revisit your sales strategy
      Effective sales strategies are aligned with the overall corporate strategy. Once that alignment is in place, effective go-to-market sales strategies clearly and compellingly outline the ideal target clients, value proposition, success metrics, goals, roles, processes and specific actions that should lead to superior sales performance. An unclear sales strategy blurs priorities and trade-offs for sales teams. Unfortunately, most sales teams have just enough of a game plan to stay in the game…but not to win it.It is difficult to consistently meet sales targets without a clear and meaningful direction. Yet many sales teams are moving too quickly to create and clearly articulate the basics of a solid sales strategy other than quarterly revenue targets. Some sales leaders say they do not have the time. Others think sales targets combined with pressure and hard work should be enough. But when you ask sales teams, strategic ambiguity reigns. Unfortunately the lack of strategic sales clarity not only hampers short-term sales performance and employee engagement but also long-term sales team health.You will know you are on the right path when your sales team thinks that your sales strategy is clear enough, believable enough and implementable enough to move forward.Benchmark your sales strategy to see where you stand.

 

    1. Revisit your sales culture
      Once your sales strategy is clear, believable and implementable enough to move forward, it is time to examine your sales culture – how things truly get done. We believe that it is a sales leader’s responsibility to create the circumstances that stimulate improved performance from their sales force – i.e. the right sales culture.So how does a sales leader create a sales culture that significantly improves revenue, margin, win-rate, deal size, etc.? That is the sales leader’s challenge and, when it is not done well, it will matter little if you have the right sales team or sales strategy. An ineffective sales culture can render an entire sales organization ineffective. Just as a great coach improves the performance of an athlete, effective sales leaders improve the performance of their sales teams by setting them up to succeed.To create a high performance sales culture, be fierce about making sure that the following components make sense for your strategy and the plan to make it happen:Success Metrics: Clear, meaningful and agreed-upon definitions for sales success and failure.

      Performance Measurement:
      Clear, understood, credible, relevant, accurate, consistent, timely, transparent, fair and trusted sales performance measures at the organizational, team and individual levels.

      Rewards, Recognition and Consequences:
      Each and every motivational component of your high performance sales culture should have direct cause and effect relationships, be timely, customized for your team and situation, perceived as fair, proportionate and consistent, be known in advance and always linked to a meaningful reason to stay and perform.

      Approach:
      Your sales structures, processes, practices and technologies should make things better, faster and cheaper for your clients, not be a hindrance to helping them, or your sales force, to succeed.
      Read more about creating a high performance sales culture.

 

  1. Revisit your sales talent.
    Once your sales culture is understood, consistent and leveraged, it is time to attract, develop, engage and retain the top sales talent that fits your culture and strategy. That means identifying and rewarding top performers and identifying and taking compassionate action with under performers – i.e. improve with your support or leave in a way that makes sense in 90 days. Once you sort out your current team, it is time to:Attract top sales talent: Know what you need to help your clients succeed and never settle for less than stellar talent. Always look for high performers who fit your sales culture and strategy. They are worth the wait.
    Read more about attracting and onboarding top sales talent

    Develop top sales talent: To effectively sell solutions, make sure that you identify and quantify the top few sales scenarios that matter most for your unique value proposition and sales strategy along with the critical few sales skills, behaviors and attitudes most likely for client success. Then use experiential-based solution selling training, targeted sales performance coaching and training measurement to drive sales performance.
    Read more about developing top sales talent

    Engage and Retain Top Sales Talent: Frequently measure the levels of employee advocacy, discretionary effort and intent to stay within your sales force and visibly take the steps necessary to become a highly engaged sales force that retains top sales talent.
    Read more about engaging and retaining top sales talent

Share:
Facebook Twitter Google+ Email LinkedIn

Comments are closed.

LSA’s consultant designed and delivered a half-day team building solution for our recent conference. It included careful customization to integrate the design with our new mission and values. Everyone had fun and identified key issues with our teamwork. Altogether a great program!

Bob Ward
Director of HR

Pa1mOne-large-gray

Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

Farhat Ali
President and Chief Executive Office

Fujitsu

We engaged LSA to design and deliver a 6-month custom executive coaching program for a group of our key leaders. The focus of the program was to help a core group of senior leaders to leverage previous investments in management training, to ensure the engagement and retention of key employees, and to push critical strategic initiatives forward. Even with the high expectations of our senior people, LSA has completely exceeded our expectations. I would recommend them to anyone looking to create and implement a custom coaching methodology using proven tools to drive true change.

Ivan Fukumoto
Senior HR Manager - Staffing, Training, & Development

Logo - Gray - Xoma

Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

Janice Passarello
Director of Human Resources

harmonic-large

We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager

OMNI-large-gray

I have worked with LSA Global at previous companies and welcomed the opportunity to bring them in to support my new organization. We worked closely with LSA to design a solution for our Client Partner Teams and Management Training on both coasts. LSA designed a customized solution for our business and organizational culture. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner that makes an impact.

Laurie Torres
Chief People Officer

WCG-large-gray

Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.

Deanna Rudnitsky
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region

avon-large

Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.

Suzanne Kinner
VP Human Resources

Blackhawk Network

What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

Jeff Rangel
Director of HR

Logo - Gray - WYSE

LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

Mitch Mandich
CEO

Edify

LSA custom designed a Management Development program that is absolutely “on target” for our technical managers. Their facilitator has done a superb job delivering the material in a way that is fast paced, highly interactive, and fun. She presents practical solutions to the people situations that our managers face every day. I regard LSA as an excellent partner that understands our business needs and a virtual member of our HR department.

Judith Onton
Vice President Human Resources

cortina-large

Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

Susan Anderson
Workforce Planning Bureau

MDT-large-gray

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

Understanding and conforming to legal compliance was very important to our company. We turned to LSA Global to provide a quality and cost effective way to ensure that we were AB 1825 compliant. Their interactive eLearning program was top-notch. It allowed our managers to learn at their own pace, and on their own time. The program was tailored to include our logo and our internal harassment policies. It was interactive and met all federal and state legal requirements. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company looking for an efficient and effective and top quality way to train their managers to be in compliance.

Kelly Warren, SPHR
Director, HR & Compliance

aeroprecision-large

I am very impressed with the quality of work and talent. LSA did a great job of listening to my needs and providing the exact management training program expertise I needed to get the job done.

Don Pryor
Director, Business Planning & Analysis

Skyy-large-gray

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

icon_expert-blog

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More