Reality: Although it's easy to point a finger at salespeople, selling is only one part of a larger system in which all aspects of the company — from the executive suite and technical support to marketing and distribution — should be aligned in well-defined roles that support the efforts and objectives of sales.
Reality: Like that of no one else in the company, salespeople’s pay is directly tied to results. Therefore, they tend to be highly motivated, success-oriented pros. However, in companies that have mapped out and adopted a company-wide sales strategy and process, salespeople function more as team members who drive profitability.
Myth: A good product at a great price will sell itself.
Reality: This would only be true if your company had researched customers’ buying motives and found that discounted price was their number-one priority — which it rarely is! More often, if such contributing factors as the product’s delivery, customer relations, and technical support fall short, customers will choose a pricier competitor.
Myth: If the salespeople understood the product better, sales would increase.
Reality: Actually, if everyone in the company — e.g., marketing, product developers, IT, and fulfillment, to name a few — understood sales better, sales would increase.
Myth: When salespeople don’t use a consistent company or product “pitch,” sales effectiveness suffers.
Reality: Again, it’s tempting to blame the salesperson. A more holistic way to look at this issue is to ask, “Does leadership have a clear vision for how to engage customers, and have they communicated this vision clearly across the organization? Has marketing created messages based on this vision that are meaningful to customers? Does everyone at the company speak the same brand language?”
Myth: Sales coaching and training are sure ways to boost sales effectiveness.
Reality: In more situations than not, the issue is how a salesperson is applying his or her skills, not the skills themselves. Correcting this involves a deeper understanding of the sales process. For example, you may be able to improve the way in which a salesperson presents a message, but if he or she is presenting the wrong message to the wrong people at the wrong time, you are unlikely to see any benefit by simply improving his or her presentation skills.
About the Author
Martyn Lewis is founder, president, and CEO of Market-Partners
(www.market-partners.com), a leading firm for assessing, designing, and implementing organization-wide sales processes. His newest book is Sales Wise: A Journey through Sales and Selling (Fenestra Books, $12.95).