Years ago when I was carrying a bag for a major industrial company covering a territory in South Florida, I recall a “coaching” conversation I had with my district manager. I was new to my territory, and slightly behind plan heading into the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. I was hitting all my targets for number of sales calls and new opportunities I added to the funnel, but I was still behind my goal.
Customer experience is an incredibly hot topic now, driven largely by companies like Amazon who are relentlessly focused on providing customers with a great experience throughout the buyer’s journey. For companies with a sales team, this growing emphasis should be considered in the context of your sales interactions.
It continues to amaze me when another new sales training program is launched or book is written. Sales performance is so important to both individual sales people and the companies that employ them that there is a seemingly insatiable appetite for some new, unique competitive advantage. This creates tremendous opportunities for sales training companies and would-be sales experts who promise the latest, greatest tactic. But is there really something new? Has buyer behavior changed so fundamentally that a radically new approach is necessary?
Suppose you came into work bright and early on a Monday morning, just four days before the end of the quarter. You glided to your desk with that quiet confidence of a sales leader who was going to blow away their quarterly target. As usual, one of your first tasks is to fire up your CRM and check the status of your team’s sales pipeline and forecast. To your shock, you see 1/4 of the deals your team forecasted to close this quarter have pushed to the next quarter. Now what?