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If The World Of Sales Has Changed, Why Are Sales Managers Repeating The Same Old Steps?

February 5th, 2015 | Posted by Apex Time Solutions in Time and Attendance On-Demand | Workforce Analytics | Workforce Management Solutions

The answer to this question is very simple. Some sales managers are not engaged in the field and so, they lack the basic knowledge to understand that selling in today’s highly competitive market-place is different to what they knew, when they were sales reps themselves.

Take for instance; sales managers still requiring their reps to make 90 or more cold calls per day? Most decision makers do not answer their phones and when they do, it’s to speak to someone that they know as oppose to accepting a call from a stranger who’s calling to pitch their wares. Another activity that’s common with many sales managers is a sales forecast, based on the amount of phone calls, meetings and presentations. Forecasting sales goals is a necessary process and, we would further argue that it’s extremely important for every company-since the life blood of an organization is predicated on sales. However, a sales forecast based on conjecture and guessing should not be created at all, if that’s its sole purpose. Unless the customer has committed to buying the product, adding a meeting, phone call or sales presentation to a forecast is the quickest path to the disappointment.

One of the more poignant articles titled “Stop Guesstimating Your Sales Forecast” written by Matthew Bellows for Harvard Business Review reads, in part;

“The performance of the sales team has always been the most measurable in a company. At the end of every week, month, quarter and year, the result of sales activity is shown on the top line for all to see.

There are two reasons. First, the obvious: the higher you go in the organization, the less connected you are to the deals happening beneath you — and the more vulnerable you are to individual reps or teams, either purposely or subconsciously, altering their pipeline projections to suit their needs. This is no different from how people in non-sales functions push to create budgets and targets they know they can beat.

The second reason for the sales manager’s pain is that when it comes to gathering data about upcoming sales possibilities, companies and CRM systems rarely measure anything real. For most kinds of business-to-business selling, your CRM database is an outdated collection of anecdotes and guesses. The fewer the deals, and the longer the sales cycle, the less your “data” matches reality. The stuff that does get accumulated in spreadsheets and CRM systems looks like data — there are dollar signs and probabilities next to prospect names — but it’s not. It’s really just the opinions, guesses, estimates and suppositions of your sales team.”

Change is a difficult process for human beings to accept, some more so than others and, in the case of some sales managers adapting to change, is simply not part of their DNA. A passage from an article on and written by Scott Gillum reads; “Research from Google and CEB titled The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing provides new insight into buyer behavior, and it challenges the conventional wisdom. According to the study, customers reported to being nearly 60 percent through the sales process before engaging a sales rep, regardless of price point. More accurately, 57 percent of the sales process just disappeared.” Maybe it’s time for some sales leaders to rethink what goes into that sales forecast and if nothing else, understand the new way of selling and then adapt their approach.

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If The World Of Sales Has Changed, Why Are Sales Managers Repeating The Same Old Steps?

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