In many ways, sales is the name of the game. Yet a lot of companies are plagued by misconceptions and mistakes that hurt their sales, and ultimately their business. Although every sales executive realizes that commercial activity is crucial for their organization, a lot of them are not that tuned into their markets or into sales people. Let’s take a closer look at some of the sales-related myths and mistakes you should eliminate for your company.
Myth: “A Successful Sales Strategy Will Always be Successful”
You will be surprised by how many business development executives aren’t really appreciative of the differences among markets and just group them together. For instance, they will have essentially the same strategy for all emerging markets and a different strategy for developed markets, despite the fact that the various countries within those groups might be quite different. Another example is that the company might perceive a certain industry to function similarly in all markets.
This results in the false belief that a great sales strategy will work in all scenarios. You need to be acutely aware of the differences between markets as well as the reasons for the differences. This will help you chalk up effective strategies for different areas. As sales and growth expert Ian Altman notes, a winning sales strategy is crucial for any business.
Mistake: Assuming all Sales Roles are Similar
As obvious as this might seem, a lot of managers see similarities among sales roles where there are none. A sales agent’s typical day varies greatly from another kind of sales agent. From pre-sellers to tele-sellers, you could be looking at vastly diverse activities. If you make this mistake, you probably have a poor sales strategy and should properly define and differentiate the roles and activity objectives of the different sales teams.
Myth: “Sales People Spend Most of their Time Selling”
Many managers think that the majority of their sales people’s time is spent on selling. When in fact, according to Pablo Foncillas, lecturer at Forbes contributor IESE Business School, they spend anywhere between 20% and 45% of their time at points of sale. And within that they spend only 9% to 25% with the client.
Instead you should think of your sales teams as sniper rifles in the hands of company management. They should be crystal clear about their objectives. For instance, if a seller is supposed to listen to the market, the manager should listen to the sellers. Knowing how your sales teams are spending their time is crucial.
Sometimes sales managers get too comfortable behind their desks. Encourage them to hit the road with their sales team from time to time. This might give them the much-needed understanding of the daily activities of the sales force.
Mistake: Using Data Averages to Make Decisions
According to CEO of Broadsuite Media Group Daniel Newman, sales teams that use analytics are thrice as successful than those that don’t. That shows the power of data-driven teams. Data can tell a lot of stories, often enabling sales managers to lead their teams to win big. However, it can be quite risky to base your management action on the averages from your sales teams’ data. This is because there can be a huge incongruity between the data and every sales individual.
For instance, a pre-seller can make 10 to 75 visits each day. The averages will give you a hugely misleading depiction of the way your sales teams operate. So instead of depending on averages, peek into individual data.
Make note of these fallacies and errors to keep your company clear of them. Otherwise you can get embroiled in some serious sales troubles, which in most cases hurt the entire company. More often than not, sales makes or breaks companies. So, make sure your sales performance is not hindered by any of the myths and mistakes we discussed above.
Fatima Mansoor is a writer at Aepiphanni, a small business operations and strategy consultancy that exists to help small business owners CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses. She specializes in business & entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and health & fitness. Her focus is on creating compelling web content for small and medium businesses form diverse industries. She mostly writes for entrepreneurs and marketing agencies across the US, Australia and UK.
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