They say if you trust your gut, you’ll get a stomachache. This is especially true in sales today.
In our warp speed economy, we need precision like our lungs need air. But there’s never been more roadblocks to accuracy than there are now.
Last week, a group of 100 sales leaders ranked their top areas of difficulty:
- What it takes to succeed at my company -15%
- What motivates my sales reps – 23%
- How to assess the level of my sales reps’ skills – 29%
- How to drive sales performance with analytics – 30%
PGi’s webinar with Nancy Martini, CEO of PI Worldwide)
Sure, today’s buyer may have more information, but they’re not necessarily better educated. To engage this kind of buyer, salespeople must instantly assess and communicate how their company’s products and services fit each prospect’s unique situation in a compelling way. Mere product knowledge is no longer sufficient, no matter how deep or specialized.
Meanwhile, buying decisions are now scrutinized at a higher level than ever. Decision makers can be almost impossible to reach, let alone see face-to-face.
Technology offers some help in each of these challenge areas, but only to the sales people who have the requisite skills and tools. For instance, reps who use video conferencing tools in the cloud can get face-to-face with prospects for virtual meetings anytime, anywhere.
Considering all these challenges, it’s no wonder the gap has widened between top performers and sales reps who don’t hit quota. We’re in a serious talent famine. The old 80/20 rule – which says 20% of any given team produces 80% of the results – now looks more like a 90/10 ratio.
In fact, Manpower Group predicts “sales representative” will be the second hardest job to fill in the next 12-24 months.
But companies aren’t just struggling to find good talent. They’re struggling to keep it. More than 30% of employers lost top performers in 2011 alone (Career Builder). The pace of business require so many new skills that even the best sales professionals are beginning to question their job security.
This is a gloomy forecast. None of us can afford for 90% of our team to perform below standard.
Fortunately, all of these challenges can be overcome by demystifying the “why” behind our sales results with globally tested analytics. These scientific assessments show exactly what skills our teams are missing. You can use them to:
- Hire with precision + uncover hidden performance indicators
- Get sustainable ROI out of your top producers
- Implement flawless sales training + retention practices
- Use incredible new tools to get face-to-face with prospects online
I recommend reading Nancy Martini’s guest blog on Selling Power‚ “Transformation of the Sales and Sales-Management Roles: Will You Make It?“ to better understand this “sea of changes.”
Come back next week for my summary of Nancy’s killer webinar. You can also download a recording of “How science will drive sustainable sales results in 2012.”
Nancy’s book, Scientific Selling, is due out in April 2012.