I have been working with sales executives and teams for more than 18 years now. In that time, there are two big-picture problems with sales training programs that come up repeatedly:
- Sales results need to turn around quickly, but the uptake from sales training programs is too slow
- Sales results need to be sustainable, but typically a few months after the sales training, employees start drifting back to their old ways
What I have learned from working with some of North America’s top companies and teams, is that teams really need to buy into and absorb the training. And to sustain engagement and momentum over the long term, managers need to support their teams.
Start with building the team culture
The secret to transforming your sales team from the status quo to a sustainable, high performance sales machine is your team culture and mindset. When you build a team culture of excellence, you create the capacity and a structure that empowers, focuses and engages employees. You stop nurturing an outmoded culture focused on problem-solving. Instead, you expend your energy and resources to equip your sales people with the right mindset and skills necessary to focus on creating the desired results.
You also need to help your sales people develop the flexibility and resilience to deal with change, challenge and uncertainty that may arise along the way. This will ensure that they are ready to learn, absorb and retain new sales skills and stay focused on their goals.
While most corporate development programs tend to focus mainly on skills training, our Culture of Sales Excellence program includes three phases of training. The first phase is designed to change the mindset of every employee so that they are aligned and engaged with the organization’s goals, and prepared to learn and retain what they’ll learn in skills training (phase 2). After skills training, the third phase ensures that proper leadership and coaching skills are in place to sustain the new standard of excellence.
The shift in mindset and culture is what causes the most powerful change with sales teams, and results in the immediate impact in terms of results that executives are looking for.
Don’t settle for short term results
As I wrote in another post about why sales training alone doesn’t improve sales performance, sending staff to skills training alone is the number one reason executives don’t get the sustainable results they are looking for. With skills training, you will likely see some short term initial results, but they drop off over time as your employees start to revert back to their old habits.
Once you’ve taken the time to change the mindset of every one of your sales team members, the secret to sustaining excellence is equipping your managers with leadership and coaching for excellence skills.
Many sales managers get stuck in the trap of problem solving — spending their time and energy focusing on getting people back on track and putting out fires. They automatically become reactive and their orientation becomes more problem-solving than vision creating. In fact, more energy is used for fixing than focusing on the mandate and the vision of the organization and sales team.
To ensure your sales development programs stick and are sustainable over the long term, shift the focus of your managers from putting out fires to coaching, leading and motivating their teams to stay aligned with your sales goals and vision and move toward creating sales excellence.
Once your leaders have become competent at using these skills to improve the performance of their teams, they will be able to:
- Remove any distractions that could be getting in the way of maximizing performance.
- Effectively coach their sales team to un-tap their potential.
- Motivate and improve the confidence of their team members.
- Increase the focus and performance of their sales team.
- Increase their team’s resilience and ability to deal with change and uncertainty.
- Enhance the creativity and innovation of their sales team.
- Deliver sales excellence with their teams.
- Sustain your momentum over the long term.
This is a critical step often missed in organizations— but is required to ensure that employees don’t revert back to old habits.
Build a culture of excellence today with a free eBook
To learn more about how you can build a culture of sales excellence in your organization, download my new eBook: Culture of Sales Excellence: The Secret to Creating a High Performance Sales Organization. You’ll gain insights on how to move away from a culture focused on problem solving and rewarding mediocrity, and build a culture that will give you the organizational and bottom line results you want.
Contact us to learn more.