This article is for those lucky sales leaders who are already hitting quota and are thinking, why do I need to change?
Simply put—because there is an inevitability. The inevitability is that every year your performance per sales rep (PPR), which is also known as yield, is going to go up.
First off, if you belong to this group, consider yourself lucky. Research by the TAS Group shows only 33% of sales people hit their quotas. Compare that with some research that states total sales by social sellers blow past their peers by 23 percent on average.
If you’re already beating the national average or on par with it, you don’t need me to tell you you’re crushing it. But do you want to continue crushing it? If so, you need to ask yourself:
- Why are you crushing quota above national average? Is it your products, is it the market condition? Is it macro environmental trends that are making you so awesome? Or, are you crushing quota because you figured out a sales process that works?
Then ask yourself:
- How much are the conditions going to change on the macro environmental side? Are they going to shift, are alternative competitive products going to or already emerging?
Are You Keeping Up With the Market?
If you’re like most companies right now and your macro environment shows any indications of early change, you must accept you’re also going to be forced to change. In addition to that, think about your own sales career over the last 15, 20, 30 years. Can you honestly look me in the eyes and say the same thing you were using when you were 25 you're still using successfully years later?
If you're running that same play book, good for you, you didn't have to evolve, but I want you to look at your market closely, want you to go to your next industry conference, I want you to talk to some people and ask if they had to evolve. I bet that 9 out of 10 of them are in sticky situations and they had to evolve hard and fast because the game changes.
Forget social selling, why don’t you just look at innovating and evolving and finding new practises and skill-based learnings?
A recent report from Corporate Visions found 4 out of 5 companies aren’t able to train as many reps on the skills they think they need. Yet, according to the International Coach Federation, “the average company can expect a return of 7 times the initial investment in coaching.” And research from Corporate Executive Board shows that “sales reps who receive just three hours of coaching a month exceed their goals by 7%, boosting revenue by 25% and increasing the average close rate by 70%.”
Ask yourselves, what obstacles are preventing your sales reps from getting better every day?
That's what you should be thinking about, because the status quo is going to kill you. Businesses are either growing or they're dying. You as a leader have to be prepared when there’s a turn down. You’re going to need to find new, innovative ways to succeed.
There’s enough evidence out there that clearly showcases that social works. But, if that’s not the new skill base you want, that’s fine, but you’re really going to have to look at evolving one way or another. I can’t stress this enough: the playbook you used this year and over the last 20 years is not going sustain you for the rest of your career.
The only way sales leaders are going to change is by having honest self-reflection and asking themselves, just like in other industries such as the stock market or real estate, is maintaining the status quo a long-term viable option?
I’ll let you in on a secret: the answer is no. We already know in those markets change will happen, and we already know that sales are going evolve, so even though you might not have to do it this year, you’re going to have to do it eventually. It's just a matter of how much longer you can sustain quota.