Sales Team Complacency is a syndrome which occurs when things are going well. Too well, in fact.
You aren’t reading too many blog posts about sales team complacency, especially around this time of year as the end of a quarter approaches. Instead you are reading about how you are not going to make your numbers, how your manager is going to get on your case and how your executive team creates unrealistic numbers to hit.
There are sales folks out there, however, who will make their numbers no matter what. Because their customers re-order, re-specify and re-up – no matter what.
This scenario breeds sales team complacency. Here’s why this syndrome can be toxic to business growth and expansion.
Sales team complacency makes your sales folks look like a bunch of sales couch potatoes to your customers. That customer perspective doesn’t bode well for your company’s brand and overall marketplace strategy. Your company and your team aren’t exactly advocating on behalf of your customer and their competitive marketplace position.
Sales team complacency means that your sales folks are either responding to requests for proposal or quote or only show up at your customers’ offices when it’s time to shove a service renewal contract under someone’s nose (usually a purchasing agent and not a key decision maker). Your company and your team are focused only on the terms and conditions of the current contract and, again, aren’t advocating on behalf of your customer.
Sales team complacency means your sales folks are out of sight and out of mind for most of the business development cycle. Closing a contract represents the last one-third of the business development cycle. Where has your sales team been during the first two-thirds of the cycle? Certainly not having those revenue generating discussions with key decision makers which might expand the breadth and depth of your company’s involvement with your customers’ organizations.
Sales team complacency is a sure-fire way to get your company pigeon-holed by your current customers. That’s why your RFQs and RFPs represent re-orders of the types of projects which have been transacted in the past. Yes, of course your company is an expert in these areas of manufacturing, engineering and IT service quality delivery. However, there is a whole lot more you can deliver to your customers as well, except your sales team isn’t energized enough to have those types of business-building, revenue-generating conversations.
Sales team complacency means that your sales folks are out of practice in the fine-art of complex selling. If your company’s revenue stream is generated by a longer sales process, this habit can lead to marketplace stagnation. Where’s your new business going to come from?
Yes, your company’s revenue is healthy. Things “look” good on paper. Then there is the in-the-field and over-the-phone reality of how those numbers are being created.
That’s where your leadership team comes into play. All that glitters just may not be rock solid, long term gold.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a business coach and management consultant. She remodels startups and small-to-medium size manufacturing and service companies experiencing difficulty growth as well as unpredictable revenue streams. She focuses on mindset, habits, processes and practices which create Business Professionals of Worth. Babette was named a Social Selling 2015 Top50 Influencer and a 2014 Top 50 Marketing & Sales Influencer. Babette’s blog won the 2014 Bronze Medal, Top Sales World. Babette’s book on horizontal business development and collaboration strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.