Consistency is what fuels sales success, but for most sales teams this is a never-ending struggle. It’s frustrating for both the salespeople and managers who have worked with countless processes and fixes that only provide temporary relief. The question is, why is consistency so hard to achieve? There are many potential reasons for inconsistency – from bad habits to apathy – but there is also a definitive thread that has become apparent in all organisations that we have worked with over the past 15 years. In this Sales Management article we reveal the lurking reason that is often overlooked, but is the key to creating consistent sales success.
People don’t want to fail but sadly many do. This is not due to the lack of why they work, rather they don’t know how. There is often an assumption that they come from the same or similar industry and just need to learn the product differentiators leaving them to repeat the same behaviours and activities that got them to the point of moving from the previous company in the belief that this will be easier or better. It goes beyond a detailed job description, great induction programs, training and having a buddy system in place. Proactive coaching, role play and a clear sales formula should be there from the start.
A clear sales formula
Each salesperson must know exactly how to repeat this formula and achieve on a consistent basis to taste success. In the absence of a sales formula and the defined daily/weekly/monthly activity – the Minimal Acceptable Standards (MAS) – there is no benchmark. Too often, poor sales results lead to a reactive response by the manager, which by then may already have come at the cost of the customer and the company’s reputation. MAS that are non-negotiable and based on tried and tested formulas means we know what activity and skill is required to get the results we need.
Salespeople may also battle to achieve consistency if they are suffering from information overload or are overwhelmed by too many priorities – they either don’t know what to do, or don’t have time to do it all. This is why daily, weekly and monthly MAS are critical – it helps them to focus on the most important things first and prevent them from running around in circles. MAS also saves us from ourselves, as not every daily task is going to appeal to every employee, but they are all vital cogs in a much larger sales machine.
A culture of learning
Another reason sales inconsistency occurs is the fact that organisations have a culture of blame as opposed to learning and improvement. Managers who adopt this attitude tend to focus more on punishing failure than sharing opportunities to learn and improve. This creates an environment where sales reps are afraid to take risks and learn from mistakes, leading to a vicious cycle of inconsistency. It’s important to create an environment that encourages learning and celebrates wins, no matter how small. Sales success is a continuous journey that requires an ongoing process of improvement and adjustment.
There are various reasons why sales inconsistency occurs, but all roads lead to a lack of clear insight into what activities and skills drive sales success, as well as a lack of focus. The responsibility lies with the managers to provide their teams with a clear sales formula, daily/weekly/monthly MAS, and proactive coaching. With the right tools and approach in place, consistent sales will no longer be something to dream about, but a reality that you can create.
“Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Brian Tracy
Looking for more sales management tips for dealing with employee inconsistency? Our sales team has decades of real-world proven sales experience across all the major industries. We also offer extensive sales training and sales management courses, live events and keynote events throughout the year. Get in touch today!