Sales Essentials Blog

Is your sales team sinking or swimming?

Posted by:

If your organisation is like most companies, some effort is usually invested in product training but not usually in ‘how we sell around here’.

Selling is an unusual profession in that selling is ubiquitous – present everywhere; essential for businesses to succeed – yet poorly understood especially when it comes to effectively transferring skills, knowledge and capability to others.

Most salespeople will tell you they learn selling by default, not design. They are thrown in, and if they survive they do so because they are self-taught ‘swimmers’ (salespeople).

Most sales managers care deeply about their salespeople and want the best for them; however, many have never received any formal training themselves in how to recruit, induct, coach and develop their salespeople.

And so the perpetual cycle of Sink or Swim sales induction carries on unchallenged.

Why does this keep happening?

Senior managers in organisations seem to have a genuine lack of awareness that selling is a masterful craft that needs regular work and refinement; that salespeople need regular coaching and support to keep themselves in good shape to sell; that selling has a defined framework and process of key milestones, activities, skills, knowledge and behaviours that need to be learned and expertly applied; that salespeople need a decent induction process to get them selling better faster.

This lack of awareness or, in some cases, blatant disregard for salespeople, causes huge staff turnover which affects reputation and retention rates. None of which is good for business, customers or sales teams. It also keeps businesses from generating much better sales outcomes.

Sales managers often have to battle with senior managers who see no any reason to invest in the development of their salespeople in any meaningful way. They are lucky if they get a once a year event of something that isn’t usually around what they really need.

7 tips to get you sales team swimming not sinking

  1. Clear principles, values, and sales strategy and go-to-market action plan to inform their selling efforts and how they conduct themselves with peers, clients and the broader community
  2. Sales value propositions, products and services that deliver value to clients and people are proud to sell
  3. Articulated sales framework and sales processes that guide their selling actions
  4. Effective sales recruitment process that outlines the minimum standards of sales excellence in the role and selects for the knowledge, skills and mindset necessary to be successful in the sales role
  5. Proper induction program that outlines and supports that application of all the things mentioned in points 1-4
  6. Regular sales training, coaching and self-development opportunities that support 70:20:10 learning standards and support development and personal mastery in sales
  7. Regular feedback from and to peers, managers and the broader business value chain creating a collaborative, team based selling culture that sees people flourishing and staying in the business

Now wouldn’t that be nice?

Author: Sue Barrett, 


Add a Comment