My wife alerted me yesterday that the VP of Global Sales at her company will most likely be fired by the end of the week….the guy has only been with the company for 6 months. Even with my high standards of how long it should take to get results as a sales professional….6 months is fairly aggressive. They say on average and it depends on the industry that sales performance impact by the sales professional should start to take hold by that 6-9 month period; we’re now seeing that period shorten dramatically. Competition has heightened because the game is being played on a global scale and companies are increasingly feeling the burden to get profits quickly in order to sustain their global footprint presence. Many companies are placing a lot of emphasis, resources, and money into their “Sales Infrastructure” (e.g. sales forces, sales operations, marketing, and training) thus the pressure to produce “QUICKLY” is at its highest point ever. The saying “What have you done for me lately” is not only a stanza in a popular Janet Jackson song……this statement is now part of a sales professional’s evaluation process. When I’m approached by those interested in getting into the sales business I let them know right up front the parameters from making such a decision. These days it’s more than just having “thick skin” or your tolerance of receiving bad feedback because of your sales performance; companies are just axing the legs of those sales professionals who aren’t cutting it and doing so at a quicker alarming pace. This is why it’s getting more difficult to secure a good sales position in any industry especially if you do not have prior sales experience; companies are just not going to invest in the unknown.
As I’ve mentioned I’m pretty tough on the sales professional in terms of the standards I place on the profession, I have been told that my tolerance to see performance quickly is dissipating (haha!!) however I do believe in providing as much support possible to influence success for that sales professional. Too many times we see companies/sales leaders bestow this ridiculous pressure on their salespeople without the proper training, coaching, development……or LEADERSHIP and this infuriates me. I absolutely get it when you’ve provided everything you can from a corporation support perspective in helping that sales professional succeed and they don’t produce…..cutting ties may be the only viable solution at that point. However, you MUST provide an opportunity for those sales professionals to succeed because we know from a business financial standpoint the cost of hiring and training a new sales professional can be rather expensive, why would you spend on a hire that’s going to give you 6 months of productivity ?? That doesn’t make good fiscal sense.
Now, let’s move away from the company’s responsibility in ensuring the sales professional has enough time to succeed to the sales professional’s responsibility to perform. YOU as sales professional carry a lot of what I call “CONTROLABILITY” in this whole scenario. I preach to the top of my lungs at times on how salespeople become distracted with things outside their control when it comes to managing their business. Believe me I’ve been in the sales business for most of my natural life and I use to be one of those people that would complain about everything outside my ability to close a customer, things like “my territory is too large to cover”, “I have constant computer problems”, “the company is not providing me the tools I need to succeed”, and the popular one “the marketing department sucks”……all excuses I had no control over. “CONTROLABILITY” basically says that when you focus on those things in life that you have 100% control of chances is you’ll make a difference and in most cases a positive difference. Sure, I hear the argument that says “Well, those uncontrollables do affect my life/business”….and to that I say with sincerity “That is LIFE”. But, I will bet you dollars to donuts that if you really focus on impacting those issues that you have 100% ability to control….it will overshadow predominantly those issues that affect you outside your control. It truly is the nature of the universe in a metaphysical way.
Getting back to the beginning of this post, I asked my wife why are they pushing out the VP of Global Sales at her company she responded quite directly and succinctly…..he couldn’t cut it!
The “Sales Business” has become a “HERO TODAY”…”BUM” TOMORROW profession and that’s the reality!
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AH2 & Beyond Consulting