Here’s an interesting little article I stumbled across this morning from Seacoastonline.com titled Get the most out of your sales team.  The premise is simple and accurate – nonproductive salespeople are the bane of any small (or large) business.

A nonproductive sales team is among the top common dangers that cause many small businesses to fail.

Analyzed studies reveal that a large percentage of small businesses are unsuccessful because of underperforming sales people who bring in, at a minimum, 50 percent less revenue than top performers, according to researcher Dr. John Sullivan, professor of Economics at San Francisco State University.

Studies indicate that a common reason for poor performance in the sales department is a lack of focus and poor time management. It’s vital for struggling small businesses to get their sales team on the right track.

Those first 3 months of a new salesperson’s employment is the most critical time period in their employment.  The pattens for their employment are set during this time – expectations, rules, focus, communication…I could keep going, but you get the point.

My thought is that many small business owners are pulled in many directions and therefore cannot dedicate the needed time for their new salesperson.  Knowing this fact leads the owners to hire salespeople from their industry.  Their thought process is that an industry salesperson will require less training, if any at all.  This approach is what leads to recycling mediocrity within salespeople.

Sales success may be measured simply by results. Managers may have the opportunity to observe their staff in action and identify areas that way. However, sales assessment tools can also be a valuable way to determine what additional training may be needed to boost the success of your sales team.

These tools provide a balanced view of strengths and need-to-improve areas. They take the emotional piece of performance review out of the picture and provide the sales person with a very comprehensive evaluation, along with materials to chart out an improvement plan.

“Objectivity” is the keyword.  We use our assessments to measure a salesperson’s strength areas and weaknesses.  The key is to neutralize the weaknesses and develop the strengths.  Many times managers attempt to turn weaknesses into strength which usually ends up frustrating all parties involved in the training.

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