EVERY TELECOM SERVICE
provider wants to make sales and it should come as no surprise that salespeople are a critical part of the process of helping customers make purchase decisions. But it doesnt occur to many telecom companies that their sales forces would be more effective if they had goals.
Goals give sales associates a target to reach for. Goals keep them focused on giving their best efforts to sell the benefits of their products to every customer they interact with.
But if you think this goes without saying, think again. Before I start employee sales training at a telecom company, I ask a number of questions. Do you have sales goals? Do you have sales goals for individual employees? Do you have team goals? If you set goals, are they brought to the attention of everyone from accounting to field personnel?
Here are some typical answers to these questions:
We dont have any written sales goals.
We have an annual goal, but its not something we share with the sales team.
We have shared goals with sales, but the rest of the company doesnt have any idea what they are.
Telecom companies that set sales goals and communicate them throughout the company will be more successful. Here are some ideas on how to make this happen.
Create goal ownership.
Give salespeople ownership in creating the goals. Things wont go well if management simply creates goals and then expects everyone to hop to it. Salespeople will make a half-hearted effort if they dont have buy-in. Amazing things will happen if they do.
Heres an example. I have a telecom client that had never set goals for its sales staff. After a few discussions, they agreed to give it a try. I suggested they involve the sales team in the goal-setting and they also agreed to that. The sales team must have been inspired because it set a very big goal for the next month. I talked with the sales manager at the end of the month and he was pleased to report that the company had exceeded the sales goal by 20 percent. The salespeople were excited about setting a goal for the following month. That was a win for the sales staff and for the company.
When it comes to achieving a goal, every salesperson is motivated for different reasons and understanding what motivates them is critical. Knowing what turns them off is just as important. One telecom company I worked with had a salesperson who was consistently the top performer. The company launched a new product and immediately this person surpassed the sales goals. During a training session, I asked her if I could share her success with the rest of the company. She declined. She didnt like the idea of public recognition or anyone making a big deal out of her talent. Public recognition for hitting a goal may work for one salesperson and backfire with another. The wrong motivation can have a negative impact on a salesperson, but the right motivation can cause them to stretch and accelerate their sales performance. Sales managers must know their individual staff members well enough to figure this out.
Understand the sales process.
The most productive use of a salespersons time is selling. Yet many salespeople spend endless hours doing tasks that are not generating sales. Follow a typical sale from the initial contact with your company through to the installation or completion of the sale. How many different departments are involved in the sales process? Where did the opportunity exist for the sale to get delayed or fall through a crack in the process? Is there duplication in the process? What steps could be streamlined or eliminated to improve the efficiency of the sales process? What other actions were required to complete the order before the salesperson could take the next call?
Selling is a learned process that requires continual coaching and training. Sales managers need to be coaches for their sales teams. Coaching requires managers to play a number of roles. They must bring out the best in each and every salesperson. They must help each salesperson continually improve their skills, using recorded sales calls as a tool for learning. They must recognize people when they do a better job. Telling sales executives they will be fired if their numbers dont improve isnt much of a motivator. Acknowledging salespeople for the small things they are doing to improve their abilities will definitely keep them pumped up.
If you want robust sales at your telecom, the simple act of setting goals and communicating them will work wonders.
David Saxby is president of Measure-X, which specializes in customer service and sales skill training for telecom companies. He can be reached at +1 888 644 5499 or email@example.com.