Results based Selling: Study the Entire Textbook

January 28th, 2010 by

By Pat Hinds,

One of my kids is in high school and we have had an interesting scenario with two different teachers over the last two years; basically, she has had two different teachers that did not meet her expectations. The biggest challenge has been the tests; the teacher covers material in class and indicates the class material will be the content on the test. When my daughter writes the test she is surprised to find not all questions on the test are from the content covered in class; evidentally, they were also required to study material in the textbook that was not covered in class. This has resulted in test marks below expectation.

I ask her if the material on the test can be found in the textbook and the answer is “yes”. I ask why the material was not studied and the answer is, “the teacher indicated that this material would not be on the test”. A similar scenario plays out with many companies that deploy direct sales; the textbook is the geographic territory or vertical that is assigned to a sales person (market opportunity) and the material covered in class is the contacts and relationships that the sales reps maintains on a regular basis. If the sales rep misses quota at the end of the year, the blame focuses on whether the quota was too high or the products are not competitive to service the reps account base.

The comments from the sales reps are true, the quota was too high for the amount of companies they contacted, but if they prospected the entire territory (read the material in the textbook) more effectively they would not be missing quota. The issue of not studying the material in the textbook or not covering a sales territory is going to happen with a certain percentage of students or sales people. The key in resolving the issue is recognizing the problem early and deploying a strategy to address the issue quickly allowing for proactive correction.

To correct the problem for my daughter I listen for the comments “all the kids say this teacher is not very good” and the strategy we use is to identify what material they have covered in class. Then we compare the class content to what is in the textbook and identify the material not covered and focus on making sure they study the delta material. In the case of a sales person we review the sales funnel looking at the deal flow from existing customers versus new customers. We watch the date the opportunity was created and the CRM opportunity report and when existing customer’s opportunities get old we know that we need to focus on new opportunities from new customers.

You can improve productivity if you are aware of what is happening and use strategies and tools to be proactive in correcting issues.

Good Selling!

Topics: Sales Consulting