My comments today continue from another recent post, “Are There Too Many Salespeople in the World?”
One of the points I made was that in my experience, in the critical area of sales team development, most H.R. departments are about as useful as a chocolate fireguard. Harsh words? I don’t think so.
I really do strongly believe that they should stick to what they are good at, like looking after employee welfare; ensuring that the company adheres to the maze which is today’s employment laws, and spending as much time as possible at conferences and on training courses, to add another qualification to their CV. Not in your company? You are very lucky!
Going back to my examination of why so many salespeople are failing today, you see, unlike most other professions, there are no qualifications required to become a professional salesman or woman: I find that very disappointing, and I am also deeply concerned that even the super-rich corporations who used to put their latest intakes on a solid two year program before letting them loose on an unsuspecting audience, now believe that around two weeks of product familiarity training is quite sufficient.
Why the change? In a word, “cost” Since the recent financial meltdown, investors have been crawling all over balance sheets, and any investment in staff development always appears as cost for which there is never any tangible evidence of a return.
Whereas, replacing non-performing heads is always seen as an unavoidable investment. This in turn has led to a new “hire and fire” mentality, which actually, is incredibly short-sighted, and usually proves far more costly. It is a total cop-out, and simply highlights the fact that so many poor hiring decisions have been made in the first place.
Make no mistake, as sales leaders, when one of our team fails, we fail.
The real answer, as I have alluded to so often, is the decline in the quality of sales leadership. This is a role which is now pivotal in every organization, whatever the size: I liken their importance to that of the QB on a football team – yes, that important. Which is why it is alarming to note that the average tenure of a sales manager today is just eighteen months.
So are there any companies out there still willing to invest to accumulate?
Very much so; those companies who have implemented their own “academies” – including most of my clients – are reaping rich rewards. Staff turnover has been reduced to virtually nil; teams are happy, and feel valued; staff typically work longer hours, but are also working smarter, and they are totally committed.
None of that should come as a surprise to any of us. When a company demonstrates its commitment to its employees by investing back into them, those employees are anxious to repay that faith – it is a no-brainer and definitely win-win.
How about you, are you really valued by your company? Or are you one of the at least 80% of sales professionals who remain unqualified to do your job properly?