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 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 a sales leader, when one of our team fails, we fail.
The real answer, as I alluded to yesterday, 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. 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?