Recently, I had the chance to observe a sales meeting where all of the current revenue initiatives of a company were being reviewed by management. And there were lots of initiatives. There were incentive programs, inventory priorities, special promotions, new product introductions, price-point packages, and a new website and workflow system to support all of the above.
The point of management was obvious: “You have so many different things to sell, how can we possibly not hit our numbers?!”
But what the sales team was hearing was also obvious: “You have given us so many things to “focus” on, how can we possibly hit our numbers?!”
Look, I know I’m not going to—nor do I want to—talk anyone out of innovating new products, promotions, and sales ideas for their team. But I think it would be smart to reflect on the rules of concentration of force.
If salespeople have too many buckets to fill and too many internal responsibilities to manage, it becomes difficult to focus on the things that matter most. And management has provided no guidance on which ones matter most. While volume of sales attempts remains vitally important, there’s a very good chance that your biggest clients are the ones for whom you have solved the biggest problems. Absent the time and opportunity to mine for similar problems with new prospects (because of all the other things we ask them to do), the account manager is less likely to develop new Target Accounts and retain and grow Key Accounts.
Take a drink from a bottle of spring water, and then another from a gushing fire hose. Then tell me I’m wrong.
It is rare that a shortage of sales can be solved by new initiatives. Generally, revenue falls short because we have failed to uncover the most important challenges our clients face.
You can do this. One step at a time.