March 24, 2011 2 Comments
Staying inside the ropes for a moment, Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golfer in history. The influx of great young players from around the world, combined with, uh, Tiger’s distractions in the last 15 months seemingly challenges that argument until you look at even one more unbelievable statistic. The current top twenty “up and coming” professional golfers under the age of 30 have won a combined total of 19 tournaments worldwide. Tiger Woods won 55 tournaments all by his lonesome before he hit the age of 30. Case closed (sorry Golden Bear.)
Woods’ accomplishments seem all the more remarkable when you consider the way he has gone about it. Who else with the talent and record of a Tiger Woods would re-tool their swing from the top of the backswing all the way down to his spikes four times, the first three of which led to progressive improvements and breakthroughs in an already masterful game. The answer is simple: nobody. No one else would even contemplate such a radical and risky approach to their golf game, much less to their approach to any profession.
So what motivates Woods to do this? An absolute belief that the basic fundamentals must be perfectly in place before building the rest of the business (in this case his golf swing.) And an unquenchable desire to break through all barriers, be number one and dominate his profession.
Wouldn’t those be nice characteristics to have across your sales force . . . .
In business, and more specifically in sales, as in Woods’ golf swing, an adherence and a mastering of sound fundamentals is the key to success. What are these fundamentals to success in sales?
- Sales Methodology/Process
- Customers and Products
Let’s break these down a little bit:
- People/Personnel: each individual sales rep’s ability to perform at a consistently high level and win the business. There are some given’s which must be worked on and improved, and some intangibles which must be exploited
- Skill sets:
- Proven Sales Performer
- Desire and Attitude
- Sales Activity and Time Management
- Sales Skills
- Product Knowledge
- Sales Strategy
- Generic Attributes
- Savvy: Street smarts to go along with book smarts
- Likability: People buy from people they like
- Proven Sales Performer
- Skill sets:
- Sales methodology/Process: what is the sales cycle path laid out for your sales team to take their prospect through on a consistent basis
- Needs to map to what works with sales reps’ skill sets and type of business
- As detailed (or not) as can be managed and reported against
- Systems/Measurements: what systems are in place and/or need to be in place to gather meaningful data and provide the ability to measure that data against a series of pre-defined metric benchmarks in order to gauge necessary improvement
- Ability to capture key data points during the progression of the sales cycle and provide territory management measurement and analysis for continuous improvement
- As automated (or not) as can be implemented and adhered to across the sales team
- DO NOT automate your sales methodology, system workflow and feedback analysis until you have mastered the fundamentals and all “manual” processes are in place and adhered to by your sales team
- Customers and Products: sounds obvious a company needs to have customers and products, but there are many fundamental questions and decisions to make before building a sales and marketing strategy
- Do I have a defined target market to capture the types of customers that make sense and are profitable for my business?
- Product(s) must be at least “adequate”
- Product(s) must be “believed” in by the sales team as providing legitimate value
- Does not have to be the “best” product on the market
- More importantly must be fully understood and believed in by the sales team
- Leadership: consistent leadership built upon fundamentals that can be relied on by sales team for guidance, attitude, motivation, measurement and continuous improvement
- Speaks for itself
As Tiger Woods has demonstrated over and over again, the bottom line is until or unless your sales team fundamentals are in place, you cannot build the rest of the structure and expect to ascend to and maintain world class sales performance. All the marketing programs and lead generation in the world will not make one bit of difference without perfect fundamentals which will lead to breakthroughs in sales performance.
Ask yourself this question: Does your sales executive leadership have the vision of building a team of Tiger Woods’? Or a team of Happy Gilmore’s . . . .
First, the fundamentals – then the breakthroughs.