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Is it a poor sales team or something else?

When it comes to sales, there are more factors that affect a business’ ability to convert a lead than just the sales person. We find it’s a common approach to look at the sales team and try to identify why there might be some “poor” performers and how to “fix” them. Is this really the best starting point?

We can’t disregard that conversions can be dramatically affected by the sales person. That been said, it’s always a good idea to look at your sales process end to end before deciding on what is causing the sales roadblock.

While looking at your sales process ask yourselves, have we made any changes to the process recently that could be affecting our conversions? Have we always had less than desirable conversions? Has the volume of leads dropped? These are some questions we ask while helping businesses find ways to improve their sales conversions.

Why these three questions?

If you’ve changed the process, it could be that your new process is just not effective or you haven’t accounted for the time it can take for your sales team to properly adapt to the new process.

You may not be aware that your business has always had a low conversion rate until someone makes you aware that what you thought was good is quite the opposite.

If your lead volume has reduced, your reliance on maintaining a higher conversion rate will become more evident, to the point you convince yourselves that the conversion rate isn’t good enough. Daniel has first-hand experience with this. In one company he worked in, their lead volume had reduced to 1/3rd of what it had been prior to him starting with them. They hadn’t realised this for over 12 months because Daniel was converting at a rate 3 times what the previous sales people had. It wasn’t until the lead volume fell even lower that they started questioning his performance, blaming Daniel’s conversion rate and not accepting their lead volume had become an absolute joke.

A common cause often overlooked or ignored

Having trained many top performing sales people and followed their individual journeys, the most common response to the question “why aren’t you able to convert better?” is usually a variant of “because the leads are ****”. For many, this can seem like an excuse and it will be treated as just that. We’d agree too if it weren’t for having personally trained those individuals.

What they are trying to say is the leads they are getting are of people who aren’t ready to have a sales conversation. But isn’t it the sales persons job to make them be ready? NO!

It’s like going home to cook a specific meal for dinner without having the ingredients you need. If it wasn’t your job to buy the ingredients, just cook the meal, how successful are you going to be in that situation?

What if you’re given a bunch of ingredients, none of which are for the meal you’re meant to be cooking? Would you be able to cook the meal then?

How about if you have some of the ingredients you require? You’ll be able to make a portion of the meal but you’re still unlikely to be plating up the meal as it was intended.

The point

Leads are much like a bag full of ingredients, you’ll either attract bags filled with the right ingredients to give to your sales people to “cook the meal” or you’ll attract bags with all/some wrong ingredients.

Over the last couple of years, the environment has changed due to COVID as we are all aware. This could mean that you might of had bags full of the right ingredients (leads) prior to COVID, but now, the ingredients in the bag have changed (market changes due to COVID) at no fault of your sales team.

No sales person, no matter how talented they may be, can ever cook you the meal you’re after without a bag full of the right ingredients.

So is it wrong to look at the sales people first? Not always, we just want you to be aware that it’s not often the best place to start if you’re after a long-term improvement with your current sales team and future teams.


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