By Marek Wasilewski
Senior Vice President, Global Enterprise Sales
According to Forbes 2019, less than 50% of Sales Reps achieve their annual quota. Multiple areas can be blamed for this shortcoming, but it’s fair to say that the need for a high performing and consistent sales team has never been higher.
Within the next few months, 50 percent of the U.S. workforce is expected to be made up of Millennials. It will be 75 percent by 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a generation that grew up with technology and relies on the internet to provide an almost instant source of information gratification.
According to studies conducted by Gallup, the ManpowerGroup and others, Millennials are the least engaged generation in the workforce. Two-thirds have indicated that they expect to be promoted or move onto another company in less than two years. Many believe that it takes an average of three months for a new sales representative to be ready to interact with buyers, nine months for them to be competent to perform, and 15 months for them to become a top performer. This in itself creates a performance conundrum that will cost the U.S. economy approximately $30.5 billion annually.
While there is no simple solution, focusing on certain areas can promote a peak performing sales organization. What is essential is defining what kind of a sales team you want to be, and what kind of culture you are trying to create. Once that is clearly defined, the next step is focusing on building a T.E.A.M.:
T. Talk and Communicate. Identifying no more than two to three Key Performance Indicators that are collectively agreed upon, provides a narrow and essential focus to build momentum. Communicating and reviewing those goals regularly promotes a bias for action which in turn drives accountability essential for success. Team and individual accountability communicated in an open forum promotes trust and also ensures that all members of the team are aligned and working towards the same common goal.
E. Evaluate and Assess. 44 percent of Millennials say they are more likely to be engaged when their manager holds regular meetings with them. This seems like the obvious thing to do, yet only 21 percent of Millennials meet with their manager weekly. Every member of the team needs to clearly understand not just their target, but also their purpose on the team. Utilizing technology to provide consistent analytical data can be extremely beneficial as numbers don’t lie. Regular cadence of reviews should typically be done every week with a provision to include feedback in a pre-agreed upon format from every member of the team.
A. Aid and Assist. The sales team is a direct reflection of your company. A recent survey ranked ‘sales account manager’ as one of the most stressful jobs in the US. According to Calipercorp.com, 55% of the people making their living in sales don’t have the right skills to be successful. This statistic further draws out the fact that it’s not a lack of talent, as much as the inability of most sales organizations to provide sales reps with the specific tools, training and regular assistance they need to be successful. Schedule regular time for team and customer engagement and learning huddles. These are also an invaluable source of personality and strengths assessment.
M. Motivate and Mentor. A recent survey analyzing the level of employee satisfaction found that 39% of workers do not feel appreciated at their workplace. Only 27% were satisfied with the level of recognition they received at their workplace, while 76% were not. This is a clear indication that not enough time is spent mentoring and building stars of the future, especially as 77% are willing to work harder if they were appreciated. One on one sessions are a given, but scheduling quarterly structured learning, motivational and recognition workshops, where members of the team must share customer success stories and challenges, fosters ongoing team dialogue and comradery.
Day to day work and personal distractions are a reality. Recent Udemy.com and Microsoft research indicated that on any given workday. Millennials will spend up to 78% of their time on their devices for personal activities and that the average human attention span is down to eight seconds. Focusing on a single item may initially feel counterintuitive, but it shortens the feedback and preparation process for each individual.
Building and maintaining a High-Performance T.E.A.M requires a lot of dedication and persistence, but above all it requires FOCUS. Focus on performance, focus on process and cadence, and focus on technology, but above all, focus on the people who make up the T.E.A.M and deliver all of the above.
For over 20 years, Marek has led high-performing sales teams by cultivating success-driven environments. Marek sees himself as an evangelist promoting digital transformation for the greater good of the planet. He has a Cyber Security and Unified Communication background, and his specialties include leading international teams and designing and implementing business development activities to increase sales revenue. Prior to joining Mavenir, Marek was Vice President of Sales for Symantec and previous to that, General Manager and Vice President of Sales for Mitel.