Salespeople, as a whole, are an ambitious crowd - that's why we get into sales in the first place! Sales is a fantastic opportunity to have an unlimited income in most cases, and to virtually be our own bosses and run our own businesses.
However, the one thing that holds most sales people back happens to be their managers, and the backwards training that most managers usually go for.
Here's the problem: Most management today has either been out of the field for so long that they're totally and completely out of touch, or worse, they've never actually sold in the first place.
And guess what happens when a sales manager is either totally out of touch, or has no real-world selling experience? You guessed it: They tell you to make cold calls!
We all know that in this day and age, cold calling is becoming largely ineffective. It's simply not the best choice anymore for someone who wants to really succeed in sales, or for that matter, as a sales organization.
Despite this, foolish and inexperienced managers find it easy and inexpensive to bark orders at the sales staff to cold call, go out and scrape up some business, and hope that something sticks.
This problem is exacerbated when the time comes for the company to bring in outside sales trainers. The best sales advice today is about 21st Century lead generation and networking methods: Effective use of internet marketing, social media, LinkedIn, and other strong tools.
But guess what? Out-of-touch management doesn't want to hear any of this. They want a rah-rah cheerleader type to come in and "motivate" the sales team to make more calls.
So they bring in a cookie-cutter sales trainer, who spends a day with the staff, pummelling them with the idea of high activity levels and the necessity of making lots of cold calls.
Fast forward a few weeks: There are no increases in sales. Management is disappointed and calls the training company to activate their money-back guarantee. But, there's a big, big catch: When the manager can't document that the sales team actually did the impossibly high sales activity numbers that the trainer told them to do, the refund is denied!
And so the cycle continues. Sales aren't high enough? "Make more calls." That isn't working? Bring in a training company to tell everyone to "make more calls." Training didn't work? They'll tell you the sales reps "didn't make enough calls."
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, so stop the insanity already. If you want your sales organization to excel, stop ordering them to do the same activity that isn't working, and instead teach them to change their activity to something that does work!