The usual and first assumptions company leaders have about the poor sales performance of the company is this:  “The sales people must be the problem.  They suck.  Need to get new ones.”

That might be the problem.  Then again it might not be the problem.

My experiences rarely reveal that this is the entire problem.  Within a company, some sales people are good, some are average, some are new or bad.  And the talents of the sales people need to be addressed.  This requires ongoing coaching and effort.  It is easy even for the best sales people to get in a rut, and they need help getting out of it.

But there are two other sources of poor sales performance.

1.  Your product or service is no longer up to snuff.  Times change,  competitors emerge and get better, a disruptive technology emerges.   And your sales team is left selling an product or service that is behind the times, or not as effective, or no longer needed.    Regular attention to product competitiveness and trends need to be put in place and regular adjustments need to be made. Even the best sales people can’t really sell ice to eskimos.

2.  Your Brand Promise isn’t clearly articulated.  So the sales people are trying to sell the wrong set of needs and wants, missing the sale.  When I see this, it’s usually because the company selling what they think is important rather than what drives the customer’s decision.  Look into how many times  you lose a sale even though it is clearly more logical and beneficial to buy from you.  When you lose this sale or have it delayed, some other factors are at play in the customer’s mind that is driving his value decision than the one you are presenting.  Research why your customer’s buy instead of why you want them to buy and build your brand promise around this.

Think of the combinations of these three sources of poor performance.   You can have great sales people and a great brand promise but have a crummy product.  You can have great brand promise and a great product and crummy sales people.  You can have great sales people, and a great product and a crummy brand promise.

Which one are you suffering from?

Here’s and event that can help being put on by the EPIcenter Growth Academy