Is it the sales department’s fault or the economy’s?

You have probably already formed an opinion, either blame or excuse. No I am not naive as to what is going on in the world. I simply asked a generic question and you most likely have already formed an opinion. Let’s look at some details about the particular situation I have in mind then we can see if your answer is still the same.

I recently met with a company who wants to grow their service department and they have high turnover in their sales department. When I asked about their hiring process for their sales reps I was told how they send their new hires off to a sales training company. I then asked about how the sales reps interact with a prospect and found out that while they are trained on selling techniques they are not trained about the company, products or services. They also do not have company support.

If a sales rep is meeting with a prospect with the intent of signing the prospect up for a service plan and there is an immediate need to fix something, the sales reps do not have the training or the necessary support from the company to get a technician out in a reasonable time.

Now, let’s look at some information about the company. The company has no direct competitors; it has been around for over 30 years with a lot of the employees having a tenure of 15 years plus. The company does sell a high ticket item and offers service of it as well. They have a strong presence in the commercial market and a smaller presence in the residential market. In meeting an employee of the company they opening confess that the company needs help because the culture is not in a good state and when you look at the company’s books there is no way it should be profitable but somehow it currently is.

So whose fault is it, the sales department or the economy?

Neither! Instead of focusing on blame or excuses let’s focus on solutions to what is quickly becoming a big problem. Let’s look at some immediate fixes to give us time to create and implement long-term solutions to fix this and prevent it from happening again.

Currently the reps are going in selling a service that the prospect sees no need for because they have an immediate problem and do not want to worry about something else. The existing sales reps need to be trained on the company and how to turn anything the prospect presents into an opportunity to do business with them. At the same time, the reps need to have a support team available to fix immediate problems in a reasonable turn around period. This creates credibility, eases the prospect’s pain and paves the road for them asking “Where do I sign?”

When you look deeper into a situation, there is immediate want and long term need. Immediate want in this case was the sales reps were not doing their job. Diving deeper into the situation, the reps were not doing their job because they were not provided the appropriate tools, procedures and training that is necessary for them to do their job correctly. Because they have not been provided with what they needed, it created high turnover. Why would the employees stay in an environment like this when they could go elsewhere, do less work and have significantly less stress, not to mention make more money because it would be a shorter learning curve?