In addition to talent selection, we use our talent assessments as a coaching and development tool. Typically we use this insight to help on an individual basis. However there are times we find that one particular personal achievement obstacle can be contagious symptom of leadership challenges. In other words, we discover from our assessments that management, or lack thereof, is the root cause of sales performance issues.
I was working on a sales skills development project a company’s sales staff and discovered an alarming consistency with what we call low role awareness. Role Awareness is a person’s “objective” and degree of clarity in understanding what they’re supposed to do. For the company’s leadership, the mandate was simple: “Just go sell.” They provided minimal guidance or direction to identify their ideal customers, high margin opportunities and minimal communication on performance. For these sales people, it wasn’t as simple as just go sell. Because their goals were so fuzzy and poorly communicated, the sales people were struggling to consistently put forth consistent proactive effort toward generating new accounts. They worked within their comfort zone and spent most of their time nurturing existing customers.
“If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Road Will Get You There.” –The Cheshire Cat, Alice In Wonderland
I’ve seen some succeed despite themselves on this front. But when it comes to building the top line today, it’s become more complicated than simply hiring people with the gift of gab and sales on their resume and telling them to “just go sell”. For most, that margin for error has vanished.