Recently on LinkedIn, over 150 Sales + Marketing Executives shared their views on the #1 reason for failure in sales. Several things really struck me from the conversation to date. Learning’s gotten little air time. Nor has better coaching. The need for it. The lack of it.
I believe this discussion is proof that we may be doomed to unending failures in sales until our approach to sales performance changes. I favor sales environments which hone craftsmanship. Environments that give sales people with the moral will to do the right thing and the skill with which to figure out what it is. Environments that ignite sales people’s passions with personalized learning. Environments that encourage sales people to take an entrepreneurial bent to tackling challenges they face. Environments where perfected practices become creative habits. Where sales people are constantly escaping their ruts and finding their groove, and having fun doing both. In these environments, sales people often fail. But when sales people are constantly learning + honing their craftsmanship, they themselves are *never* failures.
The #1 reason sales people fail, in my opinion? Too little feedback on what’s working + what isn’t, based on the verifiable buyer actions triggered from sales efforts. Without such feedback, there’s too little learning on the front lines of sales. Without learning, it’s hard to fix mistakes. It’s tough to find your groove. The fun of the craft gets lost in a fog of repeated, unexplained, failures. It’s time to demand better of ourselves. We can, and must, do better.