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You Don't Have A Sales Training Problem (or an Inbound Problem)

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Mar 4, 2014 7:30:00 PM

Problem-SolutionYou don’t have a sales training problem…or an inbound marketing problem…or, even a led generation problem.  I realize that this may sound out of place coming from a company that builds B2B sales systems, inbound marketing and lead generation programs and conducts training and coaching. But, it’s the truth.

If you have a problem, it’s a results problem. Maybe it’s about revenue growth...or turnover…or your cost per lead...or profits…or the equity value of your business.

Now, a poor sales system design, ineffective sales training, or feeble lead generation efforts could cause, contribute or accelerate that problem.  While this distinction may sound semantical, it’s quite important.  The difference between focusing on the process cause vs. the results problem is equivalent to the difference between a lightning bug and lightning.

The Problem With Process

There are two principles that are important to embrace when you are looking to affect change:

From those two points, we gain two important points of knowledge:

  • The best solution is one that we are not fully familiar with, and will likely be uncomfortable with.
  • Just because a proposed solution is different or uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s the right one.

Quite a Catch-22 we find ourselves in, isn’t it?

The problem when you view your problem through the process prism is that you are going to be naturally attracted to a “solution” that feels comfortable. You’re likely to address the symptom, rather than the true cause.  While addressing symptoms will provide incremental short-term improvement, the improvements aren’t sustainable, as the symptom will just manifest itself in a different area; often with more intensity.

A Holistic Approach Is Always The Best Approach

This is why clearly defining your problem and the cause of the problem is so critical to successfully implementing a solution. Just today, I was working with a prospect that is looking to redesign their approach to sales. 

They’re quite an enlightened group of people actually, and have done an excellent job of articulating their desired results and are clear as to why the status quo is no longer viable. 

Yet as our conversation progressed they self-diagnosed their primary problem as the common symptom – poor closing, hence, their desire for new sales training.  As I’ve shared for years, closing is the never the problem.  It’s always a symptom of a problem that occurred earlier in the sales cycle.

Yet, upon a deeper dive, here’s what we learned:

  • Turnover is running at rates that aren’t sustainable.
  • Their website was overly focused on their “we-do’s” and had no conversion path.
  • There was no formal lead generation or cultivation process in place.
  • All prospects were treated the same until the solution had been clearly identified by the salesperson.

As I got my prospect off their “process problem” (closing) and onto the results that weren’t being met, the problem took on a new light.  My prospect realized that while closing rates were certainly decreasing, there were many causes to the problem.

This expanded view allowed them to see that the problem was far more complicated than they had initially defined, and that a solution needed to have several prongs to it.  Certainly training is going to be an important piece of the puzzle, but it’s only a piece.

Whether you’re selling, or searching for a solution to a problem, follow the advice of Steven Covey, begin with the end in mind. 

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