I had the good fortune to spend the early days of my business career with one of the preeminent sales companies and sales training cultures in the world. Investment in their people (Managers and Reps) was a constant and an important point of differentiation. This was a big company and there is a theory that only large firms can invest in sales methodologies, sales training continuums and the appropriate tools. This is not true and big companies now have the exact same problems as small and medium sized businesses. This lack of investment forces Sales Leaders and to a certain extent, Sales Reps, to go into Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mode.

Why is this an issue? The primary issue is lack of consistency. In the absence of a consistent methodology, process, training, tools, etc. then Sales Leaders will rely on their own experiences, skills and self initiative to find a way to succeed (or at least try). This does not scale very well. When only half of Reps globally achieve the desired results, you do not need to look much further than this area to understand why.

Go a little deeper and you see how this impacts hiring, from the President to the Sales Rep. Organizations seek “job ready” resources when recruiting. Partially to theoretically reduce risk and learning curves by hiring people who have done the job before and likely come for a competitor, but also because they have no way of training new hires in “how they sell”.

There are some positives in the DIY world as it pertains to creativity, innovation and doing more with less. Speed is also a factor. As the leader of a scrappy start-up, admittedly I may admire that more than most. The broader challenge is people only know what they know. Relying exclusively on their skills and experience to drive you to another level is risky.

If you are the DIY Sales Leaders you are likely bringing your previous processes, tools and potentially trusted resources with you to your new role. You need everything in your toolkit to be successful. If you are an innovator, you are also likely looking to learn and continue to raise the bar through ongoing education, reading and searching for ways to fill gaps.

The creation of consistency will bring a level of normalcy or sanity to the Sales Leaders job. Complex sales environments have lengthy sales cycles and sizeable deals. These environments tend to create results that are a little “lumpier” and less consistent based on the nature of the beast. Creating consistent and predictable business results or outputs is a function of the inputs that consistently go into the business. As the DIY Sales Leader, you can create consistency through daily habits and common language that come along with real Sales Process, Sales Governance and Sales Tools that enable and elevate the sales mission.

If you feel like you are in a DIY mode, don’t feel alone or isolated because markets are full of your peers going through the exact same challenge. Recognizing where you are is one thing, finding help and support from peers is the broader opportunity to raise the bar and achieve your desired results.




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