Have you ever watched the Jeff Foxworthy comedy sketch “You Might Be a Redneck If”?  It’s a funny bit with little blurbs that may signal you are a redneck.  He’s made a lot of money off that series of jokes, and I believe there is an analog with sales enablement.

I promise not to come up with three hundred, but here are my top signs that you may need sales enablement help…

  1. Your average ramp up time for new sales reps is longer than 6 months to full productivity.  Most of us live in a world of denial; it makes accepting reality easier and less painful.  When I ask customers how long it takes to fully ramp up a new sales rep, the common refrain is some absurdly long period of time followed with a “but our solution is quite complex and hard to get the customers to understand”, or “it is a new market”, or half a dozen other excuses that should not be accepted by anyone that is responsible for the companies revenue.
  2. Your annual sales team attrition rate is above 10-15%.   Simply put, if you consider the financial investment and time it takes to recruit and ramp up quality sales people, then you simply can’t afford to lose them and start the process all over.  The “Greek Myth of Sisyphus” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus) comes to mind, and no intelligent sales leader will accept that.
  3. Your sales win rates are below 33%.  Again there are numerous reasons for why your win rates are low, but none should be accepted as anything other than an excuse and a huge problem that needs to be addressed.  Think of the first rule of triage, which is “stop the bleeding, because if someone bleeds out and dies then it doesn’t matter that you were cleaning another wound.  The same logic applies to sales.
  4. Your average deal size isn’t growing or doesn’t support the profit margins necessary to grow the business.  Growing your average deal size is an integral part of any company’s success and continuity.  Whether that is measured in customer retention rates for a SaaS based company, or measured by add-on sales to existing customers for perpetual based sales companies is immaterial.  The bottom line is that if you can’t grow your average deal size, then you will not be attractive to investors, potential employees, or customers.
  5. A high percentage of your deals stall or end up in a “no decision” status.  This is a tell tale sign that your sales team isn’t qualifying properly (i.e., the buyer hasn’t hit an inflection point that would make them feel a compelling need to make their pain go away, or buy a solution to that pain in the form of your product or service), or they aren’t making a compelling enough business case to get the buyer to make a purchase decision.  An effective sales enablement training hones these all-important sales skills that are often overlooked or taken for granted.
  6. Your sales cycles are too lengthy.  This typically stems from lack of sales discovery or ineffective sales discovery from your sales team.  It also can occur when your sales team is selling at the wrong level or to the wrong person.  These are key sales capabilities that strategic sales enablement sales boot camps are designed upon.  In experiential sales enablement training, you start with a mock customer scenario that is an amalgamation of your sales best practices and worst practices.  These scenarios should always include curve balls or twists that repeatedly costing you or delaying your sales deals.  Sales bootcamps are a safe place to fail and an even better place to learn by doing and practicing good selling.
  7. Your quarterly sales performance is a roller coaster ride with extreme highs and lows.  No one hates unpredictability more than Wall Street.  And they will punish your company if you can’t deliver predictable, consistent sales results.  The CEO and the Board of Directors live and breathe on this principle.  If you show me a company that’s valuation is high and consistently growing and outperforming their peers, I’ll show you a well run sales machine that is predictable and consistent in meeting their stated sales goals.  Effective sales enablement programs should be built from the ground up based on where your company falls in the sales team performance continuum.

‘ll close this blog post out with a poignant quote from Symantec’s CEO, Steve Bennett, last year on a Strategy Direction Call: “On our go-to-market strategy what I would say simply, we had talented people everywhere in the world really working hard but that our system doesn’t work, or probably better said we don’t have a system.  Our process, technology, the tools we have, our knowledge management, our salesforce is not empowered and freed up to sell.”  I applaud him for his candor, but shutter to think of the market cap hit and financial implications involved in him saying this to Wall Street analysts. Does the bolded part of the quote sound familiar?  It means that they didn’t have an effective sales enablement program and process in place.  And it cost them big time!