Self Inflicted Wounds

By Mike Philie
In November 29, 2011

The selling environment continues to change and it’s not getting any easier to grow your business from existing clients. It can be even more daunting trying to get through to new prospects. In managing these daily sales challenges there are several common denominators that CEO’s, sales managers and sales reps have shared with me that I would classify as self inflicted wounds. There are enough external and internal challenges out there that you cannot control, the goal is minimize, or eliminate the actions that you can control. Beginning with this post and over the next few posts I’ll comment on the morepopular wounds that I have observed.

One of the most common is that there is too much focus placed on the current project(s) vs. keeping the sales pipeline full. The usual sequence of events includes the rep working very hard to get this customer or to win a project. Once the project has been entered and a hand off with the internal customer service team takes place, the sales rep tends to micro-manage the project throughout the production process. Often times their actions can be categorized as performing the role of the assistant CSR.

This is where disagreement with the process usually comes into play. Without a clear delineation of duties between sales and the inside support team along with strong leadership to direct these teams, the selling process can become cloudy and grind to a halt and additional distractions created within the internal production process. Reps don’t want to lose the client so they work to make sure the job goes through as smoothly as possible-oftentimes working around the team that is in place to support them. In the meantime, they are not out filling their sales pipeline with new opportunities. A lose-lose situation.

This dilemma is not new but comes up more often as clients have become scarce and new business development has gotten more involved. If you are responsible for the sales growth in your company you should address this immediately.

Mike Philie

Mike works with printing companies that are not satisfied with their sales and business development performance, and are looking to get objective advice and strategic direction on how to improve the results of their business. His engagements can range from providing input on the overall sales strategy to building business development pipelines while training the processes of “selling” in today’s marketplace. Mike quickly establishes himself as a trusted resource and advisor to the owners and senior staff of his client companies through his personal involvement, and very quietly and effectively becomes an extension of their staff.

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