Does your sales team have gout…?

Gout sucks.

It is excruciatingly painful, flares up without warning and is physically crippling. I know this because I suffer from gout.

When it’s bad, it’s really bad. My big toes will double in size from throbbing inflammation around the joint, it gets so bad a bed sheet resting on my toe feels like my foot is getting run over by a tank. Walking is difficult so I have a set of crutches in my closet and if I have to go to the office getting on a pair of dress shoes is a form of medieval torture.

Like I said, gout SUCKS!

To cope with gout my doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory to take the swelling down and I have an army of ice packs on standby should I feel that first “twinge” of an attack!

Here’s the problem, the pills, pain killers and ice packs won’t cure the gout.

They are great at masking symptoms and making me feel better for period of time but I wasn’t addressing the root cause of my pain.

Within 6 hours the pain was back along with the swelling so I’d pop more pills – wash, rinse, repeat…

To tackle the root cause of my gout I had to make a proactive change, something upstream to help prevent the downstream outbreak. I began monitoring my diet with a journal, it took me a few months to figure out what my trigger was – Beef Patties.

I love beef patties, the flaky yellow crust with spicy beef lava inside. I would crush a box of 6 extra spicy no problem. Then about 4-6 hours later the beef and spices (both contributors to gout) would unleash their attack on my foot turning me into a crumpled heap of man-child. (Just ask my wife and kids!)

So, despite my love of beef patties I stopped buying them (and drinking red wine, another love) and my gout has been kept at bay ever since.

So what the hell does GOUT have to do with sales teams? I’ve been having great conversations over the last two months with sales and business leaders about the alarming rate incremental improvement programs are being launched. All in an effort to get the revenue curve moving up and to the right.

      • Sales Training = Anti-inflammatories
      • Installing a new CRM = Ice packs
      • More frequent funnel reviews = Advil

Sales leaders feel better for a period of time but after a while, the pain of poor results sets back in and they try something else to mask the symptoms.

Note: per above “poor morale” is also a symptom…

The first step to changing results is to understand that results and outcomes are symptoms, they are side effects of upstream (AKA earlier) behaviours and choices. To get at the root of the issue you must first understand what behaviours and choices caused the outcome. In other words, what is your “Beef Pattie”?

This sounds easier than you think, leaders are disconnected from the business so they don’t see the behaviours and choices their teams make everyday that lead to results.

This is why we hear things like, “the funnel isn’t big enough” (symptom), “our closing ratios suck” (symptom), “we aren’t selling enough of Product “x”” (symptom), “this is the 3rd straight quarter we missed out number” (symptom), “if result don’t change we must look at a re-org” (fatal symptom!)

Get to the root cause of performance issues by looking at behaviours and choices like:

      • Do you have a sales process?

      • What’s working and what isn’t in your sales process?

      • What does “great” look like at each stage of your process?

      • Who’s inspecting “great”?

      • Where and when is coaching being done?

      • Who gets coached?

      • Are reps keeping time sacred?

Avoid the temptation to focus on symptoms and you’ll be on the path to diagnosing root causes, then you can attack the problem, not just mask the pain!

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