Building a partnership takes time and trust, and if you succeed it can add considerable value to both parties.
Many (if not most) sales hires fail because of a lack of clear focus on the part of management. Since you (management) are unclear about exactly what you expect out of a salesperson, your communication in the interview process leaves a lot of details unresolved. The recruit substitutes his own set of expectations and develops his own assumptions.
Management calls the sales force together, brings in the manufacturer’s rep, and introduces the new strategic initiative. At the end of the day, the sales manager announces that, because of the importance of this line to the company’s future, every salesperson should introduce it in every one of his good accounts in the next 30 days. The sales force nods gravely, and then goes out and does whatever they have been doing for the last few years. At the end of the 30 days, virtually nothing has been done.
Sound familiar? I have sketched this scenario to thousands of principals and CSOs at annual meetings and national conventions. I then ask the question, “If you were in this situation, what would be the likelihood that every one of your salespeople would do what you asked them to do?” The response is dismal. How about you? Take a moment and reflect on the state of “directability” of your sales force. Now, consider the implications. If you cannot implement a strategic initiative like this, what is the future for your business? Do you have a future?