Can you trust your champion to stay the course?Image

Can you trust your champion to stay the course?

Are you missing your sale targets or not securing that Statement of Work?

You had an inside run, a coach and or mentor and you told your management this is a slam dunk! You were already spending your bonus and feeling really good.

Then, on the day, there is deadly silence! Eventually you find out the work went elsewhere, someone else won the business. How is this possible, you had an inside supporter.

You call, text, email your supporter with no response. What the….

Eventually you see on Linkedin that they have a new position in another company.

What happened?

Over the last 3-6 months there has been a world-wide shuffle at the senior/corporate level, up to 28% of senior people have moved onto another position.

A recent survey found 80% of salespeople have delayed or lost a deal because of a job change within an account. It’s difficult to sell into a moving target.

On top of that, turnover is high among sales teams as well. Globally, job transitions among sales professionals are up 26% over the last three months, according to insights from the LinkedIn Economic Graph.

So, let’s recap – prospects and customers coming-and-going, colleagues coming-and-going, all during pandemic purgatory. If you are feeling like selling is hard right now, the data shows you are far from alone.

This corporate reshuffle affects all aspects of selling. Buyer turnover means the loss of key relationships and outdated data. Sales rep turnover also affects key relationships and can lead to unmanaged accounts and the loss of institutional knowledge. 

Put together, the impact can be disastrous – longer sales cycles, higher churn, and lower win rates. I’m sure many of you reading this are feeling these challenges already.

So what can you do?

  • Your champion could potentially move, so multithreading is more important than ever.

Multithreading – i.e. forming relationships with multiple people on the buying committee at an account – is always a best practice. Sellers who are connected on LinkedIn to at least four people at an account are 16% more likely to close a deal with that company, compared to sellers who have less than four connections.

In other words, the more people you can build trusted relationships with within an organization, the more likely you are to close a deal with them. This is particularly true during this time of change – if you have just one contact, and they leave, you are starting from scratch.

  • The silver lining – your champion can open a new door for you.

There is a positive to all of this change. If your champion is a true supporter and ends up in another company then – boom! – you’ve got an immediate way in.

Often, this leads to closing two deals from one contact. Not too shabby.

A related point – generally speaking, when a new leader takes over a team, they look to change things a bit. That often includes investing in new tools and services.

This can also be your way in. If you’ve had trouble getting into an organization, but you see a new leader come in, this could be your chance. Reach out to that person and congratulate them on their new job. Start to get to know them and understand their challenges, so you can determine how you might add value. 

  • For sales leaders, invest in your people.

It’s nearly impossible to win as a team if you are constantly changing players. Every salesperson you lose means months of lost productivity, not to mention the resources it takes to train up a new person.

Of course, some degree of turnover is unavoidable, and all teams are likely to see more turnover from recent world wide events.

Reinforce your organization’s mission whenever you can. Invest in your team’s development. Stay abreast of how they are feeling. Celebrate your people’s wins. Make diversity, inclusion, and belonging a priority.

Train them, provide courses and certifications where appropriate.

By empowering your reps to work a hybrid model or completely remotely, you may increase your odds of retaining them – so long as your culture, systems, and processes work virtually as well. That means, equipping your team with the right platforms to collaborate and connect virtually.

It also means giving them the tools and training to be effective in virtual selling. After all, nothing builds morale quicker than success. And the right tools and training play a big part in that.