Imagine you’re ill. Not the head-cold kind of ill, but the chest-pain kind. You go to the doctor, who immediately schedules you for open heart surgery that afternoon. Following doctor’s orders, you go, get sedated and allow a surgeon to investigate your vital inner workings. The diagnosis? Indigestion! You’ve just wasted however many thousands of dollars on surgery, an afternoon—plus, a bucket load of stress—on a solution before you had a proper diagnosis.
Luckily, this doesn’t happen in medicine. However, it does in sales.
The importance of sales analysis
Conducting a sales analysis is the essential first step to understanding how your sales team works and how effective they are. Skipping this step is akin to the doctor’s scenario described above—you may jump to conclusions and take action without having the full picture.
“Many CEOs and managers don’t know how effective their sales teams are,” says Paul O’Donohue, SalesStar’s Founder and Global CEO. “There are a lot of cogs and wheels, which makes them complex and quite difficult to understand.”
This is why getting a full, holistic understanding of how all the parts fit together and influence one another is essential. Fixing one cog in isolation won’t guarantee instant sales success. The benefit of a sales analysis is that it helps sales managers and CEOs identify the weak points in their system—without having to guess at it. It cuts to the chase.
“A sales analysis gives us a blueprint of what’s wrong,” says Paul. “It gives you clarity, and from there you can strategically focus on the areas that need improving.”
Skipping it can cost you—in more ways than one
A sales analysis is not something to be done half-heartedly. Failing to run an adequate analysis could see you implementing solutions that simply don’t work—costing precious time, energy and resources of your company. You’re also:
Setting up for failure
Many other aspects of your business depend on getting your sales analysis right. Everything flows on from here—your sales plan, processes, strategic messaging, training and recruitment—everything! It pays to do your groundwork thoroughly.
Hamstringing your wider team
Again, without the full picture, you might end up prescribing a solution that doesn’t actually fix the problem your team is experiencing. For example, sales training won’t solve a mindset problem or a management one. Instead, this “solution” is actually getting in the way of implementing real, effective change for your team.
Sabotaging individual success
Everyone is different. So, a one size fits all solution is unlikely to work. Done right, a sales analysis will identify the strengths and weaknesses of your individual team members, allowing for more tailored and effective solutions.
Analysing your sales system can also help you identify whether you have people in the right role. For example, placing a Hunter—someone who excels at finding and developing new business—behind a desk in the role of an account manager is doing neither them nor you any favours.
How to do a sales analysis: 4 tips to remember
1. Assess individual capabilities
Look at the capabilities of each of your team members. Knowing individual strengths and weaknesses can help you capitalise on their capabilities.
“A sales analysis is an excellent way to the capabilities of your team across the sales spectrum,” says Paul.
But remember, capability is both skill and mindset.
“Some people just won’t hunt,” Paul says. “So why would you train them to if psychologically they’re just not that way inclined?”
2. Don’t forget your managers
"A lot of the time it’s the management and organisation that needs development,” says Paul. “Poor sales could have something to do with the company culture; their team may not be motivated or they don't have the right incentives.”
3. Pick the right tools
It’s no good using assessment tools that only uncover part of the picture. For instance, focusing on personalities with a personality test, but not examining capabilities, or looking at skills alone, rather than the psychological makeup of a person and the wider team.
Having only part of the picture may mean you only fix part of the problem.
4. Think holistically
Examine everything from team skills and mindset to the sales process and core strategy. Companies tend to come unstuck when they don’t look at every part of the system.
“You can't fix a problem in isolation,” says Paul. “Sales is holistic, so everything needs to be investigated and tied in. Guessing is not a sound strategy, so remove the guesswork and analyse your sales force to make intelligent decisions. You deserve to grow sales!”
While it might seem a lot of work, a sales analysis will save you time, money and energy in the long run. With it, you’ll avoid a laborious and costly process of elimination, and cut to the root of your problem from the start. From there, success really is your oyster.