The worst job I ever had was doing sales for a phone company while in college. It was one of those super ambiguous ads that talks about all the money you can make and the few qualifications you need. It sucked me right in. What was the job? Door-to-door selling landline phone service contracts. I worked there for exactly one day. In that day I got yelled at, chased by a dog, had a door slammed in my face, and told to leave in a less than savory manner using all matter of colorful language. I went through a brief run of entry level sales jobs – one at a mall kiosk (yeah, I was one of those people) – before I decided that outbound sales just wasn’t for me. I’m an efficient person by nature and all I could think in the brief period I worked for these two companies was, “There MUST be a better way. No one wants what I’m selling.”
I wasn’t the only one to discover that there was a change in the way that customers were buying things. HubSpot was making the same discovery right around the same time. (Dharhmesh addresses it in his keynote speech that he gave at Inbound14.) I definitely wasn’t the only one that hated their role in sales. The saddest part is that in some organizations the role of sales is still the exact same as it was when I was in college 8 years ago: Knock on doors and hope for the best. You can pick these organizations out from a mile away. Here are a few tell-sale signs of a pissed off sales organization:
Cut-throat, competitive behavior between sales reps.
In an organization where outbound reigns, there’s a tension in the air. The stakes are so high and the competition is so great that reps literally will stop at nothing, even stabbing each other in the back, to make a sale happen. Seems a little stressful, right? Simon Sinek put it perfectly in his Inbound 2014 keynote speech, “When we put people in an unsafe environment, we force them to spend their time and energy to protect themselves from each other.” This isn’t the ideal environment for realizing anyone’s vision no matter what it is. In such a stressful, performance addicted environment, you will always sacrifice service, team and culture for the bottom line. If the culture is lacking in your organization and it’s an every-man-for-himself mentality, odds are high that you have a pissed off sales organization on your hands and employee turnover is going to be pretty scary.
A CYA Mentality.
In a pissed off sales organization, reps are constantly worried about filling schedules, appearing busy and covering their asses with data entry and meeting notes rather than focusing on what matters – which is how many deals they actually close. There exists a lot of micromanagement, nit-picking, and general unhappiness. This mentality comes when numbers aren’t looking ideal and reps are under great pressure to perform better and find new, quality leads rather than focusing on warm leads that are ready to close.
Sales and Marketing are at odds.
You’re pretty sure you didn’t assign teams when you hired everyone, yet marketing and sales seem to have a little bit of an issue with one another. Rather than working together, they’re playing the blame game.
Sales: “The leads aren’t good.”
Marketing: “Sales isn’t closing them. The leads are fine.”
Where does the blame game come from? A lack of trust, a lack of measurement and a lack of teamwork.
No one wants to be pissed off at their job. And no one (I repeat, no one) should ever have to run in heels from a big black dog just because they’re trying to earn a little extra cash in college. When you spend so much time with the same people day after day, you need to be happy where you are. You can’t cultivate happiness when you rely on your sales team to bring in and close every single lead that comes into the organization.
How do you move from pissed off sales organization to Sales Utopia? Start with a CRM. You need to be able to measure the efforts of your sales and marketing team and have transparency over which leads closed and give that intelligence to marketing so they can hone their efforts. There is a world where sales and marketing get along. There is a world where the pipeline doesn’t look so grim. Where your reps aren’t looking over their shoulders and busying themselves with mindless work that isn’t closing sales. That world exists in an Inbound organization.
It might be time to rethink your sales and marketing strategies.