One of my most-used words these days is “scrutinize.” Merriam-Webster says it means “to examine closely and minutely.” At ESR, we find ourselves using the word fairly often:
- VPs have been asking us about how to determine which sales reps to keep and which to redeploy. In this current economic situation some of what salesreps depended on to win in the past will simply no longer work. It’s the old, “the past does not equal the future.” We recommend scrutinizing past performance as well as all the reps’ strengths and weaknesses against the new set of required skills and traits. And we strongly recommend psychometric testing. It’s very effective objective scrutiny.
- We know from work with our clients that business acumen is more important now in B2B selling than ever before. Salesreps need to scrutinize their customers, clients and prospects. (More about this when ESR reports on the results of our social media in B2B sales survey, which just last week.)
- Messaging. How relevant are the messages your salespeople are delivering to your customers and sales prospects? Those need to be scrutinized and relevance to what and how your customers are buying must be determined.
- New approaches and tools. I’ve written a lot about the new social media as well as Sales 2.0 (again here). These are very hot topics. (Just the number and flavor of comments to these three blog posts will attest to that.) ESR’s recommendation is to… You guessed it: thoroughly scrutinize any new direction or investment with respect to either or both of these promising technologies. The time may be right. But then again, it may not be.
- Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing. Brian Carroll and I are working on a project together. We recently discussed the challenges most companies are facing these days in those areas. What’s required for many companies is significant scrutiny—processes, pipelines, results, customer buying tendencies. Bring in experts if you need to. Get the right one, and it will be money well-spent.
- Sales training. Even with firms like The TAS Group moving the needle in the anytime-anywhere learning category, I’m very concerned about the significant drop in overall sales training during the past quarter. Sales training may be precisely the right area to scale back in certain companies. But certainly not in all companies, or even in most. Again, here’s where some significant scrutiny will enable you to determine where to spend your limited funds so that you have the biggest chance of making it through this economic situation.
- Here are a few more areas that should be targeted for some scrutiny: Territory assignments, compensation, coaching mechanisms, measurement and analytics, sales process, sales and marketing alignment, sales support and administration, and sales readiness. The list goes on.