Generally speaking, my clients split into four easily recognisable groups: Failing, Surviving, Performing and Winning.
Each group has four instantly recognisable sales teams:
The first, I call Saboteurs.
They are mostly (or all) under target. Sometimes, so far under their targets that they have forgotten what they look like! Their teams have poor morale and if you leave them alone for long they will be moaning about the economy, Brexit, the company, their lack of support, their leaders, their clients, their tools… I could go on. I am sure you get the point. We have all met teams like these.
Saboteurs, not surprisingly, have low activity levels and are reactive. They respond, with varying degrees of sloth-like actions to stimuli but will rarely (read never) be the ones taking the initiative.
I would categorise a Saboteur’s mental toughness levels as “lacking”.
The second group, I call Passengers.
Passengers can be benign in your business. They do not do much harm but they are not doing much good either. Sometimes, just to confuse things, they can be fun to have around. Hey, who doesn’t enjoy a day out and an ice cream?!
The results in teams full of passengers are varied, usually under target, and wildly inconsistent. Morale goes up and down and managing it feels like you are painting the Forth Bridge (never ending).
Activity is inconsistent and individuals are often busy on the wrong things. Passengers are easily derailed. The slightest thing can knock them off track whether it is an economic issue, office politics, an unwanted email, or, sometimes, just the weather.
I would categorise a passenger’s mental toughness as ‘inconsistent’.
The third group, I call Players.
Players are in the game. They want to do well and for some, or much, of the time they do. Sales results are mostly on target although still prone to inconsistency.
Sales morale is generally good and office banter positive and individuals spend significant amounts of time on proactive activity.
Teams of Players are generally good to manage but there is always this frustration that things are not as consistent as they might be and an underlying feeling that they could achieve more.
I would categorise a Player’s mental toughness as ‘consistent’.
The fourth group, I call Winners.
Winners are the top performers. They are on top of their game. They consistently better their targets; sometimes, significantly.
Teams made primarily of Winners produce world-class sales cultures. They have high productivity and are constantly seeking to sharpen the saw – both in their own approach and in the services that they provide for your clients. Teams of Winners are, not surprisingly, the Holy Grail.
I would categorise a Winner’s mental toughness as ‘world-class’.
You will have a blend… but, as with good coffee, the blend matters.
Teams are never made up of one category and most teams have a blend of all four but it is this blend and what your plan is for dealing with it that determines whether you are going to move up or down the failing, surviving, performing or winning pyramid.
So (and I like the tough questions) which category do your teams fall into? And what are you going to do about it?