The 7 Deadly Sins of Sales Teams

Last Updated May 7, 2008 9:51 AM EDT

Seven Deadly Sins
Selling is hard work, but it's even more difficult when the sales team starts exhibiting dysfunctional behavior. Here are the seven major sins of sales teams, along with some advice on how to cope:
  1. OVERCONFIDENCE. When everyone wants to make big numbers, there's a tendency to sell too much, too quickly.... Solution: Before closing, always make certain that the customer really needs your offering and that your firm has the resources to deliver promptly.
  2. GRANDIOSITY. If you've got a terrific offering, it's all too easy to pretend that it's a panacea. While some products do arguably "change the world" they're few and far between. Solution: Focus on helping the customer, rather than converting them to a "product" religion.
  3. HUBRIS. Sales professionals know what worked in the past, but the memory of past success blind the team to changing customer requirements. Solution: Become obsessed with customer satisfaction and measure it through an objective customer survey.
  4. DEHUMANIZATION. Sales technology is great, but if it becomes too pervasive it can hinder the person-to-person interaction that is the core of relationship building. Solution: Use technology sparingly and use face-to-face communication for key customer meetings.
  5. OVERWHELM. During times of change, there's a tendency demand more from everybody on the team, and management may pile on extra offerings, making it difficult for keep abreast. Solution: Stay focused on what the customers are buying today.
  6. STOVEPIPING. In every company there is a tendency for sales to view itself as the only group that's really important; meanwhile, other groups start viewing the sales team as arrogant. Solution: Get other groups involved in the sales process by inviting them to meetings with key customers.
  7. STRESS. Sales is, by nature, a stressful activity. If a sales team isn't careful, it can end up creating a sales culture where stress becomes habitual, like a drug. Solution: Make humor and laughter an integral part of your personal sales process.
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