Successful sales execution requires more than sales technology.

“Joanne, the challenge is always in the execution.” That’s what a client told me more than 20 years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it. Companies today purchase the latest and greatest sales technology, provide minimal training, and then wonder why it’s not adopted across the board. Because it doesn’t actually help with sales execution.

In most companies, as much as 50 percent of tech purchases are never implemented. In one organization, a salesperson told me he purchased technology on his own, because he had used it at his previous company and couldn’t live without it. It’s never a good idea to have lone rangers on your team, is it?

Sales technology might help you identify prospects, but it won’t solve your sales execution challenges. For that, salespeople need to know how to have business conversations, how to build relationships, and how to take responsibility for delivering what they promised.

It’s our job as consultative salespeople to guide our clients on what it takes to get the results they expect and to be with them throughout the sales execution. If clients don’t agree or aren’t willing to invest in what works, get out. Yes, you read that right. If clients ask me to train their sales teams on referral selling with no strategy, no metrics, no accountability, and no coaching, I walk. If I can’t properly execute the solution I offer, I can’t guarantee it will provide the expected results. And I’m not OK with that.

Nick Hulse, managing director of Europe for Sales Benchmark Index, says most companies aren’t achieving profitable growth, yet they have detailed strategic plans. What’s going  wrong? In his article, “How the Best CEOS Drive Their Strategy to the Salesforce,” he shares startling data about ineffective sales execution and specific steps to ensure this doesn’t happen in your company.

Read his article to refine your strategy for 2020. Then introduce your team to the only sales tactic that guarantees all your leads are qualified—referral selling. Invite me to speak at your next sales meeting or event.

(Featured image attribution: Steve Johnson)