Are You Ready for the Upturn?

Many economic factors are pointing towards an economic upturn over the coming year.

This week the Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, said that the UK recovery has “taken hold” and that “unemployment will fall sooner than it had forecast”.

On balance, economists are still far from unanimous about how fast and strong the economy will grow over the next 14 months, but one thing is for sure.

As the economy continues to show signs of an upturn, so will the pressure on business leaders, sales directors and managers to deliver an upturn in performance. What you currently consider as a ‘stretch’ target for next year may well be too low for what you actually receive as your revised baseline target.

As the market recovers and the opportunity to blame a lackluster sales performance on the sluggish economy begins to wear thin, there will be no place to hide for any of us.

At the same time, recent reports reveal that the biggest gap in the skill-set of UK businesses is in sales, and this is only going to get worse over the coming months. The Chancellor’s decision to reduce National Insurance contributions of up to £2,000 per business will help smaller businesses that are looking to hire sales staff, but it will not address the overall fundamental shortage in selling skills across all industries.

So what can you do to ensure you are best placed to take on this additional pressure?

Well, now is the time to plan and start executing your plan to meet the growing expectations.

If you implement an applied development sales programme in the first quarter you can simultaneously accelerate real business and enable your sales teams to gain the necessary skills to keep driving up their achievement throughout the rest of the year. Just a couple of applied skills development interventions that use live suspects and opportunities as the vehicles for developing the selling skills of your people and some in-work coaching for the sales managers can really make a huge difference to the team’s behaviours, attitudes and results.

Traditional training is ‘time out’ and therefore represents a significant risk. Applied skills development programmes use: expert practitioners as coaches; content that is tailored to the industry; tried and tested tools and techniques that are easy to use; and live opportunities as the vehicles for developing the skills as well as directly driving accelerated business results.

This approach represents a great investment in delivering accelerated results in terms of selling, up-selling and cross-selling and can be considered as a great investment in terms of assuring that you and your people have a great start, middle and end to the coming year.

Written by: Adrian Atwood, Client Development Director at Sterling Chase