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When sales leaders examine growth opportunities, the conversations typically revolve around sales strategy, customer retention and growth, and sales training for their teams.

The other side of the growth coin is subtraction. While counterintuitive, it’s critical to identify the hidden costs sapping sales success and consistently work to remove them from your sales organization and business.

These costs don’t have a line item in the balance sheet or a field in the CRM, but they are in fact more expensive than even the largest expense line in your P&L this year.

1. Opportunity Cost.

These are the opportunities that simply slip away because of issues like poor sales onboarding, unproductive sales conversations, or lack of sales prospecting. What makes opportunity cost so insidious? It’s not easy to see or measure.

This one data point alone will drive home the impact of this cost: Sirius Decisions (now Forrester) cites the opportunity cost (potential lost business) of poor onboarding to be at $100,000 per sales professional. Six figures. Amplify that across the variety of challenges in a sales organization and you likely have millions of dollars not being realized at the bottom line.

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2. Energetic Cost.

When working with clients, I spend significant time on the mindset of sales success. Energy is a critical component of your mindset formula – personal energy and organizational energy.

Sales leaders, as you assess your sales professionals and even your customers, is the energy positive or negative? Do they lift the organization or tear it down? Is their behavior productive or toxic? It takes only one toxic sales professional or customer to have a reverberating effect within the organization. It takes strong values and continual vigilance to weed out toxicity.

3. Poor Relationships Cost.

In a recent coaching session, a client shared with me that one of their goals is to build relationships outside of the organization. While they had many relationships inside the organization and with current customers, there is essentially an entire category of relationships – the broader network – not being optimized.

Smart sellers, leaders, and organizations know that identifying and building strategic relationships makes the difference between excellence and mediocrity.  It makes the difference between identifying and closing the right opportunities and staying stagnant.

4. Indecision Cost.

One key quality of my ideal clients is decisiveness. My role as their strategic sales advisor is to assist them in navigating the decision path. These ideal clients realize they will never have all the information with which to make a decision. They’re confident in making a decision with today’s data, knowing that when new information comes to light they have the option to pivot.

Indecision is a decision. It’s staying with the status quo or avoiding a difficult action. There are many available options when it comes to sales strategy, or in helping customers make buying decisions. Decisiveness creates optimism, trust, and ultimately growth because it creates progress.

5. Poor Leadership Cost.

Poor leadership creates poor (or at best mediocre) results. Sometimes that effect is immediate, and sometimes that effect takes time to unfold. I believe no one comes into a leadership role with the intention of negative impact. It’s typically the result of a values, skill, or opportunity mismatch. I’ve heard it described as having the right leader, in the right role, and at the right time.

A poor habit that plays out regularly in organizations is promoting high-performing sales professionals to sales management without the proper skill development and guidance. A sales manager leads on average ten individual sellers, and that tells me that leadership at the front-line level has a 10X impact. Whether that impact is positive, negative, or somewhere in between is up to the executive leadership team to ensure strong leadership values, structures, and skill development across the organization.

How Can You Prevent These Costs from Impacting Your Sales Strategy?

The good news is that these costs can be identified, mitigated, and eliminated. I encourage you begin with observation, becoming aware of where these costs may be showing themselves, whether it’s within a specific team, an initiative, or more broadly across the organization. You may decide to communicate with your teams that you’re actively identifying these invisible costs because they’re so important to address.

Even making forward progress with one of them will make a positive difference; that progress will effect the other invisible costs and provide lift to your sales strategy and sales training efforts.

Could Your Sales Strategy Use Expert Perspective? Amy Franko Can Help.

Amy Franko is the leader in sales strategy and sales leadership coaching, helping you to design best-in-class sales programs that accelerate growth. To significantly improve the outcomes of your sales strategy, let’s schedule a conversation. Don’t let your competition get an advantage. Contact us to schedule a conversation with Amy.


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