At SBI, we focus on one thing: helping Sales and Marketing leaders Make the Number.
One of the frequent questions we get asked is: What separates world class sales organizations from the rest? There are a lot of places one could look. But I’d separate it in two areas: Performance Conditions (Process) and Talent (Execution).
Part 1: Sales Process
World Class organizations focus and drive both portions of this cycle. On the Process side, investments are commonly made in sales processes and CRM tools.
I’ve seen great processes built with incredible tenacity. For example, consider a custom sales process. Tremendous time and energy is poured into understanding the buyer’s journey. Organizations track buyer behavior all the way from “not in the market” through “implementation”. They’ll determine the best course of action at each stage of buyer’s journey. The sales team is equipped top to bottom with tools they need to convert. Some common sales process investments are:
- Increasing deal size
- Increasing conversion rate
- Decreasing sales cycle times
All of these warrant these investments. Wise choices, so long as the organization has the talent and drive to execute them.
Part 2: Execution
Now let’s focus on the Talent (Execution) portion. I’ve seen the difference between companies that succeed in this aspect and don’t. It doesn’t come down to the structure of their sales process. Most organizations have these processes defined well enough to be successful.
The real difference comes in field execution of these plans. And, it starts at the top, with the Sales Leaders. As a Sales Leader, you must get your team to fully execute. In order to fully execute you must instill a total team behavior change. You must change processes and bad habits throughout the entire sales organization. If you don’t, your process changes won’t stick. In short – your team won’t execute. To succeed, this behavior change must begin with you.
What World Class Sales Leaders do to Drive Sales Execution
Leading by example requires that you engage in multiple ways. Below are some examples of how you can lead your sales team. All these aspects can help convince them to buy in. Get them to execute like a world class organization.
Here are the 5 things a sales leader must do to survive:
1. Skills & Knowledge
- Leaders show the team how to do something, not just tell them to do it.
- Leaders continually identify opportunities to coach. Chip in across the entire organization for improved performance.
2. Consequences & Incentives
- Clearly articulate the consequences of acting outside expectations. Similarly, reiterate incentives related to desired performance.
- Catch your team doing something right and reward them for it.
3. Expectations and Feedback
- It is never too early to explain what is expected
- Expectations are set and the process never ends. Once you set expectations, your team needs to abide by them. This process needs to become the new normal.
4. Inspiring & Motivating
- Leaders work with their team to create a shared vision.
- Leaders communicate frequently and share successes. When you get excited, your team gets excited. This will motivate your team to execute further.
5. Tracking & Visibility
- Clearly defined success metrics should be tracked and understood by your entire team.
- Continually publish individual, team, and company performance against the success metrics. Your team will be accountable and aware that the process is the new normal.
Change isn’t easy. But it is often for the best. Why do you think everyone makes New Year’s resolutions? Everyone wants to better themselves. Similarly, you want to better your sales team. If it’s going to happen, it’ll need to start with you. Follow the steps above, and don’t make excuses. Success awaits.