This is definitely my most important post so far.
While companies all face different challenges, there are three universal ones plaguing the sales industry today:
1. The buyer’s journey has changed dramatically. There are now more decision makers in every sales situation; the buyer is busier, more knowledgeable and more risk-averse; the buyer’s expectations of the sales profession are much higher; and the decision process is more complex. Thus, it is harder than ever to move a buyer to make a change.
2. It is tougher than ever before to differentiate your offering. Companies and salespeople are struggling to stand out and truly offer something of sincere value in every step of the sales process to their customers in a very crowded market. Even if you have a product or service that can be differentiated it’s still tough to get buyer mindshare.
3. Sales reps are facing increasingly complex and time-challenging demands. Companies want more data (typically through CRM platforms), reps need to be more knowledgeable about their product and more prepared for every sales interaction than they ever have and there is greater pressure on reps to provide consistently higher sales. The reps may not receive sufficient support, so they need to work harder to balance increased internal demands against winning more sales.
So, here we have the perfect storm: a more complex and challenging customer environment, where more time is essential to properly prepare for each customer interaction; a proliferation of products and competitors that makes differentiation more challenging; and increased expectations for both sales achievements and non-selling activities.
My strident message to senior sales leaders and B to B executives and owners;
You absolutely cannot have your cake and eat it, too. Sales needs the time to focus on selling and, at the same time, the sales organization needs to close the gap between buyers’ expectations and the sales community’s skills and expertise.
So if you want to be a world class sales organization, give your team the tools and support they need and let your sales people sell. Do not overburden them with non selling stuff !!!
Creating a Best-in-Class Sales Team
I have witnessed firsthand these increased challenges in the marketplace and in the customer mindset, yet I believe sales remains an exciting and rewarding career. Despite what others may suggest, sales is not dead, it is evolving. And we in the field must adapt.
In order to meet business growth objectives, you need to overcome today’s challenges. The only way to do that is to build a best-in-class sales team. By best-in-class, I mean a sales organization built on a solid foundation that’s composed of a winning, supportive and collaborative sales culture; caring leadership; an effective hiring process; a strong sales process with robust analytics; proven execution; a customer-driven philosophy; and a mindset of continuous improvement and learning.
Below are the 10 imperatives that I believe are critical for developing a sales organization that will help you win in the marketplace and meet your revenue goals.
1. A well-thought-out, customized hiring process to find the candidates with the most potential to succeed.
2. A defined onboarding program and talent management system that will get your new hires firing on all cylinders as quickly as possible and keep them that way.
3. A finely tuned sales process and funnel management.
4. Appropriate key performance indicators, metrics and analytics to measure success.
5. Sales planning to ensure you are calling on the right targets and that your salespeople are focused.
6. Sales methodology to ensure consistency and effectiveness in the sales process.
7. Effective real-time coaching to help your salespeople be their best.
8. Compensation and reward and recognition programs that are aligned with what you need to achieve.
9. Change management, because change is here to stay.
10. A caring, high-performance culture where sales employees feel they are a part of something of value and where they can express themselves and collaborate freely in a team environment.
These imperatives will enable your sales leadership to create a best-in-class sales team, which will provide your organization with the best possible opportunity to win in the marketplace.
It is these 10 imperatives that my book, The Street Savvy Sales Leader is all about.
For more information and insights into sales organization imperatives see my website, www.streetsavvysalesleadership.com , or to pre order my upcoming book, The Street Savvy Sales Leader, A Guide to Building Teams that Consistently Win New Business.
Street Savvy Sales Leadership offers individual sales or sales leadership coaching, workshops, contract work, advising, and speaking engagements.
If you have any questions or comments, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Street Savvy Sales Leadership