Assuming you have your sales strategy right – the right customers who are identified from the right industry with the right approach to engage them who are all aligned to your sweet spot… then you’re all set to go!
You’ll also have recruited salespeople that are ‘fit for purpose’ and if you are a larger sales organisation you’ll have aligned the sales approach to the customers buying approach and where appropriate, allowed salespeople to specialise e.g. hunter / farmer models & aligned sales and marketing functions. Woah! Let’s take a deep breath.
These are some massive assumptions right here. If these elements are in place, then the following will help you to lead and create a culture that will empower your sales professionals.
Silver Bullet 1) Everyone is a customer. Your people are your brand. What gets modelled gets done and what interests my boss interests me.
If you want your ‘love mark’ or brand to come to life, your customers need ‘magic’ moments of truth with all of your people. If you want your people to ‘go the extra mile’, they need to be engaged. This is harder than it sounds and a whole industry focuses in on this with organisations like Gallup & their Q12, IBM Kenexa assessing engagement and providing approaches to shift and lift it.
A new take on the Balanced scorecard – The Z model
Look after your people and they will look after your customers. But how?
Boiling it down to the essentials, people want to have clarity about what’s expected of them, the capability to deliver, know how they are tracking and have the motivation to make it happen. This is supported by a lot of research, my favourite research and related insights coming from:
Set your salespeople up to do the best work of their lives! Model with your salespeople what you want them to do with customers i.e. coach them through sales – see article “Do great salespeople make great coaches?”.
Ensure you provide tools that enable your team that don’t distract them. Design these tools with them to meet their needs and the needs of the customers, whether its product information, marketing insights or tools like CRM.
Silver Bullet 2) What gets measured gets done – lead and lag indicators that directly lead to the right outcomes and allow time for shift.
Clarify the key leading behavioural measures your team need to get the job done. Allow enough time for new behaviours to embed and trigger results. This is typically nine or so months for sales behaviours and 18 months for results.
What are the lead behavioural indicators? Find out what these are from the top performers in your organisation by modelling what you observe them doing ‘in the field’ with their customers. Then train others in the team to do the same. Huthwaite has conducted research on this to understand what the top 1-2% of sales performers do consistently to generate results, boiling it down to these competencies:
Silver Bullet 3) Coaching, the right coaching, regularly.
All sales leaders know coaching is important, but many don’t know what it actually is. And for those that do coach, it tends to be after the sales meeting to review how the sales person think they did. This is a good start, but the real value comes from…Coaching the PLAN, DO & REVIEW:
PLAN: Coach your salesperson on their plan for the meeting, its purpose and what skill they want to focus on developing.
DO: Observe what this person actually does in the sales meeting. Look at the lead behaviours demonstrated e.g. Number of questions asked? Were they open questions? Did they then ask problem and impact questions to find out the ‘need under the need’?
REVIEW: Get the salesperson to review how they did both in hard measures of meeting outcomes, but also soft measures of skills developed. Then provide evidence based feedback from your actual observation. This is impossible to do if you didn’t observe the meeting!
In the world of sport, players practice 90% of the time and play for 10% of it. In the world of business, players play the game 99% of the time and yet we expect high performance all the time?? In sales I would advocate for 3 types of coaching that lead to increased performance:
That’s it for part one. Part two explores additional focus areas for sales leaders, with part three exploring the role of DATA, qualification & the key to embedding.
Why not find out what current sales leaders and capability coaches are doing to unlock their salespeople performance in Air New Zealand, Fisher & Paykel, Fonterra, JDE, OfficeMax, Spark & Tandem Travel this April. Coming together for a Sales Leadership breakfast on Friday 3rd April these leaders will be sharing their own learns and tips in the world of sales. Find out more below.
Thanks for reading!