Are You Using These 4 Critical Steps of Sales Leadership?

Sales leadership stepsSelling a lot of material is no longer just what you want your sales force to do.

Demands and expectations of customers are growing.  You must satisfy their needs.

Information technology is giving you more date, in more user-friendly.  The result is you need to more finely direct your sales force with the insights you now have.

Getting the sales force to do what you want them to do!

You have to decide what you want your sales force to do − that directly comes from your strategic plan or sales strategy. Therefore, you must develop a strategic plan and then create expectations for your sales force to support that plan.

Develop a list of the three to ten most important things you want the sales force to do − sales should be one of them, gross profits should be another.

Make sure your list can be easily, fairly, and accurately measured.  One measurement could be calling on new prospects, which measures activity.

The 4 critical steps of sales leadership again are:

  1. 4stepsDevelop a strategic plan.
  2. Create a set of 3 – 10 most important sales behaviors.
  3. Fine tune them until they are easily, fairly, and accurately measurable.
  4. Measure and reward the behavior you want.   Toasting measurable results or regions and/or sales people will get everyone’s attention.

Don’t expect great results if you only deploy and hope

4 steps to sales leadershipCreate a high performance sales team by holding accountability, goal setting, strategy developing, resource identifying, and quarterly or monthly conferences with each of your sales people.

At these conferences, do the following:

  1. Hold them accountable for what they said they were going to do
  2. Help them set goals
  3. Help them create a strategy
  4. Ask − how can I help

Follow these steps and your team will not only have better direction, they’ll better understand how critical their role is in delivering the results that the company needs and they signed up for.

Good Selling!

8 Pointed Questions to Reignite Sales Growth

crossroads 1Congratulations – you’re the new CEO of a business that is in the red and heading the wrong direction.

Every turnaround situation is unique and is a high risk and reward scenario with the jobs of many on the line.  And every turnaround has a common theme that the status quo was pushing the business in the wrong direction – the need to change was obvious.  Another common theme?  That the current situation is someone else’s fault; another department, the past leader, the dog who ate your homework…

The reality is it doesn’t matter.  Your task is to fix the business.  To do this you need to drop the politics and focus on the future.  You need people who you can trust, who have opinions, and can engage in constructive debates.

The best way to start the debate is with pointed questions

HonestAssign these eight questions to leaders in the business and then bring the group back together for a couple of days of offsite meetings.  The hard part is getting past the finger-pointing.  A new leader has everybody jockeying for position and transparency is hard to come by.

One solution that worded behind expectation was when we brought a key customer into the strategy session.  While it was risky, it was the catalyst that brought honesty out.  We happened to pick the absolute right person, who for three days dropped his own identity and joined the team.

You need to be intensely honest in this assessment

business-devolopmentThese are the eight questions we answered over three days and led to the reversal of a share loss.  Could your business answer these today?

  1. How do our products compare?
  2. How does our price compare?
  3. How does our cost compare?
  4. How does our service compare?
  5. How does our marketing compare?
  6. How effective is our sales force?
  7. How does our sales penetration vary by region?
  8. Where should we rate in two & five years vs. competition?

The goal is to come out of the session with a clear picture of who you are, what you want to be, and where you are going to focus first.

Here is a scorecard  that we used to illustrate our intentions.Graph

This is another post written with my colleague Doug Thompson, General Manager Rockwood Manufacturing at ASSA ABLOY.