Leadership Coaching: Sales Systems and Processes do Not have to be Painful
In doing research for my book, Millennials Matter, and for a Forbes article, Five Things Your Millennial Leader Needs From You, I gained important insights about the unique leadership coaching needs of this talented generation. Interestingly, it became a talking point during my conversation with Tony, the president of an engineering company.
Tony was extremely enthusiastic when we talked about the red-hot markets they were pursuing. However, when we switched gears and started discussing sales execution, his countenance cooled.
Here are some of Tony’s initial concerns:
- Missed revenue targets
- Margins are shrinking
- Major losses to competition
- Unable to crack new accounts
Even more distressing for Tony was not knowing what was the root cause for these disappointing results.
Which of your sales systems and processes are not supporting your growth goals?
Tony was frustrated. He saw great opportunity in the red-hot markets…but he did not have a sales effort that could go after and bring the vision into reality. Oh yes, he had tried a couple of ideas:
- Implementing a new compensation plan that was supposed to boost growth
- Hiring new salespeople who claimed to be good at developing new business
- Recruiting a new sales manager who said she was a seasoned, experienced leader
- Offering new products to gain market attention
- Launching a new website because salespeople wanted something updated
- Updating their social media strategy to get more presence.
The results were dismal.
Tony agreed that in order to chart a go-forward strategy that could shift the trajectory, he needed to know the following:
- Can our sales force be more effective?
- How much more effective can they be?
- What will it take to accomplish that?
- How long will it take to accomplish that?
- Should I have a targeted coaching strategy for the Millennials on my team?
This last question is especially important. We know that Millennials make up the largest section of the workforce. Tony expressed deep concern about the fact that it seemed to be taking forever to get his Millennial sales staff up and running.
The proven process that I recommended to Tony starts with a Sales Audit. It assesses areas such as the strength of existing processes, management, and strategies for recruiting, compensating, on boarding, and developing of sales staff.
Why a Sales Audit?
- Actionable insights: A Sales Audit provides targeted, objective, and actionable insights. You can confidently build a Next Step Action Plan that prioritizes where to invest improvement efforts based on ROI.
- Clarity: A Sales Audit offers a clear understanding of whether or not the existing sales force even CAN be more effective before any drastic action is taken. Why invest in any sales coaching effort if the data indicates there probably won’t be a ROI? A Sales Audit tells you exactly how much more effective your sales teams could be. You will also learn what it will take to accomplish that improvement, how long it will take, and what kind of ROI you can expect.
Recommendations may include:
- Where training or coaching is needed
- Who would and would not benefit from development
- Who should be repositioned or replaced
- Which strategies & processes need improvement
- How the sales culture can be improved
- What the short term priorities are for accelerated growth
A well-executed Sales Audit gets to the root cause of underperformance. It will help you gain confidence that you can set your team on a clear path towards growth. This information and insights provide the clarity to chart a course to meet and exceed your sales targets and get your up-and-coming sales teams as red-hot as the markets.
Leadership Lesson: Get to the root of your sales execution challenges before you take drastic action.
Leadership Question: What are you doing to ensure your next-gen sales team can bring your vision into reality?
© Copyright 2017 Danita Bye