How to Achieve Sales Growth Regardless of the Economy (Alignment)
Is ” improve engagement” a viable sales growth strategy?
It seems to me that “engagement” is a buzz word. What does this really mean in the real world? And, what are some of the common areas of misalignment?
Simply put, you need to align your sales team’s hopes and dreams to the mission and vision for your business.
Erik Beckler and I had a lively discussion about some of the alignment and engagement challenges business owners and CEO’s experience. You’re welcome to listen to the podcast interview, “The Misadventures in Organizational Misalignment” here.
I believe many leaders are struggling to develop a connection between their salespeople’s hopes and dreams and their own vision, mission, and values for the business.
Alignment Yields Sales Growth
We’ve all heard the statistics on the real-world benefits of employee engagement and having each person aligned with business vision and values. Those companies with the highest employee engagement reap the following rewards:
- 10 percent better customer ratings
- 17 percent more productive
- 41 percent less absenteeism
- 21 percent more profitable
Apply these statistics to your business. What would be the positive ramifications if you got 10% better customer ratings? What might happen to your margins if your salespeople were 17% more productive?
And, what about 21% more profitable? As we’re moving into 2021, we could use the extra on the bottom line, couldn’t we?
Boost Sales Growth with Engagement And Alignment
During our interview, Erik and I discussed my early career with Xerox Corporation. I knew I was working for the ‘best of the best.’ It was a privilege to work with great sales managers and sales leaders who believed in investing in their people. The coaching and mentoring I received during those years left a massive imprint on my leadership perspectives.
In fact, I saw first-hand what happens when a salesperson’s vision, mission, and values are aligned with the company’s vision, mission, and values. I also saw what happened when they aren’t.
Yes, a lack of alignment leads to a disengaged sales force. And, this means that there’s no way you’re going to achieve your sales and business growth objectives. Not even a positive economic climate will turn the trajectory of this trend.
When salespeople can’t see and connect what they do at work with the purpose and deeper meaning they want, it spells disaster.
Misalignment, Engagement, and Leadership Development
Many of us are familiar with the Gallup study on Millennials that found that employees, twenty to thirty-six years old, are the least engaged generation in the workplace.
What happens in companies where employees aren’t operating in the sweet spot of their gifting?
They feel unable to get past the roadblocks on their sales leadership pathway. The results? They lose hope, get discouraged, and don’t bring their best selves to work.
Here are three leadership development roadblocks that I’ve identified in a misaligned culture with low engagement scores…
Leadership Development Misalignment #1: Frustration
When your salespeople and sales managers are using their gifts and talents at work, but not in intentional or focused ways. It’s hard for them to see their contributions to their team or to the business. Since these Millennial and Gen Z salespeople, managers ad leaders aren’t focusing their passions, their impact potential is restricted.
The result? Frustration.
Leadership Development Misalignment #2: Discouragement
Many salespeople don’t connect what they’re doing today, with what they want to be doing in the future. Oh yes, they show up most days and punch the clock. They do the time, but they don’t have a clear, compelling vision of a positive future. Over time, they settle in. But, in their soul, they are discouraged. Often, these salespeople, managers, and leaders scour the ads, looking to make a job move. Unfortunately for them, because they don’t have a clear vision for the future for themselves, they don’t know where or what they’re really searching for.
The result? Discouragement.Compelling, heartfelt goals give hope and drive. – Danita Bye, Millennials Matter (p95) Click To Tweet
Leadership Development Misalignment #3: Confusion
Many salespeople, managers, and leaders want to be A-players. But, they aren’t operating in the sweet spot of their gifting, so they become C-players. They often feel like they’re on a treadmill, working but not getting anywhere. They don’t understand why they’re not making progress, despite their hard work.
The result? Confusion.
As you’re coaching your teams, what other misalignments do you see?
Also check my video here:
Mindsets to Fuel Sales Growth
In my article series, The 5 Success Mindsets, we take a deep dive into the mindset shifts that we, and our teams, get to make in order to achieve results even during times of chaos and uncertainty. We’ve gotten rave reviews on the series, so if you haven’t read it yet, you can get the full series here.
In fact, I am so passionate about aligning goals and dreams to business vision, that I also wrote about it extensively in Millennials Matter.
Below are extracts of the core concepts of some of these insights. Use them to coach your team so that they gain clarity on how they can align their gifts and talents with the work they do.
I believe these insights will equip and energize you to build an engaged, high-performance sales team and strengthen your leadership strategies.
Align Leadership Development with Sales Growth Strategies
My podcast interview with Erik Beckler sparked a vivid memory of a coaching session with a young sales leader that I included in Millennials Matter…
Sarah was a few months into her new job. She’d hit a rocky road in her current position and needed a career-coaching session.
During the session, she told me in confidence, “It feels as if all my dreams and goals that my boss and I discussed during my interview have disappeared. When I try to talk to him about other ideas on how to reach the goal, he just tells me to focus on what he wants me to do, and that’s it. I’m supposed to just focus on ‘hitting the number.’ He’s not listening to me. It feels like he only cares about his agenda, not mine. I really think I should look for another job where I can be myself. I want to be an integral part of the team versus just a number. I want to be a leader.”
Create Win-Win Leadership Development Coaching Plans
Putting on my sales-coach hat, I asked Sarah to think through at least three possible reasons the boss might be responding this way. I also invited her to come up with at least three possible solutions. Once she did this, we delved deeper to develop a win-win action plan. Some of this deep-diving included a discussion on what she appreciated about her work. We talked about how aligned her job was with her interests, talents, and passions.
This turned out to be a great leadership growth opportunity for Sarah. However, this isn’t an isolated case.
I believe your salespeople will be invigorated and motivated when they feel they’re making an impact. When they’re not, they are more prone to become disengaged and bored with their work. When this happens, a loss of productivity is guaranteed.
Impact Mindset and Leadership Development
What all the Sarah’s need for their seemingly “hopeless” situations, is the Impact Mindset. This mindset…
- Aligns salespeople’s and sales managers work with their talents and strengths,
- Gives them a high appreciation for their work,
- Fills them with purpose. These young leaders are engaged and valuable contributors at work. They see alignment between their personal and professional goals. They are confident, yet humble contributors of ideas and solutions, shedding light on most any situation. They are like lighthouses to those around them.
What might you do to steer your sales leader to the discovery of their unique wiring, skills, and talents and how that can align with the work they do?
Leadership Development Tip:Encourage your salespeople to change their perspectives on what they do. They will be able to leverage opportunities to create win-win-win outcomes. ~ Danita Bye Click To Tweet
How might you support the sales leaders in your business as they’re pondering the purpose and meaning of their work?
How to Increase Sales, Engage and Align Teams
How might you strengthen your sales strategy and align your sales team’s hopes and dreams with your vision, mission, and values for your business?
How might you coach your salespeople and sales managers to figure out how to catch a sense of the purpose that creates a win-win culture?
They need your wisdom, insight, knowledge, and discernment to move beyond the roadblocks. Your leadership matters, now more than ever before.
Start today by considering “improving engagement” as a sales strategy. It’s time to address the misalignments.
Leadership Development Lesson:
Coach your salesperson to see how they might create a win-win-win scenario by making an impact.
Leadership Development Question:
How might you invite your salesperson to develop a high appreciation for their work that is aligned with their unique wiring and calling?