The Five Things You Don

By: Rachel Clapp Miller on September 28th, 2017

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The Five Things You Don't Want to Shortchange if You Want to Be an Elite Sales Organization

Categories: Front-line Managers  |  Sales Transformation  |  Adoption and Reinforcement

There’s one thing elite sales organizations know. There are no shortcuts to success.

If you don’t build the foundation for growth, you’ll struggle with the key tenets of a high-performing sales organization, which include:

  • The ability to enable reps to be relevant and compelling at the customer-level
  • Established cross-functional alignment that ensures everyone knows who does what and when
  • Developed management cadence to accurately predict revenue and consistently achieve your number
  • Build a process and tools so your managers can own their talent – hiring, retaining and coaching top salespeople to success.

Building an elite sales organization requires an investment and the courage to drive change. If you want to be the best, you need focus, commitment and a willingness to shift the mindset of your organization.

Here are the five action-steps and key areas of focus, and key areas not to shortchange:

1. Initiate sales transformation, not training

There are hundreds of sales training organizations out there. Many of whom provide some great one-day, one-off sessions. They’ll provide great motivation for your sales team. You’ll feel good after the sales kick-off speech. Your organization may get some quick wins out of the engagement, but you’ll still be challenged with lasting success.

Elite sales organizations invest in a true sales transformation initiative. One that builds cross-functional alignment around executing at the point of sale. At the same time, it enables you with the tools, processes and cadence needed to enable your reps and managers to create and capture value for your customers and prospects. 

2. Enable your front-line managers

Your front-line managers have one of the toughest jobs in your organization. They’re trying to motivate, coach, develop, reinforce and inspect their own teams, but they’re also dealing with pressure from top leadership and their customers. They are often a forgotten and under-utilized resource. Your managers need tools that help them manage, inspect and reinforce in a way that improves productivity and drives consistency around the organization. The amount of time your front-line managers waste with cumbersome administrative burdens is valuable time that could be used helping their team sell.

3. Plan for adoption and reinforcement

How many times have you been part of a sales initiative to course correct struggling revenue numbers? Everyone comes up with a plan of attack and then the training or the meeting ends and after a couple of weeks everyone returns to their old bad habits. Elite sales organizations combat this tendency by investing and planning for adoption and reinforcement of new practices and requirements. Accounting for how you are going change behaviors after an initiative is rolled is arguably more important than the actual roll-out. Sales organizations that are most successful at accelerating growth and driving transformation strategically plan for adoption and ownership at the beginning of any change initiative.

4. Draft new initiatives into systems and processes into technology

When you’re instilling elite behaviors in your organization, you need a way to meet people where they are. Best-in-class sales organizations do this by making the investment into drafting needed processes into their CRM and other technology enablers. For example, if you are changing the way your reps approach the sales conversation, you may develop different pre-call planner templates, discovery guides or opportunity planners. How are you drafting those into the CRM system? Your content portal? Your presentation decks? If you want your reps to approach the sales conversation differently, but you aren’t making it easy for them to do, you’ll never gain traction.

5. Prepare to lead

If you want your sales organization to be emotionally connected to a new idea, then you need to personally inspire that emotion. That starts with your active participation. You can’t sit back and let others lead for you. Simply setting up a few status meetings isn’t leading. You need to drive the initiative. From the start, determine the exact steps you are going to personally take to ensure your organization will follow through on its path to being elite. Be an active member of the strategy and ensure you have a team that’s ready to lead with you.  Elite sales organizations have leaders that lead from the front. They don’t shortchange the importance of having a head of sales, a CEO, a COO etc… that’s invested and ready to lead the charge.

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