A Discussion with Tech Company Sales Leaders: What’s Top-of-Mind Right Now
If you're a sales leader, it can be helpful to hear from others in your role to know how they’re dealing with similar challenges and where they’re finding success. We recently talked sales challenges with a group of sales leaders in the high-tech industry, as part of an event with Modern Sales Pros. The organization leads several peer-to-peer discussions and virtual events throughout the year. Not surprisingly, other company leaders are focusing on improving their organization’s ability to compete and perform. Here were our top three takeaways from the conversation:
1. Getting Busy: A mindset biased toward action
There are very few conversations right now, in any circle, professional or personal, that don’t touch on the pandemic. This discussion was no different. Not surprising among this successful group was that nearly every executive leader that participated had a bias towards action. Each executive mentioned multiple ways they were working to support their sales organization's ability to compete. Among the common answers were:
- Launching new products/features + messaging to sell them at a high value
- Pivoting sales messaging to align existing offerings with the evolving challenges of their buyers
- Improving seller negotiation skills to minimize margin cuts
- Investing in ways for their sales teams to faster qualify-in the right opportunities
How you invest in your salespeople’s success and move forward with strategic sales initiatives has become more critical than it ever was. There was a common agreement among those participating that taking risks and investing in ways to improve your sales organization’s ability to execute will be key to enabling them to compete. Every executive who took part in the event had their own story to share about what they did to drive revenue recovery (or growth) and what they’re planning to do moving forward to improve their company’s ability to win big.
Our take: Start outlining what’s next for your sales organization and invest in making it happen. As a sales leader, uncover the specific gaps in your sales processes and challenges your sales teams are dealing with. Right now, while the world slows, is likely your best opportunity to fix them. Whether they’ve populated as a result of current state, or the current economic environment as amplified underlying sales execution issues, define and align what your sales teams need to consistently move the needle next year, then get busy making it happen.
2. Gaps in cross-functional alignment impact the entire company
Many of the executive leaders participating shared their take on how critical it is to have company-wide alignment and buy-in on the key business objectives of the year and beyond. This isn’t a shock, but many participants weighed in on the common frustrations they face when different functions of the senior leadership team aren't aligned, and the problems their departments face because of this misalignment.
One key example brought up during the discussion pertained to the consequences that come from sales and marketing getting the message wrong in front of the customer. The lack of a consistent go-to-market message and internal language around the business value of your company’s solutions can cause negative consequences for more than just the sales team.
Here’s one example we discussed: When salespeople can’t align the value of your solutions to the positive business outcomes their buyers are hoping to achieve, sales numbers suffer, but customer success, product development and services teams also take a hit. When sellers don’t align solutions to the customer’s specific business problems, product development and services teams are likely to face poor reviews. Customers will blame the product. At the same time, customer success struggles to up-sell, cross-sell and prevent churn.
Our Take: Many companies underestimate the importance of alignment, especially when it comes to the growth strategy and the overall sales execution process. Without alignment, it's difficult to scale and keep a buyer-focus throughout your organization. Here are our top resources on achieving cross-functional, leadership alignment on sales strategy, messaging and execution.
3. Shifting the mindset of sellers can be the linchpin to consistent sales growth
Many company leaders acknowledged that enabling their sales teams to show up, listen and articulate the business value of their solutions was the linchpin to their organization’s ability to compete and scale. In one form or another almost every executive had something to say about:
- How they enabled their salespeople to actually listen to the problems of the buyer
- How they equipped their salespeople to focus on helping their buyers truly solve their problems vs trying (and failing) to sell them on products and features they know their buyers don't need
Everyone participating agreed that regardless of current state, shifting the mindset of their sellers to focus on the buyer is critical to achieving repeatable numbers.
Various leaders had different approaches on how to enable their entire sales organization to become top performers, but sales messaging and sales qualification process changes were a common theme. Deal qualification and sales messaging usually go hand-in-hand when it comes to understanding and uncovering the main reasons motivating the buyer to engage and move the opportunity forward.
Our Take: A repeatable qualification tool like MEDDICC can enable your sales reps and managers to understand if they should move particular deals forward and continue to spend time on them. Once they decide to move a deal forward, sales reps can leverage a repeatable and buyer-focused messaging framework to ensure the deal moves forward at a high value.
Enabling sales reps with a repeatable way to qualify-in the right deals fast, and a repeatable mechanism to instill value in those deals can be your linchpin to enabling your sales growth engine.
Be the first to know about our upcoming executive events with Modern Sales Pros
We’d love to know if you’d be interested in joining us for a similar discussion and wine tasting event with other sales executives. If you want to stay informed about when the next event will be and what topics will be covered, fill out our form. Once the next event is open for registration, you’ll be the first to know.