How Sales Leadership Can Unlock a more Strategic Role in the Business
A modern Sales leader constantly balances two things: continually learning how to best engage clients or prospects to meet the needs of their business’s vision and KPIs and coaching their teams to improve the key sales competencies to allow them to do the same. But maintaining any upward, improving momentum is a tough call, and KPIs have a tendency to creep upwards too. Even an exceptional Sales Leader will be caught between improving his/her team’s performance and making Sales the strategic player it should be in the business.
If there is such a thing, the trick is to instil best practice in a team through a combination of on-the-job training & assessment and using a 3rd party specialist to deliver an ongoing training, support and coaching programme. While this improves the key competencies of the team over time, it also allows Sales leadership time to demonstrate strategic thinking and the ability to plan and execute long-term.
The go-to response to the need to keep teams performing better is to train and develop team members by dropping into place some well-chosen (but ad hoc) training. Usually intensive in nature, training programmes in Sales can be highly effective – in the short term, at least. Humans are such that memories are short for receiving new information, and therefore anything learned in this environment is very quickly forgotten over time. Better training programmes will include cost-effective ways to repeat and embed this knowledge over longer periods, ensuring that more of it is retained and therefore represents better value.
But what about the second parts of this equation: teaching Sales leaders how to best present themselves to take their rightful place as a key figure in any strategic planning for their customers? Additionally, how to instil and help coach their teams to do the same?
Sales Activator leverages a process of Value Mapping directed firstly at ascertaining the company’s wider strategic goals and used as the basis of a sales development programme which assists the Sales leader’s ability to position and execute this more strategically in their organisation.
Step two is to assist Sales leaders (and their teams) develop Value Maps for their customers. By looking at their customers more strategically, it helps them network at a more senior level within those organisations.
Like most good solutions, there are positive secondary effects, too, especially when the business enters into a longer-term commitment to improving the competencies of its Sales function. Colleagues work better and are happier, so HR turnover decreases. Financial turnover from the Sales function increases, as do rewards for individual team members and leadership. And as the company’s reputation in the market grows (due to increased client satisfaction metrics), so do repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.
Of course, there is no magic bullet for Sales success, and no off-the-shelf solution is available to drop into place. But as any HR professional will happily attest, a commitment to personal development is massively valued by today’s dynamic workforce. The Sales Activator approach is long-term, modular and scalable, so it will play a major role in ensuring staff happiness – and high levels of performance, too.
Long-term improvement (that sometimes might involve a re-alignment of the Sales function’s role) usually begins with creating a plan between Sales Activator’s representatives (themselves long-experienced in Sales environments), Sales leaders and other critical stakeholders.
Improvements begin with a Sales Team Assessment and discovery calls with key stakeholders. This gives both Sales Activator and leadership the necessary data from which to measure. Aligned to the five pillar strategy we touched on in a previous article (and also available to read about here), this initial audit forms the basis of the next steps in a longer journey. Sales Activator’s goal is to make every sales leader a success and, by proxy, make every team perform at its best under his or her leadership. To realign your career and bring value to the enterprise, start with Sales Activator.