Effective sales leaders might keep their eyes on the sales success prize, but they also know that fundamentals matter. Simply put, without the right building blocks in place, sustainable sales success is unlikely.
These fundamentals include carefully crafted strategic vision and mission statements which set the tone for success. They also include building the right sales structure – including markets and territories – as well as how the team itself is organized. With everyone marching toward the same goal, the foundation is set for sales success.
A Strategic Framework
The superior sales leader knows that strategy is also essential. Building on the foundations for sales success, the sales leader can strategically design a plan that targets the right prospects in the right territories, and aligns with the best sales reps. Of course, targeting these prospects can only succeed if compelling messaging, including the company’s Unique Sales Proposition (USP) and Unique Value Proposition (UVP), are consistently utilized. With the right sales reps sharing the right messages with the right targets, sales success becomes easier.
Processes in Motion
Naturally, even the best sales strategy falls flat unless supported by the best sales tactics. Sales leaders know that effective sales processes are where “the rubber meets the road.” They implement well-defined, well-understood, and actionable processes to empower sales reps. These top-to-bottom, start-to-finish processes are proactive rather than reactive. They standardize sales operations but play to the strengths of sales reps. They accelerate the sales funnel’s flow from prospecting to conversion. And to magnify the power of processes, the wise sales leader also equips the sales team with the right sales tools and team support to get the job done.
Measuring and Adjusting
One of the tools that top-performing sales teams use effectively is a customized Customer Relationship Management system. By analyzing high-quality CRM data, sales leaders are empowered to project revenue performance by forecasting with leading Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. The CRM, along with clear sales processes, also makes it easier to determine where tactical problems exist. For example, everything could go well, step by step, up to the point of conversion where it all falls apart. But with high quality CRM data, a focused process analysis can reveal problems in the sales operation. By pinpointing the identified areas of weakness in the sales process, the effective sales leader can then make strategic adjustments.
It might seem redundant to say that an effective sales leader needs to be a good leader, but here’s a surprising fact: too many sales managers or VPs of Sales often concentrate too much on structure and strategy and process and adjustments – and forget they are also called to lead people!
The best sales leaders know that to truly drive superior sales performance they must do more than merely hold their reps accountable for results; they must also coach and educate, empower, and encourage. They must motivate performance. They must inspire greatness!
While it’s true that not every sales manager is a born leader, the good news is that effective sales leadership can be learned.