by Andrew Milbourn, CEO of Kiss The Fish
In our experience there are 8 key areas of sales leadership which will block the growth of revenues if they aren’t managed.
1 – A sales strategy aligned with the company vision.
High performance sales teams are those that are clearly working to a plan that is aligned to the vision of the business. There is no place of “lone wolf” activity or mavericks. The whole team needs to know where it is going and how or growth will be pedestrian at best.
2 – Great people
A great sales team is made up of emotionally resilient people. With this facet the ‘hard stuff’ will be put off or not done at all. Make sure your team are all competitive and driving activity that counts. Without strong people your progress will be bloked with ‘busy fools’
3 – Consistent sales process across the whole team
If your team are all selling in a completely different way then there will be gaps in performance. A great sales process is one that focuses entirely on the customer and has a reliable problem identity format and strong customer solution with obvious value in it. This is more than a sales training issue, the whole team need to know ‘how to sell’ – if you are relying on ‘flare’ based sales people then you’ll get some results but not the performance that you need.
4 – A customer curious culture
Your culture drives behaviour and if you culture is inward focused and not customer focused then you will breed a sales energy that is about closing deals rather than helping people make more money. This is difficult to deliver as culture comes top down, it’s the job of the board to make sure that a sales team know the value of the products they sell and how much a product makes for a customer. A value proposition is a consistent message which explains the value in the buyers terms, with a customer curious culture, the team hear from their clients about the value they deliver and they can use this information for the buyers benefit to help them make more money. It’s the way business should be – we sell for the buyers benefit and in turn we hit our targets because we are worth the prices we charge.
5 – New business
Far too many sales teams talk about selling ‘cold’ but very little energy is successfully applied to this vital part of business growth. Sales is not magic, it only happens when people contact other people and this is the ‘hard graft’ of sales in B2B territories. Any sales team should be spending at least 20% of it’s time developing new business opportunities including cold calling and developing strategies to increase multiple contacts of key target accounts.
6 – Accountability
I have never seen a top performing team that wasn’t being held to account for actions against a plan and against a target. It is simple in principal but hard to deliver as it takes determination and consistency of management but it has to be done. Any sales leader who fails to hold the team to account is making it harder than it should be to deliver consistent growth.
7 – Setting Targets
Sales people are nearly all competitive to some degree or other, arguably it is difficult to be a top performer in sales without that inner drive to competed. Sales people who have a strong sense of purpose may reach the top levels but a competitive driver is never a bad thing. In order to push teams to their maximum potential a skilful approach to targeting is required. Too easy and it ceases to be a motivator, too difficult and it is totally demoralising. A good sales team is stretched by a target and delivers above expectation if this part of management is done well.
8 – Clear pricing
Sales teams who are left to fight for a single price without a clear policy on discounts and negotiation pathways nearly always end up under performing. It is too easy for a sales person to simply ‘give’ an extra discount just to win an order. Remember that top sales people don’t ‘trade’ unless they really have to, they ‘sell’ meaning only the buyer moves. It takes a lot of skill but even young sales teams can perform well if a clear price strategy is in place.
Any weakness or failing in any of the above pillars of performance will lead to underperformance. The first step of sales growth is to check where you are against where you could be. At Kiss the Fish Ltd we have a team of highly experienced Sales Experts who will show you the potential of your team and then work with you to help you realise that.
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