It’s true that sales leaders have a myriad of responsibilities, and with so much on their plates, things either get missed or drop off their list. And when these two top priorities are overlooked, the risk can be lost deals and wasted time, money and resources. I’m talking about these two top priorities: taking the time to coach their sales teams, and making improvements in the sales organization wherever possible.
Get Creative with Coaching
As a sales leader, finding the time to coach the sales team is always a priority. Coaching can help sales teams get out of the weeds and see the bigger picture by asking the right questions, and fill in their gaps of knowledge.
A sales rep may continue to waste their time on opportunities in which they have little to no visibility with decision makers, but know in their hearts that they have the right solution. They end up working from the bottom-up (pushing their products and services to fit a business need – whether a priority or not) rather than top-down (linking the products and services to high-level goals and priorities).
It’s important that the sales leader redirect them to the top-down approach whenever possible. And it’s important to know when losing early and moving on to opportunities you can actually win is better than hanging on and losing after spending tons of your and your key resources’ time.
Focus on Improvements
I am a big believer in constantly looking for ways to improve three key resources: people, process and technology. However, you have to strike a delicate balance between the three.
I have seen sales organizations spend tons of money on sales training without a process or a coaching plan to ensure they stick. I have also seen sales organizations buy technology that either fails to make it easier for the sales people to sell, or requires sales to input information management needs but does nothing for the sales rep. This is because the three key resources were not viewed holistically and therefore not improved using a balanced approach.
To improve people, process and technology, the most successful sales organizations have a change management plan in place where leaders and top performers are part of the decision-making process. When any sales training, sales process implementation or technology is introduced, this plan helps to foster the change within the organization from the top down.
Sales leaders have the advantage of being at the top of the hierarchy, making a top-down approach to any type of change much more feasible to coach and implement. And over time, coaching and making improvements in the sales organization will no longer be missed or drop off the sales leader’s priority list – they will become second nature.
Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter