Attn: Sales Leaders - Do you know what your role is?
If you are a Sales Leader, Businessowner or leader of a company, how would you answer this question – “What is the role of the Sales Leader?”
In my work at AcSELLerate, I typically get responses to this question along the lines of “hit my numbers,” or “meet my revenue goals.” Let’s be honest, a Sales Leader that does not hit their goals in a reasonable time frame won’t be a Sales Leader for long, but “hitting numbers” is a by-product of their role – not the role itself. The role of the Sales Leader is
“To develop an effective sales organization which consistently and predictably meets or exceeds the company’s business objectives with a productive, scalable sales force at the planned cost.”
Let’s look at this definition a little closer.
1. The Sales Leaders job is not to develop successful individuals, but to develop a successful sales organization. Many Sales Leaders focus on the individual and try to “manage” each sales rep to success. They function as full-time “cat herders,” creating individual game plans to meet objectives.
When the focus is on building a successful sales organization, the emphasis switches from a reactive, response driven approach to a proactive, process driven approach. The Sales Leader who focuses on the organization implements a “top-down” approach. These leaders have a clearly defined revenue model, know who their ideal prospects are, and have a defined sales process model for their reps to follow. The Sales Leader who focuses on developing individuals creates a “bottom-up” approach where they are reacting to individual challenges rather than setting a clear direction and path for sales reps to follow.
2. Consistent and predictable growth is the key to scalability. Growth that is erratic and unpredictable makes it impossible for organizations to execute and grow in a sustainable manner. Consistent and predictable growth creates momentum and allows the business owner to make proactive business decisions for the organization. Growth that is erratic and unpredictable creates reactive organizations and forces business leaders into a “wait and see” mode before making business decisions.
The key to building a consistent and predictable sales organization is a defined sales process model for all reps to follow. The sales process model identifies each stage of your prospects journey and the key activities salespeople are expected to engage in at each stage. In addition to activities, accessibility to resources that support the sales rep at each stage is defined. Nothing is left to chance.
The sales process model is supported in the CRM program and sales reps are held accountable to follow the model. A defined sales process model and regular accountability make it possible for the Sales Leader to identify where the sales rep is struggling and then develop an individual action plan to address performance gaps.
3. Growth must be managed within a framework of planned costs. An investment in a salesperson must produce a consistent and predictable ROI for the organization to grow. According to a recent survey by CSO Insights, two of the biggest sales challenges facing companies are;
1. The time it takes to get a new rep up and running and
2. High turnover rates on the sales team.
These issues typically share the same root cause – a lack of organization and planning. Most of the companies I have worked with did not have an organized, structured plan for on-boarding new reps. There may have been some training on the product or service and perhaps an opportunity to “shadow” an experienced agent, and then they were turned loose and expected to figure it out. Without a defined sales process, there is no system for setting expectations and measuring process.
The lack of a defined sales process model and path to follow often leads to frustration at the sales rep level. Without a clearly defined plan and process to follow, reps are left to figure it out on their own. Their inability to succeed quickly impacts their ability to earn commissions which compounds the frustration. If the job market is decent, these sales reps will look for better opportunities to succeed and leave the company. The combination of these two factors dramatically increases sales costs to the organization.
One of the key tools in helping a sales leader build an effective sales organization is to create a Sales Playbook for how all sales reps sell the company’s products or services. The Sales Playbook defines the revenue goals, identifies the ideal target customers, and provides a detailed sales process model with activities and resources required for each step of the process. The Sales Playbook is introduced to the new sales rep and becomes a primary tool to ensure successful on-boarding. It also serves as the foundation for support and accountability to all sales reps on the team.
At AcSELLerate, we work with companies to help them create a Sales Playbook that is customized to the way they sell their products and services in the marketplace. This resource becomes the foundation for building an effective sales organization which consistently meets or exceeds the company’s business objectives.
If you are interested in discussing how a Sales Playbook can impact your sales organization, I would love to connect and discuss this with you in more detail. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.