If you were thinking about the qualities of a top performing sales person, one thing you might note is that top performing sales people like a good challenge. If they did not enjoy the challenge of sales, the thrill of pursuing an account and winning it, they probably would not be top salespeople. The same can be said about successful sales leaders. Leading a sales organization and achieving those ever increasing goals can be extremely rewarding.
Thinking about the successful adoption and execution of your new sales strategy, there are sure to be challenges or barriers to success. Lots of different elements from the makeup of your sales team, to your company culture, or the nature of your customers can create potential barriers. As a sales leader, it is one of the major components of your job to help lead the sales organization past, over or through those barriers. We have identified two keys to removing barriers for successful execution of new sales strategies.
Key #1 to removing barriers to success is identifying the root cause of the barrier. Identifying the root cause of the problem enables you to address it quick and most effectively. If you are not addressing the real underlying issue, you are either wasting time or putting a temporary band aid over a larger issue. As often expressed in quality improvement initiatives, ask why at least three times to get to the root cause.
Key #2 to overcoming barriers to success is understanding that barriers typically do not form over night, nor can they be fixed overnight. Barriers are challenges, but to great sales leaders they are opportunities to drive change. If you can fix the issue overnight then it was never a real challenge to begin with (or you are very lucky and successful). To successfully eliminate a real barrier, you have to chip away at it day by day with a focus on continuous improvement.
Let’s do a quick example to illustrate the importance of these two keys. To be successful, you have identified two key barriers to success, barrier A and barrier B. You know the root cause of barrier A is that your people are uncomfortable talking to customer executives and the root cause of barrier B is your salespeople are too product focused in customer meetings. What do you do? A simple answer would be to set a new sales expectation that every sales person schedule 5 executive meetings a month and never talk about products until there 3rd customer meeting. Will this have the right effect by simply increasing the quantity of activity without focusing on the quality of activity? A better approach would be to ensure skills are honed through training & coaching with coaching after executive meetings to reinforce the desired behaviors.
Focus on these two keys to eliminating barriers to success as you continue to implement your sales strategy and you will be cruising past those barriers. The challenge in eliminating barriers isn’t fixing everything wrong with your engagement approach it is knowing what you need to fix to be most successful.
*This post is Part 4 of a 6 Part Series on “New Year, New Sales Strategy: How can sales leaders drive successful execution of new sales strategies in the New Year?” The content of this article has been developed by SOAR Performance Group through its sponsorship of the Atlanta Chapter of the Sales Management Association. Thought input for the article was derived from a recent Atlanta Chapter meeting and can be attributed in part to Atlanta Chapter members and discussion leaders from Ricoh, UPS, Equifax, PWC, Aon Hewitt, Google, Vantedge Group, and Georgia State University.
See more in the series on new sales strategy:
- Getting Off to a Quick Start with a New Sales Strategy
- Creating Focus in the Organization on the New Sales Strategy
- How to Communicate and Cascade the New Sales Strategy
- How to Remove Barriers for Successful Execution of the New Sales Strategy
- How to Connect Strategy and Compensation to Ensure Success of the New Sales Strategy
- Adapting the Sales Strategy Execution to a Changing Business Environment