With a new year comes new inspiration, new challenges and new trends. For the sales leader, the new year also signals a new quota, the resetting of results to zero and the new sales strategy in place to achieve the numbers. We understand the challenges faced by sales leaders in adopting and executing a new sales strategy and provide this playbook for accelerating strategy to execution to results.
Two years ago, we released a 6 part blog series aimed at answering the following question: “How can sales leaders drive successful execution of new sales strategies in the new year?” Reading back over the series, although “dated” by two years, the steps are still extremely relevant and effective; a sort of Back to the Future if you will.
Below is a summary of the 6 steps. For a more detailed read on a particular step, simply click the title of the step to read the detailed blog article.
Step 1: Shift the Attention
Steer the attention from internal (your organization) to external (your customer’s business and their priorities). The customer focus your team exhibits in January will drive the results for the months, quarters and the year. It sounds like a given but an emphasis on this will go a long way to getting off to a fast start.
Step 2: Create Focus on the New Strategy
If the sales people are not 100% focused on the new strategy, human nature will lead them back to what is familiar and comfortable. If your sales reps cannot communicate the strategy back to you clearly in just a few sentences, the new strategy is at risk of collapsing. Create the focus necessary by ensuring the strategy is clear and does not have any vague messaging. Then, get started with your leading by example.
Be transparent with your people and clearly convey to everyone in the sales organization what the strategy means to them in their role. When communicating the sales strategy, focus on how each role will impact and support the new sales strategy. With proper communication throughout the organization, the strategy will cascade from the executive levels down through management and to individual sales representatives.
One of the major components of the sales leader’s job is to help lead the sales organization past, over or through barriers that hinder successful adoption and execution of your new sales strategy. It is important to identify the root cause of the barrier in order to address it effectively instead of putting a temporary bandage over a larger issue. Keep in mind that a true barrier does not form overnight, nor can it be resolved overnight. To successfully eliminate a real barrier, you have to chip away at it day by day with a focus on continuous improvement.
Money talks. Money can also motivate. Ultimately, the reason to connect strategy to compensation is to motivate change. People like new strategies because they see new strategies as an opportunity to realize better sales results (and add more value to their customer’s businesses). So it’s important to ask yourself how you are going to connect compensation to successful adoption and execution of the new strategy. Start by identifying specific behaviors and activities your people either need to start doing or stop doing. Next, align the objectives of the strategy with the objectives of their compensation plan in order to drive those behaviors and actions.
Change represents opportunity as it drives new customer priorities, and this creates the need to adapt the execution of the sales strategy. Having high, wide and deep relationships at multiple levels within the customer’s business is hugely important as these relationships are required to understand the rapid changes within the customer’s business. Also, you want to be able to quickly demonstrate how your solution can bring value to the customer’s business and reduce risk as today’s buyers are risk adverse and pressed for time.
Following this sales playbook for accelerating strategy to execution to results will help ensure the successful execution of your new sales strategies in the New Year! Good luck and we wish you a very successful year!
Note: Since I mentioned Back to the Future earlier, here’s an article discussing the predictions made in the second film – What ‘Back to the Future Part II’ predicted for 2015