Our World Class Sales Cultures Framework helps leaders assess their sales culture and outlines the areas of focus to help make their organisation world class.
In the third part of our Framework, we look at Sales Leadership.
Without strong and effective sales leadership driving the sales culture, the focus can be difficult to determine and results can be tough to achieve. How can you assess and rank Sales Leadership?
1. Sales Management Process
Sales management is one of the hardest roles in an organisation, with constant pressure from above and below. Having a system and process for it can make it an asset rather than a liability.
In companies without strong sales leadership, we find the sales management is focused on deals and financial forecasting, which tends to focus on short term data.
High performing organisations have proactive sales management, driven by leading indicators, rather than lagging ones, such as financial results. We find that salespeople are prepared and accountable for their own leading and lagging performance as a result of strong management processes. Meetings and coaching are purposeful, planned and focused.
2. Supervision and Coaching Competence
Linked with your sales management process is how your leaders supervise and coach. Those that might not have the right focus will rely on their lagging indicators again, such as end financial results. With this limited focus, sales managers often act as ‘super sales people’, involved in constant fire fighting and taking a hands-on approach to most of their salespeople’s deals.
In organisations that have a structured approach to their coaching, we find they have meaningful data on their salespeople. They can use leading indicators that help them identify risks before they become a problem. Sales Leaders will be able to provide constructive feedback and they dedicate time to structured coaching.
Strong forecasts help all stakeholders understand the performance of the organisation, and this typically starts with sales.
For organisations that are yet to imbue a world class sales culture, we find that sales leaders have a disproportionate level of risk and accountability for all forecasting. Forecasts will often be unreliable and sales teams will push opportunities out regularly due to ‘external factors’. In these teams, we see a lack of accountability with low or no consequences for missed or poorly forecasted deals.
Sales Leaders that have mastered their forecasting have created teams that demonstrate accountability and often hit targets. Salespeople understand their win probability and employ close plans to mitigate risk, giving their sales leaders confidence.
Sales Leaders committed to creating a World Class Sales Culture will find their organisations perform at a much higher level once they have mastered sales management, their approach to coaching and their revenue forecasts.