In reflecting on the past year and looking forward towards 2013, I have compiled a quick summary of a few basic actions sales leadership must take to succeed.
Step One: Build an active recruiting plan.
You must know your average transaction value is vs your yearly or monthly sales objectives.
The question you need to answer is: “Do you have enough salespeople on board to achieve your monthly number of required sales transactions? “ A sales manager must look out 90-120 days knowing your future potential revenue objectives and understand your manpower requirements. Recruiting is sales leadership’s marketing campaign for sales leads. Build an ongoing program to ensure you have the right talent in place to exceed your goals.
Step Two: Know your pipeline metrics.
You must know the accurate value of the pipeline 90-120 days out (depending upon your sales cycle).
The question you must ask is: “Do you have enough opportunities both in value and numbers to achieve your upcoming monthly quota?” If not, what can you do to ensure you build up the pipeline values so that you will have enough opportunities to achieve the monthly objective?
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Step Three: Is your team trained?
Recently, at one of my new clients, I “listened in’ as two of their salespeople gave a presentation to a major new client sales opportunity. It became obvious the salespeople were not professional or even capable of handling the meeting.
It was enlightening and a crucial step towards increasing the need for continued focus on sales training. The sales team had been neglecting our recommendations to improve their skills. Now there will be an increased buy in by management and peer levels to focus on sales skills.
Here are some suggestions for your sales team:
- Make more sales calls with your team
- Build in a quarterly salesperson skills evaluation process
- increase more role playing in your sales training meetings
- Build a quarterly sales training programs
Step Four: Improve your professional business acumen.
Implement the following so that you can be a better leader to your sales team:
- Make sure you read the local business sections in your newspapers, the Wall Street Journal, business magazines, and relevant websites.
- Read a minimum of 3 business books a year.
- Join a sales leadership “peer group” of other sales managers to learn how others are increasing their leadership skills. This step will improve your ability to discuss the business trends of the day with prospects and your sales team, increase your stature within your management team and improve how you manage your team.
Follow these four steps and your odds of staying ahead of the normal 18 month window that most sales leaders live under will improve.