Sales Managers have a myriad of issues to deal with. From generational issues to increased pressure to generate revenue, sales leaders feel constantly under attack. Sales leaders need to produce more than ever, while increasing margins. In addition, the current economic issues challenge leaders with cost containment, talent retention and profitability gains.
Today’s leaders are feeling the pressure. Following are the top 10 things to consider to simplify the leadership role.
1. Leaders must be examples. Leaders need to act in harmony with employees and ensure equal treatment of all. Employees and managers need to operate simultaneously without lines of bureaucracy. Culture within the organization must ensure equality of all and consistent focus on the customer.
2. Bureaucracy. Sales leaders are best served by eliminating unneeded bureaucracy. Unnecessary policies, processes and procedures frustrate staff, create delays and forces companies to lose focus on customer needs.
3. Too many silos. Companies are in business for one reason - to create clients. End the infighting and focus on the most vital asset! When the fighting ends (and everybody understands their reason for being employed) the business can become profitable.
4. Lack of cooperation with marketing. Sales and marketing often exist in silos and in many instances operate as separate organizations. Selling professionals believe marketing develops pretty brochures and marketing alternatively believes sales people simply make too much money. When these organizations operate synergistically to assist the customer everyone wins.
5. Accountability. It takes time and effort, but it is absolutely vital to the success of the sales organization. Sales professionals must adapt and become productive or face termination. Nothing happens without a sale and everyone needs to operate at maximum efficiency.
6. Talent retention strategies. On boarding requires a coordinated organizational effort to guide and mentor new and existing employees to huge gains in productivity. Research illustrates that 69 per cent of organizations with a structured program have a higher success factor of maintaining employees beyond three years.
7. Lack of cooperation with Customer Service. Similar to working with the Marketing Department, sales leaders must also understand customer issues and customer value. The information gained from shopping the business helps to be tuned in to customer issues and their quick resolution.
8. Human Capital Development. Of the 120 billion dollars per year invested in human capital development only a small percentage focuses on sales training. There are three prevalent issues:
- Sales Managers typically state a lack of time for training. Nothing is more imperative than an investment in your human capital.
- Sales Managers typically hold short-term event-based training. Development is a process not an event! Beliefs, habits and values will not alter in a seven-hour program.
- No accountability. A travesty of development is the lack of accountability following a development program.
9. Selling Methodology. A report from CSO Insights suggests that over 90% of most selling professionals and their organizations lack a selling methodology. It is imperative for a leader to institute an organizational methodology that establishes client value, creates interest and closes sales.
10. Business Analysis. The best sales leaders take the time to shop the business, the competition and the customers. Acknowledging and leveraging the best industry and competitive practices provides foundations for future success.
About the Author:
Drew Stevens PhD, President of Stevens Consulting Group and renowned author, consultant and sales expert literally wrote the book on improving sales skills. Dr. Drew is the author of the best seller Split Second Selling and Ultimate Business Bible that have helped thousands of frustrated sales managers, selling professionals and entrepreneurs improve their skills and gain dramatic results.
Ó2009. Drew J. Stevens Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.