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Sales Leadership
PODCAST TRANSCRIPT - Sales Tips For The Pros - How Leaders Can Build the Know-How to Achieve Sustained Results
Jan 19, 2018 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

In this episode of the Sales Tips For The Pros show, we consider how leaders in larger organizations can build the know-how to build and sustain high performance.

Our guest is Pierre Lebel, Founder and Chief Results Officer at Rzultz, a Toronto-based performance and leadership consulting services firm which specializes in enterprise performance and human capital and resource optimization. Pierre and his team offer business modeling, strategy development, performance score-carding, enterprise risk management, human capital strategy, leadership development and coaching.

Listen to this episode and discover:

* What are the major tools and tactics needed to achieve sustained success?

* How important is it to encourage a learning culture? (e.g. helping managers and employees learn from insights, experiences, opportunities, and failures and build renewed capability for future success).

* What are things to consider when trying to determine readiness to achieve results, and the potential roadblocks getting in the way of success?

* When is it necessary to confront underperformance?

Want to hear more? Check out these bonus insights:

* To what lengths should a company go to retain their best salespeople? (e.g. incentives, promotions, shares etc)

* How can companies create performance results transparency and eradicate the noise and behavior associated with poor performance?

* How can companies go about improving team communication and engagement – so that the right people in the right jobs are never out of the loop or blind-sided?

Read the edited transcription:

Kristen H: On this episode of the Sales Tips for the Pros show, we consider how leaders in larger organizations can build the know-how to build and sustain high performance. Our guest today is Pierre Lebel, who is the Founder and Chief Results Officer at Rzultz, a Toronto-based performance and leadership consulting services firm, which specializes in enterprise performance and human capital and resource optimization. Pierre and his team offer business modeling, strategy development, performance score-carding, enterprise risk management, human capital strategy, leadership development, and coaching. Welcome, Pierre. Great to have you on the show today.


Pierre L: Thank you very much, Kristen, for the opportunity to speak with you.


Kristen H: We've got so many rich questions here, so I'm going to dive right into it. The first thing I'm curious, Pierre, about is, what are the major tools and tactics needed to achieve sustained success?


Pierre L: Big question. Short answer on that one, and I'll dive into that a bit more in a second. But the short answer is that there is not one single silver bullet that's going to cut across all organizations and all sectors. But when I think of what's critical in terms of major tools for a successful pro sales organization, I think of both inward and outward facing strategies and tools and things to really consider.


From an outward-facing perspective, I think it is critical that every sales organization needs to have a great understanding of its organization's sweet spot. In other words, what are the products, services, or bundling of both, that customers or potential customers want and need that ultimately help them gain advantage in its business. Second thing on an outward-facing perspective is a strong and provocative sales proposition. My experience is even great organizations today still struggle with having that provocation that centers around the value proposition or the unique selling offering to customers or to prospective customers. That's a huge, huge need in a lot of organizations that we work with.


A strong brand and product awareness is very critical around products and services. A sales strategy and a plan that actually is clear, it's linked to the business's financial customer, operational learning needs. Then that strategy and plan needs to cascade right down to the sales territory or sales rep. Without that clarity, oftentimes, people focus on the wrong things. When you think of an accountability organization, or a culture of accountability, that information needs to cascade right down to the bottom level of the organization. Being easy to do business with, meaning buying and getting a product or service is not always easy. But if it's frustrating to a customer or potential customer, then they simply won't do business. The last thing on an outward-facing perspective is does the sales organization, and its leadership, and its sales team, is it really clear on its core story?


For inward-facing tools and strategies, I think first and foremost, a good understanding of the organization's business model and what are the key economic drivers that make or can make the organization successful. That is really imperative to know for the sales organization. Having good sales tools and sales discipline, and having those tools available and processes well managed, that is imperative. Having a strong sales leader that's focused on growth and development of customer relationships, new customer segments, channels that allow for success, and also having that good sales leader develop and grow their chain. And lastly on an inward-facing perspective, having really good recognition and reward systems and a culture that allows for and recognizes and rewards for success. I think that is imperative.


Kristen H: Wow, that's a lot of really good stuff to think about. I love that you're also talking about understanding your sweet spot and what's unique to the organization and the story. It also makes me think of, Pierre, how important is it to encourage a learning culture?


Pierre L: I think that it's imperative. Not everything is as equally important as some things. I think this, having a learning culture, is imperative. Having sales leaders and representatives stay sharp and ahead of the game is imperative. To do that, information is power, information and access to tools and resources to help people think better, work better, and strive towards commonality around what does success really look like. Having a learning culture and a learning environment is imperative to actually stay sharp, stay focused, stay clear, and be focused on success.


Kristen H: Tell us about the principles of a performance readiness audit and how it can help larger organizations really lower risk of failure. Also, how can performance score-carding help to improve the success of teams?


Pierre L: It's really important to understand what is a performance readiness audit. Essentially, the audit is a process and tools that we've developed that result...that help organizations and sales leaders assess the strength, the weakness, and the probability of success of their most important sales and/or business objectives. Through that, what essentially we do is we link each core objective with sales processes, key initiatives or projects, to then assess the strength, the weakness, and the probability of success of achieving those objectives and the priorities by using real data and making certain assumptions around resources, discipline, budgets, and people.


Then through that exercise, when we identify those strengths and weaknesses and probability of success, we then help that sales organization identify what are some of the risk mitigation strategies, projects, or tools to help optimize their talents and their resources available to them to actually achieve that success. The performance readiness audit really gets down to truly understanding what are the risks and what are the opportunities. A performance scorecard helps leaders and teams focus real hard on the goals that matter the most. It helps create a performance management and monitoring system that showcases the cause and effect of where success is gained or where failure is likely to occur, and an early warning system to avoid risk that is occurring, or ultimately to avoid a risk event.


Kristen H: Let's talk about assessing potential impact and required discipline. What are things to consider when trying to determine readiness to achieve results and the potential roadblocks getting in the way of success?


Pierre L: The things to consider, I think, about achieving results and removing potential roadblocks is really what is the clarity of the strategy and the plan, and how it links directly to the business objectives, and really the day-to-day expectations of the sales team and reps.


What I look for in terms of an organization's ability to achieve those results are, is there a direct link between sales goals and individual sales accountability based on the organizational expectations. Unless there's clarity down to the sales rep level or territory, then it becomes group think and group work. It doesn't empower and engage the right people with the necessary tools, or insights, or even expectations, to help them move beyond their comfort zone to actually stretch goals in achieving these things. Having that clarity strategy and plan and individual accountability is imperative.


The other thing is having the right motivators, meaning rewards and consequences that drive the right behaviors. If you get measurement wrong, then everything else becomes wrong, because what gets measured gets talked about. What gets talked about gets done. If the conversations are logged based on measures of success, then everything else will scale, as well. Having good access to sales modeling and management tools are imperative to look at what is the probability of success or failure, and where does an organization and team need to focus its resources, time, and effort, money, to really make things matter.


Kristen H: Yeah, and it makes me think of when is it necessary to confront under-performance. Talk to us about the culture shift needed in an organization to move away from wishing for the right results to actively mining and monitoring for gaps and opportunities to really get the results you need.


Pierre L: Well, you know what? The culture really is created by the organizational leader and the experience of the people that are actually working for that individual, because I work in a world of performance and results. For our clients, oftentimes they hear nothing but the problems. I tried to shift the thinking around to, let's worry about the problems, but let's be more concerned about the opportunity. Let's understand our weaknesses and our gaps, our threats. Let's focus on what we can get better at, based on our core competencies.


When you think of under-performance, it's really important to understand what does under-performance mean? What does success mean? I think having clarity of strategy and measurement and what matters most is imperative to truly understand what under-performance is and when to actually start talking about it and addressing it. It needs to be defined. You need to understand when things are likely to go wrong. Unless you have a good monitoring system around the right targets, around the right measures, what these things look like either in terms of revenue, profitability, market share, product extensions, retention rate, that sort of thing...unless you're really clear on those things, you can't have the right conversation.


If you are clear on these things and the experience is, "Holy crap, we're not hitting these targets or not likely to hit the targets," that's when this conversation needs to occur, up front, real time, and not after the fact. The conversation needs to occur real time as it's happening. If you have a model that allows you to look at probability of success and failure, you've got real-time data indicating what is likely to occur, that's when the conversation needs to be had.


Kristen H: Another question for you, Pierre, is what are the fundamental internal technologies? If we look at things such as CRM or HRIS, which are necessary for larger organizations to really build, maintain, and monitor a high-performance culture?


Pierre L: Having real-time and accurate data is imperative. I believe that a good CRM system is imperative more so than an HRIS system. HRIS system helps managers make decisions around performance, changes for employees, etc., etc. But in a sales organization, a good CRM tool process methodology, with good data in, means real-time insight around the opportunities and to manage customer issues, to manage probability of success, to manage probability and opportunity for extensions of existing clients and customers and where they can tap into the market to grow the customer base. The CRM is probably a more meaningful and effective tool for a sales organization. To me, that is more imperative than an HRIS system to really build a high performance culture in a sales organization.


Kristen H: I feel we have so much more we could talk about today, Pierre. Thank you for all of this really, really rich insight. Thanks for being on the show today, Pierre.


Pierre L: Thank you, Kristen. It was lovely.



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