sales leadership

Setting Sales Priorities in a Fast-Changing World

Think how much the landscape of sales and company structures have changed over the course of the past few years… Sellers are now facing a fast-changing world. This means more pressure on sales teams and leaders to upkeep high performance.

Think how much the landscape of sales and company structures have changed over the course of the past few years… Sellers are now facing a fast-changing world. This means more pressure on sales teams and leaders to upkeep high performance.

There are tools we can use to set our teams up for success in a quickly evolving world.

Our eBook outlines a pragmatic how-to-guide for sales leaders as they approach their first 90 days. It lays out a useful framework and question bank sales leaders can use to inform key priorities of focus.

Through our research and extensive work with clients, we‘ve found that the best sales organizations follow a rather sequential path in sales transformation. These include (in order): Strategy; Structure; Process; Technology; Enablement; People; and Management Coaching.

We say "sequential" because these are building blocks that must be put in place to realize the full value of your organization’s capabilities. For example, implementing a coaching model without a well-defined sales process begs the question as to what one would be coaching against.

Historic Pace of Change

Often, sales leaders are walking into industries and organizations facing disruptive market forces. According to Salim Ismail in his book Exponential Organizations, the average lifespan of a Fortune 500 company has decreased from 67 years (1920’s) to 15 years today.

There’s a historic pace of change we’re now experiencing. He suggests that we’ve learned how to scale technology. But we now need to scale the organization’s strategy, structure, processes, people, and management systems.

It’s no surprise that we observe many reporting the death of the 5-year strategic plan. We certainly don’t believe strategic planning is dead. We’ve found our clients are compressing their time horizons. While the timeframe of your strategic planning process might vary, Benjamin Franklin’s adage still holds true, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

A Sales Transformation Roadmap

For those managing sales teams and focused on exceeding a quarterly number, the thought of taking a step back to think through a long-range plan is daunting. But for those managing sales teams, a well-structured longer-term plan and investment roadmap are critical to answering the following questions:

  • Coverage & Resources: Do we have the right sales coverage, capacity, and structure in place to profitably capture the market opportunity?
  • Process & Technology: Do we have clear and repeatable processes enabled by automation to scale and deliver repeatable results?
  • Enablement & People: Do our sellers and sales support teams have the necessary skills to drive sales effectiveness and customer engagement?
  • Management & Coaching: Do we have a disciplined sales management cadence and coaching program in place to drive continuous improvement over time?

In partnership with sales and/or sales operations, we have worked with several companies to develop a Sales Transformation Roadmap to prioritize and sequence key sales initiatives.

Most recently, we partnered with an IT Services firm experiencing significant change brought on by new and changing competition, customer expectations, structural changes, and product launches. They recognized the need for a proactive and methodical approach to prioritizing, funding, and enabling sustainable change within and across their sales organization.

Through a sales transformation framework, we assessed the relative maturity of 16 differentiating sales capabilities based on their strategic objectives. This assessment informed the 10 discrete projects that should be addressed to enable pipeline growth, improving win rate, and reducing the cost of sales.

After evaluating the impact on their strategic objectives and the inter-dependencies among key initiatives, we constructed a prioritized roadmap. This now serves as the sales operation’s investment plan for the firm.

“Clients are increasingly conscious and intentional of what they ‘throw’ at their sales professionals to drive change.” With tighter budgets and larger expectations on returns, the days of reactive investment in sales initiatives and tools are quickly ending.

We’re surrounded by an environment of unprecedented change. Contact us for ideas on what leading sales organizations are doing to step up and redefine priorities in a fast-changing world.

About The Author

Author photo Warren Shiver is a Partner at The Brevet Group, a management consultancy focused on end-to-end improvement in sales force effectiveness. Warren’s leadership has helped numerous organizations build high-performing sales teams focused on the right go-to-market strategy, disciplined sales process, and well-designed enablement tools.

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