When I was sales executive, much of my time was spent helping my sales teams focus on key sales activities and shifting their perspective to the customer’s point of view. And as a sales coach today, my time is spent very much the same way. It’s true that sales executives have many responsibilities, but it’s essential that they take the time to coach their sales teams and make improvements in the sales organization, wherever possible. Unfortunately, these are two key priorities sales executives often miss.
Get creative when it comes to coaching
As a sales executive, finding the time to coach the sales team was always a priority. Coaching can help sales teams get out of the weeds and see the bigger picture by asking the right questions to help fill in their gaps of knowledge.
A sales rep may continue to waste their time on opportunities in which they have little to no visibility with decision makers, but know in their hearts that they have the right solution. They end up working from the bottom-up (pushing their products and services to fit a business need – whether a priority or not) rather than top-down (linking the products and services to high-level goals and priorities).
It’s important that the sales executive redirect them to the top-down approach wherever possible. And it’s important to know when losing early and moving on to opportunities you can actually win is better than hanging on and losing after spending tons of your and your key resources’ time.
Spend more time on improvements
I am a big believer in constantly looking for ways to improve three key resources: people, process and technology. However, you have to strike a delicate balance between the three.
I have seen sales organizations, spend tons of money on sales training skills without a process or coaching plan to ensure they stick. I have also seen sales organizations buy technology that either fails to make it easier for the sales people to sell, or requires sales to input information that is needed by management but does not give sales visibility into a deal like it should. This is because the three key resources were not viewed holistically and therefor not improved using a balanced approach.
To improve people, process and technology, the most successful sales organizations have a change management plan in place where leaders and top performers are part of the decision-making process. When any sales training, sales process implementation and technology is introduced, this helps to foster the change within the organization from the top down.
Sales executives have the advantage of being at the top of the hierarchy, making a top-down approach to any type of change much more feasible to coach and implement. And over time, coaching and making improvements in the sales organization will no longer be two key priorities sales executives often miss – they will become a main focal point.