1. Keep your sales strategy transparent
Although a strong sales strategy
is key for taking down the market, equally key is making sure that strategy stays transparent to your team. Communicate often, explaining why your organization is targeting the market the way it is, and what it hopes to accomplish by doing so. Doing this keeps salespeople in the loop, so that they can be aware when strategies shift, and has the added benefit of showing salespeople that the company trusts them.
2. Give salespeople analytics
Even more beneficial is when salespeople can check in at any time to see where they stand relative to their quotas. At many companies, it takes weeks or months for salespeople to know how they're doing. Figuring out how many and what kind of deals they'll need to meet their quotas is even more complicated.
Luckily, today's advanced software can automatically show salespeople in real time how much money they've made over any given period and how far they are from their quotas. The best software even lets salespeople run 'what-if' models to help figure out what deals they should target to maximize their income. This modeling can incorporate information about how likely any deal is to close, how similar deals have gone, the salesperson's experience with that company, the likely renewal value of the deal, and more-all complex variables that are handled far more effectively by software than by paper and pencil.
3. Get input from all directions
Sales leaders were once like dictators: they made decisions, and the business lived or died with them. Today, forward-thinking sales leaders know that the more they can gather input from the people around them-both above and below them in the hierarchy-the more effective their decisions are.
How effective are your compensation plans? Ask the salespeople who are directly affected, and the managers who oversee those salespeople. What are potential implications of your new idea? Ask people up and down the chain to come up with objections to it and see how powerful those are. Subject your ideas to criticism-it only strengthens them.
Today, the best sales leaders
are those who can quickly analyze lots of data, automate functions, and use modeling to optimize their sales strategy. The only way to do these is to employ advanced software that connects the varied components of a sales strategy and offers real-time calculation abilities.
Point solutions, for example, may be able to help with any individual component of SPM, such as compensation or account segmentation. But point solutions can't help you evaluate the effect that any of these individual components have on the rest of your sales plan. As a result, point solutions leave sales leaders vulnerable to small changes and can produce enormous unintended consequences.
Similarly, software that can't automatically gather data from across the sales organization or perform complex calculations in real time leaves sales leaders without enough information to make strategic decisions.
The solution to both of these issues: Use the most advanced software available, preferably software that can put the entire sales strategy (and the entire sales team) on a single platform.
A sales strategy isn't a fixed entity, remaining static as the world changes around it. It should be seen as a fluid set of guidelines, one you can rearrange quickly to take advantage of new opportunities.
To be successful at sales management, sales leaders need to regularly assess what about their approach is working and what isn't, and then modify accordingly. Gathering widespread data is critical. Are there specific products, geographies, or territories that aren't performing well? Are there salespeople or teams that are overperforming? Are there new competitors in the game? If your actuals aren't matching your forecasts, can you figure out why, down to the level of the individual sale?