Sales leaders are responsible for essentially one thing: increasing revenue. Of course, finding, getting, and multiplying revenue is incredibly difficult.
For example, here's a short list of questions with which sales leaders routinely wrestle:
- How do we better articulate our value proposition?
- How do we change our sales process to adapt to new buyer behavior?
- How much should we invest in sales training?
- What sales methodology yields the best results?
- How can redesigning our comp plan increase sales?
- How can we get our reps to use our CRM?
These issues are important to driving revenue – some might even say they are critical. But you can't focus on all of them at once. That's why all great sales leaders must learn how to prioritize in order to get the results they want.
Peter Drucker once said that efficiency is doing things right, but effectiveness is doing the right things. To be effective at increasing revenue, sales leaders must choose the challenges on which to focus. It's also essential to clearly define "prioritizing."
To prioritize and achieve true sales force effectiveness, sales leaders need to do more than just come up with a list of problems that need fixing. Prioritizing is about identifying the best action steps that will lead you successfully to your end-goal. The aim: to become the best at whatever will matter most to driving the growth of your business.
When we're talking about sales effectiveness, we're usually talking about one of two varieties. Sales effectiveness has to do with reps and helping them to sell better, faster, and smarter. Sales force
effectiveness, on the other hand, examines effectiveness from an organizational perspective: How is your sales force structured? Are your rep's activities aligned with strategic initiatives?
Sales force effectiveness is often overlooked, but if you're a manager or higher, you need to address it – and doing so is not easy. Sales force effectiveness has many components; there's never a simple answer.
In a new series of articles on sales force effectiveness, we aim to break down that complexity and walk sales leaders through some practical steps to improve sales force effectiveness in their organizations.
The articles will each address one area featured in the Sales Force Effectiveness Navigator
, designed by ZS Associates (a global leader in sales and marketing consulting) specifically to institutionalize the way you think about improving your sales force.
- Sales Strategy
- Sales Force Design
- Customer Engagement Process
- People and Skills
- Sales Operations
Effective leadership will drive success in each of these areas; leadership and communication are essential to improving sales force effectiveness. The better your sales reps understand what you're trying to do, the easier it will be for them to follow your lead. Without a clear vision and a framework for addressing key challenges, it's extraordinarily difficult to create and sustain change that leads to lasting results.
The articles in this series will show why, in this era of squeezed margins, diminished product differentiation, and intense competition, improving sales force effectiveness is essential to success – and why tools such as the Sales Force Effectiveness Navigator can illuminate and help fix problems in your sales force that you may not have known existed.
– Selling Power Editors and Ty Curry, Managing Principal, and Marshall Solem, Managing Principal, ZS Associates