It snuck in like the fog very early one morning – the end of Q2. Can you believe it? For those following a calendar year, sellers everywhere are shaking their heads wondering how it crept up on them so quickly.
Those sales leaders who are not surprised are those who are working a plan with a good team of sellers in place. They have had their forecasts adjusted, some more than once – and have done a number of things to help their companies succeed.
Sales Benchmark Index says that the average tenure of a Chief Sales Officer is 19 months. Sales leadership is a role much like the coach or manager of a professional sports team. Success keeps you in the job.
What did successful, midmarket sales leaders do right to have a great first half of the year?
They planned and worked their internal sales processes.
They had sales reps with enough of the right skills and attitude to find and develop probable sales opportunities.
They had someone (or a team) monitor social channels; listening for trigger events, learning about their existing customers and interacting with soon-to-be buyers.
They kept everyone on task and focused toward revenue-producing activities. With less focus on poorly organized meetings, redundant reporting, and repetitious work, they kept all eyes on the prize – those activities that lead to revenues.
They onboarded new reps efficiently and effectively, offering them regular coaching on process, skills, and knowledge once their initial training was over.
They used cloud-based sales tools as tools and understood their lack of value without process, plan and methodology.
They had policies in place to make sure that sales reps were rewarded for sales activity, including updated prospect and client information in their CRM system.
They requested and received new, relevant references and endorsements of their services to help assure other prospective clients of the value they provide.
They helped make it easy for potential customers to buy, eliminating or minimizing internal roadblocks for their reps as best as they could.
They had high expectations for their team and worked with each sales reps on their particular sales opportunities.
They collaborate with their marketing counterparts so that sales and marketing work hand-in-hand.
Where to Start if You are Behind in Revenues for the Balance of the Year?
It’s time to look at the entire realm of your sales efforts from compensation plans to forecasts to staffing to marketing to process to messaging to activity levels. In order, determine what programs are working and what needs to be changed. If you are not sure, consider hiring an outside agency to help you with this. The great thing about consultants focused in this area have seen hundreds, if not thousands of other companies and have specific ideas when they see the same symptoms in your organization as with others they have helped.
If you are clear on the issues and roadblocks to success, create a plan and tackle them one-by-one. You can’t make a 180-degree change overnight and you won’t turn a sales organization into a different one overnight.
One C-level executive who realized he had some great sales challenges asked me if I thought he could turn the team around in one quarter. Because he was so committed, had a basically good team, and had no glaring compensation issues, I suggested it would take him 2 quarters, and with help, he did just that.
Is it possible to catch up by year’s end? We say a resounding “YES”. Listen to a roundtable I recently participated in called, The Second Half - How to Finish the Year Strong for great ideas on what to adjust and how.
Sales Benchmark Index offers a free e-book to help new sales leaders
Selling Power shares 12 Qualities of a Successful Sales Leader.
We posted some other tips and resources this week for a bigger Q3.
We will be sharing more success tips from top sales leaders in the midmarket space throughout the year.
Post your thoughts and questions in the comments or find me on Twitter at @scoremoresales
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for tips and strategies in selling.