By Chris Cowan
Chris is AchieveGlobal’s Executive Vice President and head of U.S. Sales. Chris has 20+ years of domain expertise in complex sales, strategic partnerships and business development. His experience spans from the Fortune 50 to small start-ups across multiple industry verticals.
Most sales managers aren’t afforded the luxury of “stepping back” from the day to day to focus on sales improvement. The reality for most is having to work “on-the-fly” to put in place sales effectiveness programs to work while still working ongoing sales cycles. It goes without saying that this is not the ideal scenario for building an effective sales environment.
So how can you step back and recognize what’s working and what’s not? A recently published Miller Heiman Global Sales Performance Spotlight, titled, Replicating Good: Leveraging Your Top Performers identifies key differentiators that help organizations driven by World-Class Sales Performance, among which are:
- Disciplined, consistent use of a proven sales process
- Thorough preparation and research prior to sales calls
- Continual self-evaluation in order to improve
- Proactively solving problems and actively seeking new opportunities
- Strong business acumen
It is this last point that an AchieveGlobal study identified as a key trait of the high performer. These individuals strive to understand the customer’s strategic business challenges and then link proposed solutions to outcomes that clearly support that strategy. This keeps the salesperson tied to the truly important company initiatives, and in most cases, the budgets that support them.
The keys to success lie in a sales manager’s ability to bring his average-performing salespeople up to the level of his World Class performers. The leader needs to understand those differentiating characteristics specific to their sales process and industry which are displayed by the best and find ways to coach and develop those in the next tier of employees.
Developing and maintaining a sales force that has the ability to deliver in each of these areas means addressing these requirements at the hiring phase, and also through ongoing coaching, mentoring and targeted training of sales team members.