Sales Managers Making a Measurable Impact During The “Next Normal”

It is mid-year and 90 days into the pandemic with no definitive end in sight, yet sales organizations are expected to be moving forward with production on the upswing! The March/April challenge of getting everyone setup to work from home is done. The May priority of reaching out and staying close to your customers is complete. June’s opportunity of initiating more sales type activities is underway. The question facing sales managers today is “what must be done now to maximize sales performance?” In working with and talking to over 200 sales managers at all levels over the past 90 days, there’s a marked difference between those who are boldly igniting their teams to take advantage of the pause and indecisiveness of their competition and those who continue to ponder, wait and/or react to the day’s challenges. While most sales managers have positive intent, breakthrough sales managers apply that intent to executing breakthrough versus flawed tactics on the four sales management execution priorities.

Embrace the Job To Be Done!

The breakthrough sales managers understand the value they deliver to each and every one of their people.They acknowledge that their salespeople probably are confused on exactly what they are to do and what that looks like in today’s environment. Sales managers are mindful of the reality that many salespeople are struggling to have the positive energy and commitment to take on the “next normal.” And they know that selling in the “next normal” requires different skills, knowledge and/or processes. Breakthrough sales managers are taking on this new job to be done and making a difference.

Drives Focus on What Matters Most Today

Tackling “confusion” requires more than just telling salespeople what to do. It mandates prioritizing what matters most and then ensuring that the salesperson knows exactly what needs to be done, with whom, how and to what measure of success.

  • Flawed Tactics:
    • Assumes all salespeople know what to do given the high-level directives and acclimation to working remotely
  • Breakthrough Tactics:
    • Determines the “next normal” expectation including: 1) right target customer or prospect to pursue, 2) what sales activity needs to be done and how it is different than in the “BAU” and 3) short term measures of success
    • Engages the salesperson in the “next normal” expectation ensuring clarity, understanding and commitment to execution

Inspires Engagement to Execute Next Normal Expectations

Tackling “discomfort” requires more than empathizing the challenges of today or stating rally cries. It mandates addressing individual resistance and lack of confidence to do what matters most. 

  • Flawed Tactics:
    • Encourages all to “hang in there” and “do their best”
  • Breakthrough Tactics:
    • Answers “why” specific expectations for the “next normal” are the best and right expectations for the salesperson
    • Surfaces and confronts concerns, resistance and hesitations, enabling productive mindsets and attitudes toward the “next normal” expectations

Enables Adoption of Next Normal Expectations

Tackling “challenges” requires more than continuing with sales meetings and training on how to conduct virtual/video-based conversations. It mandates equipping and supporting salespeople to effectively execute the new expectations. 

  • Flawed Tactics:
    • Returns to coaching pre-pandemic expectations unintentionally (or intentionally) avoiding coaching the “next normal” expectations
  • Breakthrough Tactics:
    • Adjusts the focus of one-on-ones, pre-call plans, observations and post call debriefs to the “next normal” expectations
    • Holds self and salespeople accountable to adoption and consistent execution of the “next normal” expectations

Summary

Today’s reality demands sales managers add relevant value to each and every one of their people, value that they may not be aware is of high urgency. There is a need for a crystalized strategy that is transitioned into a clear focus, a demonstration of courage that motivates individual activity, and a prioritization and use of time that develops performance. Make sure you and your sales managers are taking your positive intent and applying the tactics that are of highest impact and drive breakthrough performance.

Let’s continue the conversation…

Linda Maxwell – lmaxwell@businessefficacy.com
Lisa Wicklman – lwicklman@businessefficacy.com

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