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Back To Basics!

by David Brock on January 25th, 2016
building blocks

There are thousands of posts, hundreds of books that examine every nuance of sales enablement and performance management.  Billions are spent in advanced or specialized sales training programs or sales enablement tools.

Somehow, it’s not popular or fashionable to focus on the basics.  There’s nothing sexy or exciting about them.  Writing about the basics won’t sell books.

Sometimes we assume everyone is executing the basics, until we start examining what people are doing.

  1. Are they prospecting the right opportunities, those in our sweet spot?  Do they understand the problem/opportunity the customer wants to solve?  Is it a problem/opportunity that we are the best in the world at solving?
  2. Are they making sure the customer has a sense of urgency or commitment to change before qualifying an opportunity and investing time in working with the customer to solve the problem?
  3. Are they using the sales process (Has management developed a sales process that enables sales people to align with the customer buying process?)?
  4. Are they prepared for each meeting, having an agenda pre arranged with the customer?  Are they making sure the customer is equally prepared?
  5. Are they focused on helping the customer solve their problem rather than focusing on solving their (sales person) problem?
  6. Do they understand what the customer value and are they creating value for the customer?  Are they creating value in every engagement?
  7. Do they own the responsibility of maintaining a healthy pipeline, not being dependent on marketing or another source to get them leads?  This means they own the responsibility to prospect to keep their pipelines full?
  8. Do they meet their commitments–to their customers, their peers, management, and to themselves?  This means showing up to every meeting on time, prepared.  This means fulfilling promises when committed or not making the promises if they can’t fulfill them.  This means finding every excuse unacceptable.
  9. Are they committed to constant learning and improvement, knowing if they don’t, they will be left behind?
  10. Do they know they are accountable for everything that happens in their territory and for achieving the goals they accepted upon taking the job (and updated annually)?
  11. Are they committed to doing the work?
  12. Are they present and engaged in everything they are doing?  This means eliminating distractions whether multitasking, social media, other distractions.

Likewise, there are a few basics with sales management, constantly and consistently executed create results.

  1. Do managers know the only way to achieve their goals is through their people?  As a result, do they know their job is to maximize the performance of each of their people?
  2. Do they focus on building the capabilities and capacity of their teams?  This means recruiting the right people, onboarding, and continually developing them?
  3. Do they make sure each person understands their role and performance expectations?  Do they make sure people own those expectations?  Do they have clear metrics in place and do they and their people own their goals?  Do they understand they are responsible for addressing every performance problem?
  4. Do they make sure a sales process aligned with customers’ buying processes is in place, that people understand it and are using it in every deal?
  5. Do they understand and remove barriers that impact their people’s ability to do the job?  This includes fighting for and providing the processes, systems, tools and training needed to maximize performance?  Are they doing everything possible to get their people the resources they need to do their jobs?
  6. Do they understand the highest leverage in their time is to coach and develop their people?  Are they investing in doing this with each person on their team?
  7. Do they know the importance of the personal example they set and are they setting the right example, every day?
  8. Are they present and engaged?  This means not emailing/texting/distracted in meetings with their people.  This means being “in the field” with their people.  This means understanding the “realities” of being a sales person, empathizing, and supporting them.
  9. Do they fight for their people and protect them and their time?
  10. Do they know they are accountable for the performance of their people?  If their people are failing, it means the manager has failed.
  11. Do they meet their commitments–to their people, their peers, management, customer, and themselves.  This means showing up to every meeting on time, prepared.  This means fulfilling promises when committed or not making the promises if they can’t fulfill them.  This makes finding every excuse unacceptable.
  12. Are they committed to constant learning and improvement, knowing if they don’t, they will be left behind?
  13. Are they committed to doing the work?

The basics are—–well basic.   They are the foundations for driving consistent performance every day.  Without these, all the fancy stuff we layer on top is not likely to produce the results they should be producing.

Have you mastered the basics?  Do you focus on executing them every day?

Book CoverFor a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link.  You’ll get the Table of Contents, Foreword, and 2 free Chapters.  Free Sample

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One Comment
  1. Hi David, could not agree more! We start our sessions by asking for the brilliant basics that they should do, and we do not need to cover in the sessions. Consistently see that the salespeople who know the basics are either not performing them, or can not perform them. It’s not sexy but you are on the money. Have a look here where we’ve done some research on the over optimism of the sales people we train: http://salestrong.co.uk/optimism-bias-in-sales-people/

    Cheers

    Al

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