I’m continuing my series on the importance of understanding selling as a complex system. We tend to focus on the pieces/parts of what we do, the responsibilities of our organization, for example marketing, SDRs/Inside Sales, AEs, Account Managers, Sales Engineering, Sales Ops, Sales Enablement. We optimize the pieces parts, yet when taken together they under perform.
Today, I want to focus on Sales Management. Specifically, I’ll focus on a major error I made when publishing Sales Manager Survival Guide, and how I had to readjust to correct it.
For those of you who’ve read the book, you know it’s a practical guide to every aspect of the first line manager’s job. I cover a wide variety of disparate parts: the job of the manager, time management, coaching, deal/pipeline/forecast/call/account/territory/prospecting/1 on 1’s, performance management, hiring, and on and on.
I treated each as a separate topic, thinking the readers knew how to put all of it together.
As I worked with teams of managers, I–We–suddenly realized they didn’t know how to put it all together. For example, they knew how do coach opportunities, they knew how to coach the pipeline, but they struggled to put them together–which and where do we focus, how do we connect them, what does this mean to performance management?
The mistake I had made was focusing on the components, the subsystems, assuming the managers knew how to put it all together in doing their jobs.
As soon as I discovered this, I had to create the Sales Execution Framework, SEF. It’s focus was on how the various pieces/parts of the sales manager’s job fit together. We looked at selling as a whole–the interconnection of territory/account management, prospecting, deal qualification/management, calls, pipeline/management, forecasting. We looked how these interacted with each other to impact performance.
We taught managers how to look at the entire selling system, how sellers needed to do the “whole job” not just the pieces/parts. We showed managers that focusing on one, neglecting the others would eventually cause their people to fail. For example, focusing only on developing prospecting skills, but not improving the ability to manage and win deals would result in huge lost opportunity and failure.
This caused huge break through’s, managers started to see how the different components of their job fit together as a whole, that they and their people had to do the “whole job,” not just the parts they liked or they felt important.
We later built on that by showing how they and their teams fit into and contributed to the rest of the organization. They understood the interconnection with sales enablement/ops, other sales organizations, marketing, and customer experience. We created the Sales Ecosystem to show how each of these components fit together and needed to work together. How marketing, customer experience, product management, and so forth needs to support and reinforce what we are achieving as an organization.
We need to understand each component of our jobs and how our organizations fit to the other parts of the organization, we need to understand and optimize each of these subsystems.
But, at the same time, we have understand that these pieces/parts fit together as a whole. We have to make sure that each part contributes to what we are trying to achieve. We have to look at and understand the system as a whole.
It’s a constant balancing act, optimizing each component of the system, but making sure they work together to achieve the overall goals.
I will be coming back to this theme through this series, but it’s important to remember:
It’s how we put it together, that sets us apart!
Afterword: If you are interested in the Sales Execution Framework or the Sales Ecosystem, just reach out.
Afterword: For those that want to follow the Business Acumen/Systems Thinking series, click on the link for the collection.