In the context of sales, are “people your greatest asset”? As Jim Collins and his research findings explain in his book Good to Great, it’s not just any people, “it’s the right people that are your greatest asset”. Little alteration, big impact. Also from Jim’s findings, “don’t expect to grow revenues consistently faster than your ability to get enough of the right people, to implement your growth”. These two findings are well grounded and rigorously researched. We get it and it makes sense, but what action can we take? How can we use this insight to achieve our sales growth? Here’s a thought and couple of suggestions –

Set a Strong Foundation for Talent and Process:

Right people/talent – Use the language of talent to create competency success profiles for each role that contributes value in driving your sales growth. Define what “good looks like” for you. Then assess your selling talent against your new standard specific to your business strategy. Correlate and identify the most strategic competencies from your findings. Then instead of instilling right behaviors in the wrong people or wrong behaviors in the right people, train and develop right behaviors in the right people to achieve superior results.

Right process – Use the language of selling to create your process foundation with a buyer-aligned selling process as a repeatable map-to-success to guide all those involved in the selling effort. Various and numerous research tells us this is a critical success factor for predictable growth.

Build from your foundation by watching the right talent and process statistics? What are the right statistics? As Michael Lewis in his book Moneyball tell us, the statistics that are the most important are… “the ones that reliably predict performance”. What are the reliable predictors of sales performance and how can they be monitored and improved? Here’s a thought and a few suggestions –

Monitor Your Foundational Components of Talent and Process:

Right people/talent – Use your talent foundational components to identify and monitor your strategic competency gaps? Invest specifically in closing the gaps – act confidently and immediately since you know these competencies are what drives value and growth. Set in place management cadence and tools to coach and improve progress toward gap closure. Track key statistics – Who’s developing in knowledge? Who’s not? Who’s developing in changed behaviors? Who’s not? Is everyone doing what’s necessary to improve, and how well is it working?

Right process – Use the foundational components of your sales process to determine how well improvements are working. Correct both individual and systemic selling issues. In opportunities, grade and track statistics of high-quality buyer verifiable outcomes and correlate them to closed deals – a leading indicator statistic. Scrub pipelines using the process to improve forecast accuracy and refine key pipeline statistics such as number of qualified opportunities, size of opportunities, win rates, and sales cycle length. Monitor the outcomes your impacting, adjust course based on talent and process performance statistics to accelerate impact.

Another key point in Good to Great is building sustained results through disciplined action. Setting selling standards with both talent and process performance expectations doesn’t discipline sellers by placing them in straitjackets. On the contrary and when well done in alignment with your buyer’s journey and your business vision, it gives your sellers tremendous freedom and responsibility in consistently achieving their professional and your business growth strategies.

If you want to learn more, call us at SPI.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith, VP & Sales Team Leader

Steve Smith is a vice president and sales team leader at Sales Performance International. He has served clients in the sales performance improvement industry for over 15 years, including many Fortune 500 organizations, to increase and sustain year-over-year sales productivity, revenue and earnings growth.

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