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Posts Tagged ‘embracing sales process’

Sales Culture: Always get buy-in from your CEO

Posted on: September 30th, 2018 by Monika No Comments
Sales Culture should reflect the overall company culture

Culture is mostly driven by senior management and the sales culture is no different. Too often the sales culture is not in sync with the organizational culture and CEOs are rather removed from the sales process. This leads to…..

…mismanaged expectations

If your sales process is designed to support a consultative sales process where your sales cycle is 3-6 months long and your CEO expects immediate results, it will cause friction. Your CEO will want answers as to why revenue is not coming in, why goals are not achieved and that’s usually where the panic starts. That’s why it is much easier…

…to get buy-in from your CEO

Why? So there is no surprises. While I believe that CEOs should not meddle with the sales process once it is established, I also think that the process needs to be developed, agreed upon and fine tuned with the CEO in the room. It’s a cultural shift that will build a trusting environment where everybody involved in sales knows the parameters and expectations. That leads to the question as to…

…who should be involved in the sales process development?

Ideally, every department. If product development cannot keep up with requirements, it will have an impact on the sales process.

If marketing is not able to deliver leads in the way sales expects them, it will influence success.

Once all the constituents are present when establishing the sales process, it will be a lot easier to meet goals and to have a successful outcome. This is not something that happens in many organizations and that’s….

…why a cultural shift necessary

When we think about the sales process, we think about sales people, database management, phone calls, etc. We don’t think about the actual sales culture.

In many companies the sales department is viewed in a rather negative way. “Sales people are the ones who make the most money, but they don’t have a lot if integrity” is something that I hear a lot.

Sales people don’t pay attention and they always over-promise” is another one.

On the contrary, sales people often complain about delayed deliverables due to product issues. And even more often I hear sales complain about proper and effective marketing support.

Once everybody is involved in developing the sales process and every department takes responsibility for delivering results and keeping deadlines, there will be less surprises.

Why is it important for the CEO to be involved ?

Because there is an environment of trust that needs to be established. If your CEO doesn’t support the company culture, the shift will not happen. Your CEO is the person who drives the car. He relies on other people to provide the map. If his team members don’t communicate their direction to the CEO, he will probably drive into a wall. CEOs are visionaries, they are not the ones involved in the details, but when it comes to culture, your CEO should be at the table.


Keep Calm and Sell More

Posted on: February 15th, 2012 by Monika No Comments

Keep Calm and Carry On was a propaganda poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the aftermath of widely predicted mass air attacks on major cities.

Personally, I think that this was a brilliant move during times of distress and great fear and I wish that the slogan would be applied more often, especially during times of stress.

Sometimes, I feel that sales is viewed as a practice where practitioners are expected to hassle and scramble rather than taking a step back, taking a deep breath and carrying on with the plan. Especially, in a consultative sales environment panic appears when sales don’t happen because the sales cycle is typically longer.

What happens if sales don’t happen?

Usually, panic.  And panic leads to more panic.  When sales don’t happen, very often the CEO thinks s/he needs to step in. Then you have situations in which CEOs are doing the sales training, or CEOs being on first sales calls and getting involved in everything and anything that has to do with sales. They fear for their company’s survival and that’s understandable.

And what about the sales managers in these situations? Well, as there is no success to show they often panic as well. In these cases they often just give in and let their CEOs take over instead of putting their feet down and demanding to stay on track.  They tend to go along with their CEOs rather than providing clear measures, guidelines and leading developments in the sales process.

This can have a snowball effect on the sales team. The sales people might fear that they could lose their job or that they won’t be making any money.

The sales managers do both. They panic and fear, both for their team, for their compensation and for their reputation.

Why don’t the sales managers keep their CEO in check?

I have always wondered in situations like that why sales manager wouldn’t stick to their guns? Is it because they are afraid of repercussions or is it that they are not  confident enough to make a case for a structured and meaningful sales process?

Or is it because CEOs are used to being powerful leaders and end up steamrolling their team? Or could it be that CEOs are not always good at allowing other opinions?

It’s probably a combination of all of the above but in all fairness, it really shouldn’t be the job of a CEO to establish or drive the sales process. When they take control it’s usually stems from lack of results and trying to be helpful.

Sales Managers need to manage their CEOs

Sales managers are tasked with building and managing an effective and successful sales team. To be most successful, though, they will need to build an effective and successful relationship with their CEO. That includes open and full communication, documentation and also managing your CEO’s expectations. Embracing the CEO’s vision but also making sure that your CEO understands and embraces the sales process you put in place. Provide reports on progress, share success stories but also reasons why sales might stall. This will help you as a sales manager or sales person to support your credibility and it will help your CEO understand why things might take a bit longer.

What is the solution?

Stay calm and on-track. If you have a plan, success will follow. It might just take a bit longer. It’s better to wait a month or two as oppose to changing everything and getting derailed completely. When CEOs feel that things are structured and on track, they will go back to doing what they do best, rather than dictating the sales process. Sales people and managers need to manage up. CEOs often don’t have a background in sales management, so help them understand the process, manage expectations, stay positive and Keep Calm and you will Sell More!

And never forget these THREE!When identifying the benefits for your audiences, always remember to develop messaging that will help you get their attention.If you have read my blog you will remember that people buy because you can help them:

  • Make money and/or
  • Save money and/or
  • Improve their reputation internally.