7 Questions Every Sales Leader Must Answer

7 Questions Every Sales Leader Must Answer
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There are Some Questions Every Sales Leader Must Answer
Being a high performing sales leader is not easy.  Sales leaders are responsible for building and scaling the sales team, designing meaningful compensation plans, training and onboarding new hires, and simultaneously meeting quarterly revenue and margin targets.  To succeed, there are some key questions every sales leader must answer.

The Top 7 Questions Every Sales Leader Must Be Prepared to Answer
Can your sales leaders answer the following questions?  Most participants in our sales management training workshops struggle.

  1. Is Our Sales Strategy Clear Enough?
    Our organizational alignment research found that strategic sales clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams.   To us, strategic sales clarity means that you and your team understand and believe in your definitions of your ideal target clients, your unique value proposition, the big bets you are going to make, how success will be measured at the individual, team, and company levels, and who is responsible for what.

    To assess your sales strategy, take our free sales health check.

  2. Is Our Sales Culture Healthy, High Performing, and Aligned Enough?
    While it all starts with sales strategy, sales culture accounts for a whopping 40% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams.  Do not underestimate the importance of how sales-related work gets done.

    First, smart sales leaders ensure that the sales culture is healthy in terms of sales leadership, trust, capability, and norms.  Then they design a high performance environment in terms of performance expectations, performance status, and motivation.  Lastly, high performing sales leaders ensure that the sales culture is aligned with the sales strategy across ten key cultural dimensions.

    In terms of sales motivation, ensure that sales incentives are role-specific and map to your entire sales and marketing process to provide clear motivation to sell effectively.

  3. Do We Have the Right Salespeople in the Right Roles?
    Once your sales strategy and sales culture are aligned, it is time to see if you have the right people in the right roles with the right sales skills to execute your plan for success.  Start by defining what traits and skills matter most by looking for commonalities among your “A” sales players. Then make sure you hire, develop, and promote against those sales competencies to strengthen your team.

    Pay special attention to the different skills and styles required for different sales roles.  For example, the core sales competencies to be a “hunter” and “farmer” are different.

    Sales hunters are most often motivated by new clients, opportunities, and challenges and the next win. Sales farmers build long-term relationships and repeat business with clients. Both are important and require vastly different skills, attitudes, and motivators.

  4. Should Our Sales Cycle Be Shorter?
    Top sales leaders do all they can to shorten the sales cycle. They look for steps in the sales process that are unproductive or misaligned with target clients’ buying process that could be eliminated or improved. Then they build processes to build customer urgency, accelerate deals, and build trust.

    Anything you can do to speed up the time from initial customer contact to final sale will help sales results and boost the morale of your team.

  5. Are We Generating Enough New Business?
    Take a close look at where your new business is coming from and perform a thorough opportunity analysis. Are you depending solely on low- return cold calls, have you implemented an effective referral selling process, or do you have a marketing arm that is sending you enough marketing qualified leads?

    While new customer acquisition is a clear part of any successful sales team, a critically important part of profitable growth for any company is the ability to retain and grow current accounts – especially for companies whose majority of Customer Lifetime Value is earned after the initial sale.

    Your objective is to balance and align where new business comes from with your sales strategy and sales talent understanding that most top sales talent is either really good at hunting or really good at farming; rarely is one person highly skilled at both.

  6. Are You Being Smart About the Sales Systems and Processes You Rely On?
    Objectively analyze the sales systems and processes that you have in place. Do they align with and support the strategy and culture that you want? Do other teams like legal, finance, procurement, marketing, and customer service, as well as your sales enablement processes and systems help or hinder your ability to ensure that your customers are successful?

    High performing sales teams are more than 2 times as likely to have good sales development processes in place, compared to underperformers.  Maybe it is time to review and revamp your systems and processes with how the team needs to sell.

  7. Does How We Sell Set Us Apart?
    Recently, Gartner Research reported that 53% customer loyalty is driven by the sales experience – more than by the brand, product, service, and price combined. Needless to say, there is a close relationship between consultative selling skills, revenue performance, and customer satisfaction.  Especially for complex solutions, top consultative salespeople create differentiation and competitive advantages for their companies.

    Unfortunately, most sales reps confess to being unprepared to deliver a top-notch sales experience.  Is your sales experience where it needs to be?

A Special “Selling During Covid” Note
Do not be complacent.  Now is the time to prepare to ensure higher productivity once the economy opens up again.  Trying times present a wonderful opportunity to build and solidify trusted relationships.  While it may not be the right time to sell, it is always the right time to help, learn, and add value.

The Bottom Line
Until you can answer these questions, your sales team will not be operating as the high performance team you desire. It is always smart to ask if you can do more to maximize the success of your team.

If you liked  Questions Every Sales Leader Must Answer, download How to Optimize Your Sales Force in the Face of Increased Performance Pressure

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