Yesterday I wrote about my three recommended New Year’s resolutions, for Sales Executives. 2021 will be the year where selling will never be the same again. The buyers have changed and we need to adapt the way we sell. The challenge is that we have been selling in a certain way for two decades, it has become habitual. Changing habits is not easy, and Sales Executives need a lot of help. So, guess who the most influential person for a Sales Executive is? You, their sales manager. So, if you are one, this post is for you. Here are your three recommended 2021 Resolutions, for the sake of the success of your sales team.
- Lead like never before. The new way of selling requires leadership, in the sense of providing vision and purpose. Your team will come across challenges they have not experienced before, such as the slow down of their sales cycle. Their dream prospects will only make a change if there is consensus amongst the buying room, that a change will be beneficial for their business. This may take more time. But with your help, your sales team will start to believe in the new way of selling as the only way forward. The longer sales cycles will return with more loyal and more profitable customers. Inspire your team to read more sales blogs and listen to podcasts about the new way of selling. Discuss these at your team meetings. Challenge your team to reflect on unsuccessful opportunities and what could have been done differently. We change our selling approach, with the customer’s success in mind. Walk the talk and get other senior managers involved. The new way of selling is not only a Sales thing but rather a cultural shift for the whole company.
- Coach like never before. Great sales managers spend at least 70% of their time coaching their sales team. Although the coaching method may not have changed, your questions have. Help them become comfortable with the uncomfortable. In sales, we have never learned to talk about the risks that we see for potential customers. We are very good at painting a picture for prospects about what would happen if they change over to us, as their new supplier. We are features, benefits, and solution experts. But before you get to that, there is more discovery work to do. Sharing insights about risks that we see for sticking with their status quo, in a respectful way, is new and uncomfortable. Your sales team needs your help, as well as, the realization that buyers do not buy from salespeople with the greatest sales acumen. Instead, the need for change only becomes clearer if your sales guys and girls can lay-out a solid business case for change. Coaching is no longer helping the coachee finding tactical actions to close the deal. Instead, coaching becomes the new way of finding together, enough strategic reasons for the prospect to change. Then decide on actions, on how best to achieve that. Who in the buying room are potential change champions, who are opposers to change, and how can you bring these on board?
- Manage like never before. The greatest enemy, for your sales team to sell with the buyer’s perspective, is time. The new way of selling takes more time, and they need your help with reducing time-stealers. Inspire your cross-functional colleagues to step up like never before. Your sales execs are not billing experts, nor super customer service agents, and certainly no administration gurus. How can other experts in your organization help with being ahead of the curve, so that Sales is not the default bottle-neck of customer issues? The best way of helping your team personally in 2021, is to be well-organized in terms of daily, weekly, and monthly activities. Your team is relying on you to provide calm and confidence during difficult times. Ensure your team is clear on targets and the strategies on how to get there. Convert the company’s priorities into achievable, smaller, and practical chunks. Clearly communicate what is needed, and motivate each team member to be accountable for their individual actions.
These three together, improving your leading, coaching, and managing skills, will put you in the ideal position to execute your plan. You will deliver as a team what is expected from you. In 2021 you will be Sales Managers, like never before. A source of inspiration and motivation, supporting each team member to sell like never before. Happy New Year!
Thank you for your support this year. Feel free to share this post with your team.
If you still on a holiday break, here are my recommended books for you to read:
- Eat Their Lunch, Anthony Iannarino
- New Sales Simplified, Mike Weinberg
- Virtual Selling, Jeb Blount