Your Post-Pandemic Sales Reset: Top 3 Recommendations

By Hope Eyre

A long-time client who’s on his fourth company since we started working with him called me last week. He’s a VP who joined his current firm during the pandemic, so he’s never actually met the sales force that reports to him.

Are you a leader whose sales organization needs to adjust to post-pandemic market conditions or changing company priorities?  Continue reading for our top three recommendations on getting started.

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How Sales Operations Leaders Can Drive Impact in 90 Days

By Erica Abt

Over the last few years, we’ve received an increasing number of questions about how to structure and/or optimize sales operations and enablement roles, while also observing an increase in the decision influence and authority of these roles. As such, we recently embarked on a project to document what success looks like for Sales Ops leaders, including how they can effectively drive impact in their first 90 days on the job. The culmination of this project is an eBook, "A Sales Operations Leader's First 90 Days", which includes a supporting set of frameworks and tools to help Sales Ops leaders establish quick wins and longer term strategy.

Through our project, we interviewed numerous sales operations, enablement, and effectiveness leaders from a variety of industries and sizes of companies in the US and UK. We collected a significant amount of feedback across strategic, organizational, process, technology, and skills-related considerations.

Read more for a high-level overview of our eBook, including a summary of the recommendations and tools we've developed. Each tool links to a download of our eBook and toolkit.

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Do You Run a Sales Team or Just a Group of People Who Report to You?

By Rachel Cavallo

Whenever I work with a group of salespeople, I notice one prevailing theme.  They love to interact with each other and share ideas.  When we give salespeople an activity that involves sharing their experiences and asking for feedback from their peers, the level of engagement and enthusiasm skyrockets... especially when teams are dispersed and are working remotely and virtually. To build on that, most surveys that we receive post sales training show that the sellers want more opportunities to share with and learn from their peers.

If sellers love collaboration and learning from each other, shouldn't sales leaders be running their teams to foster these dynamics?

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Are You an “Operational” Sales Leader?

By Masami Middleton

As sales consultants, we often say that great sales leaders demonstrate three things consistently: 1) They are great sellers, 2) They are great coaches, and 3) They are great operators.

Sadly, top sellers promoted to sales managers do not magically demonstrate all three. This is why we see and talk regularly about the “Peter Principle” in sales, where sales leaders "rise to their level of incompetence".

Of these three traits, which do you think is most lacking?  Most would probably debate between traits #2 and #3.  Let’s look at it from the manager’s point of view:

  • Great Seller: “I am a great seller, that’s why I got promoted - duh.”
  • Great Coach: “I have good relationships with my team; I can teach them how to be successful.” (Red flag – what made you successful does not necessarily make everyone successful.)
  • Great Operator: “What do you mean by ‘operator’?” (Red flag - Not many are thinking about how to run a winning sales team.)

We have written a lot about issue #2, on sales coaching.

In this blog, we focus on trait #3, on successfully operating a sales team. (Which by default improves your sales coaching impact).

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Sales Leaders: What’s Your Plan for the Next 90 Days?

By Hope Eyre

A couple of years ago we published an e-book called A Sales Leader’s First 90 Days. It was inspired by the classic Michael Watkins book, but tailored specifically for Sales VPs, SVPs and CROs who had recently taken over a new organization. (For broader context on our Sales Leader's First 90 Days program, check out our introductory blog.)

Since so many companies have either re-organized or are in the midst of doing so, we find many of our "First 90 Days" principles relevant as established sales leaders plan their next 90 days.

We’ve condensed 90-day lessons into four key questions sales leaders can ask themselves as their companies undergo shifting strategies. Which of these challenges pertain to you and how can you address them in the next 90 days?

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Sales Leaders: Assess Skills Gaps Now to Avoid Pipeline Issues Later

By Hope Eyre

We suspected this would happen, and then we got confirmation from the Sales Ops team at our largest client.

“Some of our best sellers have become some of our worst,” they said.

The client was describing a subset of sellers who had historically been star performers based on the strength of their relationships; especially those who had relied heavily on face-to-face socializing.

“It’s the ones who never had to lean into any technology, because they were successful without it,” the lament continued. Pipelines already under stress were absolutely going to be affected.

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CSO, CRO, VP of Sales: Which Leader Fits Your Company? Which Fits You?

By Masami Middleton

As sales consultants, we encounter sales leaders with a variety of fancy acronyms in their titles. In addition to the SVPs/EVPs of Sales, the sales leader landscape also includes CROs, CSOs, and CGOs. While these titles imply a distinction in roles, to most people, it’s just alphabet soup. 

What’s the difference between a Chief Sales Officer (CSO) and a Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) or Chief Growth Officer (CGO)? From the CEO or board member perspective, which role does your business need? For a sales leader, which role is the best fit with your capabilities?

The easiest way to distinguish between these roles is to compare their scope of responsibility, core objectives, and what defines success. Appointing a “heavy hitter” to a CSO, CRO or CGO role, rather than a VP of Sales, indicates the need for a greater span of oversight from a strategic, revenue generation, and customer lifecycle perspective.

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Talking to Your Sales Team: Do it More Often, Starting Now

By Hope Eyre

If you manage sellers, frontline sales managers or indeed anyone, you understand they’re under stress, apprehensive, and craving any type of normalcy until actual normalcy returns.

Most sales leaders we talk to are currently in break/fix mode: Some are having to shrink their organizations or reduce pay. Most are trying to figure out how to help customers whose businesses or entire industries have been upended.

All are worried about the health and safety of their teams in addition to working hard to help sellers quickly become accomplished in a virtual environment. The key to managing much of this lies in how you’re communicating with your team while stress is running high.

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Changing the Tires on a Sales Team in Motion: Sales Transformation vs. Sales Disruption

By Masami Middleton

How many times have you heard the term “sales transformation” and thought it’s just consultant speak?  Or an ideal that’s impossible amidst your team’s never-ending hustle to make the number? 

If you are a seasoned sales leader, you’ve probably lived through all kinds of disruptive forces.  Mergers and acquisitions, business model changes, new competitors, and leadership or rep turnover. These factors can render your sales strategy, process, selling skills, or organization structure obsolete (or dated at best).

While many sales leaders recognize that a transformational change is in order for one or more of these areas, actually executing it feels like changing the tires on a car that’s moving fast.  But what’s the tradeoff? Would you rather change the tires now for future performance gains or skip it and risk a high-speed blowout on your sales team?

NASCAR pit crews change tires and re-fuel multiple times over 200-400 laps to give their racer the necessities to win.  We recommend a similar, sequenced approach to prioritize and execute sales initiatives across a transformation journey.

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How Do Sales Leaders Stay Credible and Legitimate?

By Hope Eyre

There’s this TED talk I like by General Stanley McChrystal called “Listen, Learn… then Lead.” We assign it as homework in our Leadership Academy, a 6-module program we’ve run for years at individual clients to ready their next generation managers for leadership positions across a variety of functions.

General McChrystal (who knew he was funny?) has several poignant messages delivered compellingly against the backdrop of combat, but his key takeaway is this: Leaders are good when they’re willing to learn.

“How," he asks, "does a leader stay credible and legitimate when they haven’t done what the people (they’re) leading are doing?”

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