3 Tactics to Improve Your Sales Performance
Mastering any craft takes multiple iterations, always improving on previous performance – and sales is no different. In this webinar, Joel “Thor” Neeb shares the three top challenges we frequently see when we consult with sales teams. Whatever your involvement in sales, Thor gives you actionable next steps to improve your sales performance when faced with these issues.
If you are an individual contributor right now running a very small sales team or just selling on your own, we’re going to have some tips for you to be able to scale best practices with other team members and to be able to fine-tune your game as a salesperson.
If you are a sales team leader, we’re going to talk about what it takes to wrap your hands around a growing team and create leader’s intent that drives the team to sell more effectively and communicate clearly what your intentions are for that team.
If you are a business leader, who’s not only in charge of the sales but the marketing and product side as well, and you’re trying to align all of these very, very different teams behind the scenes, we’re going have a conversation about one of the common pain points there and how we help alleviate that as well.
The first sales challenge is an unsustainable execution rhythm. You know that you are in an unsustainable execution rhythm if your team members are leaving even though they are hitting or close to hitting their personal goals, they are walking away from the business because they are burnt out. Every time the team is hitting their numbers regularly the quota is predictably moved out. This creates a sprint at the end of the quarter to hit the new numbers and that in turn affects price integrity. Staying up all night to close deals and shoving discounts under the door to try and get the sale has an inverse effect on long-term sales. There is not a system in place that allows them to iterate and improve each time and to work smarter instead of harder behind the scenes.
Poor execution rhythm is a tactical problem, meaning that it is something that you can fix in the short term. You can apply some internal changes as a leader to your team to make sure that they get back to a sustainable execution rhythm. The first thing we recommend is to conduct debriefs with your team. If you are familiar with the Flawless Execution cycle, you know that one of the key components is debriefing. When you hold these Debriefs, you are looking for common challenges and common pitfalls that people are bumping into. In this scenario, you will find out that you don’t have the right amount of pipeline at the beginning of the quarter and you are not advancing it properly.
Behind the scenes, you’re going to need a stronger inspection based off of those debriefs. During the Debrief you are able to stomp out the inevitable mistakes and have open and honest conversations about what can be done better the next time, but also look for pockets of success or inevitable success. If you’re on a team that has low performance, there are still things that are going to be going well. Scale the pockets of success, seek out members of the team who have strong execution rhythms and you will find a clear cadence that not only drives the right pipeline to set the sales team up for success but advances it. Finding the right execution rhythm will inevitably improve your churn rate even when the quota is increasing.
Climbing out of a Hole
The first example was a simpler and more defined issue, but you might be in a situation with a systematic problem where, for example, your sales numbers are significantly lower than the quota for a long period of time. Here you need to determine a long-term fix that comes down to people, focus, and alignment. A solution to this problem should be to construct a pull model. Establishing a pull model instead of a push model will require some upfront work and alignments to get together and work as a team, but once a common destination is established everyone on the team will have something exciting to motivate them towards the long-term goal.
In 2016 a leader from a top tech company that had a $42 billion in market cap came to us with a big problem. They had just had an acquisition where two selling cultures were merged together. They thought it would be a simple and profitable transition into selling two products to the same customer. At the end without a good plan to bring the two selling cultures together their company was losing ground instead of gaining it. Heading our team’s advice, he created a long-term vision for success and built an alignment to a future vision that compelled them to do more investments up front for a long-term opportunity. Once a long-term vision was proposed, he took the high definition destination and created and aligned three critical leverage points that led them to success.
The White Whale
The last challenge is about going after and capturing the white whale. The white whale is that huge account that is a step above enterprise. The difference in success when going after the white whale comes down to transactional selling vs. transformational selling, the solution selling. When you shift your transactional selling platform to a transformational selling platform your value proposition grows. You suddenly become that trusted advisor or partner with a solution that is able to affect business impact. When you’re selling an outcome instead of selling for an income your appeal to that white whale account increases.
Recently we consulted with a particular team that had a couple of $15 and $20 million deals come to us and asks for help in landing a $120 million opportunity. We debriefed with them, and it turned out there were some key behaviors that were taking place behind the scenes that nobody else was adhering to within the other groups. It turned out that the successful teams were immersing themselves with the customer, we’re really listening for the business impact. When they worked backward from the business impact the solution that the company was seeking, the teams were able to figure out what a customized solution using their product would look like. Regular debriefs aided their success.
Just telling your team to go after that white whale opportunity isn’t enough. You have to start mapping out the behaviors that are succeeding right now and that a team can use to scale success. At Afterburner we say success takes two things: inspired alignment and disciplined execution and you have to have equal parts of both. The challenge is that very often the skill sets to provide inspired alignment and disciplined execution are very different. In other words, a visionary leader is great at the inspired alignment and getting everybody motivated and bought into a long-term destination, while more of an operator mindset is necessary to effectively create that disciplined execution. But you must have both to be successful.
Debrief for Success
Whether you are an individual contributor, team leader, or leader with your hand in multiple parts of the company, these sales solutions and tips will help you tackle similar business challenges. In all scenarios, the key is to debrief. Follow the flawless execution model to determine where you can improve but also where your pockets of success already exist. Use those successes to build on and to scale the first steps towards your end goal.
About the Speaker
Joel “Thor” Neeb
Joel “Thor” Neeb works with hundreds of sales professionals each month to steer over $1 billion in quota. Thor shares his unique insights on the challenges all sales professionals face and teaches you the fighter pilot-proven tactics to overcome them.