For the past few years, businesses have been in survival mode. Management teams have their hands full just trying to keep businesses afloat through a pandemic, labor issues, supply chain issues, rising interest rates and a recession. Your job as a leader is not just to maintain the status quo. To be successful, your organization must grow.
in my new book growth leader, highlighting leaders' strategies for driving top-line and bottom-line results. Here are his three key lessons for successful growth.
1. Don't ignore the sales experience in your customer experience.
Executives recognize that customer experience is their point of differentiation and build growth strategies that incorporate CX into their plans. Unfortunately, most CX efforts focus on what happens after a prospect becomes a customer, completely ignoring what happens first: the sales experience. Sales experience is the first step in the race to acquire and retain customers, and if your company doesn't win, your prospects will experience a customer experience with your competitors.
Research on B2B transactions shows that 25% of customer decisions are based on sales experience. Sales experience is the most valuable determinant for your customers, second only to the quality of the products and services you provide. Therefore, if your services appear similar or the same as your competitors in the eyes of potential customers, it is the sales experience that differentiates your company and tips the scales in your favor.
Leaders must focus on designing sales experiences based on value, rather than simply selling products or presenting capabilities. We leverage our organizational insights and expertise to help clients think differently about their situations and needs, and how to best address them. Sales organizations focus on helping clients recognize issues they may not have identified as priorities or the impact of challenges they have not considered. Empower your prospects to use your solution in ways they never thought possible before. The value built into this type of partnership provides a sales experience that customers are willing to pay for. They will vote for you with their money.
2. Eliminate sales bias.
One of the main reasons why organizations fail to leverage sales experience is the existence of sales bias, or the negative perceptions and stereotypes associated with the sales profession. Most executives have work backgrounds in finance, operations, technology, and sometimes marketing. There is very little to be gained from the sale. Although the role of sales jobs has evolved dramatically since the early U.S. Census era, when sales jobs were relegated to “prostitute” or “peddler,” the stigma still remains. This affects the traits we typically look for in sales professionals, with traits like extroversion and aggression becoming overemphasized and counterproductive when selling complex solutions. In addition, not enough attention is paid to consulting practices, which affects how sales teams are developed, pitched, and managed close.
This has a limiting impact on how companies acquire new customers, expand collaboration with existing customers, and create customer loyalty. These outdated stereotypes and negative perceptions are the result of many decisions made by CEOs and executives about sales departments, including the types of talent they hire, how they manage their talent, how they pay their salaries, how they develop their talent, and how they communicate with their talent. It still influences important decisions. .
Beliefs shape behavior, so to guide growth you need to address sales biases and counterproductive beliefs. Building a high-performing sales culture requires leaders to prioritize strategic perspective, technical or functional expertise, and intelligence in recruiting sales professionals. Because these are the skills most valued by customers. Leaders must also recognize the sophistication required to sell solutions through consulting and invest strategically in coaching and management. Above all, leaders must separate the purpose of the sales organization from the results it achieves. Sales and profit are often the main objectives pursued in sales. But these metrics are the result of creating a sales process that is valuable to your customers, and that's what a great sales force delivers.
3. Align your sales organization to your strategy.
Every sales call can make or break your go-to-market strategy.Under research growth leadermany CEOs believe that sales organizations always Of course Although further away from the C-suite than other departments, the sales department is also the department closest to the market. Accepting the natural distance between sales and leadership also means acknowledging the significant and costly distance between leaders and customers.
It is up to management to engage more strategically with the sales organization. My research shows that most sales teams have little understanding of the company's strategy. On a scale of 1 to 10, it's 4.2. Sales teams are the ones who execute the strategy, so this is a big risk to your growth goals. This is done hundreds or even thousands of times each day. It either accumulates a large amount of victories or dies after a thousand cuts.
Spend time with sales leaders and front-line salespeople to make sure they understand the strategy and what it means to execute it in the field. Be clear about the right type of business to pursue and which type of business to exit from. Help them see the connection between your new product, service, or feature and the outcomes and results you believe your solution will deliver for them. Emphasize that the sales organization's role is not just to generate numbers, but to create a valuable sales experience for customers. If you do it well, the numbers will follow.
When a business relies on a sales organization to connect with customers, growth and sales go hand in hand. One predictable failure for companies is the disconnect between leadership, strategy, and sales. Addressing these three important topics with your sales organization will put you on the path to growth, not just survival.