Updated: Sep 12, 2018
When ideas are born, they feel powerful. You feel powerful. Unstoppable. Then you bring your ideas to the strategy phase and develop the sales plan that will make all the difference for your division or team. You're a rock star. You just have to put the finishing touches on the communication plan and implementation process, then the sales will come. You're gonna crush it! Congratulations rock star!
The next morning, you roll out this game changer to your team and share the details with them (not too many, because you knew you had to keep it simple). You're smart. You start with "why", then move to "how", knowing the "what" will be self-evident. Then, you go for the big crescendo. You channel your best inner half-time locker room speech and get your team fired up. Damn you feel great! Rock star? Nah. More like Rock God! You spend the next three or four days making sure everyone on the team "gets it" and knows what to do. They're still fired up from your speech, and they give you an ecstatic, "Yeah, boss!" You know your team is gonna smash their sales goals!
A few weeks pass and your sales reporting isn't showing the impact you forecast. There must be something wrong with the reporting, right? But is it? You know your strategy was perfect. Your data analysis was impeccable. Your implementation processes was on point, and your roll-out to your team couldn't have gone any better. If reporting isn't wrong, and the strategy is perfect, then it must be the team, right? I mean, they're just not executing, right? I mean, that has to be it... right?
Execution is the perfect synergy of strategy, opportunity and engagement.
You might be right. Execution could very well be the issue, but not for the reason you think. Let's operate with the assumption that the strategy is the right one, and the opportunities are abundant, so we can focus on engagement. Specifically, let's look at your engagement, as a leader, and the process you use to bring the synergy necessary for your team to execute quickly. We'll use that I call the M3 model.
Is your message clear (not to you, but to your team)?
What is the frequency of your message?
Is your message consistent in content, delivery and frequency?
Clarity of the message to those required to execute is one of the most important items that virtually all sales leaders nail down first. Where the most successful sales leaders set themselves apart is know the frequency at which to deliver, redeliver, and reinforce the message. Above that, they also know that the message must be consistent in content (not just from them - that's easy), but also from all leaders support the team or organization. They also know that the energy, detail and ownership must also be consistent across all leaders, to avoid confusion or complacency from their sales.
Do you have a reporting system that accurately measures what you're asking your team to deliver?
Does it measure not only the final output, but also any secondary metrics that serve as a lever or indicator of alignment to the desired result?
Are the measurements delivered to the leadership and sales teams in a manner that is relevant to their role and scope?
All too often, we roll out an initiative, product or service offering without the ability to accurately measure what we need the team to deliver. We get there eventually... usually. But, in the time it took us to get it right, we failed ourselves and our teams. When we do get it right, often we only measure the final output. The most successful organizations and leaders know there's more to understand than just final output. Be sure your KPI system measures levers that shine the light on behavioral and performance measure that provide early indications of what the final output will likely be. Deliver this "lever" reporting to your front line leaders and sales teams. While sales executives will be most concerned with the final output, your teams won't find that measurement tactically helpful to driving execution. The reporting must be relevant to each person's functional role in your organization.
Momentum, when built is a difficult force to stop. If you've messaged properly and measured effectively, you'll build positive momentum across your division or team that will propel you to the forecast you believed in when you built your strategy. You may know all too well, the perils of momentum working against your sales team. As a strategy seems to flail, or an initiative doesn't seem to work, morale begins to dip, and a defeatist, complacent momentum begins to build. This is controlled by you. Not in the moment you first feel it, but many days/weeks/months earlier. You are the driving force to align strategy, opportunity and engagement to execute at full potential.
LET'S GET REAL
This all sounds almost too rudimentary. And, it is truly rudimentary. With disruption being all the rage, it is more important than ever to understand that the rudiments, the core foundations, are always the first building block to success. If your path is to be a disruptor, have at it. Shake things up. Be successful! If your path is to conform to prescribed and proven strategies, go after it. Work your process. Be successful! No matter your path, just know that humans (you and I) require mastery of several rudimentary fundamentals, upon which we build our greatest achievements.
Whether you're still a skeptic and need more convincing, or you're interested enough to want to explore this and other topics deeper, I'd invite you to connect with me at Rudiment Solutions. We always like a good chat, and love when we help take your business to the next level.
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