I used to live by the mantra, “Sales Can Fix Everything.” When sales processes and sales people are aligned it truly can fix nearly every business challenge. When the recession played havoc on our businesses the only way to push through it was to sell through it. Those that did are still surviving or thriving today. Cutting expenses won’t get you to the top, and you can’t save your way through a recession. You have to sell your way through it.
As I matured through my career, I was inspired by John Maxwell to add another mantra to run beside my sales passion: “Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership.” When we weave sales and leadership together, we create an unbelievable one-two punch for our company’s success in both growth and sustainability. A strong sales culture can get you to the top, but it takes a leadership culture to keep you there.
So, let’s reflect on this: if sales fixes everything… and everything rises and falls on leadership… shouldn’t we then intentionally focus on creating a culture that amplifies both sales and leadership? How are you doing with that?
When I work with companies on improving their sales programs, I examine three key areas:
- The sales process / systems / structure
- The sales competence
- The leadership philosophy / actions / culture
You can have an efficient sales process and mediocre sales people and still survive. Or, you can have a mediocre sales process and great sales people and still survive. But sales survival is just one step above faltering. To thrive, we need a solid sales process that makes our sales people more productive and efficient. I know, sales people and efficient should not be used in the same sentence! Ha-ha, but that’s kind of my point. Let the process enable the sales team to take on more so the results of their talent can be multiplied and sales success becomes a replicable program within your company walls.
A solid sales coaching program instills leadership principles. I suggest you immediately start coaching your sales people on becoming better leaders. We know that leadership is influence. Isn’t that what sales is? Don’t we try to influence a potential buyer to purchase our product or services? Some of my best sales training was actually leadership training. This helped me create a sales and leadership culture; My one-two punch!
So why is it a “one-two punch?”
Because we are “slow cooking” today’s great sales people into tomorrow’s great leaders. The immediate benefit of teaching your sales team about leadership is the improvement they make with influencing clients. However, the long-term payoff is in their leadership development.
Have you ever promoted your best sales rep to sales manager and wondered why it didn’t work? Yes, humble up and confess; we all have! It’s a common mistake because it seems like such a natural progression in career growth. However, if we fail to “slow cook” the sales rep’s leadership skills, they will struggle making the producer to leader transition.
Creating a one-two punch sales and leadership culture solves your long-term leadership challenge while bringing you current day sales success!