For your company to succeed, you need a fine-tuned sales execution strategy in place. This will make all the difference between shooting in the dark and occasionally getting results, and consistently hitting your targets. A sales execution strategy should be a thorough document, complete with guidelines about every step of the procedure, that you and your reps can refer back to at any time. It should focus, unsurprisingly, on execution- not just a broad, overarching gameplan but the pragmatic steps needed to bring it to fruition. A standout execution strategy should be:
- Detailed and specific
- Process-based rather than outcome-based
- Flexible and subject to change
The following nine elements are an integral part of a well-constructed sales execution strategy.
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The foundation of a rock-solid execution strategy is effectively setting and meeting goals. Goal setting can be an art form, and you have to strike a balance between bold, inspiring objectives and achievable targets. Quantify your goals whenever possible on all levels. This can mean a certain number target for your revenue or yearly growth. Some of your goals should also pertain to your sales process rather than your results- such as your reps making a certain number of calls a month or meeting research and training goals. Anything you want your reps to improve or change should be quantified and translated into an achievable, tangible goal.
Goals you set should be aligned with each other and with your company’s mission. Your reps should always have clarity about how their tasks relate to the bigger picture they are a part of.
Your goals are useless if they are not associated with a timetable. As you already know, time is a sales organization’s most valuable commodity, and it needs to be budgeted and tracked. An essential component of any sales organization’s culture is a sense of urgency throughout your team. This is unachievable without deadlines and time-related goals. These are key to assuring a culture of speed and momentum. Momentum is a valuable ingredient of any sales process, and many deals fall through because one or both parties were dragging their feet. To prevent this, make sure your reps know they will be rewarded for moving fast and meeting deadlines on a consistent basis.
A successful sales execution strategy involves targeting the right kind of leads and prospects. You want to have an ideal buyer in mind, and make this profile as specific as possible. Focusing on targeted leads rather than generating leads indiscriminately will save time and ensure your calls are more productive. You should incorporate a systematic way of obtaining qualified leads in your execution strategy.
Building a Detailed Pipeline
In order to execute a sales strategy in alignment with your company’s mission and objectives, it is crucial to build a detailed and systematic pipeline. A functional pipeline should always be active, with little to no stalling between different stages. It needs to be as specific and explicit as possible, to avoid confusion and hesitation, the bane of sales organizations. Find out more about how to build an excellent sales pipeline here.
Your reps should be improving and growing over time, regardless of their experience level. Encourage them to continue to set process- and outcome-based goals, to self-evaluate frequently, and to continue to coach their peers. Set metrics and parameters to evaluate progress over weeks, months, and even years. Learn how Attention can help you do this!
Regular Sales Meetings
It is essential to schedule frequent meetings to discuss your team’s progress, goals and concerns. Without accountability, there is no progress. Having quick daily, weekly and monthly meetings keeps your reps on track and focused and helps nip any issues in the bud. During these meetings, you should strive to provide clarity about large and small objectives and course-correct your team’s progress when necessary. You should also schedule frequent one-on-one interactions to discuss the specific issues your reps may be facing.
The best sales execution strategies are both comprehensive and flexible. There should always be room for adjustments and course correction in your sales process. You want your organization to be agile, not rigid and cumbersome. As a manager, this requires observational skills and vigilance. You want to identify processes that are not working optimally and modify them quickly. Be open-minded and willing to try new creative methods and solutions.
Coaching, coaching, coaching
As we have pointed out in previous articles, coaching is the most frequently overlooked aspect of sales. 70% of reps say they have not received adequate formal coaching at any point! Needless to say, training should be front-and-center in any sales execution strategy, and progress should be quantified and tangible. Reps should be evaluated frequently even after they have completed formal coaching to make sure the lessons stick. Coaching is an ongoing process, and even senior reps can always learn more and polish their skills. Who has the time for all this training and re-training? If it sounds daunting to you as a manager, consider trying Attention, to save time and accelerate your reps in weeks.
Giving feedback should not be confined to the early training stages. You should be watchful of your team’s performance, including stars and senior reps. Remember that positive feedback is almost always more effective than negative, and if you do have criticisms to deliver, try to couch them between compliments.
Sales execution is the process of turning your sales strategy into action. Every company has a different goal in mind, so they need to customize their plan accordingly. The nine key elements of a sales execution strategy are setting goals, setting deadlines, choosing a target market, building a detailed pipeline, tracking progress, and making adjustments accordingly. You should also have regular meetings with your team to review what’s going well and where the gaps may be in your process. And last but not least–coaching! Make sure you’re coaching your team on how to hone their skills and develop a rock-solid process. Don’t get discouraged if it takes some time before everything clicks into place.
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