This tip provides a series of sales leadership activities, recommended by sales leaders who know how to increase sales. The sequence starts with suggested actions when you first take over a new sales team. Following these initial actions is a cadence of annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly activities to drive a high level of sales performance.

This is part two of a series on how to increase sales through proactive sales leadership.

Part 1 of this sales management tip is titled Proactive vs. Reactive Sales Management

Initial Activities to Increase Sales: Assess

Review strategic positioning.

I use and recommend Geoffrey’s Moore’s process in Crossing the Chasm.

Tactics before strategy is the noise before defeat. Knowing how to increase sales starts with a strategy that everyone understands.

Observe baseline sales performance as directly as possible.

  • Ride along and don’t lead the call. If the meeting is not going well, it is natural to take over. But that is not how to increase sales. You must see the problems to address them.
  • Institute a regimen of call recording and critiquing. The answer to how to increase sales, is to treat sales as you would a sport. Use game film to work on all five dimensions of optimum sales performance, as described in the Sales Star Model.

Determine if there is a documented sales process.

  • You cannot increase sales without a sales playbook.

Review the sales force structure.

  • As an example, create a dedicated outbound calling team that works under close supervision, to ensure prospecting gets done. If you leave it to your field sales team, prospecting never gets done.

Assess sales infrastructure.

  • Do you have a CRM system and is it being used properly?
  • Visit the COACHING TOOLBOX for sales tools.

Talent assessment.

  • No amount of training, coaching and management will fix a personnel problem.

Define a sales hiring process.

Assess the current sales training process.

Review the current sales coaching process.

Review sales management practices.

This includes territory and/or account assignment and the compensation plan.

Create a master change plan.

  • Build a sense of urgency and create a guiding coalition among the senior leadership of the company.

Initial Activities to Increase Sales: Take Charge

Develop and document a custom selling process for your team.

  • Involve top performers/thought leaders.
  • Define a step-by-step process for sales conversations; prospecting, diagnosing, articulating value, co-creating solutions, co-building mutual action plans.
  • Ensure there is built-in customer validation for every step.
  • Develop a perfect sales call coach’s checklist.

Buy-in.

  • Conduct initial training to kick off the process and to get your team’s whole-hearted buy-in.

Mastery.

  • Initiate and sustain a twelve-month regimen of weekly mastery sessions, using direct observation of sales conversations, like game film, to coach. Each participant should focus on one of the steps in the sales process at a time, demonstrating mastery in a live selling situation. As they get checked off on one skill, they move on to the next. In that way, they progress at their own pace. The stronger team members will succeed more quickly and their example pulls the rest of the team along.

How to Increase Sales: Annual Activities

Annual account and/or territory planning and briefings.

  • Each individual will set a sales goal, develop a plan to achieve the goal, define quantity and quality (Q2) performance metrics and track performance against the plan on an ongoing basis.

Annual Sales Infrastructure Assessment.

  • Review, with the sales team, the tools and systems needed to support them and ask them to recommend any required changes. This provides a forum for sales input and turns complaints into participation. The results are used to select priority projects for upgrades. You may choose to involve selected salespeople in action teams. Keep the sales team informed of progress to positively impact morale.

How to Increase Sales: Quarterly Activities

  • Conduct a full day of reinforcement or advanced training.
  • Update account and/or territory plans.

How to Increase Sales: Monthly Activities

How to Increase Sales: Weekly Activities

  • Weekly meetings to support and reinforce the adoption of the selling system, continue building skills, review Q2 performance metrics and boost morale.
  • One-on-one coaching and performance trouble-shooting.

How to Increase Sales: Daily Activities

  • Pre-brief sales calls.
  • Structured call debriefs.
  • Opportunity X-Rays.
  • Get personally involved with top tier accounts at senior levels.
  • Ride along on sales calls, observing, and giving detailed feedback using a defined sales rubric.
  • Lead sales calls to teach reps how to do the hard things, like how to say “NO” to a customer and still get the deal.
  • Reviews of call recordings, using a defined rubric for each sales conversation.
  • Review Mutual Action Plans.

Putting this sort of cadence in place is difficult. I have been through it hundreds of times. As in flying, taking off and landing is the hard part. Straight and level flight is relatively easy. Once it is in place, it is a thing of beauty. The cadence creates a culture that is fun to be in.

This material is from Transformative Sales Leadership.

Call 703.966.0192 or email stevekraner@softwaresalesgurus.com to design a program for your first line sales managers.