When it comes to resolutions, my problem is not a lack of ideas: stay in better touch with my friends, stick to my running schedule, cut out the salt, be more patient with my children … there is never a shortage. So I choose too many, and keep only a few, some not particularly well (ask my 16-year-old who’s learning to drive!).
My colleague recently explored how to keep a resolution to set better sales quotas. His perspective made me reflect on this quandary, which I face each New Year. As I was reflecting, I realized my predicament isn’t much different from the one confronting many sales leaders. For instance, a sales executive recently asked me, “Why is it we have such a tough time getting traction with our sales productivity initiatives?”
After looking at his list of 27 sales performance improvement initiatives, I tried not to be glib: “It’s your inability to identify and focus on the most important ideas.”
A sales executive in the transportation industry articulated the challenge even more clearly:
“Our goal is not to be world-class in everything. We don’t want to create a bright and shiny sales force. We want to improve the sales force in those specific areas that will drive significantly better business results.”
How many times have you found yourself presenting to leadership, or reviewing a list from your team, about the “Top 10 (or more) things that you will do to improve sales productivity”? (How many sales gurus have published similar Top 10 lists already in 2013?)
Even if you focus on a half dozen, it’s probably three more than should be on your list. To achieve real and sustainable change in your sales organization that will drive profitable growth, you must have even greater focus. By this point, many sales executives are nodding in agreement: ”Yes, laser focus, that’s what we need.”
But they are all important: value propositions, collaboration with marketing, sales structure, sales process, account planning, sales training, coaching, dashboards, incentive plans, better data, sales tools, etc. (I just rattled off nearly a dozen … and bet many of you wouldn’t rate your organization as “best practice” in half of them.) So how do we decide which are the most critical areas?
Well, here is some help. ZS Associates has made available SFE Navigator™, an approach and a set of tools that will help you decide. SFE Navigator™ is a comprehensive framework and set of resources to help sales leaders prioritize the aspects of sales strategy and execution that, if improved, will lead to the greatest increase in profitable growth.
SFE Navigator™ incorporates detailed leading-practice benchmarks and impact assessment techniques that are much more actionable due to greater objectivity, accuracy and specificity than prior approaches. SFE Navigator™ also guides you through a prioritization exercise to select the productivity drivers that most directly support achievement of your growth priorities.
As committed partners to the sales profession, ZS is making SFE Navigator™ available to all sales practitioners at www.SFENavigator.com. I encourage you to explore this resource to discover how SFE Navigator™ can help your sales team maximize its growth potential by focusing on the right sales productivity drivers.
So get focused. We should all resolve that what we want is growth—profitable growth—not to be “bright and shiny.” As for cutting out salt and being more patient with your children, you’re on your own.