It’s not an uncommon scenario in sales: sales performance starts to slip, revenue begins to slide, and the sales leadership starts to get pressure from the rest of the organization. There’s challenges in acknowledging this decline is happening but also in understanding why it’s happening, and determining the best course of action to correct it. This post focuses on the four critical areas Chief Sales Officers and Heads of Sales should start looking at when their revenue hits a downward trajectory.
The Four Levers Sales Leadership Can Pull to Boost Sales Performance
When sales leadership starts getting lit up in quarterly revenue meetings, there is often a pressure and a scramble to reverse course. Hasty and misaligned initiatives are often implemented that rarely deliver the desired results. Avoiding a snowball effect and rebuilding the sales engine lie in focusing on the four fundamental areas that leaders can influence: strategy, structure, people, and process.
Strategy: The Blueprint
The foundation of a successful sales organization is a robust and well-defined strategy. This involves sitting down and asking critical, self-reflecting questions: Is your go-to market strategy still relevant? Does it offer a competitive advantage and align with opportunities in the market? Are your strategies creative and aligned with the goals of the sales team and the company as a whole?
A misaligned or poorly executed strategy can drastically lower your chances of success. It’s crucial to continuously evaluate and adapt your strategy, ensuring it leverages your resources effectively and remains aligned with market trends. The last thing you want to do in a downturn is panic and lose sight of the strategy.
Structure: The Framework
Your structure is what supports your strategy. It encompasses the organization’s setup. This is where you decide on the roles required for your team: inside sales, outside sales, sales ops, etc. A misaligned structure, such as having a team focused on farming when hunting is required can be catastrophic.
Evaluating whether your structure facilitates your strategy is imperative. Your comp plan, for example, is part of the structure. If your comp plan doesn’t align with your strategy, it’s time for a change. The right structure is not only about having the right components, but having the right components in the right places to support your strategy.
People: The Driving Force
Arguably the most challenging aspect of sales management is ensuring you have the right people in the right roles. The success of your strategy and structure hinges on your people’s ability to execute effectively.
You must evaluate your team and determine if they have the necessary skills and cultural fit to implement your strategy. Build tools and metrics to measure your team’s capabilities relative to your goals and strategy. Knowing your team’s strengths and weaknesses gives you the ability to address talents gaps before a revenue slide.
Process: The Mechanics of Sales Operations
Process are the cogs that keep the sales machine running smoothly. Inefficient or outdated processes can hinder market penetration, increase costs, and negatively impact customer satisfaction. Reviewing and aligning your sales processes with your buyer’s purchasing behaviors is crucial.
Look at your pipeline management, coaching processes, and lead follow-up processes, are they working? Effective processes empower the team and keep the team aligned to strategy.
Integrating the 4 Pillars
To effectively address declining sales and boost sales performance, leadership must focus on these four areas: refining the strategy, optimizing the structure, ensuring the right team composition, and streamlining processes. Managing a sales organization across these categories with a continuous measurement and improvement approach can lead to significant improvements in sales performance.
Reversing a sales slump requires a focused approach on these 4 key areas. By regularly evaluating and adjusting these levers, sales leaders can position their teams for success and sustainable growth. If you sales team is facing declining revenues or looking to enhance performance, consider a FREE diagnostic with our expert certified trainers to refine these critical aspects.