It All Starts with Leadership

Ask any presidential candidate, football coach or successful businessman and they will all tell you that to improve performance and drive better results in any endeavor, it all starts with leadership.  Your business can benefit from the training and lessons learned from our sales leadership careers with great companies like HP Enterprise (EDS), Dell (Perot Systems), Cap Gemini (E&Y Consulting), KPMG and CompuCom plus many other smaller companies and start-ups.

In my time in sales leadership, and in providing sourcing advisory/consulting services, I saw many underperforming sales teams.  I would say the primary reason that these teams were not performing as they should was not a lack of talent, but a lack of leadership.  This manifested itself in numerous ways, including:

 

  • Poor quality of sales pipeline due to poor qualification processes, lack of management discipline when approving pursuits and failure to advance opportunities “up or out” through the sales cycle
  • Sloppy preparation of client proposals, presentations, value propositions, statements of work, contracts, etc. (leadership failing to drive a culture of quality and instead accepting sub-par work products)
  • Lack of preparation for major client meetings and presentations, including orals/finals (lack of proper sales processes requiring “dress rehearsals” and reviews)
  • Lack of leadership investment in sales training, sales operations and related sales infrastructure/tools
  • Lack of budget funding for travel, expenses, conferences and sales recognition events
  • Needless bureaucracy and lengthy approval processes causing unresponsiveness to clients
  • Overly rigid guidelines and approval requirements making the organization difficult to do business with

You get the picture.  You don’t have to have the top talent in your industry to succeed.  You do have to have leadership that cares and is willing to invest the time and money to do things the right way so that their sales people can do what they do best – sell.