Sitting at the intersection of consulting and training, we have a front-row seat to our clients’ business goals, strategic priorities and culture. We have seen sales leadership development and strategy implementation initiatives that boom with impact and many others that bust. Through that experience, we have defined the success factors and a new approach to help companies and their leaders achieve great sales performance and execution.
4 key elements to the great framework:
- Define ‘great'—Leadership is relentlessly contextual and every organisation has sales leaders who think, act and engage better than anyone else. We identify what these leaders do differently and build a ‘great profile’ for key sales roles, within the context of your business model, strategy and culture.
- Assess ‘great'—We believe in objective assessment using your ‘great profile’ and playbook of ‘great’ behaviours. We evaluate your sales leaders’ behaviours and mindsets through our world-class Development Centre process, selecting ‘great’ leaders based on what they do and how they think.
- Experience ‘great'—We know people need to see, experience and try out new ideas, skills, and mindsets before they believe in them, master them and become ‘great’. Our goal is to increase the practise to performance ratio and shorten the time it takes to produce ‘great’ sales performance.
- Execute ‘great'—It’s a well-known fact that a lot of what is taught in training programs is never applied on the job. We bridge this ‘knowing-doing’ gap by supporting the on-the-job execution of ‘great’ with fully integrated job tools, applications, feedback and coaching.
At some point, a person achieves greatness or high-performance in their career. The next challenge is about helping others get to that place faster. Helping executives define ‘great’ for their sales leaders is the first crucial step to move the mean and transform a higher percentage of talent to be great.
The great framework in more detail
- Honour the pockets of greatness in your company. In every key role, you have leaders who think, act and engage with employees, customers and stakeholders better than anyone else. Sometimes they are new leaders you have brought into the company to lead new business initiatives and drive significant change. They have a vision for the future and inspire others to join. Recognise what they do differently and build a model of ‘great’ for the pivotal roles in your company.
- Get external input—especially from your customers. For example, one company interviewed customers to better understand what their ‘great’ sales leaders did differently from others. Customers provided a perspective that the company didn’t have internally. Over and over again the customers gave examples of critical situations (challenges) and then explained how the ‘great’ handled them (choices). They also explained what the ‘not-so-great’ vendors and other leaders from the company did, pointing out that they produced sub-par results and broken relationships. The customers focused on the leader’s mindset and values, proving that the way they did things was as important as what they did.
- Target critical roles and levels in your organisation. Take the time to define what behaviours (often company values) apply to all leaders and which specific behaviours are most important to each role. For example, the challenges a sales leader experiences throughout a quarter are different from the challenges an engineering manager faces with his team during a product release. Given the challenges and team differences, the behaviours will also be different.
- Be practical. Rather than set expectations by a competency or content area, organise them by the daily and pivotal moments your sales leaders face during the year. Create a ‘great playbook’ that first defines the daily and pivotal challenges your leaders face on the job. Then, for each challenge, capture how your best leaders think and what choices they make in those moments.
- Move from a bell curve to ‘great’ at scale. Employees want and seek ‘great sales leaders and a high-performance culture, so don’t revert to a bell curve. Set great performance as the objective. It’s a measure of respect to the leader to have clear expectations. With clear, high-performance expectations, the average leaders will get to great faster than the generation before.