At Sales For Life, we’re huge proponents of strategy over execution. Here’s why. The number one problem sellers have with pipeline creation or business development is that they and their managers believe that doubling, tripling, or 10x-ing down on activity levels is the only way to increase pipeline. (That being said, there are many organizations where sellers aren’t doing enough to influence a sales outcome).
The challenge, as we’ve talked about in previous blogs, is that you won’t get better results from this approach. You need to consider developing strategic frameworks and coaching guides.
Here at Sales For Life, we create coaching guides that include three components:
a) Leaders: What do coaches (your front line sales managers and/or sales enablement leaders) look for using green flags and red flags? What questions do they ask? How do they keep the sellers accountable to the right strategic activities?
b) Sellers: What do sellers do step-by-step, and how do they stay aligned to the strategy?
c) Support: How does Marketing and/or Operations enhance the digital selling experience for the sales team?
For all of these personas, what’s important is they back up and build this plan together.They all need to understand why they’re going to use this sales motion, why they’re going to do this deep research on key accounts – so when it comes time for execution, everyone knows their role. The best organizations execute with strategy, and everyone knows their responsibilities. And your team must develop a more effective strategy for pipeline creation.
For example, a strategy in a vertical like the federal government, rather than calling all departments in Washington, DC, the strategy would be to reverse-engineer and identify where your company has asymmetrical competitive advantages. That means where your company has relationship strengths with advocates that are at companies you want to target, that can aid in your business development.
No competitor can take this away – these are relationships your company has forged –wouldn’t it make sense to leverage these first?
You’ll be first-to-market in leveraging these types of accounts. The execution of this strategy can vary wildly, and can incorporate three different engagement media –traditional (phone, email, face-to-face meetings); digital (video, LinkedIn In Mails, direct message Tweets) and paid online advertisement; and experiential (live events, conferences, product promotions, and giveaways). All of that is planned in advance, and then the execution starts. Everyone is then responsible for coming to your weekly sales meeting to report back about their last sales actions, and discuss the next sales actions.
There’s a saying from Jill Rowley that says “Social selling is every deal every day.”None of that is valuable if your strategy isn’t aligned to being better than the competition.