To be certain, there are Sales Leaders that are not a cultural fit or do not have the requisite skills to accomplish the mission and should be replaced. What I am referencing as a point of discussion and debate is the “quick fix” that organizations may arrive at when Sales results are not delivering to expectations. Without an understanding of the root issues, the Sales Leader is often replaced when conflict is growing and results are less than anticipated. What likely occurred prior to the Sales Leader replacement was Rep replacement, ratcheting up meeting frequency and intensity, micro managing various activities or acquiring tangible tools like CRM. Quick fixes designed to change results that may provide a short-term lift, but will not deliver sustained results.
Change is difficult and in general, people seek immediate gratification from making change. There is resistance to doing true root causal work because of lack of skills and knowledge, perceived time and money challenges and the lack of political will to fight the battle. We had an experience a few months ago talking to a prospective client CEO. Revenues are flat, value differentiation is unclear, but all is good in the world. Either all is in control or there are elements of denial or over confidence. A month later the VP of Sales goes missing. What happened? Well, clearly all was not good in the world and the Sales Leader is held accountable for Revenue results, predictability, and all other elements of Sales Strategy and Execution. Changing Sales Leaders can be a time consuming and expensive proposition. The question is more about do they have what they need to be successful?
There is a Strategic Flow that begins with the Corporate Strategy or the differentiated activities that allow you to create a unique and valuable market position. Those choices help your Marketing Strategy and the corresponding Sales Strategy. Studies have shown three very interesting data points that indicate most companies are challenged to create the necessary alignment and Strategic Flow.
- 85% of organizations do not accomplish the Goals they set in their Strategic Plans.
- 67% of executives surveyed highlighted a lack of alignment between Corporate Goals and Functional Priorities.
- 95% of employees surveyed could not state their company’s strategy.
So how does this impact Revenue and Sales Leaders? Selling is hard enough in markets that are growing in both complexity and commoditization. We think there is a great opportunity to step back and do some root causal work to understand what is really going on that is creating the “effect” or results that are not meeting expectations. Is it hard work? Potentially. Is it valuable work? Absolutely. Without it you are guessing and rely on experience and emotion to make decisions.
If you understand the root issues, one of the answers may be to change your Sales Leader, but it will not occur in isolation. That will happen based on the aligned Strategy and what/who is required to Execute the plan. Make sure their is a clear Sales Strategy and the Sales group has what they require to be successful. If they don’t, then you will face accountability issues and future turnover will likely not be your choice.Share