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 will get replaced over time. What we are 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 is 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. Harvard 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” (Sales Effectiveness) 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. As a Sales Leader, you are a critical component to a company being able to achieve their goals and as importantly, to be able to grow revenue. If there is a lack of alignment and focus in the organization, does the Sales organization have what is required in the way of resources and support to accomplish its mission?
To be crystal clear, getting what is required for Sales to be successful is the job of the Sales Leader. This is not about making excuses for why you cannot be successful, it is about understanding where the challenges reside and working with your superiors, peers and direct reports to look at the “causes” of the “effects”. Creating a cross functional plan to get you to a different place benefits all parties, but requires effort, understanding and political will. Companies under pressure are looking for “quick fixes”, for better or worse. If you are the Sales Leader and feel pressure, then don’t let yourself be the “quick fix”. Get in front of the challenge with the support of the rest of the team that relies on the revenue created by your group to accomplish both group and individual goals.



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