By, Joe Heller, The Strategy Samurai
Today's challenge economy has capsized a lot of businesses, sinking a few more before the economy's ebb and flow stabilizes and business can regain their footing. As such, an organization must choose its sales leadership with great consideration to grow profits and build long-term revenue.
This is one of the most turbulent years contracting profits and revenues, causing a paralysis for business after nearly a decade of year over year growth. The demise of the economic stability has left many companies scratching their head and wondering when it will all turn around. Guess what? Stop waiting, the secret to turning around an ailing business does not lie in waiting for the economy to turn around. You need to look to the sales chief, remember it's the CFO's job to monitor the bottom-line. The top-line revenue burden lies with the sales chief. The buck stops with him or her. It is their mission to drive profits and revenues even it the midst of facing a myriad of internal and external challenges that no previous administration has faced. The problem matrix looks like a bingo card that is nearly full, including customers who going out of business to motivating their sales team in a dreary selling environment.
This is where leaders step up to the plate, the challenges they are facing today are the stuff that will test a leaders "metal" in ramping everything up a notch. After all, most of corporate America has never lived in such a dynamic cash flow environment and don't understand the mantra that drives the phrase - "perform or starve". If you've gown up in sales for example, you know what its like to go from the depths of depression to the heights of exhilaration in a single day. Those who are use to stability are clearly anxious, so this maddening fluctuation that lies in every aspect of business occurring to corporate America today will cause the cream to rise to the top. What we are saying is that it is up to the sales leadership to step up to the plate to educate the rest of corporate society on this mantra.
Business needs to get back to the basics, putting behind us the massive failings that occurred during the Internet boom in selling technology for technologies sake and not understanding what the associated use value was for the client. You must translate your corporate value proposition to capture a markets mindshare it's heart share. Ok, so what can you do to pull your companies up from the morass and break through your markets wall of indifference? Let me share a few ideas with you to help construct a revenue blueprint for '03.
First, you need to adapt your strategies from "wait and see" to enable a more proactive and tenacious strategy to drive revenues that extends throughout your organization. Sounds simple, but what about executing? As Stephen Covey says "First things First" - draft a plan of action that includes all of the department managers in a sales strategy meeting and yes even include non-sales related operations. Help everyone understand what is needed for revenue growth (not cost cutting) and design a process of inclusion that allows everyone to participate, exemplifying their personal strengths.
Tip from the Samurai: One example is having your employees personal goals and mission tied with those of the company.
To begin the process, hold a company wide meeting run by the sales chief and educate the staff that they have just been recruited onto the sales team and will be expected to build revenues in their own way. Most are willing, but are unsure of the "how to" pertaining to the sales mechanism and growing revenue. Have everyone buy in and set personal goals that align with the organizations, understanding the value their talent set brings to the customer.
Second, realize the ever-increasing need for customers may have you get into a situation that has adverse long-term profitability affects for your company by having poor customers. Walk away from a customer situation that you know is unprofitable. Your goal must be to contain and grow profits. In order to do this you must set definitive criteria that clearly states the profit metrics your organization needs to sustain itself and grow. Notice I specifically said profit and not revenue. My hope is that you have learned from the mistakes of the internet era that revenues without profits aren't worth much. Only an educated team can drive profits building company revenues. When you have the buy in of your team (the company) you gain new and powerful strategic position for your company to increase its visibility within your segment.
We realize this article has just scratched the surface, but as you begin applying these strategies you should begin to decrease sales cycles dramatically thereby reducing time-to-market as a key metric of success. The goal in evoking these tactics is to relieve the profitability pressures that companies are facing today, truncating the sales timeline and enhancing profitably by engaging resources within your organization that have been "sleeping". Building new bridges promote the delivery of revenue to your doorstep.
The sales leadership, including the CEO or Managing Partner will have to become jacks of many trades. Why? Experts agree that the company of tomorrow will need to manage dynamic revenue points that ebb and flow with key performance indicators and will be responsible for having them work together effectively in order for the organization to prosper.
To thrive in the new world, the elements of success will need to be interwoven throughout an organization. Sales leaders will need to effectively adapt to the changing marketplace and manage and motivate their troops. The two most important traits such managers will have are:
- Strong leadership. Successful leaders of profit and revenue provide their team with the right education, motivation and leadership to do new things in new ways with integrity.
- Thorough knowledge. The best sales leaders stay on top of their game by consistently upgrading their situational competitive knowledge.
Use Value: ensuring that your client always gets more in emotional and financial return that they invest.
2002 Joseph Heller, All rights reserved. Joe Heller, The Strategy Samurai www.strategysamurai.com
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