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7 Sales Leadership Signs

At Sales Director Central we meet and talk with many  Founders, Owners and Directors in Tech2to20 (technology companies with revenues between $2m to $20m).  Their views and approach on Sales Leadership, and even for some of the more savvy investers in Tech2-20, is a constant source of discussion.   We interview the key stakeholders during free diagnosis/triage sessions and again during the initial stages of our engagement.  The seven signs on sales leadership we notice are common across all businesses are approached in vastly different ways.  So, whatever you are doing, you are not alone.

The seven signs we commonly discuss and see are:

  1. Current Sales Situation - how do you assess your current sales situation?  Do you need more revenue (always Yes!)?
  2. Current Sales Leadership Position - you are a leader in this business, how do you approach your role as a sales leader?
  3. Previous Sales Scale Experience - what have you done to scale sales in the past?
  4. Plans to Scale Sales - how do you plan to scale sales here?
  5. Sales Pipeline - how would you describe your current pipeline?
  6. Sales Approach - how do you approach sales?
  7. Customer Conversations - what sort of conversations do you have with your customers?

Where do you sit on these seven signs of sales leadership?

What have we learnt?  What can you learn from this?

1. Current Sales Situation.

Only 10% of companies are truly revenue rich. We found even those companies also want more eg: move to an international market.  Driving top line revenue is a KPI for every business, led by the Founder in the early days, then as the business matures, by a sales director with a sales team. 

Bottom Line: you are not alone in wanting or needing more revenue.  Frustration here is the first sign of Frustrated Founder Syndrome or Frustrated Directors Syndrome.

2. Current Sales Leadership Position

50% of Founders and Business Owners either take revenue generation all on themselves or hope the problem will be solved by hiring a full-time sales leader.  Success increases as you increase your knowledge of the sales process and of how to build and manage a high performance sales team. 

Bottom Line: Sales cannot scale if the Business Leader is the sole or major revenue generator.  Knowledge is power for sales leadership and building a high performance sales team.

3. Previous Sales Scale Experience

85% of Founders, Owners and early stage Business Leaders had limited or no success in building a sales team to increase revenue generation to support their plans to scale the business.  In a B2B model, building a high performance direct sales team is key to scale. 

Bottom Line: Founders, Directors and Owners need a team to scale.  FDS’s best cure is a high performance sales team.

4. Plans to Scale Sales

Founders, Directors and Owners know this is an area demanding their focus.  Very few ignore it.  50% hire a team or a sales leader without any formal program for sales leadership or sales success. 

Bottom Line: Invest in your sales scale approach by seeking advice on building and managing a successful sales team.  This is such a critical area for Founder's,  Director's, Owner's and Investor's success that it cannot be left to chance.

5. Sales Pipeline

Who doesn’t want a bigger pipe?  The most pressing issue with the pipe is the quality.  A large pipeline of deals that are not ideal wastes everyone’s time.  Get this right then it can grow from a solid base. 

Bottom Line: Focus on quality to allow more time to focus on deals you can win.

6. Sales Approach

Only 25% of Founders, Directors and Owners establish and enforce a sales methodology.  If you don’t enforce it you’d be better off with no framework at all and let the sales team self manage.  We all know that is not the answer. 

Bottom Line: Small steps in building a sales methodology and enforcing it for everyone will build to a more disciplined approach over time.  Try a simple qualification checklist for all deals as a starting point.

7. Customer Conversations

A symptom of FDS is a blind focus on product which leads to all customer conversations being about your product rather than their problems.  Only 15% of Founder/Owner/Director – Customer conversations focus on Customer Value. 

Bottom Line: Have you asked your customer what value they derived from using your product or service?  Voice of the customer is key in improving this area of your go to market (GTM) approach.

The Bottom Line

Don't ignore these seven signs of sales leadership.  Ask yourself where you fit.  And feel free to reach out to Sales Director Central with any questions.

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