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Key Questions Every Sales Leader Should Answer

by Rachel Clapp Miller /

question-mark-new.pngThe best sales leaders in the world are able to effectively articulate purpose, vision and strategy to their teams. Your team can’t drive results without understanding the direction they’re heading and the value in the end game.

To accomplish that, high-performing sales leaders make sure they understand the answers to these five questions – and that they effectively communicate them to their team members.

Can you answer these five questions for your organization?  

1. What Is the Purpose of Our Team?

Every team is driven by some purpose. You need your reps aligned behind the same goal. If the goal is not effectively articulated or demonstrated, lagging performance will be the outcome. Effective leaders clearly communicate the purpose of the sales organization, and align reps and activities behind the purpose. 

An effectively communicated purpose can be stated in a single sentence and represents an ambitious and compelling proposition. For instance, “We will become the most feared and dominant sales organization in our industry.”

2. Why Do I Believe In the Purpose?

Simply stating a clear purpose does not automatically ensure that your team is going to stand up and get behind you. You need to provide passion behind the purpose. If you don’t, complacency will be the outcome. Give your reps a reason to believe in the purpose. What is the evidence that this purpose is achievable?

Let them know about your past success and where you’ve achieved it in other organizations. If this road is new for you, find evidence in other organizations that demonstrates the path you’ve outlined and how it led to the desired results. If you’re working with a transformation partner, use their past proof points to help you make the case. 

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3. Where Will This Purpose Put Me in the Future?

If the journey does not have a clear vision for the future, it will be undertaken in a cloud of confusion. Make sure your team members can clearly visualize how the organization’s purpose will benefit them, and what it will look like for them when it is achieved.
A good example of an answer to this question: “Achieving this purpose will double our revenue, increase margins by 50% and double our ratio of competitive wins.” Help each individual team member tie this future vision to their own sales numbers to see how it will impact them personally.

4. How Will We Achieve Our Purpose?

This question correlates to the organization’s execution strategy. Without an effective roadmap to success, the journey to achieve your purpose will be hindered by chaos. Break the vision down into executable steps, and clearly communicate expectations to the team.

A good 18-month roadmap may outline the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to dominate the market on a quarter-by-quarter basis. Here's one way to benchmark your progress: 

Quarter 1: Develop ability to consistently articulate value and differentiation with customers
Quarter 2: Create and execute on a consistent sales process 
Quarter 3: Begin revised territory and account planning process
Quarter 4: Drive effectiveness in our sales recruiting and onboarding process

5. Which Skills Are Required to Execute the Strategy?

The most powerful vision, attempted with passion, will not get far if the people responsible for its execution don’t have the right set of skills. An organization that has done everything right but failed to equip its people effectively won’t see the results that drive behavior change.

Leading organizations put the processes and tools in place to ensure their people have the skills to execute.

 

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