Today’s post provides ways sales operations can deliver value quickly to a new sales VP. A complete guide will be available for download at the end.
Here’s part of the dialog from a recent call with a sales operations leader:
“Dave” calls to tell me his boss, the EVP of Sales has just been fired. I ask him what he was planning given the news. The silence on the phone stretches on. After a few more seconds, Dave finally lets out a sigh. “I haven’t really thought about it. I’m still shell-shocked. I thought he turned the corner with the CEO. I guess I was wrong…”
“Well, do you want to stay with the company?” I ask. “Right now, yeah, I want to stay.” replies Dave. “OK, then, you need a plan when they bring the new guy in. What’s the plan?” The question was greeted with the barely audible hum of static on the line.
Sales VP churn isn’t getting any better. Impatient CEO’s, Boards and Market Analysts are seeing to that. The fear of the unknown is worse than the known. Who will they hire? What are their plans when they come in? How do they view sales operations? Before the new leader starts is when you need to begin to take action.
Provide a Roadmap To Making The Number
In general terms, the first 90 days are most critical. For both you and the new VP. Opinions are formed. Working style is assessed. Value is measured. You need to be prepared for these first 90 days with a new VP. Before they walk into their new office, develop the following:
- Scorecard – Distilled, objective data to begin a team assessment. Your data must be rock-solid. It must be reflective of performance / desired outcomes. This is a starting point. Competency and skills assessments must be used to augment performance data.
- Quick Wins – Identify 2-3 “quick wins” that will have near-term impact for your new leader. These quick wins must also fit into the bigger strategic picture. Be prepared to discuss why these will work and why they are important.
- Strategic Initiatives – Identify 2-3 bigger initiatives that you’re confident will support longer-term success. Frame out these initiatives. What they cost and what they will return. What is the priority and timing. Who will own them and who’s needed to execute them.
- Sales Disablers – Identify 2-3 conditions that exist that have a direct negative effect on sales. An example could be low selling time. Redundant reporting platforms. Misaligned or duplicated resources. Ensure you’re looking at things you and/or your new boss can affect. Have a solution set and the business case for each viable solution.
Download the complete guide here. Think of this as your 90-day action plan and SWOT for the new VP. Delivered with unimpeachable data and experience that’s objective. Delivered within the first week they are on the job. Make it easy to digest.
The more quickly you can help them make progress, the better off you both are. This will provide them with a strategy toward making progress early in their tenure.
Deliver An Executive Summary
In addition to the above, there are other items you should package together. Providing the below list to your new boss will further illustrate your value. This list will give your new boss the “lay of the land” for Sales and Sales Ops. Keep these all as brief as possible. Your new boss will be drinking from a fire hose.
- Bullet summary of your key accountabilities and KPI’s
- Sales Process / CRM Overview – Provide a view of the pipeline, the sales process, forecasting and the CRM tool being used.
- Compensation – Overview of compensation models and exception handling. Include attainment distribution, payout averages, ranges by role, industry benchmarks and cost verses budget.
- Quota Setting Process
- Territory Design / Structure Process
- On-Boarding – Summary of process for onboarding, training modules, technology set-up, etc.
- Job Descriptions and Scorecards by role
- Social Selling Guidelines
- Competitive Landscape
- Sales & Marketing Alignment – Lead Generation, Management, Nurturing and Handoff. Shared KPI’s, etc.
Even if your Sales VP’s has not been fired, don’t ignore this advice. Now is the time to put all of this together. If you have strong opinions of what’s working and what’s not, share them. Recognize that a new sales leader will likely make big changes. Help them focus on the changes that will drive tangible results.
Before your new sales VP arrives, connect via LinkedIn. See what you can learn about him. Prepare your team. After your VP arrives make them successful. Become their strategic “Chief of Staff”. Help them catch-up quickly and hit the ground running.