As a management consultant focused on revenue growth, I have the opportunity to observe and engage in many business’s sales operations from a perspective that is incredible. On a daily basis I get the opportunity to interact with a wide variety of business leaders: Board Members, CEOs, CFOs, CSOs, CMOs, you name it. As a result, I’m frequently asked, “What separates the top sales leaders from the rest of the pack?”
What’s my answer?
After interacting with these leaders, day in and day out, there is one thing I’ve consistently seen that separates Average Performing Sales Leaders vs. High Performing Sales Leaders – their Sales Cadence.
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You might be wondering what I mean by this, as Sales Cadence (like many other business terms) can mean a million different things. What I’m referring to specifically is the cadence in which they operate, manage time, and the flow of information between themselves and their Sales Team.
Let me give you some examples:
Leader #1 (Average Leader). Struggle to maintain a schedule, or any type of regularity around a schedule. He or she most likely has great intentions of creating and maintaining a proper Sales Cadence, but he is unable to keep to it for more than a few weeks before the structure begins to fall apart. It will most likely look something like this:
- Pipeline Calls are made “every so often.” They tend to be either infrequent, sporadic, or both. Inadvertently creates tremendous amounts of extra work for all involved.
- Forecast calls are performed to make sure you’re “close” to the projection. They are also inconsistent. Again- creates tremendous amounts of extra work for all that are involved, or those that are required to participate.
- Sales Management calls are planned and scheduled to be performed weekly, but oftentimes they are rescheduled and not followed up on until the following week, or later.
- Accountability – Promises are made from both parties, but lack of mutual accountability, follow-up and follow through make the commitments meaningless.
Leader #2 (Great Leader). His or her Sales Cadence will be consistent, predictable, and will have a well-defined purpose.
- Pipeline Calls are made weekly. As a result, this Sales Leader knows the status of all the major accounts in the Pipeline, as well as if there are any promising opportunities to look forward to down the road.
- Forecasting calls are opposite weeks of the Pipeline calls in order to track Quarter To Date and/or Year To Date progress. Since this Sales Leader is already aware of the status of the Pipeline, forecasting calls become easier. Furthermore, he is kept abreast of any Sales Reps who are falling behind and can act upon these situations accordingly.
- Sales Management calls are also made weekly. This allows the Sales Leader to check in on his Sales Team and do all that he can to help improve their performance.
A Sales Cadence can seem too tactical or like just another “hassle” at first. But, believe me, it’s not.
Take the analogy of rowing a boat. It can be such a struggle – as you fight choppy waters, you can’t keep the boat straight, and your progress is stunted. The key is just to find the right rhythm. Once you find that rhythm, the momentum of your entire team will increase, and you can all ride smoothly. All of a sudden you realize that you’re moving at 100 mph, but it feels effortless. All that you notice now is the cool breeze on your face and all the other teams in your wake.
Sales Cadence helps you find that rhythm that gets your sales team humming like a well-oiled machine.
Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you have the right strategies to support your revenue growth goals? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate your Sales Strategy against SBI’s emerging best practices to find out if:
- Your revenue goal is realistic
- You will earn your bonus
- You will keep your job
Photo Source: John Kropewnicki, Shutterstock
BOSTON – OCTOBER 23, 2016: Chaminade races in the Head of Charles Regatta