article | February 24, 2017
How to Build Future Sales Leaders
When 20% of the sales team produces 80% of the revenue, something is wrong. The labor expense associated with the sales team incurred by the company has to be justified, or a head count reduction is warranted. Tolerating under-performers, hiring mistakes, and very long new hire productivity cycles all lead to missed revenue targets — and job loss for the head of sales. It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors. The Revenue Growth Diagnostic interactive tool will help you determine if you are likely or unlikely to make your number.
We’ve made available for download our base Sales Leader Curriculum. This curriculum has 40 different training modules. This is training your sales team must know for today’s complex and social selling. The modules are grouped into 4 categories. Each module contains multiple lessons included in the tool.
The Sales Leadership Curriculum tool is perfect for sales enablement and HR business partners who serve the Sales function. It will help to prevent vacant sales management positions. Change management is just one skill SMs must know. Current front-line Sales Managers need wide training to do their job effectively, including change management.
Here are some examples from each category.
1. Sales Leadership
Module 2: Demonstrating Business Acumen – Applying a strategic approach to understanding the customer, analyzing financial statements and executive comments, and learning how to identify customer goals & priorities.
2. Selling Skills
Module 16: Insight Generation and Value Provision – Creating a Rep mindset that provides value in all interactions and approaches opportunities with the idea of caring for the customer’s issues first; enabling Reps to generate customer-valued Insight.
3. Sales Management
Module 24: Performing Your Role in the Sales Process – Addresses all requirements of the sales manager as a participant in the sales process (sales calls, presentation review, proposal development, etc.)
4. Talent Management and Development
Module 33: Developing Future Leaders – Recognize future leadership talent, assign developmental activities, and ensure proper attention is given to future sale leaders to prepare them for a future leadership position.
Please note that these modules are only the starting point – we customize our Sales Manager training for each client. Also note that we design each module with a number of elements:
Of course, having the curriculum and courseware is not all. You will need to devise a delivery program. We often use a certification program with multiple levels (for example, Silver, Gold, Platinum.) Each level has increasingly more advanced training. For example, the Silver program may consist of only the first 15 modules. Alternatively, each lesson in a module may be for a different level of the certification program.
You can see the importance of the Sales Manager (SM) from a story. A client engaged SBI to assess their Sales Force. We recommended: 1) enable their SMs and 2) implement a Sales Process. Taking the “easy” route, they decided to do Sales Process and Rep training first. Unfortunately, the implementation failed because the SMs were not trained on change management. This left a gap supporting the Sales Reps in adopting the process.
The delivery program can span months or even years. It gives SMs a way to advance their own effectiveness while developing themselves for promotion. This is a way to build a virtual bench for higher levels of Sales Leadership. Make sure you enable tracking via a Learning Management System (LMS.)
As an additional resource, listen to an interview with Brad Kerst, Senior Director of Global Sales Enablement for Intuitive Surgical, a medical device company. Brad describes the difference between sales training and sales enablement. Listen to Brad explain how both are interlocked, with training providing background and context, and sales enablement serving up insights with a focus on execution.
Your Next Steps
Photo Source: World Sled Dog Racing Championship, February 12, 2011 in Donovaly, Slovakia by Ventura / Shutterstock.com
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