The Ultimate Sales Leadership Tool for Improved Efficiency, Time Management

February 4, 2019  |  Posted by in Leadership Development

In an interview at the recent World Economic Forum, Goldman Sachs CEO, David Solomon was asked where he focuses his time as a leader. Solomon replied that he divides his time in thirds, with a third of his time spent on strategy, a third on his people and a third on customers. His words reminded me of the recurring conversation I have with sales leaders who bemoan the time they must dedicate to day-to-day sales efforts and customer interface at the expense of time directed toward more strategic considerations relative to sales and profitability growth.

Balance is the Key

As sales leaders, we are continually looking for more time in our day, specifically to focus on long-term and far-reaching strategic concerns. Time spent on day-to-day sales activities – closing deals, acting as an adviser to customers, completing sales negotiations – these are all symptomatic of insufficient selling skills on the sales team. When this dynamic is present, it is likely that sales training in the organization focuses heavily on product knowledge. Sales professionals on this team can talk about the features of their products all day long, but may lack the skills and processes needed to diagnose customer needs so that the solutions they propose fill a need recognized by the customer. They are likely intimidated by customer objections when, in fact, these are opportunities to move the sales process forward and deepen the customer relationship. They probably do not have a proven and repeatable process for delivering a winning sales presentation and closing the deal.

Teach a Man to Fish

When sales team members continually ask their manager or leader to intervene, it is essentially a cry for help. As leaders, we can continue to help them one customer at a time, or we can provide them with the selling skills and processes to move forward with greater effectiveness and confidence. Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.

People over Process..

..but processes should be built to enable your people to succeed. Currently there is a lot of chatter in the professional sales world about sales enablement. Can software and SaaS greatly improve efficiencies in the marketing and sales cycle? Absolutely. But without the communication skills to cultivate customer relationships and selling skills and processes to diagnose needs, deliver compelling sales presentations and close deals, we are simply generating more opportunities to strike out at the plate. In this regard, sales skill development kills two birds with one stone – as the ultimate sales enablement tool for the sales team and time management solution for sales leaders.

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