Assume you are a plant manager and your facility produces specialty candy bars. Really, really tasty candy bars, so much so that you can barely keep up with demand.
As the plant manager you must oversee execution of the entire process. You know from both experience and education that you can break execution down into three basic steps:
1) Assembling the raw resources
2) Converting the resources into candy bars
3) Shipping them out
That’s it – resources; production; outcome.
That production theory has produced scores of books and countless hours of business school lectures. Along the way we’ve been introduced to Total Quality Management and the Six Sigma process (along with various lesser-known theories).
Success in manufacturing comes through effective execution. That’s what TQM, Six Sigma, and most other process-improvement platforms are all about.
Question: Can we look at sales execution the same way?
There is an assembling of the raw resources (leads); converting those resources (sales process); and the outcome (an executed contract).
If we want to take a page from our friends in the manufacturing business it might help us to clarify that sales execution comes down to a simple formula:
Clarity of Purpose + Precision of Effort
Clarity of Purpose
We all believe that the purpose is to make a sale and earn some scratch. Understandable – that’s a good goal.
But do you truly understand the purpose of each step in the sales process? It’s not just about finalizing an agreement; it’s about clearly understanding and executing the path that gets us there.
Too often we dictate what salespeople should do but we fall short in our explanation of why those specific steps make sense. We don’t teach them what effective sales execution looks like.
Do your salespeople know the why behind the steps you have laid out for them? This might be some good fodder for sales meetings if you look closely.
Precision of Effort
In evaluating the efforts of your sales team, do you measure how precisely they execute?
All too often we gauge the success of a sales presentation based upon the outcome – did they get the sale? Here’s the problem with that: a sale is not a behavior; it is a result.
Are you keenly interested in precision of effort, or are you only evaluating the end result? Get the effort (behavior) working correctly and the results will follow.
On the one hand, a sales process is a complex and unpredictable thing. On the other hand, a keen focus on sales execution ensure a greater chance of success.
At our annual Sales Leadership Summit – Execute 2016 we will dive deep into this concept of process clarity. I will show you specifically how to determine the proper “behavioral metrics” that will help you to evaluate more clearly and more specifically the efforts of your sales professionals.