Having a solid sales strategy and a strong sales process are critical pieces of your sales success- but are they enough? You can spend weeks dreaming up a strategy based on the greatest thought leaders in sales, and even more time designing elaborate and thoughtful processes for how every step of the sales cycle should go. But what if you’re still not getting the results you know you should see? What’s missing then would be your sales execution strategy – putting all those pieces together and actually making them work in the real world.
And it’s a vital, and often underestimated, part of the success of your sales organization.
So, what goes into a smart sales execution strategy?
What is a Sales Execution Strategy?
Sales leaders might be doing everything right – but their sales teams fail to cross the finish line most of the time even when they’re set up for success. Your most brilliant strategy is only as good as the deals it actually helps close. Sales execution strategy is about getting the right strategy and tactics in place to actually make those sales of your product or service.
Sales execution means getting the tactics in place that actually deliver. Strategy and process are, of course, an important part of your sales success. But you need to connect those lofty goals and ideas to actual on-the-ground tactics to achieve your business goals.
Why Do You Need a Sales Execution Strategy?
Plenty of sales leaders are content to think up a strategy, implement some processes, and then let their top salespeople loose to do what they do best – sell. And that can get results sometimes.
But if you’re driving towards specific business goals, as you should be, you might have a hard time aligning your sales reps with those goals, especially if the goals changed over time.
Let’s look at an example to gain clarity. If your executive team has decided they need to start selling hard to a different demographic than your current target market, that can be great for expanding market share. But if you’re not communicating to your sales reps about why this change is necessary, and how to actually accomplish it, you’ve wasted everyone’s time. They will probably continue selling to the same old customers so they can keep hitting their quotas with ease.
For a quarter or two, that approach might look fine on paper. Your salespeople are selling, after all. But they’re not aligned with the approach that will benefit your whole company in the long run. And eventually, you will have lost market share by ignoring proper sales execution.
What would bring success instead?
This is where you implement a sales execution strategy.
- Tie the daily, weekly, and monthly targets of your reps to those overall business goals so they understand the contributions they’re making to the business. This way they know where they stand on a regular basis.
- Develop a strong discovery process, asking really good qualifying questions at the beginning. This way you gather the appropriate information to let you know whether this is a prospect worth pursuing.
- Implement tactics that remove barriers to those goals, like surfacing and addressing roadblocks as they arrive.
- Invest in technology that allows reps to focus more on selling and less on paperwork or admin tasks.
- Work on aligning sales with marketing so that both your efforts are even more effective, instead of potentially working against each other.
And then you see sales truly take off in a way that maximizes the benefit to your whole company, not just your sales organization.
The Steps of a Sales Execution Strategy
Every sales execution plan (much like an internal sales playbook) will look a little different, depending on your existing sales infrastructure, your industry, and your goals.
But there are a few common steps that every sales organization should follow to create their sales execution strategy.
1. Set clearly aligned goals
This is much more than just a quota for sales representatives, or the whole team. This is about aligning your sales goals to the priorities of the whole company and then clearly communicating that to every sales rep on your team.
2. Set your timeline
Some goals should be urgent and immediate, but don’t forget to look out into the future as well. What do you want your sales team to have accomplished at the end of the quarter, the year, and the year after that? This question can help you look at the big picture.
3. Measure progress frequently
If you set goals but don’t check in frequently on how you’re progressing towards them, you won’t know when your sales team needs a course correction. Coming up with a plan for who is responsible for measuring specific KPIs and how often you check them is vital.
4. Offer regular feedback
How is each rep progressing towards their goals, and how is the team performing as a whole?
This should be no secret – and feedback needs to be more than just about raw numbers. Is your team hitting their targets for gaining new market share, selling a new product, qualifying prospects right from the start during discovery, or increasing their conversion rate?
Discuss this in 1:1 check-ins, daily huddles, and weekly team meetings so no one is left in the dark.
A sales execution strategy is all about connecting the dots between strategy, process, and outcomes for your sales team. Individual sales reps are often disconnected from the larger goals of the business. They might also feel apart from what’s going on in other parts of the company in marketing or other teams.
Sales execution helps to bring all those different pieces together to create an environment where reps are set up for success. And as a result, they’re setting the company up for success as well. When it’s done right, as it is at most of the biggest and most successful sales organizations, it’s powerful.
Sales Execution Strategy Guidance
Are you noticing that although you have your sales strategy and your processes dialed in, your team isn’t getting the results you need? It’s probably a sales execution issue. Pinpointing these problems on your own can be difficult and time-consuming.
But when you work with the sales execution experts at 360 Consulting, we’ll find where to makes improvements and develop the solutions that work for your unique business.
Schedule your free consultation to find out how we help sales leaders and teams work together to break sales records.