The Nine Acts of Sales Leadership | Action Selling

The Nine Acts of Sales Leadership

August 2019 – Issue 183

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A WORD FROM DUANE SPARKS

Dear Sales Executive:
Are great sales leaders born or made? Here’s how I see it: There really are such creatures as born sales leaders-people with innate talents and characteristics that enable them to perform the role naturally and with great success. Such people, however, are very rare.

And, here’s a more important point: Even born sales leaders don’t necessarily know how to create great sales cultures in their organizations. There is no such thing as a “born” leader who can’t improve with the right training.

The right training begins with an understanding that continuous improvement of a sales culture is not about personalities. It’s all about processes. Let’s explore that idea.

If you have a question about how to create a great sales culture that just keeps getting better, click on “Ask The eCoach“.

We are committed to your professional success.

Duane Sparks Author of Action Selling

The Nine Acts of Sales Leadership

If you want to improve your company’s sales culture, you must first understand this: The sales function is a series of processes. Likewise, sales leadership depends on a series of processes. There is a reason why “process” is a key word in continuous-improvement methodologies such as TQM, Six Sigma, and Kaizen.

If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t understand what you’re doing.

A process is a set of linked actions that are taken to create a desired outcome. When it comes to the sales leadership process, our desired outcome is profitable revenue. The Action Selling Leadership Process is a set of linked actions designed to function within an overall sales-improvement system. As I have shown in the latest series of eCoach postings, we can graph it to look like this:
In the previous edition, I explained the 3 Core Leadership Roles that must be performed expertly in order to achieve continuous improvement: Planning, Organizing, and Coaching.

Now let’s look at the 9 Acts of Leadership that support those three roles. Each of these Acts actually is a process. The cumulative effect of performing the processes is to build a path toward goal achievement. As you engage in the Acts, you will actually see results occur. Here is a thumbnail description.
The 9 Acts of Sales Leadership
Act 1 – Set Measurable Goals: A sales team without specific goals cannot be successful. As a sales leader, you’ll need to communicate goals, priorities, and processes that are linked to your company’s strategy.

Act 2 – Align Priorities to Maximize Success: No activity has more impact on progress than the act of setting priorities. If we don’t choose where to spend the majority of our time and energy, we can become overwhelmed in a sea of options.

Act 3 – Managing Your Sales Process: Absolutely central to continuous improvement is the sales-call process. We use the Action Selling system to orchestrate successful sales interactions with customers and prospects. The system allows meaningful measurements of both the quantity and quality of all key sales activities.

Act 4 – Hire the Best People: We’ve all made hiring mistakes. They are expensive and time-wasting. Hiring needs to be a process based on excellent answers to these questions: What are we looking for? Where can we find it? How can we identify who’s got the goods?

Act 5 – Results-Based Culture: Sales numbers don’t lie. Nothing else you do matters if the numbers aren’t hit. It is your job to communicate to the team what’s expected. Identify the Key Performance Indicators that are most important, and make sure everyone knows where they stand.

Act 6 – Behavior-Based Culture: As sales leaders, we determine what the acceptable behavior standards will be. These are called Best Sales Practices (BSPs). In a behavior-based culture, BSPs are documented and agreed upon. They describe the quantity and quality of critical sales behaviors you expect to see in your organization.

Act 7 – Coaching Culture – Questions: When you coach your salespeople, you’ll use the Action Selling communication process. That means you always seek to understand before you make a recommendation. Asking the Best Questions and listening to the answers is a major part of understanding.

Act 8 – Coaching Culture – Recommendation: Once you ask questions to understand an issue or a performance problem that one of your reps is experiencing, you’ll be in a position to make a recommendation that resolves the concern. (This corresponds to Acts 5 and 6 of the Action Selling process.)

Act 9 – Coaching Culture – Gain Commitment: As you diagnose performance problems and recommend solutions, you will prescribe specific activities and/or training. When you do this, you need to gain a commitment from your salesperson to act upon your recommendation and agree on a time frame for doing it.

For a more in-depth look at the most successful way to develop great sales leaders and a great sales culture, download a free copy of our latest white paper: Unhappy with Your Sales Culture? (Start With an Overhaul of Your Sales Leadership Process)
Action Selling in Action
Since 85% to 90% of us aren’t born sales leaders, we need to be developed. That takes training, followed by reinforcement and measurement.

What’s more, even the 10% who are great natural leaders need training to help them understand the best way to build a great sales culture, one in which continuous improvement is a built-in feature.

In a word, that’s all about processes. I’ll say it again: If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t understand what you’re doing.

Action Selling Leadership identifies vital processes and then connects them together into a complete leadership process. It is the only system that does this.

Since only a process can give you continuous improvement, Action Selling Leadership is the only training program that reliably will produce tangible gains in leadership performance.

For information about how to make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485. Discover the best way to develop great sales leaders and a great sales culture. Get a free copy of our latest white paper: Unhappy with Your Sales Culture? (Start With an Overhaul of Your Sales Leadership Process)