Planning for 2013: Six Fatal Mistakes to Avoid
Using Emotional Intelligence to Close

What's Ahead for Sales Organizations in 2013?

How clearly do you see the road ahead? When we are driving down the highway, we notice that, the faster we go, the more the view begins to blur – yet the dashboard is clear and bright. This also applies to sales leaders. While the speed of change accelerates, many sales leaders become confused by the rapid shifts in buying behaviors. While some customers act as if they’re in a boom cycle, other customers react and prepare for tougher times in the road ahead.

As we plan for 2013, salespeople demand more clarity of vision from their sales leaders. An overarching vision has three elements:

1. A guiding vision. It begins with an accurate appraisal of the present. Salespeople want to know the answer to these questions: Where are we now? What are our strengths? What makes us vulnerable? What threats are we facing?

2. A guiding fiction. Nobody can predict the future, but effective leaders have an uncanny ability to direct followers to imagine and find the best opportunities in the market. Uncertain times demand leaders who can stimulate the imagination so that their followers can clearly focus on winning more business month after month. The best leaders are merchants of hope.

3. A guiding process. Salespeople need a continuously improved and accelerated process for everything from generating leads to closing the sale. Successful sales leaders need to constantly realign people, process, and technology. 

In many companies, there are as many sales processes as there are salespeople. World-class sales organizations follow a process that’s based on A) the know-how of their best salespeople and B) how customers want to buy. Many sales leaders believe that their well-thought-out sales process reflects the customer’s journey.

While the economy continues to challenge, confuse, and surprise decision makers, effective sales leaders ignore the noise on the sidelines and get busy improving sales productivity across the organization. According to a survey performed by the SalesOpShop, sales leaders’ top two priorities for 2013 are 1) topline growth and 2) improved sales process. To achieve these goals, sales leaders need to become more innovative when aligning people, process, and technology. The challenge in most organizations is that people are often too slow, processes are often too old, and technology is often too complex. To meet that challenge, we need to invest 60 percent of our effort in helping people change, 30 percent in improving our processes, and 10 percent on implementing simpler and better technology. The key to winning in 2013 depends on expanding the innovative capabilities of the organization.

Albert Einstein once said that imagination is more important than knowledge, because knowledge tells us what was, whereas imagination tells what will be. What will be in 2013 depends on adaptive and creative sales leaders, who drive people’s capacity to change and lead them to execute on a customer-focused process that’s accelerated by the best technology available. Your success will also hinge on what you believe you can achieve. 

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I appreciate your collapse is needed to help people change the 60%, 30% of the process, and 10% of the technology. Help people change, so they become the best of self is skills we see in the great leader. The sales manager and management can achieve great results from their people. If not a process, however, these results will not be great. A sales process is absolutely crucial to any company's continued success. A teachable, repeatable sales revenue growth process helps sellers better talk about their opportunity to reduce the discount, broaden their customer base. It also provides a common vocabulary and group milestone, so as to help create a sales culture. If you want to reach a target recognition SalesOpShop # 1, realize the top line growth, the sooner you establish the process better.

Small Business Solutions

Very nice posting. I liked it.

Sharon Parker

Great article!I appreciate your breakdown of what is needed to 60% helping people change, 30% process, and 10% technology. Helping people change so they become their own best selves is the skill we see in great leader. Sales managers who coach as well as manage can achieve great results from their people. Without a process,however,those results will not be as great. A sales process is absolutely critical for any organization's ongoing success. A teachable, repeatable sales process grows revenue by helping sellers better qualify their opportunities, reduce discounting, and broaden their customer base. It also provides a common vocabulary and set of milestones to help create a selling culture. If you want to achieve the #1 goal identified by SalesOpShop, achieving top line growth, the sooner you establish a process the better.

Jon Birdsong


Great connecting with you at Dreamforce. I couldn't agree more with you on your three elements.

The skill set of the sales leader is getting larger and more versatile. Not only do they have to understand their organization, manage people, and know their industry inside and out. Now they have to be even more creative, adapt quickly, and get the necessary tools to their sales reps.

This is a great blog post.


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