There is a lot to get right if you are trying to build a high performing sales organization. That's because sales organizations are complex systems, like the nervous system. The nervous system contains a network of specialized cells called neurons. Nerve impulses have a domino effect. Each neuron receives an impulse and must pass it on to the next neuron and make sure the correct impulse continues on its path. If something goes wrong in this process, you have problems.
In a sales organization, there is the same domino effect. If you don't get all 8 essentials right, you will have problems.
The 8 Essentials:
Goals & Values
Your sales organization is driven by its goals and values. They provide focus, power, and direction. Goals are about the outcomes you seek, and those goals probably include some that don’t have a dollar sign in front of them. Values are the beliefs, standards, and principles you choose to follow as you pursue your goals. Goals and values need to be clarified, communicated, and propagated if they are to fulfill their purpose in driving corporate performance.
Structure & Process
Today’s businesses are dramatically more productive than the businesses of old because they use division-of-labor to create teams of specialists. But often their sales organizations don’t pay the same attention to structure and process, don’t use specialists, and don’t have the same productivity advantages.
Metrics & Accountability
Measurement is the feedback loop that allows the entire system — the people and the processes — to be accountable for performance. Selecting the right metrics for your sales dashboard is a critical strategic decision, because what you measure determines what you get.
Talent & Skills
Understanding each person’s unique talent fingerprint allows managers to set behavioral and performance expectations for each specialist on the team. When the right talent is fitted to the right jobs, sales skill training and experiential workshops deliver an ROI not previously seen.
If you can get things right in all 8 of these areas, you will have a high performing sales organization. We have developed a diagnostic tool — an instrument designed to make you think about how you are doing in each of these areas. If you take a few minutes to complete this, it will help you identify a few areas that could use some attention now — helping you achieve greater performance in the future.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published Nov. 9, 2011, and has been revised and updated.