June 25: Aligning Your Sales Organization

Aligning Your Sales Organization:
If there is a lesson in the current unpredictable economic environment, it’s the importance of recurring revenue streams for businesses of all kinds. Having a subscription product or service that customers will reload, renew, or reorder repeatedly can smooth intermittent cash flow and keep a business alive. The Subscription Economy Index, Covid-19 Edition indicates that nearly 90% of subscription businesses are flat or growing membership during this time. My latest HBR article explains how you as a leader can get your sales organization onboard with creating a successful XaaS model.
Even if you’re not driving a subscription or XaaS model strategy, these approaches will help you get your Sales Organization aligned on the strategy you are implementing. Any new sales strategy requires not just selling different things, but selling differently. Here are some common issues:
  1. The sales organization lacks confidence in the new solution. To get your sales team onboard with new recurring revenue models, leaders need to be curious and listen non-defensively. If your salespeople aren’t selling the new XaaS products, try to understand why.
  2. The sales organization doesn’t fully understand the go-to-market strategy for the new offerings. Communicate with your sales organization about their changing role in the execution of your strategy. Provide ongoing development experiences supported by management in the field.
  3. The sales organization is concerned that the strategy shift is the wrong direction for the company. Author Geoffery Moore references the financial concept of the JCurve to illustrate how investing heavily in a new strategy can take time to yield results. A big risk is bailing out too soon on a strategy that takes time to implement and losing out on both the investment and any substantive future return.
As a leader, you need to convey both your commitment to this new direction as well as your willingness to ride out the J-Curve. Show sales that they’re not alone, and that businesses in nearly every industry are moving in the same direction.
Building a relationship with an enterprise customer requires engagement across nearly every functional area. It can’t be accomplished by a single “Lone Ranger” sales rep, no matter how good they are. Getting your sales team on board early in the process is critical to the success of any recurring revenue transformation.
Special thanks to my friend and colleague Robbie Kellman Baxter, author of The Forever Transaction for her insights and expertise on this topic.
Increase Engagement While Leading from Home:
In my latest Forbes article, I explore how to increase engagement while leading from home during a pandemic. Several years ago, I worked with an investment firm and measured the levels of engagement and work satisfaction of employees in the office versus those who worked from home. The results showed that team members who worked from home were actually more engaged and committed than their counterparts in the office, they even rated leaders higher.
While the research we did was not during a pandemic, we found answers that can help leaders today improve behaviors that will move the needle on employee engagement.
  1. Be intentional and precise in your communication.
  2. Take advantage of different mediums and technology for different messages.
  3. Make an extra effort to connect on a personal level.
Leaders who can communicate effectively and efficiently, and who are compassionate and concerned about their employees’ well being are going to get better performance from people working from home. Especially those who are juggling additional items such as childcare, school, sharing spaces with a spouse or roommate, or who may be overwhelmed by the stress of today’s reality. If your goal is to motivate and retain employees, take a good look at how you are leading from home.
Question to Ponder:
What needs to be simplified in your life or business?
We are nearing the mid-point of a chaotic year. It’s a good time to examine what has gotten unnecessarily complicated or complex for you and/or your colleagues? It’s important to keep in mind the difference between simplified and simplistic. Simplified enables clarity and execution, while simplistic just overstates the ease of something. So ask yourself: what needs to be simplified?

Edinger Consulting