Successful Sales Leadership & Sales Management in 2020: A Retrospective

We have had the good fortune of working with some excellent companies and teams in 2020 before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’d like to share some Sales leadership & Sales Management Practices, Observations, and Insights that the strong leaders employed and still employ to drive their business in 2020 and into 2021.

ONE STRONG EMPOWERING BELIEF, SAID IN DIFFERENT WAYS: “We must first deal with our people’s attitudes, beliefs, and limiting concerns NOW!”

2. Excuses indicate other problems…EXCUSES MUST BE ELIMINATED!

3. Success Starts with the Sales Leader, It involves being:

  • Strong/Tough
  • Empathetic
  • Courageous                                        
  • Productive
  • Direct
  • Determined
  • Asking for What They Want
  • Holding people accountable
  • Coaching & Mentoring 30-40+% of the time

4. Institute COVID Sales Management Protocols:
Four Keys to Accomplish Results:

  • Process: Evidence with selling steps & methodology-
  • Productivity: Significantly reduce or eliminate non-revenue producing tasks
  • Performance: Define & track metrics, standards, and results
  • Place more calls with past customers; use Zoom; engage on LinkedIn and social networks. Everyone must be using technology!!! (Comfort is NOT a prerequisite)

5. Real Coaching & Communication was needed to handle the COVID-19 challenges of prospects & Customers that my salespeople continually faced & they were not accustomed to facing, including:

  • Delayed Closings
  • Spending Freeze
  • Putting Things “On Hold”
  • Lay Offs & Downsizing
  • Businesses being forced to close

6. Establishing Goal Directed Behavior of the Salespeople & Define it for these times

Re-Establish personal & sales goals with each salesperson:
Sales needed to reach goals= $$$

  • Pipeline
  • Activity
  • Accountability
  • Tracking

7. Consistent Leadership Responsibilities

  • Pipeline Reviews-to move deals “forward” in the system…or Prune the pipeline—spend time & effort on “real” deals. No “hopium.”
  • Qualification Review for Quotes & Deals: Coaching with “Pre-call” and “Post Call” debriefs with salespeople on ALL Deals that enter the pipeline…from “Suspect” to Prospect to Qualifying to Closing to Delivery.
  • Roleplaying…both parts: salesperson & customer. “Practice, practice, practice=preparation!”

8 Other Insights:

  • Celebrate victories
  • Closer communication-especially when people are remote
  • Recognize the need to Motivate and Develop salespeople in this environment
  • Recruit for the future- “build a bench” of candidates, recognizing that there are good people looking and willing to discuss future opportunities
  • Worked on Building a “Culture of Performance” & teamwork
  • Recognized that the company success is rooted in the salespeople’s success—invested more time to the “committed salespeople.”

There are many more observations, in 2020, including businesses that did both “major pivots” and minor ones too. Depending on the industry, we saw some “mirror” correlations which couldn’t be helped over overcome.

Overall, those that lead with strong desire, commitment and “openness” are better positioned for the upcoming 2021 business year and will continue to grow both personally and economically.

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