Ideas from Sales Leaders

While I've benefited from excellent formal training, much of the sales management knowledge I've acquired throughout my career has come through interacting with and learning from my peers. With that in mind, I'd like to share what sales leaders in different areas of the country and in different industries have learned this year.  

It’s so important to invest in people, believe in their ability and coach them to maximize their potential. We spend so much time building processes, analyzing pricing, testing products, creating comp plans, and balancing territories. While those things are important you need to balance the investment and remember its people you should be investing in.
— Johanna Rivard, Executive Vice President, Pure B2B, Lead generation and data provider that connects marketers and buyers.
In 2015 we began to shift our sales approach to understanding our category better than anyone by bringing hard data and a strategic category thinking to the table. While so many in our business tend to sell against just product benefits, we approached it holistically by defining the roles of each sub segment, brand and product. In addition we’ve added value to the entire category by developing and introducing at shelf merchandising elements to disrupt the consumer, create awareness and better define our products.

”This approach has helped us to gain additional distribution and position ourselves as the category expert. We’ll continue to invest in the data and analysis required to keep ourselves more relevant that our competitors. We’ll also continue to develop new and disruptive ways to educate our consumer and make their shopping experience more experiential. We know that if we partner with our customer to grow their entire business ours grows also.
— Kevin Waller, Vice President of Sales, Kurgo. Pet adventure experts.
This year I rewrote the definitions associated with the percentages to close applied to each opportunity in the sales forecast. It gives me more confidence in predicting our forecast, allows for better communication with the salespeople and more reliable reports to senior management.
— Oriana Derose, Vice President of Sales, NRS. A compliance service company developing solutions for the financial services industry.
In 2015 the company introduced a large number of new items. To make their sales calls easier, I worked hard to make reps more independent through better access to electronic data resources that relates to them and their customers.
— Bob Clemence, Vice President of Sales, Hyde Tools. Provider of hand tools for jobs of many kinds.
Our inside sales team is comprised of Development Reps and Inside Sales Representatives selling a complex business application. I want to place less of an emphasis on blasting through the sales cycle and more of an emphasis on competitive differentiation and a solution selling orientation.
— Chris Murphy, Director of Sales, Act-On. Software-as-a-service, cloud-based marketing automation solution.

Thanks to Johanna, Kevin, Oriana, Bob, and Chris for taking time out of your busy schedules to share your thoughts.  Many other sales leaders will read this and consider what they've learned and goals they might set for themselves in 2016.

Have a wonderful holiday season!