This is the 9th in the series of articles on my Top 10 Sales Management Functions.
#9 - STRATEGY
Strategy comes in several forms and is required in different dosages depending on the position. For example, a line level sales manager may be more concerned with call strategy while a Worldwide VP Sales may be more concerned with market strategy. At the VP level, strategy is far more important than tactics while at the sales manager level, tactics are more important than strategy.
Let's look at the various strategies that we should be discussing:
- Market Strategy
- Growth Strategy
- Pricing Strategy
- Competitive Strategy
- Recruiting Strategy
- Account Strategies
- Call Strategies
- Compensation Strategy
- Development Strategy
- Major Account Strategy
- Lead Generation Strategy
- Training Strategy
- Territory Strategy
In your company there may be more and there are probably less but you get the picture. Strategies are different than plans because strategies are the essence of what will make the plans work. They incorporate:
- decisions, rules, and/or guidelines
- method of accomplishment
- benefits of this approach
- likely obstacles and how formidable they may be
- how we will overcome the likely obstacles
- measurable milestones and anticipated dates
- communication of the strategy
- buy-in from those responsible for executing the strategy
- accountability of those responsible for executing the strategy
- periodic reviews
In our discussion of coaching, we identified pre-call strategizing as one of the most important coaching components along with post-call debriefing. So strategizing and coaching can overlap in much the same way the accountability and strategizing will overlap. So it should be obvious that recruiting and strategizing will overlap too.
Let's discuss Development Strategy. Some people are simply more strategic than others. For example, if you aren't naturally as strategic as you should be, you can either develop this discipline, or better align your role with your strengths. We all know that many great salespeople become ineffective sales managers when they aren't able to excel at coaching and accountability, and when they want to be hero closers rather than developers who generate revenue through others. This is a classic example of someone who should return to sales. Titles should define what we do, not who we are.
(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan