Leadership Commitment – A Key to Success
Well, here I go… my first blog. After a 20+/- year career in sales, marketing, sales operations and training, I decided to take the plunge and partner up with Dave Kurlan. So, what to write about in my first blog article? Since leadership is my favorite topic, that’s where I’ll begin.
During my most recent role, the CEO and his executive team (in particular the global head of sales and marketing) were committed to enabling the sales and marketing team's skills and effectiveness. It made all the difference in the world, to the point where my team decided that we wouldn't embark on a key project or initiative until leadership commitment was in place.
What does leadership commitment look like to me? It can best be described as a willingness to look at the outside opportunities which exist in the market and also under the hood of an organization. This helps in understanding current performance, people, capabilities, and root causes of any problems. Then a commitment must be made to address and improve conditions for success.
Think about new product or service introductions, for example. We hear about the wildly successful launches, such as drug-eluting stents and breakthroughs in imaging technology, biologics, mobile devices, and vehicles. We also know that for every successful launch, there are four that are not.
One way to address this is to work with leaders well in advance of the actual launch of a product, service or program to visualize what success will look like and what it will take to get there. Once there's clarity on the vision, strategy and objectives, a well-defined plan is developed with the leaders so that they're engaged, committed and everyone is on message and the same page. With that commitment in place, the conditions exist to build excitement, prepare and train the organization, as well as validate their selling ability before sales calls (to avoid practicing with their customers).
Leadership commitment is demonstrated through involvement in each step, messages to teams during in-person meetings, written communications, and setting clear expectations of line management.
The last aspect of leadership commitment in this example is reinforcement. All preceding steps could be well executed, but without a commitment to reinforce knowledge, skills and ability, organizations struggle to maximize opportunities. Overlooking this step can signal the loss of momentum and the death of any product launch, program or initiative. The bottom line is that your leadership commitment makes a difference to your staff and customers. Assuming you are a committed leader, are the members of your team just as committed? If some are lacking, and possibly not capable of thriving in today's market, then find out if you have the right people in your sales organization. Let me know how I can help you to answer any of these sales force questions.
(C) Copyright 2013 Kurlan & Associates