Turning the Proverbial ‘Ship’ Around in 2021’s Unchartered Waters
Executing on Go-to-Market Strategy using talent data and workforce analytics to optimize sales revenue outcomes and support human capital performance.
As I write this I am reflecting on the function of sales and whether there is any correlation with its homophone — ‘sails’. We talk of turning the ship around, so is it coincidence or consequence that these two words sound the same? Whatever the case, one thing that is certain, is the need for organizations to approach sales effectiveness and performance with different coordinates in order to arrive at a new destination. Or as the old saying goes, a sign of madness is to do the same thing over and expect different results.
2020 has been pegged as the annus horribilis and all eyes are on 2021 and the sales function as the shining beacon of light. Whilst shareholders wait in anticipation, and the chairman’s report references ‘renewed focus’, and ‘seeds of change’, all eyes are on the revenue-generating engine – to turn the ship around.
Here are three major obstacles that we must overcome in order to be successful:
#1—Expecting Different Results from the Same People
Most salespeople who have survived the downturn have demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity, are tenacious and loyal. Unlike a boat, they are individuals, wired differently and with varying development and support needs. The same, one size fits all development program of the past cannot possibly be expected to yield improved financial outcomes.
The same, one size fits all development program of the past cannot possibly be expected to yield improved financial outcomes.
#2—Entry into New Markets Requires a Different Sales Profile
Or does it? The challenge here is that we just don’t know. Humans are complex and the tip of the iceberg of the behaviors that we have seen through the last few months may be skewing the view of their true performance potential. Gut feel can only carry so much weight and we cannot afford to take the risk of being wrong.
#3—New Markets Bring New Competitors
Unchartered waters carry unfamiliar risks, and external factors such as market competitor analysis inform what obstacles may be encountered along the way. What external market analysis cannot provide is intel into how well your salespeople or should I say, sailors (please excuse the pun) will be able to navigate such waters and successfully reach the destination compared to their peers in competitor organizations.
Traditional sales optimization strategies focus on lag measures such as past performance and experience with incentivization skewed towards financial reward. Whilst these remain important, they are just the tip of the iceberg. In order to overcome the obstacles faced, organizations must look deeper and tailor the course to their desired destination using forward-facing, targeted business insight.
Coordinates for success outlined below:
- Define what success will look like in order to meet the new go-to-market strategy
- Examine sales success profiles in the context of the outcomes required e.g./ do we need a hunter focus or do we need to better serve our existing customer base
- Rather than looking solely at past performance, measure the potential of your existing sales team and how that potential aligns to the requirements of your revised success profiles
- Understand what drives and motivates your salespeople and how to incentivize them accordingly. Are their needs different in light of the pandemic?
- Use objective data to tailor individual development to the individual and enable sales leaders to “captain” their crew effectively
- Leverage workforce analytics to inform how your sales talent compares to that of your competitors to inform competitive leverage/gaps
With more data points on people workforce capability than any other (45 billion to be exact), and trusted, predictive psychometric science, SHL supports more than 10,000 organizations globally to execute on strategic business outcomes. Take the guesswork out of executing on your 2021 go to market strategy and contact us today.