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A Q&A with HubSpot and Suzie Andrews, Sandler Training

46% of the 500 sales leaders surveyed by HubSpot in a recent study, the 2021 Sales Enablement Report, shared that they missed their sales targets in 2020. Suzie Andrews at Sandler Training sat down with HubSpot to cover the top advice on how sales leaders can work to hit their numbers in 2021 and take their business to the next level. 

What is one message you’d send to sales leaders right now?

Sales leaders, along with the President and CEO, must first clearly define where the business is today compared to the past and take a close look at what they’ve been tracking and measuring to determine if they are the same things that should be tracked and measured going forward.

This will help to define the recipe for success and set the tone and expectations for the sales team. That then informs the sales team on the behaviors needed day to day to be successful.

As more teams move to remote selling, how do you change your motivation tactics?

HubSpot’s survey also showed that 64% of sales leaders surveyed this year made changes to enable remote selling. But physical location isn’t the only thing that COVID changed this year. It’s important to understand what else has changed with COVID. You can’t motivate someone unless you understand them.

“People want to know that you care before they care what you know.”

Spending the time to talk to people can make all the difference. Small things can change the culture of an organization and effectiveness of a leader. Sales leaders must spend the time touching base via 1-on-1 meetings to ask people how they are doing. It may require recognition that maybe family is more important than ever, and each sales rep may need to allocate more time with family. It’s critical to realign to changes that are important to sales reps. It isn’t always about the money. Salespeople are often driven internally.

There also needs to be standardized territory plans and sales plans. Many sales reps are working from their own gut in planning what they will do day to day. Sales leaders must develop structure and put a planning process in place. Then they must learn how to coach to it, hire to it, hold people accountable, etc., in order to help salespeople to be successful in their role.

Where should a sales leader focus their coaching in 2021?

If there were a pie chart of the various roles of a sales leader, it would likely include pieces such as supervising, coaching, training, recruiting, interviewing, hiring and mentoring. Many think that the biggest piece of the pie should be supervising. However, people who are motivated, can supervise themselves. The biggest piece of the pie should be coaching. Salespeople want leaders to coach and be behind them, support them, and develop them. Better coaches are better listeners. Sales leaders need to get out of the mode of telling people what to do. Nobody wants to be told what to do, it’s better to use questions to help people self-discover and take ownership of what they need to do. This is a much more holistic approach to develop the leader who can in turn, develop the people on the team.

How can you distinguish a sales leader from a high performing sales rep?

A high performing sales rep isn’t always a top-performing leader. Although they should be people who are motivated and hitting their goals, there are additional skillsets required to be a successful leader. To round out the core competencies, high performing reps need a clear and defined profile of where you see them moving so that they can see what they need to do to get there. As they progress, continually evaluate if they have what it takes, and if so, put them in to training. It’s constant ongoing work and development.

How to Never Repeat 2020

There wasn’t a playbook for 2020. Everyone was taken off guard, and many did the best they could just to make it to the end. Although still nothing is certain for 2021, there are things you can do differently in your business. Think about what you can start doing, and what can you stop doing; what can you do more of, and what can you do less of. Focus on one or two things that can take your business to the next level and help your sales team to implement the right behaviors to support that goal. We all may not have hit our number this year, but the lessons of 2020 have only made us stronger.

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