'Understanding High Performance Sales'

21 April 2017

By Bob Roopra, Roopra Medtech Consulting 

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” - Henry Ford

Over the last 18 years I have attended many presentations and discussions about high performance elements of business, high performance Sales, Marketing, Operations etc. The reality is that there is no such thing as a high performance “part” of an organisation. The whole organisation has to embody the fundamentals of being high performance and in my experience this comes down to three core elements.

• Leadership
• Culture
• Clear Direction and Strategy

These three are vital as you will see they all link resources and energy to make great things happen; they also identify the wrong way much quicker and as such can reduce losses. So how does this work?

Leadership

Leadership can be the trickiest element to manage; for SME’s leadership can be a very autocratic process: the manager /owner, directs the tasks and everyone does them. This can be very successful if the manager knows what he/she is doing and has clear objectives.

Leadership in High Performance Organisations (HPO’s) is different; it is empowered to all, within limits of control. The limits of control are important to the success of an empowerment strategy, for example when a sales person would like to make a deal, they are given a level of freedom within a pricing matrix, they can

1) Make the deal
2) Go back to the financial team and get concessions

It is the empowerment of the finance team that enable 2 things to happen here,

1) Make the deal happen
2) Make the decision to walk away

Please note walking away from an unprofitable deal is important if it is not part of a strategic initiative, since the purposes of enterprise is to create wealth. Another point to consider is the message such actions send into the market, setting low prices can begin to set price expectation in the market; which can affect other deals and the market as a whole.

So, we have an example of good leadership that lets all team members have ownership and accountability with a sense ability to make things happen, a bias for action as I have heard it expressed on a number of occasions.

A word of caution: empowerment can lead to loss of direction if it is not managed effectively, meaning if employees are empowered they must have clear direction, measures, and always relate everything back to the business strategy – if it doesn’t fit then don’t do it unless the strategy is not working.

The importance of Culture

Culture is essentially what makes HPO’s; it’s the how things get done part. It encapsulates the behaviors that an organisation wants to exhibit. Using the example above, the culture enable the sales and finance team to feel that they will be respected and praised for the decisions they make, not reprimanded or told off for turning a deal down or trying something different. Culture really defines the success of an organisation by how it engages with its people and customers; having had the great fortune of experiencing a high performing culture, I also saw how rapidly a change in culture can destroy an organisation.

Please note that even in all HPO’s, not all deals and battles are won or successful, but in a culture of success, HPO’s seek to understand what went wrong and what went right; they find the difference and adapt. They focus on their success and learn from their failure. They are always ready to go the extra mile, finding new roads and new markets because they are empowered to do so and because it matters to each and every one of them personally.

What does a good Culture look like

Some strategic attributes of High Performance Cultures are

• Collaboration and Support from all parts of the organisation
• Clearly defined leadership and empowerment
• Engagement with employees and customers at all levels with access
• A clear business Strategy and Vision

Some more tactical attributes are

• Freedom to explore new ideas
• No fear of failure
• Sharing success and recognition
• Generating a positive atmosphere of success and self-belief

Clear Direction and Strategy

Now people from a large industry will often say Strategy is the most important element in delivering success for any organisation, and you would be right; to provide leadership and create a culture is not easy if your enterprise does not know:-

• The type of business it is?
• Who its customers are?
• Who it wants to be longer term?

Using our earlier example, if employees are empowered to do things as they see fit, they need a road map of how and why their action adds value to the business. If this is not clear, the organisation will find itself pulled in multiple directions, become wasteful of resources and show little success for its efforts. This will impact resources, growth, and begin to harbor a defeatist culture. Conversely, clear business direction and strategy will focus the efforts and energies of all resources to execute well as planned.

Summary

This article provides a simplistic overview of a highly complex area of business management, where new models and paths are being defined regularly. The take away points are that:

• A business needs a strategy for longer term planning
• A business needs Good leadership – adaptable, flexible and focused
• A business needs a culture to help deliver its strategy.

HPO’s always know where they want to be in the long term, everyone is personally engaged in the journey and are leadership in their roles; they will help to make fast and effective decisions to get there. The culture is the driving force behind this mindset, get this right then it is a case of watching the magic happen. 

Roopra Medtech Consulting can provide guidance for businesses on how to develop and align their commercial strategies, if you would like to discuss this further please feel free to contact me on bob.roopra@roopramedtech.com

 

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