As we look to close out Q1 this week, I’ve spent some time taking stock of the biggest wins and lessons learned. The most valuable being how much alignment plays a role in any winning process. It becomes very clear when connecting the dots between strategy, activity, and performance that without being able to align your:
…It becomes virtually impossible to achieve tangible results that are sustainable.
More often than not I see a disproportionate concentration on vision with a lack of focus on behavior. To get us closer to the middle, lets look at some keys to cultivating alignment for your sales process, business, or organization:
- Define The Outcome Upfront – A mentor of mine in the insurance industry used to constantly stress that most in sales live in the land of Wing City – a lowly place where sales professionals throw random activity up at a wall and hope something sticks. He was very clear, nothing of substance gets accomplished in Wing City. So start with the plan. And not just any plan, one centered on the end goal and corresponding reward if you and your team hit it. We are human. Humans love rewards.
- Define What This Means Daily and Monthly For You and Key Collaborators – Here is where you need to reverse engineer what this magnificent finish line one or two quarters away looks like. If it’s 6 accounts that need to be closed by June, what does that mean on a weekly basis for the 12 prospects currently engaged at the moment? What correspondence needs to take place? What tasks needs to be delegated? Overlooking this step can be detrimental once you build momentum and have to scramble to define roles and deliver to your clients.
- Does This Move or Behavior Match The Industry or Organization? Does It Need To? – Perhaps the toughest to decide on the list. Mainly because of what being deemed an outlier may mean for your career path. Differentiation and Innovation really keep the ball moving if anchored in alignment, but you will ultimately have to decide how much leeway you have to leverage your process in the current market space or if you can be a disrupter and influence consumers and the market for years to come.
- Do I Have The Systems To Measure The Progress and Patterns? – This may seem like a tall order if you’re used to currently “runnin’ and gunnin’.” So I would urge you to keep it SIMPLE. Pick 1 to 2 key collaborators and 1 to 2 areas you both feel drive success and check in consistently to discuss the results. A KPI report with these two metrics helps but do not replace the clarity gained from productive and engaged communication with glossy charts and presentations. If you cannot narrate where you are in your process and use the data to merely confirm that, its likely you don’t have enough activity to produce the results you’re looking for. No tragedy here, let the takeaways from the meetings guide your next steps and momentum for next weeks activity.
If Q1 wasn’t as fruitful as planned, use these 5 points to right the ship and get back on track immediately. Two to six weeks into keeping your awareness on these areas you should feel an:
Increase in level of insight of performance
Increase in quality of team correspondence
This is the alignment I am alluding to. Increasing the insight and quality here will make your process stronger, thus making your next round of goals stronger, and more aligned with your strengths and ultimate long term vision. While change or an alternative perspective can feel uncomfortable, just remember if the process was flawless you would already be getting the results you wanted. I challenge you to identify the area in your sales game that could benefit from alignment most. Good luck in the field!
Further Reading – https://hbr.org/2007/09/six-steps-to-ensure-alignment