I once assisted a company that had a declining sales profile. There was considerable frustration in the organisation that targets could not be reached and market share was being lost. The blame was being laid at the foot of the sales manager and her team, and, as a result, the team had been reduced.

This is a common organisational response; however, it’s not a logical one, as it is very unlikely you suddenly have a bunch of bad sales professionals and your competitors have all the good ones!

As we ran our analysis process, we uncovered a wide range of systemic issues from a poorly managed pipeline to a high internal demand of reporting, coupled with an under-resourced team. We quickly addressed the low-hanging fruit by delivering a more disciplined approach to pipeline management, probability management and market engagement. This brought about an improved sales performance, which, in turn, increased the organisation’s appetite to replenish the sales resource.

Two years down the track, the company was back in and reclaiming market share with growth and sustainability in double figures. There is an engaged sales team, with the correct level of resource and a pipeline that is visible and expected sales outcomes that are transparent to the entire organisation.

As an executive, it’s likely you don’t know how deep the relationships run between your sales people or direct managers, and you don’t know how much trust there is in those relationships. Beyond this, if you don’t have the awareness of what’s running through the sales pipeline, you don’t know how to direct your sales people. Sales will continue to plummet until you can create an effective strategic sales process.