Improve Sales Execution with Enablement

Improve Sales Results

Many sales leaders are being asked to increase margins per account or territory and improve sales execution to up-sell more.  To do that, they need to cross-sell more and reach more buyer decision-makers.  However, these strategies often represent a sales performance challenge. In today’s noisy, fragmented, and distracted world, it’s becoming more and more difficult for sales managers to define sales priorities, enroll the team, embed accountability, and focus on what matters most.  If everything’s important, then nothing is important. So, what can organizations do to help their teams overcome this complexity?

There are three critical roles involved in breaking through growth barriers.  Each function needs to make the right decision and have access to the right frameworks to help. These sales execution roles are 1) the sales manager, 2) the sales leader and 3) the sales enablement team. These three roles must work together to ensure that salespeople can execute the sales strategy.  In that way, it’s important NOT to confuse execution with doing things to salespeople and expecting salespeople to do something. Performance is not about giving salespeople mandates and expecting them to accomplish random activities.  They’re not robots. They’re humans after all.

Let’s take a top-down look at sales execution. From the CEO perspective, sales execution means successfully adhering to what markets, what people, and what customers to sell to create value for investors. In that way, sales execution is simply about ensuring the successful pursuit and achievement of the sales strategy.  The sales strategy helps inform performance through crucial questions like:

  1. What Coverage model are we using?, (investments in field or portfolio segments)
  2. What Results are we expecting?,  ( higher close rates/win rates and booking revenue)
  3. What skills do we need to achieve success?, ( onboarding new reps or streamlining sales enablement training processes)
  4. How do we need to structure the sales force, ( re-organizing the sales team to leverage leadership strengths)
  5. What adjustments do we need to make to our Processes? (changing the sales process to educate buyers)
  6. What is the role of sales management ( increasing accountability for results)
  7. And how will we ensure we are on the right track?: (providing daily and monthly routines create the right activities)

When execution aligns with the sales strategy, sales leaders can get the number, through their people, while driving client value. Successful sales performance traction is evident in larger deal sizes, faster sales cycles, and improved win rates.

So, how do sales leaders ensure successful sales execution?

To start,  sales leaders know they must prioritize to drive the right mix of initiatives, focus on outcomes by creating discipline, and ensure individual contributors have what they need for success.  In short, the concept of sales Execution is much easier said than done, but its why sales managers exist.

The challenge is today; sales execution is becoming more and more difficult due to two often hidden problems.  1) Organizational Complexity, where it’s not clear what processes to follow, and 2) Individual Ambiguity – where people aren’t sure what to do.  Both of these forces can create gray areas that lead to low morale and internal friction.

There are “5 C’s” to improving sales execution. These “5 C’s” include the disciplines of Clarity, Command, communication, collaboration and cadence

Sales Execution

Let’s take a look…

  1. Clarity is the first thing sales leaders need to provide to their teams. Salespeople need to know why they’re being asked to work differently. So many times, many random things are happening. Everyone has the right intention to do well, but salespeople are often unsure of how to use the help provided.
    1. For example
      1. Why are we implementing an enablement platform? What’s in it for sales?
      1. Why do we need to cross-sell? 
      1. Sales leaders need to provide the clarity to move salespeople out of the gray area that often exists
  2. The next thing sales leaders need to look at is who needs to be involved.  That’s why Collaboration is required in today’s selling environment. Not only working with teammates in sales but also working across silos to ensure the right information and right subject matter expertise is supporting sales.
    1. For example
      1. Whom are the resources allocated to support this rollout?
      1. Who has veto power?
      1. Whom do sellers have access to?
  3. The next “C” involves a very critical need to know what we need to be talking about. This is the C of communication.  Communication requires precision to avoid confusion when relaying messages that matter most to customers.
    1. For example:
    1. What do we say to which buyers?
    1. What are the communicated expectations of this upcoming initiative?
  4. The next “C” in the approach is what is our working cadence? If we’re working on something, we must ensure we get the right people together at the right time.
    1. For example,
    1. How do we work together remotely or in-person?
    1. When do we ensure things need to happen?
  5. For many, they understand these elements and may think that that’s good enough for execution.  People should know why they’re doing something, know who’s involved, what we need to have conversations about, I also when they need to meet to make it happen. But if it were that simple, salespeople wouldn’t need leadership, management, and coaching support.  To execute, sales leaders must have command to make decisions and make trade-offs in the day-to-day.
    1. For example
      1. Are we inspecting what we’re inspecting?
      1. How do we escalate challenges productively?

With sales execution aligned to sales strategy, salespeople have a better chance of increasing their relevance and winning more deals.  Execution is more important today than ever because friction and complexity getting in the way of clarity, communication, command, collaboration, and conversations. With sales managers involved, as the owners of sales execution, the sales strategy can succeed, and the sales team can win.

Let’s talk more about sales execution and helping your sales team perform. There is likely a more precise and active role that your sales management and sales enablement team can take to drive your go-to-market strategy.

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