Sales is a team sport. Even if you make most of your sales calls alone, there is a small army behind you that you are thankful keep the promises that you make. The promises that you made and your team keeps are promises that you can and should rely on your team to keep.
But succeeding in sales means that you can’t wait for others to produce the most important sales results that only you will later be held accountable for producing.
Inside Sales, Marketing, and Lead Gen
Inside sales may be responsible for developing prospects, scheduling appointments, and for helping to build your pipeline. Marketing may be responsible for demand creation, for messaging, and for positioning you to compete. The lead generation team may be responsible for their end of the stick as well.
But what if they fail. What if inside sales fails to develop the prospects? What if they fail to deliver on the appointments that you need to schedule in order to succeed and in order to hit your numbers? If they miss their quota and you were counting on them to meet yours, you will have planned to fail.
What if marketing doesn’t succeed in creating and developing demand? What if their nurturing efforts don’t produce the results that you need? If you were waiting for marketing and they don’t produce the results you need, you will have relied on them to your own detriment, and you will have based your plan on something outside of your control.
What if lead gen produces no leads? Or what if it just isn’t enough? Your pipeline isn’t going to grow, your aren’t going to create and move opportunities, and you aren’t going to succeed by waiting for others to produce these results.
You Are Not Absolved
There are great inside sales teams that kill it for their companies and their teams. There are unbelievably gifted marketing teams that generate demand and create messages and conversations that resonate with your dream clients. And there are may great lead gen people and organizations. And there are some who miss their numbers, just like some salespeople miss their numbers.
The problem with relying on others to produce results for which you will later be held to account is that it doesn’t absolve you of your responsibility. If inside sales fails, they may suffer the consequences. But you will also suffer the consequences for failing to meet your responsibilities, and blaming your poor results on other isn’t going to absolve you of those responsibilities.
The problem with waiting for others is that you are responsible whether they succeed or not, and you have no control over whether or not they succeed.
The Way Forward
The way forward is to plan on reaching your sales goals without anyone else. Plan to make your number even if no one else makes their number. By making and executing on your own plan, anything that inside sales, marketing, or the lead gen team produces will be icing on the cake.
What outcomes should you be able to rely on your team to produce for you? What outcomes are really your sole responsible, even if you have a team that is supposed to help you produce the results?
What is the risk of waiting for others over whom you have no control and over whom you have no direct authority to produce the results that you need in order to make your number?
Is it acceptable to make an excuse that you missed your number because someone else missed their number?
ANNOUNCEMENT: On January 14, 2011, Future Selling Institute is being launched. It’s focused on sales leaders and aspiring leaders—sales managers, executives, general managers responsible for the sales function. It’s packed full of resources to help sales leaders excel! Any sales leader interested in their personal, professional and career development will want to join this community. Join us on January 14, 2011 for the kickoff conference.
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