Sales leadership has always been a tough job. Today, in addition to managing the interpersonal dynamics of a team, Sales Leaders are having to navigate an increasingly complex B2B buying process with more checkpoints and decision makers than ever.  

Over here at ToutApp (where I'm Founder and CEO), we've spent hours researching the art and science of selling and have worked with our community of Sales Leaders to distill down the four most important challenges that leaders are spending their budget, time and focus in solving to win. We then published it in our latest book: The Sales Leader's Guide to Building a Revenue Generating Machine . 

This strategic approach to addressing key challenges by using only a few solutions, and age old best practices is being done by a new breed of Sales Leader--a leader that combines the art of selling with cutting edge technology.

Inconsistency in the Sales Process

Every Sales Leader has inconsistency within their sales process or team--whether it's varying sales cycle lengths for every rep to only a handful of reps hitting their quota, etc.

What's the single thing that you believe will make your team successful? Consistency.

Studies show that within 30 days of a training, 79 percent of what people have been taught is forgotten. To forge consistency within your sales team and process, invest in two things:  

  • Drive consistent messaging in the sales process
  • Drive consistent actions in your playbook  

Lack of Pipeline to Hit Your Number

Pipeline the leading indicator whether or not your team is going to hit their number. Many Sales Leaders struggle with having a solid view of the health of their pipeline (pipeline quality, coverage and dollar amount). To solve this challenge, Sales Leaders are investing in two areas:  

  • Defining responsibilities around pipeline generation (pipeline ownership)
  • Defining consistency for pipeline generation (ABSD, Campaigns, Marketing)

Rep Productivity

According to a recent study, "71 percent of C-Level executives know that sales productivity is, in fact, paramount to enabling a company to grow." It's a growing concern and problem, and today's top Sales Leaders are actively investing in improving productivity by:  

  • Consolidating tools
  • Automating the process to increase capacity
  • Sales Enablement

Lack of Visibility

Lack of visibility into the sales process, pipeline and the ability to hit your number is a constant source of anxiety for Sales Leaders. Even with Salesforce dashboards, forecasting tools, Sales Leaders are still relying on Excel spreadsheets to track deals. Instead, effective Sales Leaders are tracking four metrics:  

  • Pipeline coverage
  • Close rate
  • Deal size
  • Consistency across goal

Build a Revenue Generating Machine

In solving the top four challenges, modern Sales Leaders are transforming their sales teams into revenue generating machines.

Published on: May 25, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.