Sales Leaders: ‘Hope is Not a Strategy’ — But It Plays a Vital Role

Sales leaders, we are a quarter into this year now — and your salespeople have a great opportunity waiting for them. To reach personal goals. To meet organizational quotas. To turn “the game” around.

When you stare down at the stark reality of your team’s first quarter performance next to the annual quota, remember: Now is the time to keep your eye on the recipe for sustainable revenue performance. Now is the time to motivate your teams toward victory.

Unfortunately, many sales reps turned sales leaders have forgotten the reality of being feet-on-the-ground and out in the field. They forget the daily ups and downs of being a salesperson. They forget the heart and soul needed in not only the plight to making a sale but also in serving buyers as trusted advisors over the long-run.

“Hope is not a strategy,” sales leadership laments. Yet, like every great coach at half-time, each quarter presents an opportunity for leadership to drive your sales teams to their best performance yet. And at the core of this motivation — is hope.

Hope: An Underrated Component of Sales Execution

The role of salesperson appeals to the adventurous — those repelled by daily hum-drum tasks. They prefer “the hunt.” They seek the “thrill of victory.” They are torn down by the “agony of defeat.” Theirs is not a life of predictability.

What motivates these types of people? A number of things. But first and foremost they need to believe they can reach their goals, that their risks are worth taking. Believing — regardless of their latest performance, good or bad — that there is always hope for better, for winning.

It is vital sales leaders refrain from killing off hope in their sales reps. Rather, leaders need to embrace its crucial role for what it can help foster and drive:

  • Passion to keep after serving buyers with solutions.
  • Rebounds in the face of struggle and rejection.
  • Drive and belief they can exceed quotas and goals.

A Balance of Sales Execution and Hope

When a salesperson alone is “addicted to hope-ium,” real problems will arise. Mediocre buyer conversations can leave reps with unrealistic expectations of future sales, resulting in ongoing frustration. Chasing unqualified leads wastes time and resources. Improving selling skills and sales enablement may go neglected – degrading long-term performance.

To really harness the power of hope, sales leaders need to balance the right strategy, efficient processes, and regular training and guidance along with continually nurturing motivation. Without all the pieces of selling, your salespeople will falter. Sales leadership must perfect both the science — and art — of sales.

In sports, coaches spend months drilling players in training and skills, perfecting plays and strategies, identifying player strengths and weaknesses. But when it comes down to it, when the team is getting into position on the field, real winners are not driven only by practice or running a play. Their performance is activated by their belief.

And they can win it. They have to believe it — or else why would they go out on that field, on that court, in that stadium at all?  The greatest athletes quickly forget about the last missed shot or strike-out.  They cannot wait for the next time up to the plate.

And so it is with your team – they must believe it too. Believe in your solution. Believe in the challenges your buyers will overcome. Believe in their own skills and capabilities.

Sales execution — without hope — is a losing game.

Strengthen Your Sales Strategy — Holistically

For support with your sales performance and for more sales leadership coaching, contact the Mereo team. Our sales experts have helped hundreds of B2B selling organizations create and enforce winning sales strategies that empower sales teams and support organizations’ wins.