From her vantage point, leadership coach Lisa Haydon can see clearly that sales will be the key to survival and growth for many companies in the post-pandemic world. Indeed, she is convinced future success will depend on honing a competitive edge in sales.
“Companies ambitious about growth are going to have to drive it through sales. They can’t do it through more cost containment,” says Lisa, one of the latest coaches to join the Vision Coaching roster. “They are going to want to be even more efficient and they are going to have to be even more competitive because other companies will be fighting for every new client and every new contract.”
I’m delighted that Lisa has joined our team – she brings a unique perspective after decades of experience leading teams and clients in industries such as banking, commercial lending, capital markets, technology, consulting and professional services.
“Every CEO and President will want to make sure they have really good sales leadership on hand for their companies,” she says. “That is where the greatest opportunity and value lay.”
Importance of sales
But as it has with everything else, COVID-19 has thrown the world of sales into disarray, into virtual selling and raised the pressure to succeed that much higher.
For Lisa, that underscores the importance of leadership in sales and highlights the difference between sales training and sales coaching. Sales coaching moves beyond sales technique to managing – and enhancing – performance.
She started her own firm, Pivotal Coaching, more than three years ago with a focus on sales coaching. That sets her apart from a lot of coaches, and she developed her own program in coaching leaders in sales called Pivotal Growth.
And with the increasing emphasis on sales, and pressure on top leaders to deliver, Vision is partnering with Lisa to expand the reach and benefits of Pivotal Growth.
“Performance has never been more important. And due to COVID-19, it has become a lot more people-focused…. ”
As leaders emerge from the exhaustion of managing crisis, shifting from a fight for survival to forging a path to recovery, they will not only want to know how to sell in this recessionary economy but how to be most effective at it.
“The stakes are high right now,” Lisa says. “Performance has never been more important. And due to COVID-19, it has become a lot more people-focused – leadership and sales have gotten more human. That means technical sales skills aren’t enough.”
Lisa spent more than 20 years as a sales coach in large corporations, with a focus on business-to-business sales.
She said she realized through her work that sales training alone wasn’t sufficient for sales success in the pre-COVID world, and it certainly isn’t enough post-pandemic.
“There is a sales skills gap in Canada and sales training on its own is not closing it,” Lisa says.
“When I became certified as a leadership coach, it opened my eyes to a whole different way of sales coaching and how you create higher performance in people.”
Coaching vs. training
Her sales coaching allows companies to shift sales into high gear since it focuses on practice to effect change. Training is about technical skills: process, systems and tools. But it’s personal performance that makes the difference.
“Sales 101: trust and likeability are the tickets for entry,” she says.
And yet even with that basic sales tenant holding firm, other aspects are shifting.
“Many sales people rely on their ability to connect and develop relationships – now they have to do it by phone and video,” Lisa says. “The way you have video conversations is very different from in person. And it will be even more competitive now because more companies will be chasing fewer dollars and deals.”
Lisa sees two camps evolving in the business community as the world winds its way through the pandemic. She says some companies are essentially “stuck in the mud” and looking at developments through a short-term lens. Others are seizing the opportunity, moving towards a strategy and new operating tactics for the recovery phase.
“This is the right time to push change agendas and most will not want to go back to the way it was,” she says. “It is not just a matter of releasing the pause button. Customer strategy is becoming ever more important. You are going to want to look at how you go to market.”
For more on how sales coaching can power your leadership or your organization, visit the Pivotal Growth section of the Vision Coaching website.