A term that is little-known in the world of sales is ‘Up Armor.’ However, hidden in that term is a way to turn around just about any sales problem we can encounter.
In combat, troops learn quickly if their armor can take what their opponents are throwing at them. If their armor is too weak, they will ‘up-armor’ and change things until they are safe from whatever weapons systems they’re likely to encounter.
Salespeople, unfortunately, rarely up-armor themselves when they run into problems. For instance, if a sales team is falling behind their forecast, a sales leader will usually wait far too long before stepping in to ensure things get back on track. But what if we had a process to up-armor ourselves or our teams when we encounter sales challenges? That’s why we sat down with Scott Leonard the godfather of sales systems to learn how to up-armor any sales process.
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: To begin up-armoring your sales strategy, Scott mentioned it was critical to first assess where you, or your team is, against their goal. It’s better to notice a problem as early as possible so that you have as much time as possible to correct it.
For instance, if you are 10% behind your forecast goal and are only a few days into that quarter, Scott says it’s a great time to trigger a self-assessment to determine what needs to change, where those resources will come from, and how soon you can get back on schedule to meet your goals.
R – Repeatable: To repeatably up-armor your sales systems to get better quickly, Scott says the first step is in analytics. “Don’t assume you know what the problem is, and why it’s happening, without confirming it with your front-line leaders,” he said. Once you’ve confirmed the problem is occurring, gather your team together and ideate what some potential solutions might be. This should be done in a collaborative environment where folks can reach a consensus on what needs to happen, by what methods, and by when.
From there, it’s a matter of iterating that solution and monitoring its effects to ensure it’s implemented.
I – Improvable: Because we want to make sure this system makes things better in our organization and gets us closer to our goals, Scott recommends we, “be brilliant at the basics.” And that means paying attention to what would press us the final mile towards our goals, executing the small things that make a big difference.
Scott says that means leaders need to be in some of those tactical meetings, not just when the up-armor system is rolled out, but also to ensure it’s being used. To ensure that senior leaders don’t end up micromanaging their people, Scott says to remember that if they’ve developed their people they don’t have to do their jobs for them. Instead, they are there in the meeting to communicate vision and encourage ownership.
In the cases where a leader needs their folks to do something the leader can’t train on, it’s imperative they bring in someone who can train that skillset. Don’t let your time away from the front lines prevent you from getting the training your people need.
M – Measurable: To ensure your system is producing results, Scott recommends looking at whether you’re on track towards your goals after using that new system and not to stop there! You likely utilized and depleted assets to get your results back on track and you don’t want to set yourself or your team up for failure if they can’t continue to operate as they have been.
This means checking in with the team and impact the changes you made have on them. If a goal comes at the price of your team, you’ll end up not only with a sales issue but a cultural one as well.