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How sales-focused 360 feedback can help technical experts become your strategic sales stars

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Some months ago I wrote about a fictional senior accountant “Jo” who was promoted and now needed to accept her ‘salesperson’ role.

When a technical expert (e.g. lawyer, management consultant, human capital consultant, accountant, IT consultant) is promoted into a leadership role, it is likely they will also inherit a portfolio of client accounts they need to grow and be given targets to find new clients.  This is often the first time they have been assigned targets and been in a sales role.

Indeed, often we find that the term “sales” is one they are fundamentally uncomfortable with.

So today I am thinking about how a robust and relevant 360 feedback process can help Jo identify the strategic sales behaviours that are needed for success, provide her with feedback and help her to accept her new “sales” role.

Our sales-focused Acuity 360 survey can help technical experts like Jo transition into a strategic sales role in the following ways:

  • It provides feedback about Jo’s strengths and development areas in relation to her complex sales role. This includes her motivation, drive for success and how she works towards her goals.
  • It enables Jo to see how others view her, including customers, colleagues in other functions (e.g. Marketing, Delivery teams) as well as her manager and direct team. How does this compare to Jo’s own view? Research shows that the most effective strategic salespeople are well connected both inside and outside their organisation* – does Jo act in the same way with each group?
  • It highlights themes and training needs for Jo, enabling her manager to spend the training and development budget in a targeted and value-adding way.
  • By providing feedback against specific behaviours that link to success, it also breaks down myths about what constitutes a strategic sales role; e.g. it’s not about door-knocking and hard closing at this level, it’s about educating your customer and becoming a trusted advisor. We find that this is terminology technical experts like Jo can relate to.
  • It encourages a culture of honest and constructive feedback that will support Jo’s desire to develop and grow in her new role.

Do you want your technical experts to become strategic sales stars? Then click here to find out more about Acuity® 360.

* Le Meunier-FitzHugh, K. & Douglas, T. (2016), Achieving a Strategic Sales Focus. Oxford University Press