Business strategy: Has your sales team got FCD?

Peter Ramsden
Director
Paramount Learning
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When it comes to the crunch, whether that’s in business or generally in life, we tend to reassure ourselves with the oldest of adages. Some of the more common ones are ‘keep calm and carry on’, and keep a ‘positive mental attitude’ – it’s kind of like a support bar to grab hold of when things get a bit shaky.

With London 2012 coming up and the constant broadcasting of athletes showing steely-eyed determination, there is no doubt that successful individuals have a set of guidelines and principles to help them get to where they want to be. 

In my experience successful business people have always demonstrated their determination to win via a simple acronym FCD: which means focus, clarity and discipline. These words (in that order) provide a spine to build success around, and give people an opportunity to concentrate their efforts on the specific areas that can and will make a difference.

In the same way that we revert to the likes of ‘keep calm and carry on’ in stressful situations, and athletes mutter motivational phrases under their breath, these three words can provide the kind of stability and concentration needed to drive performance and achieve set business goals.

How many people in your team understand the potential return to be gained from focus, clarity and discipline? From a sales strategy perspective and a leadership development point of view, these three words can embed structure and bring a sense of grounding to projects at work.

And, while we all know what they mean, what do they actually mean? How can FCD be applied in the workplace?

Focus

Where will your skill sets take you in the future? Ability and skill will determine where your focus is, and for an individual or a team to truly understand its ‘focus’ there needs to be a clear understanding of skill sets and their application in target markets. 

Which markets can you venture into and exploit in the short, medium and long-term? Which markets will find your offering attractive. For example, if you have knowledge and experience selling in the business to business market, why would you contemplate the business to consumer market? Stick to what you’re good at and focus your energies where you will get best returns on your activities.

Can you give a definitive answer when asked: Where is your focus? 

Once you have this ‘focus’ you can communicate who you are and where you are heading much clearer both internally and externally – you know where you’re going, and more importantly, so do your clients.

Clarity 

So, if you know where you want to go the next question is this: Are you absolutely clear on what you should be doing to get there? This is the part that requires some grounding in reality, because in truth at this stage individuals should be thinking about the specific actions required to get you to where you want to be – as defined in ‘focus’ session. In other words do we have clarity on how we are going to get there? 

Let’s take the example of a sales company with knowledge and experience in the mining industry – and with this skill set it focuses on increasing sales by 20% in this industry. Now, how might that company get clarity on how it will make focus a reality? 

That might look like: 

 Identify new mining areas

 Approach mining businesses with case studies and experience

 Set specific targets on growth

 Launch a sector specific marketing campaign

 Create account management plans

What’s the plan to MAKE THIS HAPPEN and hit the sales targets you’ve been set?

Discipline

So much of life’s success stories boil down to discipline. How much discipline is there in your team or department at work?

This comes back to the old maxim, delivering on the ‘who, what, where, when and how’ of each project carried out. Put simply who is going to do what, where and by when? Get the discipline right and you increase the chances of making your sales quota.

Why are we off plan? If this a common question heard in your workplace there is a good chance that ‘discipline’ levels are falling. What are the blockages that are stopping the process of hitting targets effectively?

Good ‘discipline’ plays a key role in bringing plans in on target – there are however other reasons why strategic plans fail that can be viewed here: Six Principle Reasons Why  a Strategic Plan Fails.

In terms of the final piece of FCD model, discipline requires clear ‘milestones’ to be put in place. These milestones provide your sales teams’ constant feedback on where they are at any given time; helping the organisation to meet it’s planned sales targets.

You know where you want to go (focus), you have a plan of specific actions (clarity) and you have robust feedback systems to ensure you meet the key milestones along the way to success (discipline).

What the FCD model does is bring structure to skilled and experienced individuals. It allows individuals to channel their strengths in a direction that will lead to success.

Having focus, clarity and discipline will help bring sales success to your sales teams. Have your sales personnel got FCD?

Peter Ramsden
Paramount Learning - specialist in and sales strategy training

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