The biggest misconceptions in modern, effective sales is that adding salespeople is what grows revenue.
Building a Sales Machine that creates ongoing, predictable revenue takes:
- Predictable Lead Generation
- A Sales Development Team
- Consistent Sales Systems
Shifting from organic growth to proactive growth requires new habits, practices and systems, causing a lot of delays and frustrations. In high – productivity sales organizations, salespeople do not cause customer acquisition growth they fulfill it.
I see a future in which sales is more and more like account management, and the responsibility of new customer acquisition for growth falls more squarely on lead generation executives with titles like VP Demand Generation, VP Pipeline Growth, VP Lead Generation, VP Sales Development. Better lead generation = more margin for sales error. People tend to do more of what is not working rather than stepping back, taking a breather and trying to figure out a new approach.
What works to generate flows of new leads:
- Trial – and – error in lead generation.
- “Marketing through teaching” via regular webinars, white papers, email newsletters and live events.
- Patience in building great word-of–mouth.
- Outbound Prospecting (aka ” Cold Calling 2.0 “).
- Building an excited partner ecosystem.
- PR: It’s great when, once in a while, it generates actual results!
If your executive team and board are aware of the pipeline gap – the amount of pipeline required to hit your results, and likely places it will come from – you can begin to be more realistic in both your goals and plans to execute on those goals.
Outbound sales at Salesforce
Author ended up creating an entirely new sales process and an inside sales team that helped Salesforce.com add $ 100 million in incremental recurring revenue over just a few short years. “Failure” is just your judgment of an experience, because there are no failures – just learning opportunities. The team no longer had to qualify website leads. The team didn’t handle sales order paperwork. The team didn’t close small deals. The team didn’t help out marketing. The team wasn’t distracted. Instead, the inside sales team of outbound prospectors had a single mission: to generate (but not by cold calling) new qualified sales opportunities from cold companies (ones at which we had no prior activity or interest) and passing these qualified opportunities to quota – carrying salespeople to close.
Benefit of that system were:
- Predictable Results/ROI.
- Self – Managing Systems.
Constraints often lead to more creativity from both yourself and your people. Don’t let so-called “reality” stop you! Cold Calling 2.0 means prospecting into cold accounts to generate new business without using any “cold calls.” The biggest bottleneck in prospecting into companies that have more than a few executives isn’t getting to the decision-maker/influencer/point person… It’s finding them in the first place! Mass emailing C-suite Fortune 5000 executives, with specific kinds of emails, can generate 9 % + response rates. The tipping point of the Cold Calling 2.0 process was born: sending mass emails to high-level executives to ask for referrals to the best person in their organization for a first conversation.
Functions involved into sales and terminology used:
- Sales Development Representative (SDR): This is a Cold Calling 2.0 or “outbound” sales rep.
- Outbound Sales Rep: Another term for an “SDR.”
- Account Executive (AE)
- Market Response Rep (MRR): An inside salesperson who only qualifies leads coming in from a website.
- Sales Force Automation (SFA): Software or internet-based services that sales teams use to manage all of their contacts and accounts, automate sales processes, and report on sales results.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Three key principles to developing a team successfully include:
- No cold calling!
- A focus on results, not activities!
- Everything is systematically process-driven!
Making the field salespeople do cold calls means having your highest-cost (per hour) sales resource perform the lowest-value (per hour) activity. Management had two valid concerns to address before they invested heavily into building new sales model: Will the pipeline turn into revenue? In other words: Will the deals close? Can junior salespeople do this too; that is, can it scale?
Steps to do it properly should be:
- Develop respected experts: The Sales Development role is often treated within a sales organization as a low-level job. If you treat it that way, you’ll get low-level result. It’s a challenging and often thankless role. Treat the team as, and expect them to be, experts.
- Qualify accounts and contacts before calling: Cold Calling 1.0 involves calling or emailing into unfiltered industry – based lists of targets. Prospecting into accounts of marginal potential is the most common waste of time by Sales Development Reps and companies. Spend serious time on identifying and clarifying your Ideal Customer Profile. Research rather than sell. When reps do call into cold accounts, instead of making cold calls, make “research calls.”
- Mobile optimized emails: Avoid sending long sales emails that no one reads.
- Go beyond basic SFA. Leverage your sales force automation (SFA) systems in every way possible. For example, you MUST use dashboards.
Where Account Executives should spend their precious time prospecting? A short, targeted “Top 5-25” list of vital accounts or channel partners and their current customer base. The point is to focus your highest value people on the low-volume but high-value activities (building relationships at key accounts), and to specialize other roles and sales reps to take over low-value yet high-volume activities (prospecting into untargeted cold accounts).
When chasing right prospect, think about an Ideal Outbound Customer Profile (which is different than a company’s general Ideal Customer Profile).
6 things that made Acquia’s outbound program take off:
- The top management team was on board.
- They ‘just did it’, avoiding analysis paralysis.
- The sales team and prospectors were hungry for new ideas.
- Acquia initially hired three excellent specialized prospectors.
- They brought in experts who’d done it before, rather than trying to recreate the wheel.
- They focused on bigger deals and opportunities.
To begin implementing the Cold Calling 2.0 system, you should know that at least one person is 100 % dedicated to prospecting. You have some kind of sales system that lets your sales team share and manage their sales contacts and accounts. Your prospects use email. You have a proven product or service that has generated revenue. The “lifetime value of a customer” is more than $ 10,000 (the more the better).
Sales Development Reps prospect into cold or inactive companies who aren’t engaging with you already, to source new, incremental sales opportunities and pass them to quota-carrying salespeople. One Sales Development Rep typically can support a maximum of 2-5 quota-carrying Account Executives. Market Response Reps qualify incoming leads that reach the company through the website or phone.
A rule of thumb is that for every 400 leads per month that require human attention, a company needs one Market Response Representative.
Revenue Predictability = The Funnel + Average Deal Size + Time
Put new reps through some kind of training program that has them working in other parts of your company first, talking to customers, before they go on active sale duty. This will make them much more effective salespeople and actually ramp them faster. Slow down to speed up!
Prospecting cycle length: Measure the time between (a) when the prospect first responds to a campaign to (b) when a quality opportunity is created or qualified. Sales cycle length: Author likes to measure the time from (a) when the opportunity was created or qualified to (b) when it closed.
Starting a prospecting exercise:
- Step 1 – Get Clear on Your Ideal Customer Profile. The single most important thing you can do to make this program effective is to spend time getting clear on who your ideal customers are – both the kinds of accounts and the types of contacts in them.
- Step 2 – Build Your List. How can you build a database of the above – listed types of prospects? Do you already have a list in – house? Can you buy one? Or do you need to build one from scratch?
- Step 3 – Run Outbound Email Campaigns. Don’t make this mistake: many companies are too dependent on cold calls. Phone skills are critical, but use calls as the second step in prospecting. Begin with email, and then use phone to follow up to people who respond.
- Step 4 – Sell the Dream. Do this: Work your responses and referrals to make contact with the right executives and then “Sell The Dream” by helping them paint a vision of what kinds of solutions will solve their problems. Then connect your solution to their key business issue(s) and their dream.
- Step 5 – Pass the Baton (With Dedicated Sales Development Reps) If all your prospecting is done by your quota-carrying sales reps, you are making a fatal mistake. If you are committed to the results you want, you must have a team of reps dedicated to outbound prospecting, who can generate new qualified opportunities to pass to closers.
“Targeted” mass emails sounds like an oxymoron. These emails should look as if they are a single email that came from a salesperson. They should be text-based, not fancy HTML. State simply and clearly why you are reaching out. Make the email easy to read and respond to on a mobile phone. Offer credibility (like examples of customers). Ask just one simple-to-answer question (such as for a referral). Send the messages either before 9:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m. and avoid Mondays and Fridays. Sundays are okay. Be methodical in how you handle responses! Don’t ignore bounces – clean bad emails out of your database as they come in. Log every response. The goal of every mass email should be to establish and close a prospect on a next step. Next step is probably a call. This call should be focused entirely on their business – not your business.
“No” doesn’t matter until you hear it from the CEO or your ideal decision-maker. And even then, when you get a No, you should find out why to determine if it’s coming from an objection you can handle. Oftentimes prospects misunderstand what you do or what value you offer, and will say “no” out of confusion. A great place both to train new salespeople and generate opportunities is to reach back into old opportunities that have died, and have had no activity for at least six months. In any conversation with a prospect, don’t get eager until you actually see that they could be a fit. Once a prospector connects by phone with a prospect for a call to find out if there is a mutual fit, the biggest challenge is staying focused on the prospect’s business and not selling yours. Scheduling via email is a huge time- waster. Always work to schedule your next step while you’re on the phone.
“How do you define a qualified opportunity?” — that is , one which the Outbound Sales Development Rep (SDR) should pass to an Account Executive (AE) and that the SDR can be compensated on.
New opportunities are not upgraded to “qualified” until after the Account Executive speaks with and re-qualifies them in their own phone call. Do not let the Sales Development Rep get credit until this happens; this is so critical to quality control!
Call scripts have been a classic tool in telemarketing and sales, but executives and business people have become much more tuned to canned questions. We use two simple, but much more effective tools to plan and execute calls: AAA Call Planning and Call Flows.
AAA Call Planning – generate a list of objectives for their calls: What Answers do you want to learn in the call? What Attitudes do you wish the prospect to feel? What Actions should occur after the call?
Call Flows – salespeople should use a non-threatening, research-oriented approach that uses the first half of the call to learn about the prospect’s business and needs.
Below is a typical “flow” for a qualification call:
- Opening (“Did I catch you at a bad time?”).
- Introduction – Discuss prospect’s current business situation (authentic curiosity).
- Probe for prospect’s needs (and confirm understanding of the needs).
- Position solution to meet those specific needs.
- Handle objections.
- Next steps.
You can’t predictably create revenue without predictable pipeline, and that requires ways to measure and track how pipeline gets created. Just as you use stages in your sales process to track movement and progress through it, you need similar stages in your prospecting process. These “Account Status” settings are the equivalent of sales stages in Salesforce.com’s Opportunities, but specifically for accounts/organizations.
Here are further explanations for the statuses, which you can also think of as “Bins” where you put accounts:
- Bin 1: Cold
- Bin 2: Working
- Bin 3: ‘Nurture’ Active Opportunity
- Bin 4: ‘Nurture’ Check Back Quarterly
- Bin 5: ‘Nurture’ Dead Opportunity
- Bin 6: ‘Avoid’ Current Client
- Bin 7: ‘Avoid’ Bad Fit
- Bin 8: ‘Avoid’ Duplicate Account
Author experimented quite a bit with different compensation structures at Salesforce.com. The best was the simplest, with just two components: A Base salary: $ _____________ and A Commission of $ _____________ (targeted to be about 50 % of the base, or 1/3 of their total). The commission is paid monthly. It is made up of two parts. 50 % depends on a goal for the number of qualified opportunities generated this month. 50 % is paid based on deals that close, such as a percentage of revenue.
As an SDR, your customers are the Account Executives you support and work with.
The Top Six Prospecting Mistakes Reps Make:
- Expecting instant results
- Writing long emails
- Going wide, not deep
- Giving up too quickly at ideal targets
- Not giving up quickly enough at non – ideal targets
- Depending on activity metrics rather than a proven process
Quick Prospecting Tricks:
- Call low/email high – Rather than going directly to your target, call a lower-level person to learn – or email high to get referred down to the right person.
- Attitude: You’re a non-threatening researcher, not a pushy salesperson.
- Think “bite-sized emails”.
- If they aren’t interested, find out why.
- Don’t give up too easily! (with ideal prospects).
- Always set up a next step.
One of my favorite time management practices – one that works for any sales rep or CEO – is to map out 3-5 main goals for the coming day. I like doing it the night before. I encourage clients to generally set up their dashboards in a three – column format, including:
- Left: Current month activity (amount of stuff going on).
- Center: current month results/deals.
- Right: Long – term results (year–to-date).
People with an old-school sales mindset live by “Always Be Closing”. They destructively compete with co-workers. They close wrong – fit customers. They sell just to get paid, and that’s almost the only reason they stay in the job. “ABC Selling” skips two essential steps: creating a Success Plan before negotiating an agreement and focusing on Ongoing Customer Success after the close. Salespeople get paid to close deals and they tend to be pressured — I mean managed — by fear. Fear is the conventional sales management tool of choice. Customers don’t care at all whether you close the deal or not. They care about improving their business. It’s easy to forget this in the heat of a sales cycle. Success is not when your service is launched; it’s when your service successfully impacts the customer’s business. Selling to success helps pull a prospect through a buying cycle by helping tie their goals and desires to your company’s ability to help achieve their goals. The clearer the client’s vision of their success, the more they’ll want to pull the deal forward on their own. What is your plan for a client’s ongoing success? Do you have a role in your company dedicated solely to helping customers become successful in using your product or service?
There are some patterns around what lengthens cycles and how to shorten them:
- Wrong prospects, poor messaging.
- No Sales Process.
- You Have A Fantastic but Unused Sales Process.
- “Selling selfishly” rather than “solving”.
- Selling too low – be merciless in finding out how much energy reps are putting into mapping out decision-making processes and people.
- Poor understanding of the prospect’s buying process (or what it takes to close this deal).
- Not caring about them.
- Telling instead of showing (how can you prove it?).
- Dragging your feet in disqualifying.
Every month, go in and clear your pipeline clutter to create space for new, high quality opportunities!
Now, the “decision-making process” is more important than “the decision-maker.” Win over your internal champions and coaches first; build the case. Then you’ll be perfectly positioned to win over the final decision-makers.
Design the trial with your prospect (and help them run it). Do your best to understand the prospect’s true business issues before you begin. Agree with the prospect on where the free trial fits in their buying process (or your selling process). Better to nail fewer key problems (or just one) than try to solve every problem for everyone. Define with the client what a “Successful Trial” means. Create milestones for the trial. Enroll the prospect (and their team). Simplify the trial process. Set expectations.
If you want to do a 3 hour and 15 minutes sales process, that will help you estimate accounts and opportunities, you can do it with these three steps.
- Step 1: (15 Minutes) – First Contact: ‘Is This a Waste of Time?’
- Step 2: (One Hour) – Qualification/Discovery Call: ‘Is There A Fit?’ This is a call with one or two of the prospect’s point people, the ones that usually check out new vendors.
- Step 3: (Two Hours) – Group Working Session: ‘Should We Work Together?’ In this session, you want to create a joint vision together.
There is a cost to giving out proposals or paperwork too soon – the prospect doesn’t value it or your time, and you lose the chance to set up a specific next step that would help them earn the proposal.
Author came up with simple distinctions between the three fundamentally different kinds of leads: “Seeds,” “Nets” and “Spears.” Different leads have different fundamental attributes: how well they qualify, how fast they close, ROI, etc.
- Seeds take a lot of time to cultivate and to ramp up, but once they get going, they are unbeatable, with the highest conversion and close rates.
- Nets: Nets are classic marketing programs in which you’re trying to cast a wide net and see what you get.
- Spears involve targeted outbound efforts.
Some of terminology:
- Prospects (or names) – A database of names or a list that you are marketing to, in which people have not responded positively yet.
- Leads – A lead is a prospect that has responded positively in some way to show their interest in what you have to offer.
- Opportunities – After someone has qualified a lead through email or the phone and the lead meets your set of qualification criteria, it becomes an opportunity.
- Clients – They have given you money.
- Champions – A champion can be a client or non-client who has referred business to you, offered a testimonial or has actively supported you in any other way.
The Internet has drastically shifted power from sellers to buyers. Setting up progressive layers of the onion is key to “receiving sales” or “pulling sales” (much easier than pushing sales). Let the prospects do the work for you! Let go of trying to control prospects and trust that if it’s a good mutual fit and you keep nurturing them and your “layers” are relevant and useful, some day they will become a customer!
Your best marketing and source of inbound leads is happy customers. The effect of SEO on inbound lead generation is cumulative and compounding. Permission-based direct email marketing is still THE most important marketing technique, both to develop new leads and nurture old ones. 80 % of webinars are not for selling but for teaching: TEACH people something useful in the webinar. How can you help them do their jobs better? If you’re selling to more sophisticated buyers, you’ll be better served with focusing on SEO and blogging as your primary activities and using PPC in experimental ways as you figure out the best online marketing mix.
Marketo’s marketing automation solutions help marketers automate and measure demand generation campaigns. They tie together a variety of functions like email marketing, lead nurturing and lead scoring. Generating leads is half the battle. To help sales make the most of leads, Marketo’s product, “Sales Insight” , helps salespeople understand, prioritize and interact with the hottest leads and opportunities.
Marketo’s funnel has six stages:
- Opportunity and
Stage 1 – Awareness. Awareness is when the prospect first discovers the company. At this point, the lead is typically anonymous. Creating a company blog is a great way to establish brand presence, drive SEO rankings and give prospects and partners an easy way to get to know and trust your company. It is a place to prove your company as a thought leader in your vertical or industry. Your blog is not the best place to directly promote your business or service.
Stage 2 – Inquiry. This is the stage when an anonymous lead becomes known by registering with a name and an email address.
Stage 3 – Prospect. Now we’re getting into an area where language is critical. The definitions of “Prospect” vs. “Lead” are especially important to prevent confusion across sales and marketing.
Stage 4 – Leads. They get points added or subtracted based on aspects like how recently a lead visited and how frequently they visit. Marketo also takes into consideration other factors, such as keywords, content subject matter, and actions that should increase or diminish scores, i.e., visiting the career page. Marketo also implements “score decay.” This involves decreasing a lead’s score if they become inactive and get colder and colder and colder.
Valuation and metrics
- Demographics 30 points based on manual Prospect review 0 – 8
- Points based on title Source and Offer Website leads source + 7
- Thought leadership offer – 5
- Behavioral Engagement Visit any webpage or open any email + 1
- Watch demos + 5
- Each Register for webinar + 5
- Attend webinar + 5
- Download thought leadership content + 5
- Download Marketo reviews + 12
- More than 8 pages in one visit + 7
- Visit website 2x in one week + 8
- Search for “Marketo” + 15
- Visit pricing pages + 5
- Visit careers pages – 10
- No Activity in One Month Score > 30 : – 15 points Score 0 to 30 : – 5 points
One of the five critical metrics you must track is lead conversion.
Four main types of automated lead nurturing campaigns:
- New prospect and lead campaigns. After the decision is made that a visitor is a viable prospect, Marketo begins their 21-day follow-up campaign: If the prospect does not engage actively , they then receive “Stay In Touch Campaigns.”
- “Stay in Touch” campaigns. Also known as a “drip campaign”.
- If a prospect exceeds 65 points, they are officially called a “lead”. Fast Track: If a lead fills out a “contact me” form, requests a free trial or achieves a score of 65+, these leads receive personal follow-up within five-minutes of their activity.
- Other New Prospects: If a prospect reaches a lead-scoring threshold of 65 points but doesn’t match the “fast track” behavior, a sales task is set for the sales rep telling them to interact with this prospect within 24 hours.
After the 21 – day process there are three possible outcomes. A lead is either: Disqualified, Converted to Opportunity or recycled.
Conferences and tradeshows have a bad (ok, terrible) reputation for generating worthwhile leads – for good reason!
How to better manage conferences and trade shows:
- Phase 1: Preparation. Research as much as you can to shape a list of who and which companies are attending. Review and really prioritize the list.
- Phase 2: Execution at the Event. There is a real cost to keeping low-quality leads on sales reps call list : (1) it makes it harder to find and focus on the good leads and (2) sales reps will be wasting their time calling on low-quality leads.
- Phase 3 : Follow Through
Seven Fatal Sales Mistakes CEOs and Sales VPs Make
- Fatal Mistake 1: Not Taking Responsibility for Understanding Sales and Lead Generation Everything begins with the CEO. Even when a CEO hires executive to run lead generation and sale, the CEO cannot delegate their own understanding of how lead generation and sales work.
- Fatal Mistake 2: Thinking Account Executives Should Prospect (Making Account Executives Jacks-Of- All-Trades). Prospecting doesn’t bring in revenue – closing brings in revenue. Account Executives should prospect for new clients less than 20 % of the time and only to a Top 10 Strategic Accounts list, with partners.
- Fatal Mistake 3: Assuming Channels Will Do the Selling for You. You have to build your own sales results first and prove your success, before you’ll be able to benefit much from channel partners. The channels will come AFTER you are successful.
- Fatal Mistake 4: Talent Fumbles (hiring, training, incenting). Predictable Revenue requires that you have repeatable people processes.
- Fatal Mistake 5: Thinking ‘Product- out,’ Not ‘Customer-in’.
- Fatal Mistake 6: Sloppy Tracking and Measurement. You can’t make what counts repeatable if you’re not regularly measuring what matters. Important metrics are: New leads created per month (also, from what source). Conversion rate of leads to opportunities. Number of, and pipeline dollar value of, qualified opportunities created per month. This is the most important leading indicator of revenue! Conversion rates of opportunities to closed deals. Booked revenues in three categories: New Business, Add – On Business, Renewal Business.
- Fatal Mistake 7: Command-and-control Management.
Sales in the “Attraction” world we live in now isn’t about being passive. You can still be as aggressive as ever – except the tone has changed. Rather than being pushy, all about money, and often coming off as fake, it’s about being respectful, purposeful, and adding real value to prospects, even before they become customers. Salespeople should be “pleasantly persistent.”
Nine Principles of Building a Sales Machine:
- Be PATIENT.
- Don’t take on one – off projects
- Get out of Excel!
- Sketch out how things work and what your processes are on a flow chart.
- Focus on results rather than activity.
- Track fewer, more important metrics.
- Pay special attention to “batons” that cross functions.
- Take baby steps!
One of the biggest productivity killers is lumping a mix of different responsibilities (such as raw web lead qualification, cold prospecting, closing and account management) into one general “sales” role.
Why this could be a problem:
- Lack of focus.
- Harder to develop talent.
- Unclear metrics.
- Less visibility into problems.
The Four Core Sales Functions
- “Inbound” Lead Qualification
- “Outbound” Prospecting / Cold Calling 2.0
- “Account Executives” or “Sales”
- Account Management/Customer Success
The second person you hire, after a salesperson who can close, should be a sales rep who is dedicated just to generating leads for your first closer. A second rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. When your reps, as a group, are spending more than 20 % of their time on a secondary function, break out that function into a new role.
Author wants to see the management and sales models of more companies evolve towards a collection of “businesses inside a bigger business.” Rather than being divided into teams based purely on function (Sales, Marketing Services), employees are grouped into mini – business units that include a variety of functional roles in each team.
The best long – term source of salespeople is to grow and develop your own. Some of the potential sales roles a company can have are:
- Marketing intern or Sales Operations contractor
- Inside Sales Development – qualify inbound leads
- Inside Sales Development – outbound prospecting
- Inside Sales Closing – small/medium businesses
- Inside Sales Closing – small field deals
- Field Sales Closing – mid – market accounts
- Field Sales Closing – enterprise accounts
And this doesn’t even include account management, sales engineers, customer support, and other customer – related teams that always benefit from moving people in and around them. The more kinds of different experiences your people are exposed to and develop an expertise in, the better equipped they are to become killer problem – solvers for customers! Hire and promote carefully! The best salespeople are more like consultants or business people who can sell.
If you have a “churn and burn” culture that sells commoditized product, perhaps commission-only sales is a way to go. If you want to build a solution-selling, high-value sales force, commit the team and company to invest in their success just as much as you expect them to invest in the company!
Nothing beats role – playing as a form of training. The training lead should challenge the trainee, but not make it so hard that they get frustrated and don’t learn anything.
Management of sales is important. A no-nonsense management model:
- Choose people carefully
- Set expectations and vision
- Remove obstacles
- Inspire your people
- Work for your people
- Improve it next time
Simplicity, clarity = productivity. Uncertainty, ambiguity = waste. Inspiring is not cheerleading; it’s understanding what helps your team and its individuals find their own reasons (not your reasons) to excel and to achieve their full potential (not your potential). Balance positive encouragement with discipline.
In Buckingham and Coffman’s book: First, Break All The Rules: What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, there are 12 key measures for employees:
- Do I know what is expected of me at work?
- Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
- At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
- In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for good work?
- Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
- At work, do my opinions seem to count?
- Does the mission / purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important?
- Are my co – workers committed to doing quality work?
- Do I have a best friend at work?
- In the last six months, have I talked with someone about my progress?
- At work, have I had opportunities to learn and grow?
Marc Benioff came up with a plan to set the company’s vision and align all of its people and teams in the execution of the vision. V2MOM stands for Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles and Metrics.
Three Ways to Inspire and Improve the Sales Organization:
- Include Salespeople in the Planning of New Programs
- Beta Test New Sales Programs
- Survey Satisfaction
Your people aren’t lazy, stubborn, or process – averse. They are just averse to complicated processes that don’t make sense to them, weren’t explained properly or don’t help them. In fact, they love intuitive processes and tools that help them sell more.
Here are some common key responsibilities of a VP Sales:
- Goal – setting and achievement
- Personal involvement in big deals
- Compensation – designing, calculating and reporting
- Talent – structuring roles, hiring and firing
- Analysis and reporting
- Process design and improvement
The more a sales team can manage itself, the more the VP Sales can focus on developing the “important, not urgent” aspects of the team, such as talent, culture and vision, rather than fighting fires or spending time on daily, “unimportant but urgent” tasks.
You need to distribute responsibilities throughout the team (or outside the team) in ways that don’t add a lot of extra work; hence the importance of elimination, automation and outsourcing before delegation.
Author had a convenient advantage that helped him transparently publish everyone’s compensation on the team: they all were on the same basic plan structure (same base salary, same bonus and commission rates). No one had special deals even though some people had much more experience than others. Those with more experience or expectations could earn the extra compensation through higher results.
10 Ways to Increase Adoption of Your Sales Force Automation (SFA):
- System Set up a useful CEO/executive team dashboard, PLUS include a slot in the executive meeting to review the dashboard.
- Clean up your SFA clutter to improve usability.
- Make compensation dependent on accurate reports in your system.
- Clearly communicate why SFA adoption matters.
- Customize the user interface for your people by role.
- Start training and creating expectations Day One with new hires.
- Make adoption a part of sales culture and peer pressure.
- Take an online training class for your SFA system.
- Hire an experienced SFA user to do one-on-one training sessions with your people.
- Evaluate a mobile smartphone version of your SFA system.
Who bears the ultimate responsibility for successfully deploying and adopting a sales system? The CEO (or business division leader).
While the Cold Calling 2.0 process is simple, sticking to it and ingraining it in your culture may not be. Change is hard for people and companies.