1) Segment your customers.
This ensures you can target and communicate with them most effectively. One size does not fit all, meaning that you will sub-optimize your sales initiatives by pursuing one approach in communicating with or selling to different groups of prospects with different attributes and different levels of likelihood to purchase. To that end, it is critical to segment customers by their revenue potential, and not just historic revenue capture. This provides a more accurate snapshot for identifying 80/20 segments and opportunities.
- Focus your teams on selling
Ensure your reps are focused on the right selling activities that result in the highest value. Its often found that a typical sales representative spends only 32% of her or his time selling. They spend the rest of their time in internal meetings, on administrative activities, and traveling. Taking back some of this unproductive time can by itself lead to measurable gains in team sales capacity. For example, by adding twenty percentage points of productivity to a 5 person sales team, capacity is increased by 10,00 hours over a 50 week period, assuming a 48-hour work week. This is equivalent to five sales people. *****
- Identify who does what
Ensure that your field sales teams aren’t engaged in activities and with accounts that would be better handled by an inside sales team, and vice-versa. Conduct the analysis that will align the most suitable activities for the right teams, and then size those teams appropriately.
- Optimize sales operations and support
A critical driver of sales capacity and coverage can be found in the effectiveness of your company’s sales operations and support organization. List all support functions that play an enabling role in closing Sales leads. ********
- Standardize on One Sales process:
The most important take-away here is to start by picking one process and sticking with it for long enough to gain insight on what is and isn’t working. This is a requirement for being able to manage a sales pipeline, as well as for managers to gain a better understanding of rep status and provide needed support. Tweaking the sales process every week, or arguably even every quarter, makes it nearly impossible to evaluate impact based on consistent benchmarks.
“It’s far less critical which methodology you choose, as long as you stick with one and execute it consistently.”
However, standardization is more than process. It also relates to a common language you should instill among first- and second-line managers and
- Move from selling products to selling solutions
While this advice may seem clichéd, it is surprising how few organizations heed the counsel. You can and will increase win rates by moving backward from the customer, gaining a clear understanding of her or his pain points, and mapping your solutions to those pain points, versus promoting the features and functionality of your product. In other words, ‘outside-in’ typically prevails over ‘inside-out.’
- Strategically align your team’s sales compensation
Sales people are primarily motivated by money in the short term, yet your company may have longer term strategic business objectives to pursue emerging markets and new products or services for those markets. This ensures an organization doesn’t become overly dependent on its core products until it is too late. Yet for reps, those core products may be the easiest ones to sell. Correspondingly, a symptom of poor compensation alignment is that reps are not focused on selling the right products. Therefore, seek to strategically align compensation to appropriately balance efforts and initiatives on existing and emerging product and market opportunities
- Transform the Sales Organization
While business culture abounds with the theory that change is good, this is accurate only if change is actually needed. Yes, it’s true that given today’s rapidly evolving market and competitive dynamics, chief sales officers must re-consider how they go to market. Maintaining status quo can be risky, and in the face of mergers and acquisitions, it simply isn’t realistic. But change simply for the sake of change is counter-productive.
- Seek the best expertise:
Don’t fall into the ‘Not Invented Here’ syndrome. You can find a range of outside consultants with experience gained from working with many companies in steering executives through the sales transformation process. “It’s not necessarily about getting the right answers from outside experts. It’s about raising the confidence level of the leadership team to execute on the decisions they’ve already made. Transformation initiatives often get stuck because sales leaders lose confidence in the process. An outside voice can boost this confidence in order to drive an effective transformation initiative.”
- Over-communicate to your teams:
Many people, sales teams included, are hard-wired to not easily accept change. Therefore you should accelerate the level and pace of communications. What is the basis of the transformation? Why is the organization doing it? What is the status? What are you asking your teams to do differently? What are you asking them to focus on? What are some quick wins or successes you can celebrate?
To know more about how The Idea Smith lean principles and PDCA methodology can help your company improve profitability by reducing lead times, costs and wastes while increasing throughput and customer satisfaction , get in touch .