WHAT DRIVES SUCCESS IN SALES?
At the heart of what drives success in sales there are a few essential factors:
Identifying and mapping-out market opportunities and understanding how they will evolve over time
- Deploying the right forces and people against the right opportunities
- Tailoring the sales message, so that it matches value proposition to customer needs
- Implementing an operating model that helps to execute over time with consistency
TO ACHIEVE ALL THIS, SALES TEAMS NEED:
A clear understanding of customer segments, able to reveal untapped value
- A targeting approach that matches resources with opportunities
- The capability to identify the most compelling message for each target, aligning marketing with sales
An effective and well-orchestrated operating model that allows teams to execute consistently over time
FOUR PROVEN AREAS OF INTERVENTION TO ACHIEVE EXCELLENCE IN SALES
Four areas of intervention have proven able to significantly impact our clients' sales performance:
B. VALUE PROPOSITION & MESSAGE CRAFTING
Craft Compelling Pitches, Matching Needs to Value Proposition
Detailed description of our areas of intervention:
AREA OF INTERVENTION A – SEGMENTATION & TARGETING
Identify Opportunities through a Sales-Relevant Customer Segmentation
Understanding where market opportunities lie, and seeing how they are likely to develop in the future is a key success factor in sales. It ensures sales organizations are capable of providing products and solutions that best match customers' needs.
However, too often, segmentation schemes are created by the marketing department, with little inputs from sales. This significantly undermines the capability to translate customer knowledge into sales, especially in a context where it is critical to reach customers via personal interaction.
Joint Sales & Marketing Creation
We ensure that the segmentation scheme is jointly created by sales and marketing, with substantial inputs and strategic direction provided by the sales team, and a joint assessment of segment attractiveness.
Often the critical segmentation dimensions reflect not only the customer potential, but also its stage in the sales funnel, and the mental and behavioral shift that the sales team needs to achieve with a specific segment of customers. In this way the segmentation scheme becomes a decision making and planning tool to inform and align the daily activities of both sales and marketing.
Keeping It Alive
The sales team takes ownership of the segmentation output and becomes responsible for keeping it alive, tracking how segments' potential and composition unfolds over time. This allows to be quickly receptive of market changes and to adapt the go-to-market approach as the landscape evolves.
AREA OF INTERVENTION B – VALUE PROPOSITION & MESSAGE CRAFTING
Craft Compelling Pitches, Matching Needs to Value Proposition
Clarity on Sales Funnel
A critical success factor in sales is making sure that sales people know exactly what to say at each stage of the sales funnel, in order to win the prospect.
This is possible if there is clarity on the path from prospect to customer and on how to make the customer move across each step.
We map the customer product acceptance path and align it with the key stages in the sales funnel, where a shift in customers' attitudes, beliefs and behavior is needed to progressively move towards closure. We ensure that there is a deliberate plan for what to sell to whom, at what stage in the sales process.
We spend time collecting sales force and marketing inputs on the customer persona, and, using segmentation learnings, we help the two functions jointly craft a message that is able to convert the customer, matching customer needs to company's value proposition.
We define segment-specific value proposition and messaging scripts, aligned with the mental and behavioral changes needed to win customers at different stages of the funnel.
Call Model Guidelines
If needed, we then give our support to translate messages into segment-specific marketing materials and collaterals, that truly respond to sales force needs and that can be used in sales calls to help achieve the planned targets. We can also help to translate communication objectives into call model guidelines and call quality requirements.
Maximize Call Return with Predictive Analytics
Furthermore, we can accompany our clients in the design of predictive analytics or of segment-specific typing tools, to help the sales force maximize their call return, by clearly understanding what product to pitch to what customer, with what message and at what stage in the funnel.
Finally, whenever required, we support sales teams in translating communication requirements into experiential sales training, that enable the field force to best deliver specific messages to different typologies of customers.
AREA OF INTERVENTION C – PLANNING, ORGANIZATION & SALES PROCESS OPTIMIZATION
Align Planning and Organization. Deploy the Right People and Optimize the Sales Process
Link Customer Learnings to a New Operating Model
When the segmentation is in place, it is essential for the company to be able to translate customer learnings into a new way of operating in the marketplace that maximizes impact on sales.
We help sales managers to align their sales organization to the segmentation approach, by defining targeting priorities and decisions regarding coverage, routes-to-market and geographical footprint. We give guidelines for the most effective mix and frequency of sales interactions and for the most appropriate sales approaches by segment, balancing traditional and innovative sales methods. We make sure that the segmentation findings are translated into indications for the sales funnel and for the needed interactions at each stage.
Optimize the Sales Process
In most companies sales reps spend less than half of their time actually selling. This translates into an incredible waste of resources and money. We help our clients to streamline sales operations and processes, so that representatives can maximize the time they spend on selling and relationship building.
To achieve this, we start with a careful mapping of the sales path and related processes, identifying problems related to how the sales rep's job is organized and opportunities to free up time and improve the sales process. We may involve real customers in the redesign process, providing feedback at every step.
This effort results in significant cuts in the time needed to complete deals, elimination of unnecessary steps and optimization of sales operation costs. Furthermore, customer satisfaction often also benefits from this process, thanks to a higher sales force reactivity and speed in getting back to clients requests.
AREA OF INTERVENTION D – SALES EXCELLENCE & OPERATING MODEL
Build a Winning Operating Model With an Orchestrated Sales Excellence Program
What is Sales Excellence?
Sales Excellence programs are designed to scale-up and institutionalize sales capabilities and to arm sales teams with the skills needed to achieve superior sales execution.
These initiatives progressively build company's capabilities through processes and tools and ensure that the sales team is constantly growing and learning over time, so as to better deliver on its performance targets.
When effectively implemented, a Sales Excellence initiative normally results into a significant increase in sales performance and outcome.
Sales Excellence Modules
The scope of Sales Excellence programs can vary depending on the company's specific needs, but it normally includes dedicated modules that specifically focus on one or more of the following areas:
- Collection and institutionalization of relevant knowledge and best practices
- Definition of organizational value drivers and translation into what is needed in terms of culture (people, training, performance) and organizational “soft” components (skills, measurements, incentives)
- Design and delivery of on-going training programs and coaching sessions for the sales team, aimed at ensuring learning on both the cognitive as well as the behavioral domain
- Implementation of a customized skill assessment and performance monitoring program, including relevant metrics and KPIs. Definition of a related incentives system
- Development of a supporting CRM and data management platform and alignment of the connected IT systems
Sales Excellence Academy and How We Help
We normally approach these projects with the creation of a sales excellence academy, with different teams appointed to each of the above specified areas.
We facilitate the teams' work and establish their agenda. We oversee their progress and ensure that there is a clear plan for how the sales excellence academy will continue to operate effectively after the project ends.