BOOST REVENUES BY 13 to 25%: Bring Science to the Art of Selling

Blog101_-Improve-Revenues_1-1We all recognize that it’s becoming more difficult to grow your business in this complex business environment. So, any incremental improvement is welcomed. One way to boost revenues is to improve your sales process and close more opportunities already in your pipeline.

I have had discussions with many organizations who are interested in improving sales performance; they contact me to discuss sales training. The conversation goes something like this, “We have a need to improve our sales process and would be interested in hearing what programs you have to offer and what they will cost. We would like to dedicate a day at our annual conference to this subject, can you give us your proposal.

Think about this for one moment. Growing revenues and profitability is one of the biggest initiatives in your organization. You’ve invested millions of dollars in product development, a dedicated sales team, marketing, and maybe even channel partners. And you’d like a like a one-day workshop to improve your process. Is this out of balance?

Companies spend billions of dollars on sales training each year. Yet, according to ES Research, close to 90 percent of these training programs have no long-term impact. From my example, can you see why?

When in conversation with these organizations, I dig deeper and find the problem’s solution is more than a one-day workshop. I find the salespeople have:

  • No business plans.

  • No complete buyer’s persona.

  • Not mapped out their customer’s buying process.

  • No criteria for pursuing new opportunities.

  • No process for bringing opportunities to the top of their sales funnel.

  • No collaboration between sales and marketing.

  • Not tracked the value brought to and gotten from customer interactions.

  • Not set a value proposition with clients.

  • Not gotten to the decision makers.

  • Too many opportunities that end up as RFPs.

  • Not conducted win/lose reviews.

  • No process in place for large deal reviews.

  • No process for how internal resources should be used.

  • Not used or can’t rely on data in their CRM system.

This list packs a wallop. Please read it again and marvel at all the roadblocks.

With most clients, we’re not ripping up the sidewalk to teach them a brand new way of selling, although some clients need that. What we are doing is first determining their strategic direction, looking at what processes they do use that work and what gaps exist. It all needs to be integrated and coordinated.

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Please review the following chart (click the image to view larger)— our engagement blueprint.

Clearly, solving the problems that impact the performance of any sales organization carry a cost associated with it, and sales leaders need to understand the basis of that number. But as Jim Dickie, Managing Partner of CSO Insights, one of our research companies, says, “there is an often overlooked second number that needs to be considered as well—what is the cost-of-doing-nothing?

Here is an example of what Jim is talking about. As part of CSO Insights’ 2015 Sales Management Optimization study, the firm analyzed the following four levels of sales processes we see companies adopt:

Level 1—Random Sales Process: These companies may be perceived as being anti-process, although what they really lack is a single standard process. Essentially, sales reps do their own thing their own way.

Level 2—Informal Sales Process: These companies expose their salespeople to a sales process, indicate that they are expected to use it, but its use is neither monitored nor measured.

Level 3—Formal Sales Process: These companies regularly enforce the use of a designed sales process. They conduct periodic reviews of the process to see how effective it is and make changes based on that analysis.

Level 4—Dynamic Sales Process: These companies dynamically monitor and provide continuous feedback on sales’ use of their formal sales process. They proactively modify the process when they detect key changes in market conditions—new competitors, changes in governmental regulations, shifts in the economy, etc.

In the 2015 Sales Management Optmization Study 15.2% of study participants were Level 1 firms; 38.4% Level 2; 27.9% Level 3; and 18.4% Level 4. We have long been advocating that Level 1 and 2 companies should move to up to a minimum of Level 3, if not Level 4.

This movement, of course, has an associated cost. But as Jim Dickie suggests, we can use this as the basis for quantifying the cost-of-doing nothing.

CSO Insights further segmented the study based on the level of the sales process, and then looked at the average percentage of salespeople making quota for each level. Here is what this analysis surfaced:

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As you can see, the percentage of sales people making quota for Level 1 and Level 2 firms are essentially    the same. But the number goes up significantly for Level 3 sales organizations and jumps again for Level 4.

If your sales organization is Random or Informal, what would your revenue look like if you had 13% to 25% more of your sales team making their number?

To Jim’s point, that is the cost-of-doing-nothing. And that cost is probably an order of magnitude higher, if not more, than the cost of bringing more science to the art of selling at your organization.

So, before you shy away from allocating funds and resources to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales organization, take the time to determine if and how the status quo is impacting your sales performance. The size of the potential payback may make it clear that looking at costs versus ROI is the wrong point to focus on.

See you on the upside,
Bill

For more information on how to simplify the complex sale, go to www.pleinairestrategies.com
Or call Bill in San Diego at 760.340.4277 or 213.598.4700

News Alert

MERGE 2.0, read my latest book, now released by the publisher and available on Amazon to purchase.  Learn everything you need to know to book revenue in the new realities of B2B professional selling.

And, if you’re not a reader and prefer interactive learning, take our MERGE 2.0 online learning course.  Go here for more info.

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