Sales execs and CEO’s invariably, at one time or another, experience the awareness that – “we need to increase our sales performance, our sales productivity.” This awareness is always accompanied by one or more of the following: “we need more deals, bigger deals, shorter sales cycle or higher hit rates”. The challenge is not to succumb to the knee-jerk reaction for more activity – more calls, more proposals, etc. or the allure of quick, surgical remedies such as fire/hire the VP Sales or the reps and/or re-org and/or increase incentives (!?) and/or SFA and/or the latest sales methodology training and/or more.
While all the above have a place in increasing sales performance, the KappaEast approach to making radical and sustainable improvement in sales performance begins at a more fundamental level, and invokes an optimal, ordered process to building hi-level, reliable, predictable sales performance, to building a Sales Engine.
The Sales Engine
That process has three stages, examined sequentially with each stage a critical element in the examination of the next. The purpose of the examination is the identification of salient opportunities for increased performance. The three stages are:
1. Sales Strategy
2. Sales Process/Methodology
3. Sales Skills, Competencies, Knowledge
Sales strategy is the cornerstone of successful sales performance and yet it is an often ignored or underemphasized component. A complete, comprehensive and substantive strategy is a must. See “On Strategy” in Tools & Concepts.
Sales Process is the terminology, methodology and tools used to execute and manage the business of selling. Sales professionals everywhere constantly strive to increase sales performance. That effort always includes the never-ending search for answers to the seemingly unanswerable:
- Are we going to make the quarter?
- Do we have enough leads?
- How long is the sales cycle?
- How did you get this forecast?
- Is the funnel full?
- How can we increase our hit rate, what is our hit rate?
- Was it a good call?
- Are we going to get this deal?
Effective selling is all about taking action to get better answers, not searching for, or guessing at, the answers. A clear, pervasive Sales Operations Management Process (SOMP) can:
- Provide the answers, the leading indicators of sales performance
- Enable/facilitate the implementation of the sales strategy
- Turn the focus toward crisper execution rather than looking for answers
- Shorten the sales cycle and improve the hit rate
Sales Skills, Competencies, Knowledge
With the strategy and process determined, the final step in building your sales engine is identifying the critical skills, competencies and knowledge that are required to implement the strategy and process, and developing a training/recruiting initiative to start your engine!