Sales has always been a team game. The ability to lay the corporate foundation for sales success is critical. Your sales planning should include not only execution based initiatives but also address critical gaps in the business that is hindering sales effectiveness.
Creating a list of corporate objectives aligned with the feedback from your sales teams means that all pipeline and opportunity calls should allow for open discussion. What are the critical next steps, how can I support and what business issues need to be addressed?
There is a simple framework we leverage to determine how best to set the objectives for the organization. It is important to create a specified plan around each area of focus with deadlines to create accountability.
Develop a set of operational initiatives that help to advance or simplify the internal sales process. This can be addressed by technology, legal or governance requirements.
Simplifying the way we leverage technology whether an internal tool like CRM, customer-facing tools, or operational tools that allow your customers to establish the business requirements for your product or services. Look for ways to simplify your process and tool dependencies to create a higher sales and customer satisfaction. If there are roadblocks that can be addressed leveraging technology, provide those as an initiative for your business.
Legal constraints can often be the longest and most pivotal aspect of your sales process. Many businesses require legal support to make any changes to your standard documentation. By educating your sales organization and empowering them with alternative language or areas for negotiation will help streamline the amount of legal work that needs to be accomplished. One initiative we often promote is to determine which sections of your legal documents get the most push back and ask legal to create alternative language (2 or 3 proposed language changes) that the sales rep leverage to streamline this process. Let your sales team be the first line of defense and push your legal department to empower your sellers to minimize the time your legal team needs to be involved.
Governance is usually determined by the empowerment levels for various roles within your organization. Changes such as price or structure of an opportunity should be held at a level that works directly with your sales team on a regular basis. Create governance rules that allow your sales teams to directly negotiate terms and conditions to the "80%" of opportunities and set thresholds for management that does not hang up the sales process.
Sales Process Initiatives
Creating a "Sales Culture" often means simplification of the process to engage and onboard a new customer. Strict requirements around solution teams or business requirements before a seller can close an opportunity should be evaluated in granularity.
Address these potential hang-ups in a pragmatic fashion starting with prospecting. By making it easy for your sales team to identify prospects they target with defined segmentation of your highest opportunities will ensure your sales teams are effective every minute they are at their job - Sales is always an ROI measurement of time. How your salespeople chose to spend their time to generate revenue for the company is critical to maximizing your opportunity set. Find ways to simplify management of all areas of the business including customer support.
Create initiatives that move the needle of productivity and help your sellers manage as close to 100% of their time in an external client facing role. By establishing an expectation around your sales process will give you the greatest visibility to sales constraints that need to be addressed.
External Customer Initiatives
From demand generation to account management, I can assure you your sales teams are looking for help. By aligning your inside sales teams with a marketing function will help you align campaigns to follow-up. Cross-train your inside sales teams with your outside sales teams creating a harmonious demand generation engine that is codependent.
Simplify your messaging, create a customer playbook, ensure rebuttals are in sync with all functional teams. Create initiatives that simplify your sales organization and demand generation efforts to maximize effectiveness.
Products and services that your company offers most often can streamline or simplify their business units. Ensure that customer-centric initiatives are created to ensure customer satisfaction and retention is a core focus for the business. Its always easier to upsell existing customers, so aligning with the needs of your revenue generating accounts is your easiest route to success.
From customer support to sales enablement these areas are essential to running a high performing sales team. Develop your initiatives with deadlines and accountability to show your sales teams you are in the trenches with them.
Creating a culture of teamwork will always build the sales culture every organization needs to grow.