In recent months, we have been asked to help several companies, both small and large, with their sales methodology and processes. The bottom line is they want more leads that deliver more quote opportunities that yield more sales (and more revenue).
While there is some "secret sauce" to sales in any industry, much of it boils down to strict discipline and adherence to key performance factors. In our work with clients, we have found six performance factors that consistently drive success. So, sales leaders must continuously strive to improve their organization's adeptness across these six performance factors.
It is essential to recognize that a performance rating today is not a reflection of the overall potential for a sales organization. As a sales leader, your ongoing efforts to develop your company's proficiency across each of these performance factors will lead to improvement and long-term success.
1. Sales Planning
Sales planning is the process by which you and your sales team determine both the financial and market share targets for the organization. This is typically updated on an annual basis during forecasting and is the foundation of your sales accountability and incentive compensation programs.
2. Sales Accountability
Sales accountability is the rigorous discipline of holding your sales team accountable for their actions and results. This is accomplished by enforcing annual sales plan targets and establishing metrics for healthy sales pipeline and prospecting activity. Sales team members are held accountable for reaching their targets and for meeting the expected metrics for their pipeline and prospecting during regular and frequent reviews of subjective and objective sales performance data.
3. Performance Reporting
Performance reporting is a series of metrics that are monitored by the sales team and management to gauge progress towards your sales plan. The reports completed by the sales team members for management highlight pipeline and prospecting activities. The reports completed by management for the sales team report on sales performance to plan, quote hit ratio, lead closure rates and other metrics.
4. Sales Team Development
Sales team development is an ongoing process that is critical to winning sales organizations. Using a variety of methods, leadership continuously trains and coaches its sales team on sales skills and product knowledge to improve the team's performance. Data is used to identify areas of improvement and sales professionals put aside time to participate in training programs, workshops, conferences, books and webinars.
5. Management Engagement
As a sales leader, you must be constantly engaged with your sales teams and customers to maximize the performance of their team and understand how the company can better serve its customers. You should meet with direct reports regularly, work with sales team members frequently and visit customers often to stay engaged with the sales process and customer needs.
6. Resource Planning
Resource planning is the practice by which the sales organization determines the priority, location, quantity and status of its sales representation. This includes budgeting for headcount to staff the sales team, identifying markets that need additional sales representation, establishing third party channel relationships, talent recruitment, incentive programs and retention.