How to Determine What’s Really Going on in Your Sales Organization

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  • 1. How to Find Out What’s Really Going onin Your Sales OrganizationFebruary 15, 2013Notice: This presentation is copyrighted. Quotation in whole or in part must beaccompanied by attribution to:“ES Research Group, Inc. - www.ESResearch.com”Dave Stein, CEO, ES Research Group@davesteiESResearch.com/blog
  • 2. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 2What We’ll Cover…All graphics: Fotolia.com
  • 3. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 3Sales-Related Challenges (From the CXO’s Perspective)• Missed forecasts• Questionable pipeline• Low win rate against certain competitors• Margin-killing tactical discounting• Significant attrition among sales peopleand their managers• Low (or no) ROI on sales training, tools,CRM, etc.• Inconsistent messaging• Low satisfaction rating among newcustomers.
  • 4. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 4Where are Your Selling Challenges?1. Individual Deal?2. Sales Dept./Infrastructure?3. Product/Company?4. Systemic: External?
  • 5. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 5Sales Superiority1. Individual Deal?2. Sales Dept./Infrastructure?3. Product/Company?4. Systemic: External?
  • 6. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 6Sales Effectiveness as Competitive Advantage1. Individual Deal?2. Sales Dept./Infrastructure3. Product/Company4. Systemic: External
  • 7. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 7Is the Problem the VP of Sales?Months 1-3On-boarding. VP learns about the company, salespeople, colleagues inmarketing, services, customers, competitors, etc. Asks a lot of questions.Months 4-6VP makes changes in approach, terminology, territories, business partners,marketing materials, routine (sales meetings, forecast calls, etc.) VP may bring informer salespeople that worked for them in the past.Months 7-9Little to no performance improvement. VP says that new mechanisms haven’t“gained traction.” Or that their new reps “need a little more time.” VP suggeststhat there have been changes in the market/economy/environment since theyjoined. Assures executive team a little more time will do the trick.Months 10-12An occasional success! The heat is off for a time, until the CEO realizes that “onebig win does not a trend make.”Months 13-16Consultant or board member or expert is brought in to assess thesituation. Meetings, reports, discussions, back and forth.Months 17-19VP and CEO see the handwriting on the wall, but keep it to themselves, hopingthat the situation will magically approve.Months 20-23CEO covertly searches for new VP. VP covertly taps into his/her network whileupdating their resume with the appropriate spin on this latest position.Month 24or the New Month 1New VP of sales arrives… On-boarding… Start all over again.,24-Month Sales VP Cycle
  • 8. • The backbone of sales effectiveness is PROCESS.– Sales– Qualification– Opportunity Management– Account Management– Recruitment and selection– Lead generation– Training and reinforcement– Management and coaching– Sales Performance Measurement• Anything else is seat-of-the-pants guesswork.Getting to the Truth
  • 9. 9© 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc.Does Your Sales Process Map to the Customer’s?Source: Sales Benchmark Index
  • 10. 10© 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc.Are There Well-Defined Gates Between Stages?Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5Customer Need Identified Explore Alternatives Validation Finalists EngagementUs Initial Contact Discovery Engagement Proposal ClosingWho?Acct Exec Acct ExecSolution EngineerAcct ExecSolution EngineerAcct ExecSolution EngineerServices RepAcct ExecSales MgmtExec MgmtActions,Activities,Events•Contact made•Preliminary research•Initial qualification•Budget confirmed•Timeframe confirmed•Need confirmed•Real buyer identified•What are they doing now?•Further research•Preliminary meetings•Further qualification•Buying criteria understood•Initial meetings•Requirements discussed•Agreement on objectives•Understand decision process•Meeting w/ Real buyer•Situation Assessment•Set sales objective and strategy•Further qualification•Changes in buying criteria?•Sales objective determined•Sales strategy devised•Competitive positioning•Demonstrations•Further meetings•Introduction of your execs•Address objections•Exec. buy-in•Solution design•Further qualification•Proposal•Reference checking•Internal approval•Address objections•Pre-test Terms•ROI completed,checked•We have beenselected•Approvals, legal, etc.•Negotiation•Procurement/purchasing•Signatures# of DealsEngaged5 deals 4 deals 3 deals 1 – 2 deals 1 – 2 dealsTime toclose6 months 5 – 3 months 3 – 2 months 1 month 0 monthsAttritionrate20% 20% 15% 15% 0
  • 11. 11© 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc.Major Sales Process Pitfalls• Individual process for each rep• Process not based on how yourcustomers buy• Too complex and detailed; noflexibility• Too simple and high-level; tooflexible• Sellers disregard qualificationcriteria in lieu of feeling good• Moving through process withoutcompleting all the tasks/gates• Not managing/coachingsalespeople to the process.
  • 12. 12© 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc.Determining the Quality of the Pipeline/Forecast• What specific actions/agreements with and by customersmust take place to go from one stage to the next?• How do you determine the likelihood of a deal closing?• How do you determine when a deal will close?Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5Customer Need Identified Explore Alternatives Validation Finalists EngagementUs Initial Contact Discovery Engagement Proposal ClosingWho?Acct Exec Acct ExecSolution EngineerAcct ExecSolution EngineerAcct ExecSolution EngineerServices RepAcct ExecSales MgmtExec MgmtActions,Activities,Events•Contact made•Preliminary research•Initial qualification•Budget confirmed•Timeframe confirmed•Need confirmed•Real buyer identified•What are they doing now?•Further research•Preliminary meetings•Further qualification•Buying criteria understood•Initial meetings•Requirements discussed•Agreement on objectives•Understand decision process•Meeting w/ Real buyer•Situation Assessment•Set sales objective and strategy•Further qualification•Changes in buying criteria?•Sales objective determined•Sales strategy devised•Competitive positioning•Demonstrations•Further meetings•Introduction of your execs•Address objections• Exec. buy-in•Solution design•Further qualification•Proposal•Reference checking•Internal approval•Address objections•Pre-test Terms•ROI completed, checked•We have beenselected•Approvals, legal, etc.•Negotiation•Procurement/purchasing•Signatures# of DealsEngaged5 deals 4 deals 3 deals 1 – 2 deals 1 – 2 dealsTime toclose6 months 5 – 3 months 3 – 2 months 1 month 0 monthsAttritionrate20% 20% 15% 15% 0
  • 13. 13© 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc.Sales Effectiveness as Competitive Advantage1. Individual Deal2. Sales Dept./Infrastructure?3. Product/Company4. Systemic: External
  • 14. 14© 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc.Are Your Salespeople “Ahead of the Sale?”• Objective• Strategy• Next steps• Contingencies/Plan Bs• Ahead of the plane– bit.ly/aheadofthesale
  • 15. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 15Nine Tough Diagnostic Questions for Critical DealsProcess QuestionsSales Planning What are the 3 next steps to advance our position in the account? How are yougoing to execute them?What are the next 3 questions you need answers to in order to take or maintainthe lead?What are 3 things that could cause you to lose the sale today, and what areyour going to do to prevent any of them from having that effect?CustomerKnowledgeWhat are our customer’s 3 most important buying criteria, where do we standversus our competition, and what are we going to do as a result of having thisinformation?What are the 3 objections each of our contacts will likely raise (or be thinking)and how are we going to manage them?What 3 things will the customer request from us next and what will our responsebe?Customer Value What are 3 key financial benefits the customer will receive as a result of ourproduct/service?Relationships With which 3 people in the account must you build relationships with so thatthey will influence a decision in our favor. What’s your plan once you identifythose people?CompetitivePlanWhat are 3 ways each of our competitors will attempt to advance their position,and what are you going to do about those?
  • 16. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 16Six Imperatives (1) - Qualification• Make sure that qualification process for sales opportunities isobjective and unemotional. At a minimum:– What will the customer buy?– Why will they buy?– When will they buy it?– How much will they pay for it?– What might keep them from buying it from us?
  • 17. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 17Six Imperatives (2) - Planning• Assure yourself that an appropriate level of planning is donefor every sales opportunity.– “Let me see your plan to win this account”• Assessment• Objective• Strategy• Tactics, actions, events, tasks, etc.
  • 18. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 18Six Imperatives (3) - WIIFTC• Be certain that everyone knows the answer to the question,WIIFTC: “What’s in it for the customer?”– Where, when, and by how much are we contributing to thecustomer achieving their business plan?– Increase revenues?– Reduce expenses?– Mitigate risk?
  • 19. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 19Six Imperatives (4) – Strategic Learning• Make learning an ongoing strategic initiative
  • 20. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 20Six Imperatives (5) - Measurement• Measure what’s important and that they are continuallyimproving– Lagging indicators:• Length of sales cycle• Discounts• Size of opportunities• Performance by rep, manager, region, product line• Competitive wins and losses– Leading indicators:• Learning outcomes: behaviors/skills• Adherence to process• Qualified and healthy pipeline
  • 21. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 21Six Imperatives (6) – Talent Management• Confirm that the company is hiring salesreps using a formalprocess—not the “old boy network.”– Will never make their number with 1/3 of salespeople unsuitedfor the job and another 1/3 not “tooled.”– By role
  • 22. © 2013 – ES Research Group, Inc. 22Summary: Sales Superiority Can Be Yours• It’s all about Process– Pragmatic– Flexible– Compliance is measurable– Outcome is predictable– Basis of coaching
  • 23. Questions?@davesteiESResearch.com/blogNotice: This presentation is copyrighted. Quotation in whole or in part must beaccompanied by attribution to:“ES Research Group, Inc. - www.ESResearch.com”