Page clearly identifies five “Ts” of transformation: Talent, Technique, Teamwork, Technology and Trust. These five elements, when fully developed and integrated into the sales and marketing organization, begin to create the habit of winning over customers in every industry. Stories of successes-and failures-from members of prominent companies help you apply the five “Ts” to your company's culture, and point the way to more effective plans for motivating employees, building and coaching winning teams, and improving hiring processes.
Then, with the use of Page's assessment scorecard, you can compare your company with some of the strategies and practices of the best sales forces in the world. Designed to gauge your organization's effectiveness and further develop breakthrough sales growth, this scorecard highlights your strengths and weaknesses, helping you bridge the gap between where you are and where you need to be.
You'll also learn about:
The “Deadly Dozen” (pains sales managers feel today) and how they can kill business
A ten-point process for identifying and hiring nothing less than “A” players
The 8 “ates” of managing strategic accounts and how they will maximize revenue and elevate relationships
How to identify and correct the six most common areas of poor individual sales performance
With Make Winning A Habit, you'll discover the obstacles between you and the consistent sales performance you can achieve-and find the tools to not only make success a habit, but one that will keep growing with your business.
We promoted our best salespeople to be managers, but the skills are different, and they get no real training.”
12. Poor Discipline, No Consistency
“We’ve tried several initiatives in sales training and CRM with moderate success, but we’ve had a hard time making anything really stick.”
SiriusDecisions, a sales effectiveness research and consulting firm, says:
It is all too common to see senior executives look at a longer sales cycle as something that can be controlled solely by changing internal behavior; for example, teaching their salespeople to sell more aggressively.
But in a world where buyers have more power than ever before, a sales cycle doesn’t elongate because a sales team forgets how to sell; it elongates because buyers have changed the way they buy, and sales and marketing together as a tandem don’t adapt.
In its “2005 Sales Benchmarking Study,” Sirius Decisions defines the top five sales challenges as:
1. Need to be more effective selling to senior-level buyers
2. Need to do a much better job at generating both leads and new business
3. Need to do a better job forecasting effectively
4. Need to improve industry knowledge
5. Need to adopt a more formal “way of selling” (sales methodology)
John DeVincentis and Neil Rackham sounded the early warning years ago in McKinsey Quarterly: “Almost everywhere, transactional sales forces have unsustainably high cost structures; consultative sales forces don’t sell deeply enough to win business; and would-be enterprise players lack the cross-functional capacity to create enough value to cover the huge costs of this approach. Most sales forces are in no-man’s-land.”
While some progress has been made, many sales forces still face the same challenges today.So What Are the Answers?
Now that we have defined the problems, what are sales managers doing to solve them and achieve consistent sales performance? While we obviously haven’t talked to every sales force, we have talked to hundreds, as well as leading consultants who have surveyed hundreds more, to identify many of the best practices in sales effectiveness.
It is helpful to think how sales executives have approached the problem in the past compared with how we must address the problem in the future.The Evolution of Sales Processes: The Last Four Decades — From Fighting Alligators to Draining the Swamp
From the industrial revolution, when professional selling was born, to the 1970s, sales training was based on price, product, and personality. The first major change came with the birth of consultative selling for discovering needs and creating preference and action with individuals.
1970s: First Generation—Training Courses
In the 1970s, sales training and methodology consisted of a large number of small vendors in a fragmented market. The sales training at that time consisted of point solutions, mainly aimed at skills—Xerox professional selling skills, presentation skills, time management, and discovery and linkage skills from individual companies.
Prior to 1970, in addition to product training, sales training consisted largely of motivational speeches and awareness in one- to two-hour bursts, which had a wide range of effectiveness but usually a short shelf life.
1980s: Second Generation—Curriculum Coordination
In the 1980s, since the market was highly fragmented, sales managers and training executives realized that they needed more than one training course—they needed an entire curriculum of training courses. This was so especially after companies moved from selling products to selling solutions. The birth of consultative selling, linking solutions to business issues, was the standard of this decade.
During that time, vendors often would be asked to meet with their competitors to build a coordinated curriculum for their clients, sometimes internally branded under the client’s label.
1990s: Third Generation—Integration
As buyers moved to companywide solutions, selling to multiple buyers on a committee required competitive and political opportunity strategy management in addition to basic skills courses of how to win individual preference.
Also in the 1990s, sales training moved to an era of tailoring and integration. Buyers wanted materials and processes customized to them and integrated into their CRM systems, training programs, and compensation plans.
Sales managers realized that if they didn’t manage the interferences from the rest of the infrastructure, they would be training salespeople to do one thing while paying them to do another—with obvious dismal results.
Inconsistent attention was still being paid to adoption and change management issues, resulting in spotty execution.
2000: The Future: Fourth Generation — Perpetual Advantage
Improved metrics and visibility into the pipeline—along with integration with sales infrastructure, better deal and performance coaching by front-line managers, and a feedback system that refreshes competitive messaging every 48 hours or less — can result in a closed-loop sales and marketing system.
Only with such a closed-loop system—one that integrates sales, service, marketing, design, and perpetual innovation — can you achieve perpetual competitive advantage.
Only then can we lengthen the average 24-month employment span of sales executives.
Some of these are new ideas; some are not. Some of these pains have been around for a long time. So then why are they still pains? You already may be aware of these best practices, but the real challenge is, “How well is your organization actually doing them?”
CHAPTER 2: Pathway to Perpetual Advantage
In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. General and President (1890–1969)
A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.George S. Patton, U.S. General (1885–1945)
If there are gaps in your sales performance in comparison with your potential, how much change do you need? Do you need better execution, continuous improvement, or a major transformation? The answer, to some degree, depends on whether you are new to the organization, how it has performed in the past, your own expectations, and those of your management.
In talking to several executives who have successfully achieved quantum leaps in sales effectiveness, we have found that they have used similar approaches to define, prioritize, and execute the changes needed in their sales organizations.
After the sale of American Management Systems (AMS), a Fairfax, Virginia-based consulting firm, to CGI, Donna Morea was named president of the newly formed U.S. subsidiary, one of our principal Peter Bourke’s accounts.
Prior to the merger, AMS and CGI had very different sales organizations. AMS was highly centralized and organized by industry—CGI was highly decentralized and organized by geography.
Donna’s approach to changing the new organization to a more sales-driven culture concentrated on three legs of a stool.“We focused on (1) how we sell, (2) who we sell to, and (3) what we sell,” she said.
The first focus area centered on the need to adopt consistent and proven sales disciplines across CGI-AMS (the how). Second, Donna pushed the organization to adopt a new approach to segmenting the market (the who), with the goal of focusing the majority of CGI-AMS’s account management and business development resources on a smaller number of strategic accounts. Finally, she worked with her leadership team to “overlay” the geographically oriented organization structure with an industry focus-enabling CGI-AMS to articulate a clear go-to-market strategy for each of its core industries (the what).
The result was less focus on pure one-off customer consulting and more focus on their core competencies and industry solutions where they already had deep expertise and a solid track record of performance. This was more profitable and lower risk. In the “how” leg of the stool, they adopted new processes for account and opportunity management. They also redefined roles and responsibilities for the sales teams to reduce the “swarming” approach used in the past.
To make this new sales culture “stick,” Morea said she had to get leadership to embrace the new vision initially on faith and ultimately through experience.
“Those were the ‘noble’ means,” she said.“The ‘less noble’ means included money. We had a fund that we set aside that included discretionary money for our most important opportunities.To get the money, they had to learn and use the process and the tools.”
“We wanted to inspire people,” Morea said.“To sell the vision, it was really important for us to find some quick wins using these principles. It’s amazing what a little bit of success can do to convince the skeptics.”
“I figured 10 to 15 percent would be early believers and sign up.Then, another 60 to 70 percent would follow a win. But there will be 10 to 20 percent who never sign on, no matter what,” she said. “The 60 percent majority is made up of good people. Once good people see that you have good tools, they will behave rationally. Good people understand that good tools will help them execute.You’re never going to get everyone.”
Performance reviews—ensuring that sales managers were reinforcing the new culture and coaching—were introduced, and an internal coach, available at large, was added. The internal coach’s job was also to monitor the forecast for sales phase changes and to make sure strategy sessions were being conducted at the right time.
The new sales culture is a success. And the company recently closed a $350 million government contract.
The first step is identifying the gaps in your performance potential and execution. On a scale of 1 to 3, rate the following pains as they apply to your organization:Sales Effectiveness Gap Analysis (1 = Not a pain; 2 = Somewhat a pain; 3 = Major pain) Sales Pain Unclear sales process, no common language 1 2 3 Missed forecastsвЂ”Happy ears, surprises 1 2 3 Qualification, chasing bad deals 1 2 3 Selling too lowвЂ”We can't sell high enough to execs 1 2 3 Lack of effective messages, no differentiation 1 2 3 CompetitionвЂ”Lost sales opportunities 1 2 3 Commoditized pricingвЂ”We need to move up value chain 1 2 3 Selling to the wrong peopleвЂ”Politics and relationships 1 2 3 Silo selling, poor team selling 1 2 3 Account selection/segmentation investment 1 2 3 Poor deal coaching 1 2 3 Poor discipline, no consistency 1 2 3 Other pains: 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 “Without Vision, the People Perish”
A vision is important, but the last thing that we suggest you do is organize a committee and spend several months thrashing out a vision statement. It shouldn't be that hard.