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.
Using a single vendor allows a completely integrated strategy and training approach. Whatever the priority, though, both skills and strategy are needed to identify the key decision makers and win their hearts.
7. People and Process First — Then Automate
Why is technology so low on the list of priorities? Because if you take a bad process — combined with weak people — and automate it, you will just accelerate mistakes and frustration.
Joe Galvin, of Gartner, Inc., states: “Sales culture dictates to a large degree technology adoption and that technology alone will not change behavior… Sales productivity will be improved by sales technologies only when it is deployed into a sales culture of leveraging its potential.”
The graveyard of failed sales force automation initiatives has taught us that refining your processes first—selling the right messages through the right people—should precede any sales force automation effort.
8. New Metrics and Feedback for Perpetual Advantage
A transformation demands sustainable change. Too many initiatives wane after the first few months. Sales messages quickly lose effectiveness due to competitive responses. It shouldn’t take a year to find out whether or not a salesperson can cut it, and by the time a deal hits the forecast, it is usually out of control.
Permanent process change to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition requires faster feedback and newer metrics than ever before.
Since not all sales improvement efforts are alike, setting your priorities depends on where your sales force is and where it needs to be. Based on the successful transformations we have observed, we have built an assessment tool to help you compare your organization with the best practices of top sales forces.
CHAPTER 3: Defining the Scorecard
Quality is not an act. It is a habit.Aristotle
Once you agree that your sales force is in need of improvement, where do you start? How do you assess your sales organization in addition to just revenue? How do you identify your weaknesses?
The principals of our firm, all successful sales executives themselves, have worked with more than 250 leading sales organizations worldwide. Together, we have identified five universal areas of sales effectiveness — Talent, Technique, Teamwork, Technology, and Trust — and how they differ at each of the four levels of sales strategy: Individual, Opportunity Management, Account Management, and Industry/Marketplace. In Chapter 9 we discuss essential elements of achieving and maintaining Transformation for permanent change.
Although most sales organizations execute best practices in some areas, rarely do they achieve best practices in all areas. And certainly, these are not all the best practices in selling, but they should be enough to get you ahead of your competition and closer to your true potential as a sales force.
The result is a scorecard that we have developed to provide sales managers with a gap analysis of their organization. Through this scorecard, we’ll show you how you compare with some of the best sales forces in the world.Introduction to Sales Effectiveness Best Practices: The Five T’s of Transformation
Here we will briefly introduce the criteria. In later chapters we will go into much more depth.
The first step in sales effectiveness is finding the right people. Selling in a complex sale requires a unique combination of sales competencies. Most of the sales managers we talk to say that fewer than 20 percent of their salespeople can consistently manage a complex sale independently.
Most people interview based on two things: performance and personality. But there isn’t a salesperson out there who can’t craft a good résumé and sell a one-hour interview. So what do you look for? Every interview is a selling event. Without a good hiring profile, which has been written and tested, how will you know what a good salesperson looks like when he or she walks in the door? Most people who think they have a good mental picture of what they are looking for would be stunned by their inconsistencies if they actually wrote them down.
There are hundreds of companies that teach sales skills — presentation skills, objection handling, closing, etc. But the one skill many salespeople lack is the ability to effectively connect their solutions to the prospect’s business problems.
In addition to a greater understanding of the client’s pain, refinements and techniques continue to advance in the areas of controlling politics, competition, and the decisionmaking process.
Innovations also have occurred in both deal coaching and overall performance coaching, as well as in the area of forecasting.
The salesperson’s contacts and calendar are a starting point, but they are not enough to manage an opportunity. To lead in a complex selling environment, you have to be able to communicate the plan to the rest of the team. You have to have a stakeholder analysis that identifies who is involved, what role they play, what their pains are, and how much power they have. It’s not enough for salespeople to keep it in their heads anymore.
Also, the relationship between manager and salesperson needs to move from inspector and loner to one of coach and strategist. In the rare accounts where partnering is a possibility, the team also can include the client.
Everyone on your sales team who touches the account needs to know what’s going on, what the strategy is, and must collaborate on execution and refinement of the plan.
Unfortunately, most client relationship management (CRM) applications haven’t lived up to their promise—especially in the area of direct business-to-business (B2B) sales force effectiveness. And, if implemented badly, CRM technology actually can build a barrier between you and your best clients.
The first CRM applications for direct sales were contact managers, designed to capture the salesperson’s “little black book” (today, it’s their personal Outlook file) in case they left the company. In the complex sale, however, there is more to it than just contact information. The real valuable corporate asset isn’t names and addresses — it’s the customer relationships.
Nevertheless, information is an essential tool to create a better customer experience in the hands of the right talent, using the right process, with that objective in mind.
Everyone talks about “relationships,” when what they really mean is trust. You have to build trust in your company, your people, and the quality of your solutions so that you can win repeat business with less effort and lower cost. This is the currency of account management.
What people really want is someone who knows their business. Tell them something about their company they don’t know — don’t just read information off a screen. You have to show the connection between your solutions and their issues and then sell up the chain of value. This is where salespeople themselves contribute their greatest value.
Partner is the most abused word in selling today. Buyers want more than lunch and a human brochure. They don’t really need professional friends. What they want are people they can trust to solve their business problems. This means that salespeople need to know as much or more about their customers as they do about their own products.Four Levels of Sales Strategy
Sales strategy should fall out of marketing strategy (I think I heard this in business school), but it rarely happens to any great degree. Which accounts you invest in should be a part of your industry and marketing strategy. And an opportunity needs to be worked in light of what is going on in the rest of the account. How much time we spend with individuals should be a function of their role in the opportunity decision and their power in their organization.
The result, unless you are in a small account, should be an integrated four-level strategy that focuses every resource on your sales team and the client organization for maximum leverage. Unfortunately, though, it usually doesn’t happen this way.
As we move from selling to individuals to selling to departments that have a more complex decision-making process, each of the four levels of selling strategy requires different talents, techniques, technologies, teamwork, and messaging. The outcome is a unique strategy for that account, in that industry, that leads to the final outcome — trust.
A brief definition of the four levels will help us to define one dimension of the scorecard, which we will then explore in greater depth in following chapters as we move through the Five T’s of Transformation.
Not every industry buys the same benefits or makes decisions in the same way. Focusing on specific industries allows you to become more consultative in your sales approach and to differentiate yourself with focused benefits, differentiators, messages, and solutions. This approach yields not only competitive advantage but also less “commoditization” at negotiating time.
Smaller companies often focus on a single industry. And the added cost and travel of a vertical approach to multiple industries necessitates economies of scale. Some companies approach this by teaming industry experts with competitive salespeople. In rare instances, extensive relationships and industry expertise can be combined in one individual — the industry networked consultant, the highest level of competency in selling.
Few companies can afford to dedicate entire teams to all accounts in an industry. Choosing which ones to invest in requires purposeful segmentation and the clear setting of objectives in order to achieve incremental returns. Without a clear account plan, salespeople will wander the halls, building “goodwill” that never translates into additional revenue.
For some industries, such as capital equipment or consulting, opportunities are discrete buying events or evaluations. In others, they are opportunities to expand a flow of products through a channel, such as consumer packaged goods through a retail chain.
In either case, opportunities need to be inventoried and evaluated in light of all activities in the account and in the pipeline in order to combine our efforts and leverage our relationships.
In larger organizations, “companies” themselves don’t relationships. Individual-Level Strategies In larger organizations, “companies” themselves don’t buy anything. Committees made up of individuals usually make decisions in a complex sale. People make up their minds first individually, and then they politically rationalize them or compromise them in the committee based on the decision-making algorithm.