Sustainable sales performance model
Sales may be too complex when delved into and has a shaky base where current paradigms are concerned. Today’s applicable approaches may be obsolete tomorrow. These complexity and temporality necessitate a simple framework for sales success that can withstand enormous pressures from changing markets.
Accumulating all the practice and experience coming from working on several consultancy studies on sales performance we come up with a conceptual framework based on some recognized sales terms. Form the base to the roof this ideal sales temple have 3 distinctive levels of all which should be in full conformity with corporate strategy on top.
There is no peculiar action that can correct a badly constituted sales strategy. So the base layer should be perfectly formed. Sales strategy should stem from the corporate strategy, threat of competition and coherently be enabling the right customer segment and right product fit, an appropriate sales organization structure to work the well-built, non-friction sales channels. The steps in sales strategy should be coherent and integral with the prior step and scrutinized to work the function flawlessly which it will trigger.
Here are some of the most made mistakes on sales strategy: Working on without considering the competition, addressing every possible customer (trying to be everything for every one), failing to differentiate products due to different customer segments, losing valuable energy by friction of sales channels or not managing them, mending or patching sales organization by taking unique tempting decisions, etc.
After formulating an integral sales strategy answering which customers to serve with what products by which channels to reach the targeted customers and what kind of an organization can empower all these, on the second level first pillar is to construct sales process management. Sales process which is basically the steps and actions for a sale constitutes the base for sales management and make it better. Sales process is a flexible structure where it leads sales people the way to close the sale with obligatory and optional steps that can be taken. When the lead proceeds in the sales funnel it reminds to sales people which actions, information or decisions can be taken. They are predictable, solid paths to success. Without a sound sales process no sales management is possible.
After defining the steps and ways for what to do you need to define how to do it. This is where sales playbook comes to play. Sales playbook which is the sum of common wisdom that comprises of the best practices, information and methods for a novice sales person to be a sales superstar. If prepared properly this is a monumental and indispensable leverage in sales success.
Then comes efficiency part. Sales effort is not endless energy. Sales effectiveness is choosing the right things to do whereas sales effectiveness is executing with less resources in shorter time. Sales efficiency mostly comes from sales strategy focusing sales team on the right goals. Sales effectiveness is all about the knowledge and practice of accomplishing a lot. Sales efficiency is the key for sustainability and should be regarded as one of the key factor in sales management’s decision making. Question is simple: “me or my team is doing the right thing at the moment? What is the opportunity cost of choosing this task to do?” Accomplishing more with less sales time is the name of the game. You can verify sales effectiveness of your sales strategy by monitoring special effectiveness KPI’s such as sales per sales person, sales cycle times, conversion rates and etc. You can not trade off sales efficiency and effectiveness for the sake of sole revenue increase. There is a high degree of correlation between them.
Sales success path is considered highly personal and mystical to some extent, sales competencies are very tangible and predictable sources in evaluating and training of sales people. They are like finger prints changing in every sales types, industry or company. If correctly defined and updated according to market dynamics they are very powerful in performance assessments, recruitment decisions, promotions and the most important of all training and development. You can train and develop competencies not sales people by themselves.
On the upper level there lays the constant review of results and methods by common sales wisdom in a systematic working environment. Systematic working is the continuity of the actions which are written, very well defined, measurable, auditable, updated. Otherwise no sustainable success can be attained as a team. In a systematic sales operation whole sales team headed by sales manager should review, evaluate the plan, actual execution and results, align and correct any part accordingly.
In this frantic change of technology, competition, customer expectations, this model will give you a logic sequence working your way bottom to up. Our field experience proved us any action will be useless or just a patch if it is not part of a integral, coherent model. If executed properly you can have high chance of reaching a sustainable sales success.