Kick Your Sales Into Gear: 5 Foolproof Steps [#2 Who’s Leading the Charge]
Michael Gear, GoodData’s Vice President of Sales & Field Ops, brings to you a five part blog series entitled, Kick Your Sales Into Gear: 5 Foolproof Steps. Over the next two weeks Michael will share with his wisdom and experience for improving both the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales organization.
#2 Who’s Leading the Charge
Not General Custer we hope. What we really mean is which sales reps are winning the most deals, and who is carrying the largest “best case” pipeline? What actions are those sales reps taking that are winning deals? If you want to run the most effective sales organization possible, you need to know these things. Along with thoroughly understanding the top opportunities, top products and top regions.
Your sales pros need to win, and not just win once. They need to win at every stage of the potential customer’s buying process, and earn their business on the right terms and in the right timeframe. That’s sales force effectiveness, a very useful metric to measure success.
Improving sales effectiveness means understanding what’s working and not working. It also means continuous improvement of the knowledge, messages and strategies that your sales reps apply to sales opportunities. As a manager, you can make changes to improve future sales after analyzing sales reps’ performance.
A big part of that analysis is asking “What activities are driving sales, and are those activities “high value?” Compare the average number of activities associated with opportunities. Compare those activities to opportunities that were won during the quarter. Focus on sales reps with high-value activities, and assess the impact of those activities on closing deals.
Whew, this is getting a little heavy. Activities, high value, assess, compare. Let’s simplify it a little. You must identify the sales reps who make activities pay off. What are they doing that other reps aren’t doing? Are they using specific activities for certian opportunities? Which reps are super-active, setting a furious pace of winning deals?
You also need to accept the fact that maybe effectiveness is not rep-specific. It could simply be trending- you know, the trend is your friend, until it’s not. Maybe it’s a specific day of the week where activities have a magical effect on potential customers. That’s why you see spikes of activities on those days.
Another critical factor to success is the average pace and duration of won deals. Which deals are off pace and getting “stuck.” Examine closely the various stages of sales. Usually, sales movement is broken up into five or six stages. How long is it taking a deal to reach a stage? Any opportunities that are more than 50 percent off pace should be called out and looked into quickly.
What are the stage durations for winning opportunities? How long does a winning deal spend in a specific stage? Opportunities in a stage more than 50 percent of the winning duration should be called out and investigated.
“Effectiveness” is certainly an over-used word, and I wish we could pull up a synonym finder and replace it with something a little more tangible. You know, a word we could really wrap our arms around. But this is the sales business, and effectiveness means increasing revenues, upping win rates, making forecasts more accurate and improving the talent of our sales team. Certainly nothing to sniff at. Not if you want your company in the winner’s circle.
How ’bout it? What is “effective” for your sales organization?