Markets and customer expectations have changed overnight. You can plan to execute a sales transformation the right way or you should plan to fail. These are the 7 Steps you can't skip:
What does it take to truly transform your sales organization? Do you even need to transform, or simply tweak? What levers can you pull to ensure and even accelerate success? These are several of the key questions that Michael Perla and I set out to answer with a two-year research project that culminates with the publishing of our book, the 7 Steps to Sales Force Transformation, to be published by Palgrave Macmillan on January 5th, 2016.
Like many business projects, sales effectiveness projects are often focused on the big 3 – Increasing revenue, cutting costs and/or reducing risks. When we talk to sales leaders, the primary stated business objectives of sales transformation projects usually tie back to increasing revenue – capturing new accounts, improving up-sell and cross-sell, increasing renewal rates, increasing revenue per seller productivity.
Recently, I had the privilege of dining at Per Se in NYC for the first time. What an incredible experience. Much has been written about Thomas Keller and his exceptional restaurants (French Laundry in Napa, Per Se in NYC, Bouchon bakeries, etc.) and their impact on fine dining globally, both through the chefs who have worked for him and through his cookbooks – although I can barely spell sous vide, not to mention know how to operate a machine effectively.
About 12 years ago I consulted with a Vice President of Sales who worked for a large Fortune 50 financial services firm. He was having, like many VP’s of Sales, an issue with his pipeline yielding enough so he could hit his number. If you know anything about business-to-business (B2B) sales, you know that the sales pipeline is constantly scrutinized to ensure a seller has enough pipeline opportunities to hit quota or goal.
In general, most companies assume sellers will win one-quarter to one-third (a win ratio) of their pipeline value, all things being equal. Thus, in a lot of cases, the pipeline value needs to be 3 or 4 times the quota.
As you take sales cycle time into the equation – for example, it takes 90 days to close an average deal –the pipeline math can be a bit more complicated.
CSO Insights has been conducting research on sales for almost 15 years. In one of their surveys to over 1,000 sales leaders, they ask about the percentage of forecasted deals that actually close. At first blush, you would think this would be a fairly high number.
A great article in the WSJ (“Drug Firms Divert Pitch to Hospitals”) outlines how pharmaceutical sales reps are increasingly calling on hospital administrators as opposed to Doctors. The following graphic nicely summarizes this trend:
Today, I read an article whose headline suggested it would tell me why some movie lines are more quotable than others. I thought I could learn something useful that might apply to my world. I could uncover the formula that would transform sales presentations from dull and boring to memorable and quotable… the possibilities! Unfortunately, the author’s conclusion was that no one really knows why some lines are more quotable than others. Wow – that was anticlimactic. So, I started Googling…
Is your sales organization struggling? Here are 6 changes you can make to lift performance.
Michael Perla and I have been researching sales transformations for an upcoming book – what works, what doesn’t, lessons learned, surprises – based on our firm’s consulting experience and through primary research (surveys and interviews) of more than 100 leading sales organizations. One of our observations so far is that there are several “levers” that can really amplify your ability to drive a sustainable change in your sales organization.