At the dinner table, you tend to get immediate feedback when the recipe of the dish being served is not quite perfected.
In the business world, where the steaks….er….stakes are higher, it is no less important to have a plan which appropriately combines the ingredients for world-class success.
On this notion, achieving predictable revenue growth requires, among its ingredients, a well-balanced sales process, and the complementary flavor profile of marketing.
One mistake many companies make is defining a sales process independently of marketing, as if they were two different workstreams. They are not. Predictable revenue growth requires a tight interlock between sales and marketing, enforced by service level agreements (SLAs) and perfected through ongoing tuning and adjustment.
The other two common mistakes are not having a sales methodology and the requisite tools to ensure a repeatable process. The operative word here is “repeatable.” A repeatable process reduces errors and increases efficiency. This increased efficiency allows sales professionals to focus on high-value activities, such as building relationships with potential customers, ultimately leading to faster sales growth.
Let’s dive in deeper and take a closer look at these three topics.
Marketing and sales misalignment is more common than you might think – in fact, nearly nine in 10 sales and marketing professionals cite a disconnect across strategy, process, content and culture. And of those, 60 percent agree that this misalignment between sales and marketing damages financial performance.
This can be particularly messy when the hard questions start coming: How many leads does marketing have to deliver this year to make our number? How many leads must sales source on their own? What are the attributes of a marketing qualified lead (MQL)? What percentage of MQLs become SQLs? What is the service level agreement (SLA) between sales and marketing for lead follow-up? Do marketing and sales meet weekly to review funnel metrics and lead progression? The answer to these questions (and more) will indicate the degree of alignment between the two teams.
There are dozens of sales methodologies to choose from. In general, it’s less important which methodology a company selects as long as one is in place and used consistently. A sales methodology allows businesses to scale their sales efforts, allowing new salespeople to contribute more quickly. But a well-defined sales methodology should also provide a consistent approach to selling. This ensures that all salespeople follow the same process, use the same language, and adhere to the same standards. This consistency reduces confusion and errors within the sales team. Finally, a sales methodology provides a framework for analyzing and improving the sales process. By collecting data on each stage of the sales process, businesses can identify areas for improvement and adjust their approach. This ongoing feedback loop ensures that the sales team is always improving and adapting to changing market conditions.
Chapter 3 of this series, covering “Platforms,” takes an authoritative journey through the sales technology stack. Here, we will focus on the equally important “sales enablement” tools. High on our list are the following:
The best scripts are geared toward gathering information through intelligent, open-probe questions that quickly identify and quantify pain or pleasure. Scripts are not meant to be read verbatim. Instead, they provide the scaffolding for an intelligent conversation that results in a decision to either move forward or move on.
How can you distinguish your proposal from the rest? Perhaps you can do it based on a strong ROI…one that meets or ideally exceeds your customer's hurdle rate. If you have a good job in the development and qualification stage, you probably have most of the inputs to calculate an ROI. Work with your finance team and create a standardized ROI calculator for your product and service. Then during your discussions, weave in the ROI inputs. “How many customers are churning each year? What’s the cost of acquiring a new customer? What’s their lifetime value?” Before you know it, you have most of the inputs to calculate an ROI. And don’t be shy about sharing your ROI calculation with your prospect. They will help you with your assumptions to ensure their project is funded.
Hang in there with us – we’re almost to the conclusion of our blog series. In our last blog, we’ll look at how to wield KPIs like a magic wand to gain the ultimate concord among your sales factions.
We’ve developed The Chief Outsiders Sales Readiness Assessment – a guided process designed to walk CEOs through a detailed understanding of the issues at hand and provide a framework to help set the business on the proper path forward. Email John Blessing to request a link to the assessment.
In case you missed the first three blogs in the series: