Less than half of the sales reps meets their target quota. A third of them not even 40% of their quota. These alarming figures come from the research report: Global Chief Sales Officer Study 2018 from Sirius Decisions. The results are based on interviews with sales directors of 250 companies from different sectors, from medium sized enterprises to multinationals.
In the competitive market today, companies with a personalized sales approach have to be able to sell valuable products for a decent price, but also have to create an efficient experience for the buyer. To convert sales experience in a competitive advantage and to attain the target quota in 90% of time, more focus on the sales strategy is needed.
For not 50%, but 90% of your sales to reach their quota, sales needs a clear structure. To start: Every sales manager needs to create a clear organization structure, properly defined territories, have a clear repartition of tasks and provide sufficient support.
That structured approach is also applicable for the content assets for sales. Those sales support resources should be mapped onto the buying cycle for each customer segment, specific clients, each sector,… So that every market is completely covered.
More buyer journey
Is your sales strategy completely focused on how your clients prefer to buy? Is your approach in line with the buying cycle of different type of customers? What is the willingness to buy of your customer and do your sales reps take the right steps at the right time? Or as we prefer: Where is your prospect on the Buying Clock? This approach offers nothing but advantages: your sales reps increase their probability of attaining quota, your margins go up, the buying experience of your customer improves and you are able to make more accurate revenue predictions.
Only by focusing the entire sales process onto the buying cycle, is the sales team able to guide a prospect trough the decision making process efficiently. This leads to much faster results than when you force the buyer to take certain steps that are part of a classic sales scenario. Above solution is the best way to fight the increased sales cycle length as reported by 64% of the participating companies.
More internal cooperation
In most cases sales managers can count on other departments to generate leads. How can you ensure that everyone keeps contributing to lead generation? How can you structure those different efforts in a coherent strategy?
This can be enabled by aligning sales, pre-sales, inside sales, marketing communication, product development and other departments. The best result is attained by focusing everyone on the customer and his buying cycle, this creates a much better internal alignment. This approach has to be anchored in your company culture, individual behavior, your processes and systems, but it all starts with the customer. Companies where everyone is cooperating on the basis of the customer and customer needs, grow 19% faster in revenue and reach 15% higher efficiency in comparison to the others. Clear rules on who follows up the leads in the funnel are an important part of the strategy.
Often the opposite is true and different departments hunt for other potential buyers with different products and messaging, which drives the sales productivity below average. You can create better harmony by aligning on the target markets, customer grouping and type of buyers.
More business insight
It is crucial to have talented sales reps in your team. So spend enough time and budget in your sales team, not only to attract new talent, and on-board newcomers, but also to keep your best sales reps.
Sales reps need continuous training for the specific needs of each customer. Almost three quarter of sales managers reports that their sales reps lack the ability to connect solutions to business issues. So it is important that your reps have the ability to convert product knowledge into buyer context. Read more on our blog on Measuring and maximizing the impact of sales training.
Our wish list is almost ready. Also important in including in your sales strategy is automation, which saves time for your reps and increases their productivity. Did you know that sales on average only spends 27% of its time with real sales activities with customers and prospects? So it is useful to find out where sales is losing time. Often these are administrative tasks, planning, keeping systems up to date,… Most of these tasks can be relatively easily eliminated with the right apps and automation.
30% of sales reps achieve only 40% of target. Sales organisations traditionally used 2 strategies to tackle productivity issues: either hire new people, or organise more sales training and coaching. A recent study conducted by SiriusDecisions, shows that the digital era requires a different approach. In a competitive market, we need other solutions to sell more with the same or lower cost.
We can help with a tailored improvement project. But mostly by anchoring the changes to have a lasting impact.
Not sure where to begin? You can start by doing this benchmark scan.
How much do your sales convey these three sets of messages?
And to what extent can they discuss them with the customer at the right time?
Compare your sales performance and customer orientation with best in class companies.