Adopt These Steps to Get Better, More Predictable Results in Sales
It’s cliche at this point, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less true: if you’re not growing, you’re dying. The aphorism extends well past personal growth and into the professional realm as well—everyone wants to grow, evolve, and expand to ensure a healthy, thriving business.
In order to drive organic growth, however, you need to be able to confidently make decisions that will steer the business in the right direction. To do so requires some level of foresight to help you minimize risks and challenges. But foresight is impossible without the ability to predict what your growth will look like in the next quarter, let alone the next year.
A common frustration we’ve heard from sales leaders is their inability to trust the opportunity pipeline in their CRM to drive wins and results… that’s if they have any visibility into what opportunities their sales teams are working on to begin with.
Never fear: there is a solution. Here are three things you can do to ensure drive your sales performance in a way that’s predictable and quantifiable:
1. Clearly define your growth strategy.
Push beyond 'out of the box' sales growth methods, and decouple your vision of the future from your current state of affairs. Instead, think about your company’s specific situation, objectives, strengths and competitive advantages. Define your growth strategy by being deliberate about where and how you’re going to grow the business. Consider:
What mix of markets and customers do you want to have in five years?
Who do you want your biggest customers to be?
Are you looking to expand into new markets?
Are you looking to attract new customers in your existing markets?
Are you looking to claim a greater share of your existing customers’ wallets?
Once you know what strategic growth looks like for you, it’s time to get into the work of planning your portfolio—that is, mapping your current state to your future-state growth requirements. Figure out how your current markets, your current customers, or your customers’ customers map against where you’re aiming to get your future growth from. Think about your target customers in terms of impact:
Are they in a market that’s expected to continue growing?
How well does your offering align with their needs?
How much can you expect from them in terms of sales volume, value and frequency?
This mapping will typically unearth a number of gaps. You might find that you’re not able to achieve your growth objectives with the customers you’ve identified, or with your current offerings. In that case, your strategy will need to shift if you want to hit your targets. This was the case for a client of Mensana’s in the countertop market, who had to pivot their sales approach in order to achieve growth in their strategic markets; instead of targeting fabricators, they moved towards targeting influencers, who then drive sales through the fabricators.
Your largest customers today might not be where you get the most strategic growth from. That doesn’t mean you don’t continue to work with them; it simply means there will be a change in how your sales reps approach such customers and how much time is spent managing them.
Your reps should be focusing the most effort on the opportunities that will net the greatest growth. You’ll need to understand the customer journey for these targets.
What are their needs?
What do they expect from their suppliers?
With this knowledge, you can then build a customer experience that will win them over.
2. Align your sales process to your growth strategy.
This sounds like a very simple, very obvious thing to do, but we frequently work with organizations whose sales process lives entirely in the hands of their individual reps. They aren’t always necessarily on the same page, either: some of your reps may be seasoned veterans who have spent decades cultivating a specific methodology and set of leads, whereas others may be greenhorns armed with plenty of textbook learning and digital expertise but little real field experience. The outcome? An informal, inconsistent selling method with unpredictable results.
This is a matter of comfort zones. Salespeople have often developed a specific way of doing things that have worked for them in the past, or that they are most comfortable with. Those methods, however, don’t always align with the strategy, and they aren’t necessarily the most effective way of doing things, either.
Taking the time to develop a sales process that’s aligned to your growth strategy will give your reps structure and consistency. You’ll be able to create training to level up your team and teach them the skills, behaviors, and core competencies you want them to exhibit.
You may even want to consider building out subspecialties that will allow your team members to leverage their individual strengths while still ensuring they’re working in a disciplined way within a defined framework.
Collaboration is key for this process: you’ll need to engage not only with your sales teams, but also with your marketing, technical, and product teams to define the processes that will make your organization successful in the market. Creating a common understanding of the sales process across the whole organization will help bring everyone on the same page and ensure its success.
3. Choose a CRM and system tools that work for you
Measurability is an important piece of growth, because you can’t assess what you can’t measure. It’s important to really take the time to map out what information will paint the clearest picture of your performance.
What trends do you need to keep in mind to help steer your overarching strategy?
What metrics and KPIs do you need to track to ensure you’re moving in the right direction and staying aligned with your strategy?
A CRM platform is a core tool to help manage all this data. With so many options available in the digital world, it’s important to ensure your CRM and system tools are fully aligned to your unique situation. Your technology should support your organic growth strategy and activate your unique sales process end-to-end, from planning to execution to closure.
Here’s a secret: it doesn’t really matter what CRM you choose, as long as it’s tailored to your specific needs and helps you measure, manage and reinforce your unique process.
You don’t have to pick the most expensive solution, either. Rather, your CRM should be a tool that helps you keep sales reps organized, facilitates planning and performance tracking, centralizes data sharing, creates visibility into what’s being done to execute the sales strategy and provides insights into how your business is performing even before you see any financials—all of which will contribute to healthy, continued sales growth.
The bottom line
If your growth strategy, your sales process, your sales behaviors and your systems and tools are all in alignment, you will move in the right direction. Should these fall out of sync, any progress will be slow and painful.
Interested in taking control of your organization’s sales playbook and evolving from an ad hoc sales process into a professional, commercialized selling organization? Mensana can help. Drop us a line via email and let’s chat about how we can help your growth and performance reach new heights