Face it. Most of the sales methodologies from the 80’s are tired. They do not address what growth companies need today. Growth companies need to shift from using a sales methodology to using a revenue methodology.
Many management experts remind us to find the most important element to manage and stay focused on it! What is that “one thing” for increasing revenue?
I would argue that most important factor is the difference in the amount of revenue produced by the top sales person compared to the average salesperson during the first years of a product’s introduction.
Frequently for new differentiated products the “top 10 percent” salespeople will sell more than 2x or 3x the amount that the average salesperson sells. The early sales are critical for gaining market share for new products while the differentiation is high. Over time, as the market and the other salespeople learn more about the product and the customer value delivered, the size of the revenue gap will decrease…but by then the competitors will have started to catch up also and the differentiating advantage decreases.
What does the average salesperson learn after the introduction and a couple of sales cycles that enables them to increase the amount of revenue produced, approaching closer to the sales levels of the top salespeople? If the firm provided that information earlier, would the average salesperson be able to produce higher sales levels earlier? The answer is yes!
Firms really can’t get much more revenue out of the “top 10%” salespeople, and trying to save the “bottom 10%” is a waste of time. But we can provide the information needed by the average salesperson to impact their revenue production by almost 2X.
Improving the quality and completeness of sales messages delivers hard ROI. Here are three reasons you should review the content your sales teams are using and take a diagnostic approach to assess the effectiveness of your sales messaging:
Three Reasons to Audit Your Sales Messaging:
1) Reduce the time required for achieving channel effectiveness:
- Channel effectiveness occurs when the average salesperson can cost effectively close the sale. Eventually the sales channels [and customers] will learn the value of the differential being offered, but while the market is still learning these values, the effectiveness of the sales channels is reduced. It is difficult to close the sale when the customer doesn’t know the value of the differential being offered, and the sales channels has not been provided with the values, calibration, and evidence needed to convince them.
2) Increase sales capacity
- Sales capacity is the number of salespeople [or outlets] that are effectively selling your products and solutions. Retail uses a term “self ware” to refer to products that are sitting on the shelf but aren’t being bought. Having salespeople that are expected to sell the product but can’t/don’t is the channel equivalent of shelfware. Frequently this occurs when the skill required to sell the product exceeds the skill available in the channel. So the top 10% of the salespeople can sell the product, but the average salesperson can’t. Poor quality sales messaging is frequently the cause of product shelfware.
3) Reduces the cost of sales
- Improved messaging increases the close rate and reduces the number of sales calls required to do so because the customer value being offered is clear and with evidence.
Use a diagnostic process for more consistent implementation
- Review the “top 10” sales messaging deficiencies to see if the issues are identified.
- Check the material being sent to sales people – before it is sent!
- Use a checklist to ensure the quality and completeness of the information being provided.
Make certain your content and messaging is sufficient for the average salesperson to cost effectively close the sale. Would you like a copy of the checklist? Check out the 9 Sales Enablement Content Imperatives.
This is a guest post by Bud Hyler – a member of the Revenue Architects’ expert network.
Generating revenue and winning customers requires a balance of good content and confident sales. Design your sales enablement content around what your medium-skilled salespeople need.
Your top salespeople have sufficient confidence and sales skill that they don’t need a lot of content to be successful in their sales efforts. However an average salesperson with less confidence and less sales skill will require much more content. Top sales people usually need less content because they are able to develop a greater level of customer relationship and trust.
One of the responsibilities of sales management is to specify the content requirements that sufficiently augments the sales skills of the average salesperson so that revenue is successfully generated.
We have written and published a number of articles about BANT and other methods of qualification. This is a guest post from Bud Hyler with insights on taking lead qualification to another level.
Extend the lead qualification process beyond BANT to include qualification based on the prospects probable valuation of your specific product’s advantages. BANT only qualifies the prospect to the level of probability of buying a product in the same product category as the firm’s product using the qualification criteria of:
- Are the decision maker?
- When do you intend to buy?
- Do you have budget?
That is the expectation of purchase for any product in the category, not the expectation of purchasing your product with your differentiating capabilities.
The buy-sell process for B2B high consideration products and services is complex and highly collaborative involving team selling to committee buying. Virtual workspaces like Smart Rooms from Journey Sales facilitate this process by helping account teams share, collaborate and communicate with buying teams throughout dynamic sales and onboarding lifecycles.
Journey Sales built Smart Rooms natively on Salesforce® as digital workspaces that allow sales teams and service teams to quickly create personalized, guided digital experiences with their account buyers and track engagement along the way.
To optimize B2B sales, we often design funnels to drive out metrics and codify sales processes. Linear funnels for B2B are particularly relevant when purchasing is transactional or follows a highly predictable process. Yet, for complex B2B and high consideration sales, customers are interacting with a range of 3rd party research, journals and publications, as well as your competitor’s funnel. This is why we need a non-linear more collaborative approach to selling and engaging the client – one that allows us to build our value propositions responsively and engage customer teams over time. For these more complex sales and dynamic environments, a Smart Room is a great fit.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the American Marketing Association Boston event Actionable Marketing Metrics: Tools and Methodologies on Tuesday, 24 January, 2017.
The two guest speakers, Thor Johnson, CEO of Bedrock Data, and Kristen Hambelton, CMO of ServiceChannel, gave outstanding presentations. They raised interesting points on how businesses should approach defining metrics in both marketing and sales.
Here are a few main takeaways that are particularly pertinent to B2B businesses (though, of course, they do apply to B2C companies as well):
There is a continuum of different B2B business models – from luminary consultants to commodity products – and each model needs to have a distinct structure for marketing and sales. Before we assess sales team readiness, we begin by ensuring that the right revenue architecture (the product and process of marketing and sales) is in place and aligned with the target business architecture.
For businesses with a complex, solution sale or consulting sale, there are sales effectiveness attributes that we look for. Below, we’ve outlined competencies, activities, and attributes for good selling. Sales executives, client managers and account reps that sell complex products, business solutions or consultative services should possess the following:
Designing and launching a B2B sales campaign is a continuous activity for B2B sales and marketing teams. To illustrate this, we developed a Closed-Loop Marketing Architecture that describes the continuous campaign process. Data insights help determine the new customer messaging and personalized interactions resulting in better sales conversions. The process tightly aligns marketing and sales teams to orchestrate buyer engagement at each stage and maximize lead conversions and ultimately revenue impact. Data and insights from past campaigns drive new segmentation and new messaging, spawning new campaigns.
A campaign involves the design, launch and optimization of experiences across multiple channels. It will engage customers and prospects at each stage of the buying lifecycle. So what are the elements in an effective B2B campaign design? These 10 questions can help cover the bases for your next B2B sales campaign.
A Revenue Architecture defines the building blocks for Revenue growth. You can think of the Revenue Architecture as a Sales and Marketing Operating Model. It is critical that the revenue architecture is designed and deployed to directly align with the business strategy and business model.
Business Models Change Along A Continuum
In pursuit of greater margins (by moving to higher value products and services) or greater scale (by moving toward a more standardized products and bigger markets) a businesses will adjust strategy and business models. The diagram below depicts a simple set of axis that firms generally move along in their go-to-market approach.
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