Doug Wendt is a co-founder and senior partner with Wendt Partners.
In the business-to-business (B2B) environment, the strength of your sales team remains of paramount importance. Equally important, however, is the nature and depth of your sales strategy. As a CEO looking to achieve greater growth in your business, the first thing you want to know is how to improve sales, through a combination of a clear strategy and a strong team.
As part of an overall Business Growth Assessment, you can receive the benefits of an efficient but carefully planned evaluation that can be performed in as little as 30-45 days, and which is focused specifically on preparing to drive new revenue growth in your business. Every assessment process is unique, just as every business is unique. However, at its core the Wendt Partners business growth methodology works because it is rooted in a series of key factors that can guide future efforts to grow sales success.
The following are five key components essential to your sales strategy, each of which helps set the foundation for new growth:
1. Lead Generation Strategy
Who is responsible for lead generation strategy in your business, and how do they do it? Have you clearly defined your Total Available Market (TAM) and then organized it into specific segments with customized lead generation strategies? What does your sales organization consider to be a properly qualified lead? What venues and processes are the leading sources of leads today, and how does that relate to changes in your marketplace? Understanding lead generation strategy and defining the process as effectively as possible results in a more efficient and effective sales effort, and has the added benefit of focusing marketing efforts in directions that are most likely to lead to sales success.
2. Sales Process Review
Is your sales process fully defined and widely established? Can your sales people consistently describe and demonstrate how a suspect becomes a prospect, how a prospect becomes a lead, and how a lead becomes an opportunity? Does the process provide a firm structure for qualifying leads and identifying potential sales objections? What methodologies (strategic selling, solution selling, baseline selling, etc.) do you use to inform your sales process strategy? Is the process mapped and tracked as a key component in sales evaluation and performance?
3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
Does your business utilize an enterprise CRM system, and if so, how was it selected and implemented? Are your team members utilizing the system, and how does it integrate with marketing automation, lead nurturing and other contact relationship development tools? Can your sales people receive automated or rules-based recommendations to drive priority leads, upgrade opportunities and move warmer or hotter leads to the forefront? How can CRM data and analytics give you actionable intelligence that will improve sales decisions?
4. Inside & Outside Sales
Do you use industry best practices for defining the roles of inside and outside sales team members, as well as their individual and shared responsibilities? Do your sales people operate independently or teams or industry-specific sales units? How do you locate, select and onboard your sales professionals? How does sales align with marketing, particularly as it relates to the lead hand-off between marketing and inside sales? Does inside sales have defined methods for nurturing and engaging leads, and using engagement to identify leads that are warming up or becoming increasingly interested and/or ready to specify or drive a buying decision? How do inside and outside sales work together to create a 360 degree view of the prospect or target account, and identify all key influencers and decision makers involved in the process?
5. Sales Training & Coaching
How are you moving your sales people forward professionally through sales training and coaching? Are they able to self-assess and benchmark their performance? What training methods and programs have you used in the past, and what results did they achieve? How do you harness the knowledge and expertise of your top-performing sales professionals and use their insights or unique methods to inform and enhance the results of other team members? What mentoring and coaching approaches would be most valuable in strengthening the ongoing performance of your team, and better prepare them to enter new markets, launch new products and otherwise increase your sales results?
Using the Right Assessment Methods
In order to evaluate these five critical components in sales strategy, we use a range of valuable and proven sales assessment methods. These include direct research and dialogue with your key staff; assessment of your buyer personas (i.e. your target audiences and their specific characteristics); review of your CRM system and related technologies, both in terms of their capabilities and actual utilization; a walkthrough of your lead management and sales processes; and industry benchmarking. Our goal is to look both inside and outside your business to create a realistic picture of what is and is not working today; what options and actions can lead to the best short-term improvements; and what pathways and strategies can drive long-term growth. In addition, every assessment includes an opening and closing strategy meeting exclusively with the CEO, and a midpoint workshop with key executive team members, focused on the strategic questions at hand.
Results You Can Expect
By taking one month to focus on sales strategy in your business, you can position your company to achieve successful and sustainable growth. The Business Growth Assessment will provide you with specific benchmarks and findings; a clear roadmap for moving forward; a summary action plan you can begin using right away; and recommendations for strategic decisions or opportunities that can guide your overall growth.
Results clients see include faster sales cycles as a result of matching specific sales steps to buyer behavior; higher close rates through better lead qualifying; identifying new opportunities previously ignored in the pipeline; more accurate forecasting through better data; and more consistent sales performance across the team, which can also lead to lower sales department turnover and better customer relationships, that can be leveraged more, for future revenue. In addition, they are prepared to examine other focus areas essential to B2B business growth, including marketing, business strategy and leadership.
Next Steps and How to Begin
If you're ready to achieve greater sales goals for your business and see lasting revenue growth to come, contact us and take the next 30 days and learn how to reach those objectives through the Wendt Partners Business Growth Assessment.
Want to learn more about how sales and marketing integration can lead to better results for your business? Download the guide below and educate yourself on key methods and strategies that can drive your sales efforts forward.
Image Credit: repgmiller @ Flickr (Creative Commons)