Defining Leads for Marketing & Sales
Managing The Pipeline (All)
Digital Deal Rooms - Top Uses
The New B2B Sales Game
Your Story is Your Strategy
The New B2B Sales Game
Prospecting with Video
The New B2B Sales Game
Selling for "Non-Salespeople"
The New B2B Sales Game
How Sales Coaching is Meant to Work
Managing The Pipeline (All)
Getting Your Sales Pitch to Echo
Opportunity Creation (All)
Reviving Stalled Deals [Part 1]
Opportunity Capture (All)
Think "Warm Up" Versus "Call Planning"
Opportunity Creation (All)
The Sales Pipeline Gamechanger
Managing The Pipeline (All)
What is an "Income-Producing" Opportunity?
Managing The Pipeline (All)

Building Your Sales Operation to Meet the Company’s Potential: A Proven Framework

Building or Transforming Your Sales Operation to Meet the Company’s Potential: A Proven Framework for Prioritizing the Right Initiatives

Discussions about sales improvement can be difficult because there are so many moving parts. Do you hire differently or better? Do you increase activity or introduce better qualification or new tools, training and technology? Lots of issues may need to be tackled but only a small handful usually or can make the required difference – or are affordable.

It therefore makes sense to work with a framework that helps you decide which initiatives might produce better results. The framework we’re suggesting is based on having worked with over a million salespeople and introduced statistical-based forecasting and pipeline systems to thousands of firms. The statistical part is important because sales is a low-yield probability game that depends on people performance. This idea is at the heart of sales performance improvement.

Measurement

This is the name we give to a complex area of measuring outcomes, key indicators and activity. The detail is for a separate discussion, but there is one critical aspect of “measurement” you need to think about if you want to raise the sales bar. I’ll explain it this way:

Suppose a salesperson needs to deliver an annual quota of 1.2m or 100k a month. There is a pattern of work that is needed to produce the income target each month and that is not dependent on lottery-like odds. There is an ideal or target pipeline formation that will predictably deliver the result. The first job is to figure out what the ideal pipeline needs to look like. Then you can work back and decide on activity and required productivity and effectiveness levels. Until you do this every decision you make will likely be flawed and off-target.

The ideal pipeline formation sets the pace for activity and the bar for selling effectiveness. Once you know this, you can decide on what enablement is required. We tend to underestimate how much work is involved and how long it takes to deliver the chain of necessary outcomes. Optimism is the enemy of realism in sales, and the ideal pipeline analysis is the upfront reality check.

Enablement

Enablement refers to the processes, tools, technology, training, coaching and skills needed to deliver the required performance and outcomes. It requires the development of a customized sales playbook that aligns and equips the sales team to deliver the results. These are the big enablement areas for the new sales playbook:

- Prospecting (Audience, demand and lead generation)

- Opportunity Creation

- Opportunity Capture

- Customer Improvement (which you might still call “account management”).

Enablement creates your sales engine execution playbook and the two big decisions are these:

1. What specific areas do you need to invest in, so that the ideal pipeline is created and maintained?

2. Are you prepared to make the necessary investment to support sales execution in terms of content, training, tools and technology?

For example, if your ideal pipeline requires that an individual salesperson needs to close one deal per week (a pretty common model in SaaS), that is going to require a big investment in prospecting. And today, “prospecting” does not mean make more calls, which was a fast, cheap way to build business in the past. A much more complex set of activities will be needed to build the required pipeline.

Talent

Finding talent for the sales function is much tougher than for most business functions. You are looking for “creatives” (in the problem solving sense) for a role that requires extraordinary dialogue skills governed by daily setbacks that occasionally become progress.

In the past we looked for the all-rounder with the sales personality, when buyers had little choice but to deal with salespeople as the main source of information. Today, buyers don’t need to talk to sellers until all other channels have been exhausted. Even then, the buyer will only engage with sellers who can deliver quality dialogue, not friendly relations.

There is also a need today for more specialized sales roles across the revenue generation flow. The 360 degree seller doesn’t suit some situations, especially where a lot of lead generation is needed and / or a strong technical or early prospect support input is necessary. Or, some roles require a salesperson who is “multi-instrumental” but at a master level across the board, e.g. your early sales hires often fall into this category.

If sales recruitment was difficult in the past, it’s several levels more difficult today.

There are two big talent decisions you will need to make.

1. The first is what roles do you need that will deliver the demands of the pipeline? The role definition will, in turn, determine the ideal candidate profile. Don’t under-estimate the work needed to cleanly define what a specific role is meant to produce.

2. The second decision is the investment you need in training, onboarding and personal development. In particular, how do you plan to ensure each seller is executing the company’s playbook? And are you prepared to stick to this principle: we expect people to execute the company’s version of the playbook, not any version?

Culture

Culture is like a protective fluid that your sales system thrives in. But we’re not referring here to the traditional “sales” culture with its emphasis on heroic acts announced late on a Friday nor some undefined, free range “mulchy” culture.

Culture is really about a set of principles and “small” rules that guide behaviours and standards in terms of performance, integrity, initiative and team support. And the test of the value and strength of your culture is whether the team actively promotes the principles and rules.

The culture is set by the CEO and sales leadership and actively promoted by the direct line manager. It acts like an alarm that goes off when behaviours and standards fall below what is considered a safe level: sending an email when a much stronger channel is required is an example of working against a culture designed to help someone to be more successful. Poor or no call planning is contrary to a culture that promotes high standards. Bragging about the two years it took to deliver a 100k deal goes against any notion of high performance and sets a bar that is low, not high.

You can’t just announce a culture: the sales system needs to be built using some core rules and the culture will emerge from that.

These are the links listed in this article. (Require a Google Login)

Building a Common Language Pipeline & Forecasting System

Coaching to the Ideal Sales Pipeline

Hiring & Onboarding Sales Talent

Building the Foundation for Sales Execution

Michael McGowan |  Sales Virtual

michael@salesvirtual.com | Twitter | LinkedIn

Want To Be Notified When New Content is Released?

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Defining Leads for Marketing & Sales
Managing The Pipeline (All)
Digital Deal Rooms - Top Uses
The New B2B Sales Game
Your Story is Your Strategy
The New B2B Sales Game
Prospecting with Video
The New B2B Sales Game
Selling for "Non-Salespeople"
The New B2B Sales Game
How Sales Coaching is Meant to Work
Managing The Pipeline (All)
Getting Your Sales Pitch to Echo
Opportunity Creation (All)
Reviving Stalled Deals [Part 1]
Opportunity Capture (All)
Think "Warm Up" Versus "Call Planning"
Opportunity Creation (All)
The Sales Pipeline Gamechanger
Managing The Pipeline (All)
What is an "Income-Producing" Opportunity?
Managing The Pipeline (All)

Building Your Sales Operation to Meet the Company’s Potential: A Proven Framework

Building or Transforming Your Sales Operation to Meet the Company’s Potential: A Proven Framework for Prioritizing the Right Initiatives

Discussions about sales improvement can be difficult because there are so many moving parts. Do you hire differently or better? Do you increase activity or introduce better qualification or new tools, training and technology? Lots of issues may need to be tackled but only a small handful usually or can make the required difference – or are affordable.

It therefore makes sense to work with a framework that helps you decide which initiatives might produce better results. The framework we’re suggesting is based on having worked with over a million salespeople and introduced statistical-based forecasting and pipeline systems to thousands of firms. The statistical part is important because sales is a low-yield probability game that depends on people performance. This idea is at the heart of sales performance improvement.

Measurement

This is the name we give to a complex area of measuring outcomes, key indicators and activity. The detail is for a separate discussion, but there is one critical aspect of “measurement” you need to think about if you want to raise the sales bar. I’ll explain it this way:

Suppose a salesperson needs to deliver an annual quota of 1.2m or 100k a month. There is a pattern of work that is needed to produce the income target each month and that is not dependent on lottery-like odds. There is an ideal or target pipeline formation that will predictably deliver the result. The first job is to figure out what the ideal pipeline needs to look like. Then you can work back and decide on activity and required productivity and effectiveness levels. Until you do this every decision you make will likely be flawed and off-target.

The ideal pipeline formation sets the pace for activity and the bar for selling effectiveness. Once you know this, you can decide on what enablement is required. We tend to underestimate how much work is involved and how long it takes to deliver the chain of necessary outcomes. Optimism is the enemy of realism in sales, and the ideal pipeline analysis is the upfront reality check.

Enablement

Enablement refers to the processes, tools, technology, training, coaching and skills needed to deliver the required performance and outcomes. It requires the development of a customized sales playbook that aligns and equips the sales team to deliver the results. These are the big enablement areas for the new sales playbook:

- Prospecting (Audience, demand and lead generation)

- Opportunity Creation

- Opportunity Capture

- Customer Improvement (which you might still call “account management”).

Enablement creates your sales engine execution playbook and the two big decisions are these:

1. What specific areas do you need to invest in, so that the ideal pipeline is created and maintained?

2. Are you prepared to make the necessary investment to support sales execution in terms of content, training, tools and technology?

For example, if your ideal pipeline requires that an individual salesperson needs to close one deal per week (a pretty common model in SaaS), that is going to require a big investment in prospecting. And today, “prospecting” does not mean make more calls, which was a fast, cheap way to build business in the past. A much more complex set of activities will be needed to build the required pipeline.

Talent

Finding talent for the sales function is much tougher than for most business functions. You are looking for “creatives” (in the problem solving sense) for a role that requires extraordinary dialogue skills governed by daily setbacks that occasionally become progress.

In the past we looked for the all-rounder with the sales personality, when buyers had little choice but to deal with salespeople as the main source of information. Today, buyers don’t need to talk to sellers until all other channels have been exhausted. Even then, the buyer will only engage with sellers who can deliver quality dialogue, not friendly relations.

There is also a need today for more specialized sales roles across the revenue generation flow. The 360 degree seller doesn’t suit some situations, especially where a lot of lead generation is needed and / or a strong technical or early prospect support input is necessary. Or, some roles require a salesperson who is “multi-instrumental” but at a master level across the board, e.g. your early sales hires often fall into this category.

If sales recruitment was difficult in the past, it’s several levels more difficult today.

There are two big talent decisions you will need to make.

1. The first is what roles do you need that will deliver the demands of the pipeline? The role definition will, in turn, determine the ideal candidate profile. Don’t under-estimate the work needed to cleanly define what a specific role is meant to produce.

2. The second decision is the investment you need in training, onboarding and personal development. In particular, how do you plan to ensure each seller is executing the company’s playbook? And are you prepared to stick to this principle: we expect people to execute the company’s version of the playbook, not any version?

Culture

Culture is like a protective fluid that your sales system thrives in. But we’re not referring here to the traditional “sales” culture with its emphasis on heroic acts announced late on a Friday nor some undefined, free range “mulchy” culture.

Culture is really about a set of principles and “small” rules that guide behaviours and standards in terms of performance, integrity, initiative and team support. And the test of the value and strength of your culture is whether the team actively promotes the principles and rules.

The culture is set by the CEO and sales leadership and actively promoted by the direct line manager. It acts like an alarm that goes off when behaviours and standards fall below what is considered a safe level: sending an email when a much stronger channel is required is an example of working against a culture designed to help someone to be more successful. Poor or no call planning is contrary to a culture that promotes high standards. Bragging about the two years it took to deliver a 100k deal goes against any notion of high performance and sets a bar that is low, not high.

You can’t just announce a culture: the sales system needs to be built using some core rules and the culture will emerge from that.

These are the links listed in this article. (Require a Google Login)

Building a Common Language Pipeline & Forecasting System

Coaching to the Ideal Sales Pipeline

Hiring & Onboarding Sales Talent

Building the Foundation for Sales Execution

Michael McGowan |  Sales Virtual

michael@salesvirtual.com | Twitter | LinkedIn

Defining Leads for Marketing & Sales
Managing The Pipeline (All)
Digital Deal Rooms - Top Uses
The New B2B Sales Game
Your Story is Your Strategy
The New B2B Sales Game
Prospecting with Video
The New B2B Sales Game
Selling for "Non-Salespeople"
The New B2B Sales Game
How Sales Coaching is Meant to Work
Managing The Pipeline (All)
Getting Your Sales Pitch to Echo
Opportunity Creation (All)
Reviving Stalled Deals [Part 1]
Opportunity Capture (All)
Think "Warm Up" Versus "Call Planning"
Opportunity Creation (All)
The Sales Pipeline Gamechanger
Managing The Pipeline (All)
What is an "Income-Producing" Opportunity?
Managing The Pipeline (All)

Building Your Sales Operation to Meet the Company’s Potential: A Proven Framework

Building or Transforming Your Sales Operation to Meet the Company’s Potential: A Proven Framework for Prioritizing the Right Initiatives

Discussions about sales improvement can be difficult because there are so many moving parts. Do you hire differently or better? Do you increase activity or introduce better qualification or new tools, training and technology? Lots of issues may need to be tackled but only a small handful usually or can make the required difference – or are affordable.

It therefore makes sense to work with a framework that helps you decide which initiatives might produce better results. The framework we’re suggesting is based on having worked with over a million salespeople and introduced statistical-based forecasting and pipeline systems to thousands of firms. The statistical part is important because sales is a low-yield probability game that depends on people performance. This idea is at the heart of sales performance improvement.

Measurement

This is the name we give to a complex area of measuring outcomes, key indicators and activity. The detail is for a separate discussion, but there is one critical aspect of “measurement” you need to think about if you want to raise the sales bar. I’ll explain it this way:

Suppose a salesperson needs to deliver an annual quota of 1.2m or 100k a month. There is a pattern of work that is needed to produce the income target each month and that is not dependent on lottery-like odds. There is an ideal or target pipeline formation that will predictably deliver the result. The first job is to figure out what the ideal pipeline needs to look like. Then you can work back and decide on activity and required productivity and effectiveness levels. Until you do this every decision you make will likely be flawed and off-target.

The ideal pipeline formation sets the pace for activity and the bar for selling effectiveness. Once you know this, you can decide on what enablement is required. We tend to underestimate how much work is involved and how long it takes to deliver the chain of necessary outcomes. Optimism is the enemy of realism in sales, and the ideal pipeline analysis is the upfront reality check.

Enablement

Enablement refers to the processes, tools, technology, training, coaching and skills needed to deliver the required performance and outcomes. It requires the development of a customized sales playbook that aligns and equips the sales team to deliver the results. These are the big enablement areas for the new sales playbook:

- Prospecting (Audience, demand and lead generation)

- Opportunity Creation

- Opportunity Capture

- Customer Improvement (which you might still call “account management”).

Enablement creates your sales engine execution playbook and the two big decisions are these:

1. What specific areas do you need to invest in, so that the ideal pipeline is created and maintained?

2. Are you prepared to make the necessary investment to support sales execution in terms of content, training, tools and technology?

For example, if your ideal pipeline requires that an individual salesperson needs to close one deal per week (a pretty common model in SaaS), that is going to require a big investment in prospecting. And today, “prospecting” does not mean make more calls, which was a fast, cheap way to build business in the past. A much more complex set of activities will be needed to build the required pipeline.

Talent

Finding talent for the sales function is much tougher than for most business functions. You are looking for “creatives” (in the problem solving sense) for a role that requires extraordinary dialogue skills governed by daily setbacks that occasionally become progress.

In the past we looked for the all-rounder with the sales personality, when buyers had little choice but to deal with salespeople as the main source of information. Today, buyers don’t need to talk to sellers until all other channels have been exhausted. Even then, the buyer will only engage with sellers who can deliver quality dialogue, not friendly relations.

There is also a need today for more specialized sales roles across the revenue generation flow. The 360 degree seller doesn’t suit some situations, especially where a lot of lead generation is needed and / or a strong technical or early prospect support input is necessary. Or, some roles require a salesperson who is “multi-instrumental” but at a master level across the board, e.g. your early sales hires often fall into this category.

If sales recruitment was difficult in the past, it’s several levels more difficult today.

There are two big talent decisions you will need to make.

1. The first is what roles do you need that will deliver the demands of the pipeline? The role definition will, in turn, determine the ideal candidate profile. Don’t under-estimate the work needed to cleanly define what a specific role is meant to produce.

2. The second decision is the investment you need in training, onboarding and personal development. In particular, how do you plan to ensure each seller is executing the company’s playbook? And are you prepared to stick to this principle: we expect people to execute the company’s version of the playbook, not any version?

Culture

Culture is like a protective fluid that your sales system thrives in. But we’re not referring here to the traditional “sales” culture with its emphasis on heroic acts announced late on a Friday nor some undefined, free range “mulchy” culture.

Culture is really about a set of principles and “small” rules that guide behaviours and standards in terms of performance, integrity, initiative and team support. And the test of the value and strength of your culture is whether the team actively promotes the principles and rules.

The culture is set by the CEO and sales leadership and actively promoted by the direct line manager. It acts like an alarm that goes off when behaviours and standards fall below what is considered a safe level: sending an email when a much stronger channel is required is an example of working against a culture designed to help someone to be more successful. Poor or no call planning is contrary to a culture that promotes high standards. Bragging about the two years it took to deliver a 100k deal goes against any notion of high performance and sets a bar that is low, not high.

You can’t just announce a culture: the sales system needs to be built using some core rules and the culture will emerge from that.

These are the links listed in this article. (Require a Google Login)

Building a Common Language Pipeline & Forecasting System

Coaching to the Ideal Sales Pipeline

Hiring & Onboarding Sales Talent

Building the Foundation for Sales Execution

Michael McGowan |  Sales Virtual

michael@salesvirtual.com | Twitter | LinkedIn

Want To Be Notified When New Content is Released?

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.