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Ignite Your Sales Engine to Turbocharge Growth – An Introduction (1/6)

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Sales is an essential function of every business. An effective Sales Engine can supercharge the value generated from your products and services. But Sales teams need to be firing on all cylinders to boost revenue and profits against tough competition. In this first article of our series on Sales Force Effectiveness we highlight the key organizational levers to boost performance and increase value.

Six questions will help you determine how much sales growth potential you have:

  • Do you understand which are the most profitable customers and have you properly prioritized them?
  • Do you understand the barriers to winning new customers and are you addressing them?
  • Are you getting the most traction from commercial resources you have?
  • Have you aligned sales resource across the selling process to optimally convert target opportunities?
  • Are you effectively managing your pipeline to close opportunities quickly?
  • Do you generate enough qualified leads and opportunities from diverse sales and marketing channels?

If you struggled to answer any of these questions, then you have a significant growth opportunity in front of you, and should read on!

Our experience shows that tuning the Sales Engine is not rocket science – if you apply the right tools and methods. In particular, big improvements can be realized through a systematic process addressing the key levers of sales effectiveness, including:

1. Increase organisational capacity

Broaden the sales funnel so that you can handle more opportunities at any given time.

Common areas of improvement:

  • inefficient allocation of sales representatives according to market potential
  • insufficient technical or applications support
  • not leveraging the full range of go-to-market channels

 

2. Increase conversion rate

Increase conversion rates to minimise time wasted on lost opportunities.

Common areas of improvement:

  • insufficient product innovation – superior products and services sell themselves, and at above-market prices
  • sales representatives lack the required competencies
  • insufficient preparation before sales calls

 

3. Optimize investment per opportunity

Optimize resources applied to convert each opportunity.

Common areas of improvement:

  • inconsistent or poorly defined sales processes – each sales representative doing it their own way
  • digital, self-serve models are not applied where applicable (e.g. for smaller clients)
  • limited system support or poorly configured CRMs

 

4. Increase value of opportunities

Target higher value opportunities.

Common areas of improvement:

  • limited targeting processes in place to identify segments that will drive more longer-term value
  • limited pricing optimisation and value-based selling
  • sub-optimal opportunity prioritisation processes when opportunity volumes outstrip organisational capacity

 

5. Reduce time to close opportunities

Accelerate time-to-close in order to free-up Sales capacity.

Common areas of improvement:

  • sales follow-up is not integrated into the sales process as a regular rhythm
  • lack of system supported reminders and notifications
  • poor account mapping, delaying time and effort required to reach decision-makers

 

6. Increase the number of opportunities

The more qualified opportunities generated, the more opportunities you will win.

Common areas of improvement:

  • low sales call / meeting activity – lack of sales culture
  • lead generation channels have not been optimised
  • sales teams are spending too much time on admin related tasks and not prospecting

 

Tuning your Sales Engine means finding the weakest parts among the many different factors driving performance, and making targeted adjustments to increase Sales traction. Humatica’s experience shows that this is done best by following a step-by-step approach including:

  • Assure the right focus: Identifying the target customer groups that have the greatest value and accessibility.
  • Align the organisation: Ensure that Sales structures and resources are aligned to the target customer focus.
  • Optimise the end-to-end sales processes: Optimize the lead generation to cash process within the defined organization.
  • Develop sales competence: Based on clearly defined sales processes and roles, optimize competencies to ensure the right people are in the right roles.
  • Align incentives: Align monetary and non-monetary incentives to drive the desired behaviours.

Future articles in this series will explore each of these five steps in greater detail and highlight why it is important to excel in each step. Relevant case examples that provide key learnings for your sales team will bring the insights to life. Stay tuned!

This article was authored by Paul Simpson, a Director in Humatica’s Zurich office. Connect with Paul on LinkedIn.

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