Much is written about sales effectiveness and ways to improve it. Sales effectiveness refers to your sales teams' ability to win the right kind of business in a time frame that allows your company to achieve their annual revenue objectives*. It gets so much focus because studies show improving effectiveness directly reduces 'no-decisions' and losses – therefore improving win rates.
What Sales Leaders Say Improves Sales Effectiveness
For their report on 2011 Sales Management Optimization – Key Trends Analysis, CSO Insights asked sales leaders to rank their Sales Effectiveness Priorities. The top three responses are:
1. Improve Ability to Show Our Strategic Benefit/Value
2. Optimize Competitive Differentiation Strategies
3. Improve Ability to Reach People with Real Power
Companies often put the total burden of improving sales effectiveness on the sales organization but it must be a company-wide objective for real improvements to happen. Substantive change in selling effectiveness requires deep collaboration between sales, marketing, and opportunity management teams to understand what's not working and to adjust accordingly. All these efforts should align around the needs of the prospect and perfecting the way everyone communicates the benefits of your solutions.
Internal sales process also has significant impact on sales effectiveness.
Many companies' are increasingly looking to both technology and outside support services to help improve their sales effectiveness by improving sales process. They find both approaches better utilize the time of their scarcest resource, which is the sales team itself. Below are several examples of such technologies and processes that help improve the effectiveness of your sales organization.
- Marketing automation/Lead generation and management
- Defining a company wide sales process and using it religiously
- Business Intelligence services
- Sales process consultation companies
- Sales force automation and CRM solutions
Remember, improving sales effectiveness is not a one-time effort. It requires continuous improvement to constantly enhance sales knowledge, messages, skills, and strategies that sales people apply as they work opportunities.
Take time to evaluate your sales effectiveness and begin now implementing changes to improve. Arming your sales team with the right tools and processes will be the difference between lagging behind your competitors and moving towards best-in-class sales results.
*It's important to understand the distinction between Sales 'making quota' and the company making its annual revenue goals. Example: Many firms recognize new revenue over a period of months or quarters but measure their sales team on booking value. That makes it's possible for sales reps to make their annual quota with late year bookings while the company misses their annual revenue goal. Something to think about when designing compensation plans.