How sales leaders can look beyond the results to position their teams for success:
- Examine Current Customer Growth
- Look Into CRM Adoption & Usage
- Inspect Sales Process Adherence
- Develop Virtual Selling Skills
“Make Hay When The Sun Shines” is a saying that has been around since the mid-1500s. It means to make the most of an opportunity while you have the chance.
B2B sales are booming for many industries, which are driving record quarterly and annual sales results.
While most sales organizations adapted quickly to virtual selling brought by COVID-19, the current business boon is cloaking how sales organizations are achieving their results. Customers and prospects are willing to say yes to most sales proposals at much higher prices, as long as they receive a commitment that your company will provide the service or product according to schedule or scope. Prices are also edging up due to supply chain and talent constraints, which juices sales results even more.
Most sales leaders are grateful for the record results from the overheated marketplace, but this leaves them knowing that their sales teams may not be developing or apply the essential skills and competencies it takes to thrive in good times and bad.
Read on for a closer look at how sales leaders can look beyond the results to position their teams for success after the boon:
1. Examine Current Customer Growth
Current Customer Growth is a long-term metric of sales success. Customer satisfaction and customer churn/defections are metrics that provide an early warning to fundamental problems in your company’s value proposition. There’s always excitement and celebration when new clients come aboard. However, there should be equal concern and countermeasures when current customers become dissatisfied or leave.
2. Look Into CRM Adoption & Usage
CRM adoption and usage tend to fall with buoyant growth, and sales leaders focus on the results. Sales leaders give less attention to account planning, CRM data quality and hygiene, lead management, and opportunity management. The risk for many sales organizations is that they may be slow to recognize and respond to shifts in customer behavior, win rates, qualified leads, and other metrics the CRM can provide to drive productivity and effectiveness.
3. Inspect Sales Process Adherence
Sales Process adherence takes a long time to establish. Still, it can falter quickly when sales and support teams are focused on getting proposals out the door instead of allocating more time to qualification and discovery. If an increased volume of opportunities and the sales support headcount remains the same, simple math indicates that less time is spent on each opportunity. If all opportunities have the same chance of closing, the teams will focus on only the largest deals, correct? The reality is that’s it difficult to objectively assess a chance of winning a deal unless a proper discovery has been conducted. I would argue that the right qualification and discovery are even more important in good times than bad. When times are this good, wouldn’t you want a sales team to focus on the bigger deals with higher win rates?
4. Develop Virtual Selling Skills
Since most sales motions are still conducted virtually today, you’d expect that most salespeople are now good at it. Wrong. Successful virtual selling requires even more planning and execution skills than in-person selling. Most salespeople are adequate at scheduling and managing the virtual meeting technology. Few salespeople leverage virtual meeting features (e.g., whiteboarding, breakout rooms) that improve customer and prospect engagement. Sales Enablement teams are just now starting to pay attention to assessing and improving sales team virtual selling skills.
Like most things, this sales boon will pass, and we’ll be back to the inevitable ups and downs of economic cycles.
It is not easy, but sales leaders should start thinking about the future now.
A meeting with Sales Operations, Marketing, and Sales Enablement teams is the ideal first step to identify how to prioritize which metrics and insight need attention beyond the sales results. Take advantage of the good times and prepare for the inevitable slowdown.
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