Key Focus Areas for Accelerating Growth
Categories: Front-line Managers
There’s not a sales leader out there who isn’t trying to accelerate growth. Even if you are working at a company that is driving record numbers, you're likely focused on ensuring you can scale that growth and avoid stalls. How do successful leaders ensure that they are able to maintain their company's growth rate over time?
Enable Execution of the Business Strategy at the Point of Sale
Too often companies spend thousands on brand strategies, go-to-market analyses, or even off-the-shelf sales training without really thinking through how to apply those initiatives to the customer-facing teams, equipping them to be successful at the buyer level. Get your strategy out of the board room and bring it down to the bullpen. Equip your teams to be successful at the moment of truth – in front of the customer.
Think of that enablement in two critical areas:
- How you are engaging your customers?
- How you are operating internally to support the execution of your business strategy at the point of sale?
Each of these areas have to work like a well-oiled machine. You need to build repeatability, predictability and consistency. Here are three key focus areas that will build that agility and resilience in your sales organization.
1. Finding Relevance for the Buyer
We beat the value and differentiation drum a lot in our content. If your sales team doesn’t have solid answers to the following four questions, accelerating growth will be challenging:
- What are the problems you solve for your customers?
- How do you specifically solve those problems?
- How do you solve them differently or better than the competition?
- What’s your proof?
There is a key component to enabling salespeople to articulate value and differentiation in front of the customer. This component is one that many organizations often miss. It’s the ability to position solution value and differentiation in a way that has meaning to the buyer.
Your reps may be able to rattle off features and functions that your competitor doesn’t have, but if your buyers don’t understand the impact on or the relevance to their business that value and differentiation falls flat.
Key Action Step: Develop a framework that provides your customer-facing teams with the ability to map your solution's business value and differentiation to the needs of the buyer. It should outline your solution's 3-5 main value drivers as well as its key differentiators. That outline needs to contain an easy-to-use framework that maps conversation points to those drivers. Here's an example of the results that framework can help global sales organizations achieve.
2. Enable Your Front-line Managers
Your front-line managers are your boots on the ground. They are the people who can reinforce and drive adoption of the key behaviors you want occurring every day in your sales organization. Too often, sales leaders focus on the rep training and leave the managers to fend for themselves. We're not saying that sales rep training isn't important. But if your managers don't have a cadence to evaluate and reinforce defined behaviors, then that investment in rep training will likely come up short.
If you want to accelerate growth, you need to provide your managers with an operating rhythm that allows them to focus on the activities that drive the most value. Stop burdening them with menial administrative tasks. Give them the tools they need to drive revenue, faster.
Key Action Step: Create a management operating rhythm that defines what your managers should do daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly. Give them a coaching rhythm that allows them to adapt coaching behaviors to different sales reps. Remember, one size doesn't fit all. They need a mechanism to "meet people where they are." You don't need to coach a top performer the way you would coach somebody with less developed skills.
Use these tools as a starting point to define how to best support and enable your managers to make an impact.
3. Create and Capture Value with a Defined Customer Engagement Process
If your solutions aren't able to deliver the value that was promised in the sales process, your organization will never be able to sustain your revenue numbers, let alone grow them.
The key to accelerating growth is to build alignment with all the teams in your organization that work with the buyer. Sales, marketing, product, delivery, services, etc., all need to be aligned on the value your solutions deliver and how to measure success. When you're able to talk about those value drivers and metrics in a consistent way (e.g., so a marketing person has the same understanding as the solution architect), the ability to create and also capture the value along the customer engagement process is the natural output.
Key Action Steps: Analyze your current customer engagement process. Where are the hand-off points where that value creation breaks down? Facilitate an alignment session to ensure your cross-functional teams are consistently able to understand the promised positive business outcomes and how to deliver on them.
Here are some questions that may help you determine areas that need attention:
- How hard or easy are we to buy from?
- How hard or easy do we want to be to buy from – and why?
- What do customers say about this and how we sell and deliver?
- What do our salespeople say about how our sales process supports their selling effectiveness?
- How do our best performers sell? What are the best practices?
- How does our sales process direct and empower our sellers to:
- Align with their customers?
- Articulate value and differentiation?
- Forecast accurately?
- Access and utilize assets, resources and people effectively?
- How does our CRM system facilitate the "selling in the process"?
- What is the bigger picture of organizational, technological and process integration?
- What is the case for dynamic or different sales processes?
- How do our demand generation, inside sales, service renewal, channel, government, consumer, retail, commercial and enterprise sales teams relate to their clients?
Command Your Revenue Goals
Assess your organization in the three areas above and define your best opportunity to accelerate growth. Are your current initiatives helping your organization achieve your desired outcomes?