Key Focus Areas for Accelerating Growth
There’s not a sales leader out there who isn’t trying to accelerate growth. Even if you are working at a company that’s killing it in the marketplace, there’s a moment where that growth will stall and perhaps decline. How can you work to ensure that you are able to maintain your growth rate over time?
Enable the 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 bull pen. How are you equipping 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 has to work like a well-oiled machine. You need to build repeatability, predictability and consistency. Here are some key focus areas that will build that agility in your sales organization.
Finding Relevance for the Buyer
We beat the value and differentiation drum a lot in our content. If your sales team doesn’t have a good understanding of the following questions, you will never be able to accelerate growth:
- What are the problems you solve for your customers?
- How do you solve them differently or better than the competition?
- What’s your proof?
However, there is a key component to articulating value and differentiation that some organizations often miss. It’s the ability to position it 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 their impact on or their 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 key value and differentiation to the needs of the buyer. It should outline your 3-5 main value drivers as well as your key differentiators. That outline needs to contain an easy-to-use framework that maps conversation points to those drivers.
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 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. Indeed, training the rep is important, but if your managers don't have the cadence to inspect and reinforce defined behaviors that investment will likely come up short. If you want to accelerate growth, you need to provide your managers with the 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 lower skills. (We talk about it in this webinar.)
Create and Capture Value with a Defined Customer Engagement Process
If you aren't able to deliver the value you promise in the sales process, you'll 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 delivering 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 and efficiently?
- How does our CRM system facilitate the "selling in the process"?
- What is the bigger picture of organizational, technological and process integration? Where are we in our ability to bring the various assets, resources, people and actions to bear in the buying & selling processes?
- 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?
Learn how to help your front-line managers improve rep productivity in our on-demand webinar recording: