Why Relevance and Customization Are Key to the Success of a Sales Initiative
Categories: Sales Transformation | Sales Leadership | Sales Kickoff
Many companies spend significant time and resources planning and executing their sales transformation initiatives and/or sales kickoff events. If done right, the effort can set your sales organization (and yourself) up for long-term success. Positive results can accumulate in the coming quarters and years down the line ... that is if you can ensure that critical concepts of your initiative stick with your sales team. Achieving sales transformation demands relevancy to your sales organization to ensure lasting outcomes.
Many of the revenue leaders we’re working with are using shifting to broader sales initiatives, beyond just an SKO event, to align their sales organizations on what’s needed to move the needle next year. Below we’ve outlined how they’re ensuring their transformation initiatives are both customized specifically for their sales organization and relevant to their sales team’s everyday responsibilities.
A sales transformation demands commitment and work from your sales teams. If you’re going to get your sales teams to buy-in to your sales initiative and own their role in the sales transformation, you’ve got to ensure the key concepts of your change initiative are relevant to what your salespeople do every day.
Define the day-to-day struggles facing your sales managers and reps. Is it continuously being delegated down to low-level technical buyers? Are they consistently spending too much time in deals that they don’t belong in and aren’t going to happen? Once you understand what specific challenges they’re dealing with, consider how you can make this initiative relevant to those obstacles.
Any training engagement or SKO you invest in needs to bring that relevancy through into the training and deliverables. When your sales teams are focused on their numbers, off-the-shelf sales training events leave your initiative to fall low on their list of priorities as “just another training that’s wasting their time”. Invest in a sales training engagement that your sales teams find value in, as it pertains to their day-to-day responsibilities and quotas using these two concepts:
1. Articulate how the strategic initiative aligns with your sales rep’s numbers:
Spend time throughout the launch of your initiative articulating how new methodologies or processes will impact your sellers’ current opportunities. Will they gain valuable insights on how to move their deals forward faster, better qualify-in opportunities, beat out incumbent competitors, increase cross-sell or up-sell?
Start by ensuring the training provides time for participants to work through live opportunities and practice applying new concepts. In our Command of the Message deliveries, we often have salespeople bring in live opportunities to work with during the training. This exercise gives them the chance to bring in an opportunity they may be struggling with or a high-value, committed deal that they’ve got to close. As deals are reviewed not only is that one rep seeing the benefit in applying new concepts, but all of the other reps with similar opportunities are seeing that value as well and getting insights on how to act on it. It makes the training immediately relevant.
Immediately after these sessions, sales reps are eager to get on the phone with their clients to apply the key concepts of their sales leader’s sales initiative. When you make the key concepts of your initiative and the training itself relevant to front-line opportunities, your reps won’t think of your initiative as a daunting change. They’ll think of your initiative as a way to get valuable support on their biggest opportunities. And in this current economic environment, that support is crucial.
2. Getting managers bought in early on:
How can you equip managers to make key concepts relevant to current and future opportunities? Managers more often than not, are the linchpin to whether a sales enablement initiative sticks or falls by the wayside. Find ways to ensure your managers are experts in the new way of doing things so they can teach others and continue to make an impact long after the training event is over. How well your managers coach on applying new concepts will be critical to the longevity of your event. Here’s an article you can use to ensure your managers will make a lasting impact on adoption and reinforcement.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are hundreds of sales methodologies, consultants and trainers in the marketplace. Anyone who has been in the sales game long enough knows that many of these sales programs fall flat if they’re not customized to the organization.
Although the deliverables and methodologies these firms provide may align with the underlying goal of your sales initiative (higher margins, improved win rates, etc), when deliverables are not customized to your organization and solutions, it can be difficult for reps to apply the concepts in their day-to-day sales activities. If your salespeople can’t easily integrate new tools, content or process into their daily operating rhythms, then they’re likely going to neglect to use them at all.
How you equip your sales teams with the content, tools and methodologies to execute on the critical concepts of your initiative will be key to making it stick. If done right, providing custom and sales consumable deliverables will not only support the relevance of your initiative but will help to drive ongoing adoption because your salespeople will be equipped with easy-to-use ways to keep critical concepts top of mind. From buyer-focused messaging framework to pre-call planning tools and even customized online learning for ongoing training and reinforcement, there are various ways you can commit to customizing your initiative.
Creating Alignment Ensures Relevancy and Effective Customization
Involving executive leaders in the development of your strategic sales transformation not only benefits how your sales teams interact with those departments but also helps to solidify that the deliverables are both relevant and customized to how your company operates as a whole. Getting cross-functional alignment ensures that your sales initiative takes other departments’ actions into account as it relates to the customer. For example, how is your sales message aligning with what marketing is putting on the website? Are your salespeople effectively positioning the product in a way that shows its value to the buyer and in a way your company can actually deliver on? Also, consider the value that would come from involving finance in the creation of a negotiation framework that included must-have items in every closed deal.
By getting input from every department that overlaps with your sales teams in one way or another, key information will be taken into consideration in the development and launch of your initiative. Generating cross-functional alignment on the front end ensures that upon rollout, your sales initiative will be 100% customized and relevant to every sales activity and process your salespeople will have to follow to achieve your desired outcomes.
When senior leaders and department owners see how they’ll benefit from your sales transformation initiative’s success they’ll be more eager to take part in it and ensure it sticks. Once you’ve got buy-in from other leaders, get them involved.
The CROs we work with commit early on to generating cross-functional alignment on the critical concepts of the initiative. They ensure the right customization and relevancy, by getting other department leaders involved in the workshops, draft reviews and vetting of the content and process creation. Generating effective, cross-functional alignment is one of the main reasons our customers realize they may need additional support to develop and launch their strategic sales initiatives. Whether you think you may or may not be able to achieve alignment on your own, here’s what we tell clients who say they can "do it themselves".
Launch a Sales Initiative That Moves The Needle
Making a sales transformation stick is a daunting feat. Ensuring your strategic sales initiative is relevant and customized to your organization is key to driving lasting results and ROI from your investment. If you’re like most companies, the current economic climate has likely uncovered new sales challenges or amplified existing ones. It’s important to make sure your strategic directives are clear and your initiatives are aligned to drive success. Once you’ve defined what your sales team needs from a transformation initiative to succeed, you’ve got to commit to ensuring results, starting with your SKO.
The CROs we’re working with are already considering how this year’s SKO could be their best opportunity to invest in a strategic sales initiative. They’re committing to making their initiatives stick.
See how you can make a similar commitment to your sales team’s future success. Use our sales kickoff resources to gather insights on how you can ensure ROI from the investment and drive lasting results.