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Recovering and Driving Revenue:
Why Top Sales Organizations Refuse to Wait and See

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How Revenue Leaders are Moving Forward

Right now, there are many revenue leaders who are trying to decide how to make their numbers this year. Companies are facing unprecedented challenges, but the reality is, they need to find a way to move forward. If you’re a revenue leader, you still have numbers to hit. Whether or not you think you can get there, take solace in the fact that other revenue leaders believe there is time to turn the year around, and they're moving forward.

If your company is trying to adjust to the current state of your marketplace, it will take work, commitment and alignment to course correct. There are ways you can increase your pipeline and closed-won deals. We’ve seen it happen countless times.

The first question you need to answer is how long do you have to wait? Many companies we’re working with right now have decided that they don’t have time to wait it out. They can’t continue to pause while they consider how the marketplace will respond. The new normal is here and the time has come to figure out how to align your sales organization appropriately.

So how do you shift? How do you get moving against the numbers you need to make this year? These are our top practices for moving forward.

What to Expect Someone from our team will call to schedule a call. Save time by sharing availability in the form.During our initial call, we’ll ask questions and do a lot of listening, assessing the challenges you’re experiencing and the effects they’re having on the rest of the business.Then, if relevant, we’ll walk you through how we approach your specific challenges and how we’ve helped companies like yours solve them for the long-term


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1. Align with Your Buyer

In the changing environment, your buyer’s challenges may also be constantly shifting. Your sales teams are trying to do their best to find the new buyer challenges and align the value of your solutions to them. However, when numbers are behind, that value message often turns to shortcuts in the conversation, product selling and discounting. More often than not, these conversation shortcuts result in low-margin contacts.

Your company will have to deal with these signed contracts likely for the long-term. The only way to ensure your salespeople can execute a value-based conversation is to ensure your entire company is buyer-focused. 

  • How have your buyers’ needs changed? 
  • Can you solve these new problems? 
  • What are your differentiators that align to your buyer’s new challenges? 
  • How are your salespeople equipped to articulate your value and differentiation as it relates to these new challenges? 

After all, you may be equipped to address these new challenges, but those capabilities may not have been articulated to your customers. They may not know how well you can do it, or why you can do it better than competitors they are already considering. Your sales reps’ ability (both inside and field sales) to articulate current buyer value and comparative differentiators is directly related to how your numbers will fare during the pandemic and beyond.

 

Don't Wait. Get Busy.

Pull your executive team together to align on the essential questions. If you asked your leaders these four questions, how many different answers would you get?

  • What problems do you solve?
  • How do you solve those problems?
  • How do you do it better and/or differently than the competition?
  • What’s your proof?

Consider what that executive misalignment is doing to your salespeople or to your buyer message. If your company isn’t aligned on the answers to these questions, it’s likely that every department in your organization is making up their own version of buyer value and solution differentiation. That disjointed message is probably hurting your value, which also manifests itself in:

  • Too much discounting
  • Long sales cycles
  • Too many deals lost to no decision  

Once you have that executive alignment, the next step is enabling your sales teams to articulate that value and differentiation. They have to adapt that message in a way that shows the value to the individual buyer. That means they need to be armed with discovery skills and the proof points that allow them to be audible-ready to have that conversation.

In an environment where every deal is critical, you will not be able to meet your numbers if your reps don’t have these skills. Approach training them through four lenses: 

Mindset: The buyer needs to be a focal point of your sales execution process. You need your salespeople operating with an outside-in mindset.

Process: What is the process that you want to instill to get to the outcomes you’re trying to achieve? What is the process you want your reps to follow in order to maintain that buyer focus?

Tools: What tools are you giving them to execute a buyer-aligned sales process and conversation?

Content: What content are you providing them so they can move their deals forward in a way that aligns to their buyer? Here are a few resources you or your sales teams may find value in:

Many companies think they’re aligned, but a quick analysis of the four essential questions and the above framework often reveals some gaps in the sales organization. Assess your own teams and determine where you’re missing the mark. That’s the first step on the road to revenue recovery.


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2. Make Your Sales Teams Voracious Qualifiers

Sales qualification is key to efficiently closing revenue in your organization. The organizations that make their teams voracious qualifiers will be the fastest to recover revenue lost to the recent economic standstill.

Too often, sales organizations let the qualification process go by the wayside, while they focus on the forecast. Below are some common reasons sales organizations struggle with qualification. If you can see these same traits in your organization, improving your qualification process will be a lynchpin to your revenue recovery.

 

Too Much Focus on the Short-term

Sales leaders and their teams are focused on the short-term and the current forecast. Struggling sales organizations are all too often having qualification conversations much too late in the quarter or in the buying process. Leaders are so caught up in driving the number, they don’t even question whether or not the current set of deals should even be in the forecast. We stop building future pipeline. The deals we should’ve qualified earlier are not even in the forecast. Then, we’re in a position where we can’t impact the deal as much and we can’t be honest with ourselves -  because guess what? The deal is  already  in the forecast. It becomes a never-ending cycle.

 

No Consistency

If your teams are repeatedly missing an overall consistency around how they're defining what's qualified and how they’re talking about deals, you've got a clear red flag. When account leaders are saying one thing, the sales team is saying another and leadership has a third language — no one is truly clear on the language they need to be using. Can you truly trust the validity of every deal? Consider how much strain this miscommunication and alignment puts on the forecast and your ability to accurately predict revenue

 

Managers Not Equipped To Coach

Many sales organizations haven’t taken the time to effectively equip their managers to coach reps on their deals. Without the right direction from the organization and consistency in the sales process, managers don’t know how to rip deals apart with the intent of coaching the account team to put the deal back together. Don’t minimize the importance of teaching managers how to coach.

Managers are unconsciously competent. They have a tough time communicating “the how” to others. Just telling your rep they need a champion isn’t going to help. Managers are all capable of qualifying deals and mapping out what needs to be done. But not all managers are capable of providing support when it comes to explaining to reps how they can do what needs to be done to move their deals forward. Your managers will provide the most value to their sales teams when they are consciously competent around the "how".

It’s a scary proposition for a lot of sales leaders – taking managers away from helping reps sell to improve their coaching skill set. But, you won’t be able to improve your ability to predict revenue and qualify if you don’t have people who can coach your reps to do it better.

 

Why Voracious Qualification is Essential to Success

It’s easy to let the ball drop on qualification because it’s one of those sales fundamentals that we may lose sight of when we’re looking at a big opportunity or a large new logo. We’re too close to the deal, but as a sales leader – it is almost impossible to grow or even hit your numbers repeatedly without a voracious qualification process in your organization.

 

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3. Make Sales Negotiations a Process, Not an Event

A defined negotiation strategy is a critical component to an organization preserving margin. Depending on your organization, you may be working on multi-year contracts, which means that the prices you charge now you’ll be dealing with for the next several years. When you’re fighting to close every opportunity, it’s critical you get your organization aligned around what a good deal looks like for your organization. Are you confident you have a widely accepted, formal definition of what determines a great deal for your company? It’s time to get that agreement. Implement a common framework for negotiation across your entire organization to:

  1. Provide customer-facing teams guidance on the specific interests they are looking to address in negotiated customer agreements
  2. Help salespeople determine the negotiation strategy needed to manage various gives/gets and reach an agreement consistent with those priorities
  3. Ensure negotiated agreements reflect where the selling organization is strategically headed (vs. extending priorities and concessions of the past). Examples may include:
  • Transforming from on-premise to SaaS solutions
  • Selling across the entire portfolio of legacy and newly acquired solutions
  • Shift focus to selling services vs. products
  • Driving sales/revenue through partners vs. direct

Your salespeople are going up against experienced buyers who have interests they need to protect, especially when revenues are tight. They will identify and exploit the lack of alignment across the selling organization to gain advantage and minimize their costs. They are experts at pitting misaligned teams against each other to create leverage. Remember, negotiation is an organizational competency, not just a sales skill.

Share these top negotiation resources with your sales teams to improve their ability to negotiate and sell on value to improve margins consistently.

 

Lean Into Opportunity

If you're trying to decide how to move forward this year, consider investing in your sales teams and improving their ability to execute. We're working with teams right now who are increasing pipeline and closed-won deals by figuring out the best opportunity to drive revenue recovery and leaning into it.

They're refusing to wait.

Embrace the opportunity that presents itself right now. Many sales leaders don't have the luxury to wait one more day to make the necessary changes in their organizations. Lead from the front. Determine where you can make immediate impact in the short term and set your organization up for success in the long term. 

Through virtual and remote sales training we've helped companies achieve their desired results and improve their ability to compete. See how our process makes a difference, and consider how you can lean into your biggest opportunity to achieve your required results.

 

Don't Wait, Move Forward.

How sales organizations prepare for the turnaround will directly affect their ability to compete in their new market. This doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel. Depending on your circumstance and adjusted revenue goals, there are always ways to get busy.

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