Signs You’re Working for a Company That’s Staged for Growth
Towards the end of the fiscal year it’s not uncommon for many sales reps to consider new opportunities. Whether it seems like you’ve exhausted your territory or the current economic environment has left you to reevaluate your company’s growth potential – you need to feel confident you’re in the right spot.
Is your sales organization primed for success? Are you working for a company that will accelerate growth? The answer generally comes down to the evidence of sales effectiveness as it pertains to how the sales organization will support you in these three areas:
- What you sell
- How you sell
- Why you sell
Analyze your current company and/or your options as they measure up in these three areas.
1. What you sell
How you’re equipped to articulate exactly what it is you sell, beyond features and functions, is a key indicator of whether or not a company is staged for growth.
When evaluating your company, ask yourself if you’re equipped to answer the questions below in a way that has meaning to the buyer. The answers must compel a buyer to action. If you’re considering a company, gauge the sales or hiring manager on how well they can answer these questions:
- What problems does the company and their solutions solve?
- How do you solve these problems?
- How do you solve these problems differently or better than competitors?
- Where’s your proof?
When sales reps are equipped to effectively articulate these answers in-front of the customer, they’re primed to sell and negotiate on value in a way that’s meaningful to their buyers. We often refer to the questions above as the essential questions every company should be able to answer. Sales consumable tools and training that are built with custom answers to these questions support salespeople in executing high-level business conversations that enable them to charge a premium. When this information is not consistently known by salespeople in the organization, it's difficult for them to repeat high-margin performances and avoid discounting or losses.
In organizations that are not primed for growth, elite sellers generally have to define the answers to the essential questions on their own and they become the cream of the crop for it. Elite organizations, however, equip their entire sales organization with consistent answers to the essential questions to support them in growing their average deal size, quotas and commission.
Evidence to look for:
- Custom, sales consumable tools that provide buyer value drivers, differentiators, metrics and purchase requirements that are important to the buying community (at multiple levels in the organization)
- On-boarding training that supports faster time-to productivity in understanding and articulating the value and differentiation of the company’s offerings in a way that has meaning to the buyer
2. How you sell
As a seller, how you’re equipped to qualify opportunities, move deals through each sales stage and hit your forecast speaks volumes about a sales organization's ability to grow.
Again, as you evaluate your company or your options, consider these questions:
- Does your sales process align with your customer’s buying stages?
- Are customer verifiable outcomes defined for each sales stage?
- Is there company-wide clarity on deal qualification criteria?
- Is there clarity on how to build pipeline and what constitutes an ideal customer?
- What does a management operating rhythm look like and how well does it support your success?
- Do you know what qualifies a deal to move forward?
- Do you know when you should walk away from the deal?
- Do the people in your sales process, yourself included, know who does what when?
- Bonus question for managers: is it clear what high-value sales activities you should be spending your time on?
When these answers are abundantly clear to you, your entire sales organization, and the other internal departments you work with throughout the sales process – you're in a company primed for scalable growth. If you’re repeatedly struggling with what to do when or facing sales process bottlenecks that seem unavoidable (and your deals are suffering because of it) – you already know, your commission and future is rocky. An inconsistent deal qualification approach impacts your future growth and the company’s.
Evidence to look for:
Consistent sales qualification language and tools: Sales organizations are primed to go from good to great, even during a pandemic, when they have a consistent sales qualification process and language. The consistency ensures numbers are accurately predicted because (1) you’re all speaking the same language around where and why a deal is in a particular stage and (2) everyone has a clear understanding of exactly when to move a deal forward, what moves a deal forward and why to qualify in or out. A consistent qualification language will lay the groundwork for how you sell and you'll close more opportunities because of it.
A management operating rhythm or coaching cadence: How you are supported in accurately qualifying, progressing and closing sales opportunities will be the lynchpin to hitting your forecasted number repeatedly. This is especially key if you’re concerned about a seemingly dwindling territory. Look for evidence of a MOR or coaching cadence (other than monthly check ins) where managers provide clear direction on high-value sales activities and insights on how to execute on them. A MOR benefits you because it ensures managers are continuously teaching repeatable skills you can use to move future opportunities forward effectively. It also benefits you by ensuring you’ll have managers that can help you dig deeper in your territory, expand it and crack into high-value accounts.
3. Why you’re selling
Do you know what good looks like in your role?
When you’re shown the top talent in your sales organization or another — you need to know why they’re the top talent.
When a sales organization clearly defines their priorities for hiring sales talent and coaching them to become top performers, they can build the competitive difference they need to drive revenue growth. Elite companies that build a talent management strategy benefit you for obvious reasons like defining your clear path to professional growth. A successful talent management strategy can also provide you hidden benefits that are less obvious like:
- Better on-boarding processes and support to ensure faster time-to-productivity
- Support from managers who coach for success not just compliance, they focus on improving outputs and honing sales skills
- Less turnover, leaving more time for your manager to focus on supporting you (vs on-boarding new hires)
Elite sales organizations have a talent strategy in place that ensures their people become a competitive advantage. If you’re uncertain if your company or a company you’re considering has an effective (keyword!) talent strategy in place that will support your success, and theirs, consider these questions:
- Is there clarity on what success looks like in each sales role in the sales organization?
- Does the sales organization constantly lose high performers?
- Why would someone want to work for the company and/or sales organization?
- Is there an influx of turnover?
- Are managers focused on compliance efforts or equipped to coach you to success?
If you want to know what you need to do to be successful in the sales organization your manager or the hiring manager should be clearly able to walk you through how. If they’re not, move on.
Evidence to look for:
- A clear picture of what good looks like in your position
- An proven on-boarding process that improves time-to-productivity, consider asking for metrics on this!
- Where their turnover percentage ranks compared to industry average
- Talent development plans that prioritize improving rep retention and output
- Managers who focus on coaching repeatable sales skills that result in high-value closes
Make Next Year Your Best Year Yet
Regardless if you’ve decided you’re in the right place or you need to move on, ensure you’re constantly sharpening your sales skills so you can execute and increase your commissions. Subscribe to the Audible-Ready podcast. We share weekly episodes that cover various areas of sales effectiveness. Each timely episode is aimed at helping salespeople beat competition and exceed their quotas.
If you are in the market, this article may provide you with helpful ways to brush up your interview skills so you can land the position in a high-growth company.