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Also posted on: IT Infrastructure
Not many companies have the time, money or inclination to completely reset their sales and marketing strategy or change the tools and structures that support it. Frankly, in our experience, such an overhaul is rarely necessary. Let’s face it, you probably wouldn’t still be in business if everything was so broken in sales and marketing that you needed to start again.
Usually there are a number of tell-tale signs that indicate a bit of a tune-up be may required. Margins falling or a preponderance of one-off customisation may point to a product or solution becoming uncompetitive or not focused on the right business problem. Lengthening sales cycles or an increased inability to forecast accurately can highlight issues in your understanding of your buyers’ journeys. Disappointment with channel partner performance may actually come down to a lack of clarity over roles and responsibilities.
The point is, all these issues can be resolved quickly and cost effectively without recourse to the dreaded terms “strategy review” or “sales and marketing transformation”. A good start point is to understand your sales velocity as developed by the TAS Group. Using their equation, you multiply the number of deals you are working by the average deal value by the win rate and divide the answer by the average length of the sales cycle. Go and play with the maths yourself, it is fascinating. However, what it does is help you focus on where your issues might be.
One Infrastructure Managed Services company I worked with was concerned about its average deal value and win rate for a particular service. Inside 4 weeks I was able to identify some missing or poorly developed components of their proposition which, when corrected, gave the sales force confidence to sell the whole solution rather than piece parts, thereby increasing the sales value, and increase the win rate from around 20% to 33%.
In a different area, I have just come across a great piece of tune-up learning around sales and marketing integration from a leading ERP vendor. As companies start to embrace social selling the age old question about lead quality comes sharply into focus. Using a tool like LinkedIn Sales Navigator with a clearly defined set of things sales must do, marketing can provide and marketing must do, underpinned by the approach of marketing learning from sales what they need, has improved sales conversion rates dramatically.
4 weeks turns out to be a key psychological period of time that defines a tune-up rather than a re-build. Initially this was driven by a hosting company that worked on monthly sales targets. They wanted to see a return on our proposition development work within a month. That was impossible, but we did compromise on the project being completed in a month. This forced us to industrialise our processes and ensure that you start to get indications about performance improvements within a quarter. We also found that, as we talked to other companies, a 4 week project felt manageable from a resource perspective and sale-able internally. Projects become more about coaching you to be able to do specific things you know better. Product by product, proposition by proposition, segment by segment, sales team by sales team, this is a monthly approach to optimising sales and marketing, together.
On that basis, each month we will focus a blog on one element of the sales velocity equation to highlight the way to identify and tackle some of the tune-up tactics that you can complete in a month…calendars allowing of course!
This post first appeared on the old Cassini Reviews website.