- Learning Center
- About us
The main reason why so many of today's sales organisations underperform is simple: sales leaders are applying traditional thinking to modern buying behaviours. Our leads and customers expect to receive significantly more added value in return for their attention, consideration and money. Our sales forces also have to sell better, faster and smarter than their increasingly international competitors, all adding to the complexity of the modern sales leaders' job.
Having worked with many sales leaders, both traditional and modern, we've been able to distill the two key themes to explain and address sales underperformance:
The remainder of this page serves to challenge the sales leader's conventional thought patterns, and to inspire a modernised, customer-centric, measurable and more productive way of selling. We'll address the following key topics to help drive sales success:
Are you in a sales leadership position, and are you getting pressure from your executive team or investors because they don’t see the expected revenue growth trajectory? Were you under the impression that your traditional go-to-market strategy would deliver better sales results than it ultimately did?
If you’re thinking “yes” to either of those questions, then investing in a digital go-to-market strategy (DGTM) is probably well worth exploring. Designing a revenue-generating strategy that is actually in line with today’s market expectations and requirements, is absolutely crucial for continued commercial success.
A traditional go-to-market strategy describes, mostly in generic terms, where and how a product or service is taken to the market. It typically includes target markets, target audiences, a pricing strategy, value propositions and perhaps a few sales trainings. Yet in many cases, generic doesn’t cut it any longer, and the strategy does not result in the desired revenue growth.
The difference between a traditional go-to-market strategy versus a digital go-to-market strategy, is that the latter is more focused on digital competences, it’s more human-centric, more specific about relevant added values, more measurable and therefore more actionable.
Ultimately, any business outcome is merely the result of the actions (or lack thereof) that preceded it. If your marketing and sales results are sub-par, it’s because the execution was sub-par, which is most likely because the go-to-market strategy was non-customer centric, hard to measure and improve on, and in the broader sense, you guessed it, sub-par. Any sales leader who feels they may be able to do a better job, should consider investing in developing an effective DGTM.
Crucially, a DGTM helps and serves to alleviate both key sales challenges mentioned earlier: insufficient sales pipeline and lacking modern sales skills. That is why the following elements must always be considered, discussed, and documented:
An effective and truly fruitful partnership between marketing and sales has, for the overwhelming majority of companies, always been an unattainable utopia. Sales leaders feel like the marketing team doesn't deliver the amount and/or quality of leads the sales team needs to be successful. Marketing leaders are wondering what sales reps are doing with the leads they so carefully generated and nurtured. Result: misalignment, mistrust and missed revenue targets.
Ultimately, the growth and prosperity of any company is largely determined by the amount of sales they generate. The very first order of business therefore, is making sure the marketing and sales leaders operate, and are viewed and measured as one entity, a dedicated growth engine if you will, rather than as separate silos.
In the past, the division of labour may have been too simple: marketing generates leads, sales generates customers. Today, we recommend our customers to expand their traditional views and run their revenue-generating teams more holistically:
Whereas there is no single correct answer, there are plenty of high-growth organizations who have already figured out the mechanisms behind successful marketing and sales alignment. We actually recommend many of the sales leaders we work with, to consider concrete initiatives such as these to achieve and surpass their sales goals:
One of the biggest mistakes many companies make, is failing to adopt a formal sales process. There are five distinct reasons why sales leaders should take the time to design, implement, and stick to a measurable sales process:
We can only improve what we see, and we can only see what we measure. Without a formal and measurable sales process, sales leaders will find themselves having a much harder time to assign and align the right resources to drive revenue growth.
A measurable sales process helps us collect invaluable insights about key metrics such as conversion ratios by sales process stage, weighted pipeline value, pipeline coverage against target, and main reasons for losing deals. So, depending on what the data tells us, sales leaders may need to take certain specific and concrete actions to improve their numbers:
All of the above actions will be much more impactful when they're actually based on validated data points, rather than on gut feelings and guesses. And that is why every sales leader needs a formal and measurable sales process.
Sales productivity is probably one of the main drivers behind overall company success. The more productive the sales team is, the more revenue they bring in, the more growth and prosperity for the company. The formula for sales productivity is simple:
Sales productivity = sales efficiency x sales effectiveness
Sales effectiveness relates to the sales rep's ability to advance the right buyers through the buying process, to actually win deals, and bring on board good-fit customers who have the potential to stay on board and increase their spending. Effectiveness also marks the difference between just being very busy, versus being productive. Good metrics for sales leaders to keep track of their sales teams' effectiveness are:
Sales efficiency simply allows the sales team do more work in less time. It is important to note however, that driving sales efficiencies is only sensible if and when the sales team understands how to do their job right, i.e. sales effectiveness, first. To illustrate, a sales rep who is highly efficient probably manages to meet with a relatively high number of prospects. That doesn't necessarily mean the prospects are qualified and ready to buy though. Doing more of the wrong things, only amplifies the sales rep's biggest challenges.
Sales reps typically only spend 25% to 35% of their time doing what they were hired to do: meeting with customers and selling. In order to increase the sales team's efficiency, a sales leader should consider smart ways to:
Effective and modern sales leaders understand that just giving sales reps a laptop, a phone, and a friendly handshake isn't really setting anyone up for success. Instead, with the aim of increasing sales productivity and therefore revenue, more and more companies are now investing in sales enablement initiatives. So how does that work, exactly?
Sales enablement is typically said to consist of five different categories:
As sales content is usually produced in tandem with marketing, it's actually not that hard to get started. The marketing team, in many cases, will already have the skills required and systems in place to create helpful content that the sales team will actually use, such as:
Sales onboarding: Many sales leaders invest close to nothing in new hire onboarding. Yet failing sales reps are expensive: there's hiring costs + compensation paid to failed hire + benefits awarded to failed hire + equipment purchased for failed hire + training costs + burned leads + sales not generated + opportunity costs for a successful hire. Multiply that amount by several failed hires per year, and the business case for better sales onboarding practically writes itself. So what should sales leaders include to design an effective sales onboarding program?