A sales department is the engine of your business. As a sum of interlocking and connected parts, if something goes amiss it stops operating at full strength (or just ceases altogether). That’s why it needs a solid system to run off – your sales process.
To keep ahead of the game, you need a solid, strategic foundation for your process to run from. Unfortunately, many organisations fall short in their ability to implement this and hold accountability to these foundations.
A business may have the best salespeople in their team, but if they aren’t targeting the right market, then their results will reflect this. Similarly, if an organisation’s sales process is well established, but isn’t communicated to the sales team, they’re going to struggle to close and forecast sales.
“We typically see bloated pipelines, inconsistent forecasting, slow sales velocity and low closing ratios in companies that don’t have strong sales processes,” says Steve Bambury, Head of Marketing at SalesStar.
The basics of laying a strong foundation
Much like the building blocks of a house, the right sales strategy starts with establishing the right framework. This includes setting sales goals and KPIs, identifying target markets and developing strategic sales messaging so that both management and salespeople can clearly differentiate the ‘company’ from the ‘competition’.
“If you’re not specific and clear on your target market then you can end up having conversations with the wrong people. As a business you should have a thorough understanding of the problems of your target market and how you can solve them better than your competitors,” says Steve.
As part of your strategy, you also need to determine and refine your key performance indicators (KPIs), which should incorporate leading behavioural measures.
“For example, KPIs could include the number of phone calls per meeting or the number of proposals per sale,” Steve says. “It gives salespeople a clearly defined goal and allows managers to hold people accountable for the actions that drive sales.”
Once these foundations are set, you can begin to put together the steps of an effective sales process. Remember, a successful process needs to:
- Have the right steps, in the correct order.
- Be intuitive and memorable.
- Take the buyer’s journey into consideration.
Last of all, the best sales processes use reliable forecasting models – an important function for management and CEOs, who use this information to steer their business. Without a good strategic foundation to work off, you might as well be driving blind.
Misinforming and misrepresenting your business landscape could leave you wandering aimlessly – or worse. Overestimating a potential customer’s true position, lack of pipeline milestones, relying on gut feeling versus qualification criteria are all signs of poor forecasting and likely symptoms of a rocky strategic foundation.
How do you build a solid strategic foundation?
Now that we’ve established that a solid strategic foundation is crucial to powering sales success, how do you build one?
Angelo Hrastov, General Manager of Sales, Asia Pacific, for Lonza Wood Protection faced this exact challenge. Angelo’s first step was to enrol Lonza’s sales leaders on SaleStar’s Strategic Foundation Workshop. The workshop helped Lonza’s leadership team hone their strategic capability – providing them tools and process they needed to start laying that important foundation.
“The Strategic Foundation Workshop with SalesStar was excellent. We learned that if you want a consistent approach, and to make sure your sales team are doing what you need them to do, then you need to have a process, underpinned by a solid strategy, that they can follow,” says Angelo.
When you partner with SalesStar it means there is another, external party driving sales leaders to develop good strategic foundations. What’s more, as part of the Strategic Foundation Workshop, you’ll receive a 90-day action plan that extends your access to SalesStar’s sales training experts for the crucial support and guidance your team needs.
So, if you’re ready to set your sales team up for the high-performance league, the Strategic Foundation Workshop could be the right fuel to get your business roaring off the start line!