When dysfunction and disarray make their jobs tougher, salespeople lose their edge. They lose heart, they go rogue, they go elsewhere. The funnel gets leakier, and costs keep rising. Revenue goals remain out of reach. 


What’s the secret to keeping sales reps sharp, motivated, and effective? How can you ensure they’re performing at their peak?


Start with these seven steps. Surging revenues will soon follow.


No matter where you stand now, transformative change is within your reach.


What Marketing, Sales, and HR Must Do

Building an outstanding sales force is a collaborative effort. Your sales team’s performance will depend on how well these cross-functional responsibilities are met.


1. Nurture leads well.

Done right, lead nurturing can double your win rate.  Lower your cost per lead by 33%. And bring a 47% higher average order value. But many companies struggle to meet their lead management programs’ insatiable demands. If yours is also, you’re probably not generating enough sales-ready leads.


Your To-Do List



 2. Allocate territories wisely.

Sales must allocate territories in a way that maximizes revenue potential. That means putting high-performing reps in the most fertile territories. Relying on the wrong criteria or defaulting to “peanut butter spreads” is demoralizing to reps. And deadly to revenue targets. 


Your To-Do List


  • Assess the potential of each account, and prioritize accordingly.
  • Revisit your territory planning process—how you determine territory potential, optimal size, and goals.
  • Consider how well you communicate territory decisions to the team.


3. Set sensible quotas.

Many sales leaders set arbitrary, pie-in-the-sky sales quotas. They don’t factor in the right variables. And they have no idea how far off their quotas are. Sales suffer due to low morale, and high turnover drains revenue.


Your To-Do List


  • Account for each rep’s account potential, territory potential, and production capacity.
  • Decide how best to rationalize the organization’s quota across all reps. And each rep’s quota against the organization’s.
  • Consider how well you communicate quota decisions to the team.


4. Create an incentive plan that works.

Designing an effective and sustainable incentive plan is a complicated process. Without proper input and analysis, your plan will explode the sales budget. Or fail to incentivize desired behaviors. Knee-jerk comp plan changes only make things worse.


Your To-Do List


  • Per role: Establish compensation benchmarks, determine pay, and identify the optimal comp plan design.
  • Determine the cost implications of your compensation decisions.
  • Evaluate how you approve changes, how you communicate them, and how you measure their effectiveness.


5. Get reps the content they need, when and where they need it.

Sales enablement means getting the right content in the right people’s hands at the right time. It’s supposed to help reps do their jobs better and make reps’ jobs easier. But that’s not possible if the sales force isn’t receptive to new programs.


Your To-Do List


  • Assess how well you develop and package content for the sales team’s use.
  • Identify any gaps in your technology and training programs.
  • Focus on improving adoption, coaching, and effectiveness.


6. Maximize selling time.

Sales reps should spend 70% of their time selling. Yet most of them spend too many hours on administrative duties. With proper automation, you’ll free and empower your reps to close more sales.


Your To-Do List


  • Evaluate your existing platforms and processes to pinpoint any marketing automation failures.
  • Consider how you might leverage various technologies to improve productivity. (CRM/SFA, mobile playbooks, gamification, contract administration, predictive analytics, etc.)
  • Construct a “sales technologies roadmap” to match core sales workflow issues with appropriate technologies.


7. Make talent development an ongoing affair.

Your sales force must keep pace with your market, buyers, and competitors. If training and coaching are random, rare, or subpar, they won’t reinforce desired behaviors. They must be top priorities, even for “A” players—your future sales leaders.


Your To-Do List


  • Consider the kind of training program you’ll need to develop core competencies, skills, and knowledge.
  • Revisit your current coaching program—where it’s lacking, and how it can be improved.
  • Decide how you’ll measure the impact of your talent development program.


Remember: Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

SBI_Annual_Report.jpgThese seven steps cover a lot of territory. But we can walk you through this process. Our experience helping other companies will help light the way.


No matter where you stand now, transformative change is within your reach. Simply register for our “How to Make Your Number in 2016” workshop. In just 90 minutes, we’ll start you on the path to sustained revenue growth.


Mike Drapeau

Makes data and analysis come alive so clients can understand the “what” and “why” and design solutions that fit the environment.
Learn more about Mike Drapeau >

Once the leader of SBI Delivery, Mike is now head of the firm’s internal talent development, so he has had the fortune to help some amazing sales and marketing leaders. He starts by earning their trust. Much of this comes from his deep base of experience. With more than 25 years in sales, sales management, pre-sales and sales operations, he’s never met a challenge he didn’t like. And with backgrounds in sales leadership, marketing, and sales operations, he shuns the idea of being a desk jockey and relishes the idea of living in the field.


Mike maintains, develops, and leverages SBI’s library of emerging best practices for sales and marketing, which leads to evidence-based solutions, custom-fit to each client. Maniacally focused on execution, Mike does not believe in giving clients fancy deliverables with no operational details. He knows that field adoption is key. After all, if behavior doesn’t change, the lift doesn’t come. Likewise, if those closest to the field adopt the solution, the client wins.

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