Prioritization through 3 lenses:
- What sales productivity problems should you fix in 2013?
- How do you know fixing these problems will have the greatest impact on revenue?
- Which problems do you have power to change because you aren’t SVP?
This post is written for the VP of Sales trying to determine which sales productivity problem to prioritize and which ones to ignore. You should only tackle the problems you can impact. Your peers told us what they are doing during this event and how they are prioritizing for the 2013 sales strategy inside their regions.
Question : What Sales Productivity Problem should you Fix in 2013?
As a VP of Sales you are asking these questions:
- How do I get the sales team to execute our sales process with more discipline?
- Do I need more reps to hit the ‘13 growth number or can I get more out of the existing team?
- Should I replace my bottom 2 Managers? If I promote two A player reps what does that do to my field productivity?
- Should I invest more in Inside Sales because they are less expensive or will my customers reject the notion of a virtual resource?
Answer: Sequence Your Initiatives Properly
Sequencing is defined here as applying order to sales improvement initiatives. Examples of poor sequencing are things like:
- Sales Training initiatives kicked off prior to sales skills assessments being conducted.
- Trying to solve a Sales Process problem through data vs. requiring more from your Sales Managers
- Head count added before optimal coverage models are determined.
- Indirect selling channels recruited to sell a company’s products before a channel management program is defined.
How to Sequence
Register for our event to get this 2013 planning tool to get it right. For example, you should start with your 2013 sales strategy. Do you have one? Walking through the questions below which are part of the strategy tool and answering Yes or No will help you identify where prioritization should begin.
Question : How do you know fixing these problems will have the greatest impact on the revenue line? As a VP of Sales, you cannot afford to work on fixing problems that won’t impact the 2013 number.
Answer: How Critical is the Problem and How Capable are you in Solving? Sequencing is critical. And in performing this, you may realize there are problems you want fixed but you don’t have the capability or power to solve. For example, in the example above, you may recognize that Lead Generation is a massive gap. You don’t run Marketing. The SVP of Marketing is at Corporate and is a peer of your boss. You can’t impact this to make an impact in Q1.
Assess What is Critical and What you are Capable of Solving. After walking through the questions in the above example, rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 3. Do it on two dimensions:
1 – not critical to make the ’13 number (longer term nice to have)
2 – somewhat critical to making the ’13 number (short term nice to have)
3 – without this we will miss the ’13 number (short term must have)
1 – we don’t do this and don’t know how (need outside help)
2 – we do this now but not as well as we could (might need corporate or outside help)
3 – we do this now and have seen a positive business impact (we have this skill and it is refined)
Output: Ignore anything that has a 1 or 2 in Criticality. You have now identified WHAT. ignore anything that you rated a 1 or 3 in Capability. Remember, the goal of this exercise is what sales productivity problems to fix for 2013. You should ignore the 1’s because it will take too long. Ignore the 3’s because you have probably reached the point of diminishing return and the lift you get will be very small.
Which Problems do you have Power to Change?
Focus on those that rated 3 in critical and 2 in capability. You are doing them now but not as well as you could.
Why will you have the Power to Change?
- Boss-Your boss will recognize it is in the critical path for ’13 revenue line. Captive Audience
- Your Team—Your team will view this as skill building that impacts the ’13 number. Engaged Team Members
- Your Customers—if you notice it, I guarantee you they notice it. Delighted Customers
- You—You want to get paid and you want to get promoted. Enough said.