Until you close 100% of your deals, your reps must consistently generate new opportunities. If they don’t, you will miss the number.
Most sales teams are composed of three groups:
- The Superstars – These gifted few need little oversight or incentive. They are your A-players. They perform year in and year out. They have been blessed with the right DNA.
- The Perennial Underperformers – These are your C-players. They never hit the number. You keep them around primarily for two reasons: You hope against hope or HR policy makes them impossible to oust. Either way you are doing them and the organization a disservice. They are not suited for the role. Move them out or into another role.
- The Inconsistent Contributors – This is the majority of your sales team. These B-Players make the number one year and miss the next. It’s hard to figure out exactly why. They seem to have the skills but their performance is inconsistent.
The secret to a sales manager’s ongoing success is focusing on your B-Players. Even incremental improvements will have a huge impact on the revenue number.
SBI’s 8th Annual Sales Effectiveness Research Report just came out. For more ideas on how to Make the Number, download the report here.
To mitigate inconsistent performance, you must teach your B-Players to focus on the right opportunities. Here is your 3-part curriculum:
Identifying the Right Accounts
Not all markets are created equal; not all accounts are created equal either. You need to provide your sales team a way of objectively prioritizing customers and prospects. The discipline of segmentation covers three areas:
- Market Segmentation – Divide the broad target market into subsets of buyers who have common needs and priorities.
- Account Segmentation – Understand which accounts in your market are going to generate the most revenue over the shortest period of time.
- Buyer Segmentation – Understand how buyers in your accounts make purchase decisions.
Collaborate with marketing and sales operations to understand your segmentation approach.
Defining a Prospecting Methodology
You need to fill the sales funnel with enough opportunities to make the revenue goal. Easier said than done.
The goal of prospecting is to get decision makers to say, “I’m interested – when can we meet?” Amazingly, most sales teams do not have a common approach to prospecting. Each rep is left to his own devices and creativity. The results of this approach speaks for itself.
The best sales managers equip their sales teams with a Prospecting Playbook. It’s a how-to guide for executing the different approaches to prospecting: Social Selling, Referral Generation and Offline Prospecting.
Enabling the Sales Team
The final section of your curriculum is Sales Enablement. Sales enablement is about getting the right content in the hands of the right people at the right time.
Segmentation defines and prioritizes who to call on. A prospecting playbook outlines the steps to follow to get the appointment. Sales Enablement equips the sales rep for the ‘moment of truth’- The Sales Call.
A lot of work goes into generating interest in the mind of a buyer and in securing an appointment. Then the sales call happens and the tools and the talk track used by the sales rep vary from rep to rep. Results are inconsistent. This is one of the reasons rep revenue production varies greatly from rep to rep.
To get Sales Enablement right requires:
- Content needed to enable the sales team.
- Playbook that packages the content and makes it readily available.
- Training program to build the necessary competencies, skills and knowledge.
- Certification and coaching to reinforce the training.
Take Action: Tired of the rollercoaster ride. One year part of the team hits the number. The next year is a different group. The key to leveling out performance is getting your reps to focus on the right opportunities. There are three key elements to consistent performance: Segmentation, Prospecting & Sales Enablement. Are you neglecting one or more of these? If so, it’s time to take action. Download the Right Account Scoresheet now.