When I talk to CEOs of businesses that depend on a successful B2B direct sales channel, their concerns can be grouped into two major buckets:
1. Do we have enough MQLs & SQLs to fill the pipeline?
2. Is the sales team getting traction
The issue of “traction” is usually expressed in terms of:
Sales Process… Do we have a potent sales strategy for winning deals in our target market?
Sales Execution … Are we consistently executing on this strategic process?
If sales ‘traction’ is not always the biggest concern of a CEO, it’s certainly the hardest one to ‘nail down’.
Lead generation activities are relatively easy to measure and track – even if you don’t like the results! Your sales operations manager should be able to provide status reports and reporting on a regular basis.
How well does our team execute the sales process?
But, ask for a report that shows how well the sales team is executing the sales process, and you will get a whole bunch of questions coming back at you, such as:
– What do you mean, what’s our conversion rate? And if so, what is a good conversation rate?
– And do you mean conversion rates in terms of SQLs to Wins or Proposals to wins?
– Or you might get asked, what do you mean by sales process?!
Ask for a document that clearly articulates a strategic sales process – and you might receive a PowerPoint presentation on the “sales playbook”.
Or you might learn that “we don’t have a documented process yet”
This is a big problem for CEOs and their VP of Sales with aspirations to grow.
The lack of a sales process that can be executed consistently – not robotically but within the guard rails of what is best practice – means that sales results are not scalable or dependable. This means your sales results are driven by the individual brilliance of a small cohort in your sales team.
Sales Process example
A typical sales process is defined by a number of stages such as:
But it’s important to go deeper and define the Steps that need to be executed in each Stage. A Step is a customer event or deliverable that needs to be executed to maximise the probability of a successful close. Typically, you will want to have one to three steps in each stage – an example set of stages and steps is provided below:
What software tools can help your sales team define and execute sales process?
Historically, the Sales CRM category was built on the promise of improved traction. The CRM provides a platform for salespeople to manage opportunities all the way from lead generation through to a successful contract and beyond.
In practice, CRMs and user adoption have been more about providing management with reporting on prospects and the pipeline – and very little about actually helping salespeople navigate the process.
Attempts at integrating sales process and methodology fall over when they become data entry obligations for sales producers.
In recent years, sales automation and sales engagement tools have emerged that do help salespeople become more efficient and productive at the top end of the funnel.
Meanwhile, sales enablement tools provide content and training that can help execute the sales process.
So, software tools that sales teams can use to address the two biggest issues for CEOs (leads and traction). In summary:
1. Getting more SQLs can be addressed by sales automation and sales engagement tools.
2. Getting traction further down the funnel is the domain of sales enablement.
So, it’s good to know that a few vendors are working to address this problem. SalesGRID is working to provide a platform that solves these problems directly.
SalesGRID provides a platform to create your own digital sales playbooks that go deep into various Stages, Steps, content, and Power moves needed to convert SQLs into new customers. It also provides the reporting and insights into the execution of these playbooks across your sales team.