The Role of Buying Cycle in Aligning Sales and Marketing

When sales and marketing are not on the same page, your team can’t perform at its 

best.Many team leaders make the mistake of developing marketing and sales separately from one another, seeing them as two separate groups and assuming that cohesion comes naturally. This results in goals that negate each other and two teams that do not function well. To align sales and marketing, look at the sales process as one complete, connected system. Consider the process a full buying cycle.

What Is the Buying Cycle?

Many business people see the sales process as a series of separate steps. If you can accomplish each step, you can build your profitability. However, it is important to consider business as a buying cycle, which intertwines the marketing and sales functions, so that they work seamlessly. The buying cycle is the cycle of business, starting at an anonymous customer and ending with a sale. It creates a closer relationship between marketing and sales. If you can align your marketing and sales teams, your business model will become exponentially more powerful.

Buying Cycle Tips: Communicate

One of the most important parts of building a stronger connection between sales and marketing is communication. In many companies, the sales and marketing teams operate separately and only interact when it is necessary. Such limitations are crippling for a business and severely limit revenue potential. Everyone on your team must understand what their specific role is, as well as how their role fits into the overall workings of company. Additionally, improved communication between marketing and sales people will also improve the relationships between them, reducing the chances of counterproductive finger-pointing or frustration when something goes wrong.

Integrate Technology

One easy way to ensure smoother communication between the sales and marketing teams is by integrating technology. In many companies, the sales and marketing teams rely on separate software. Use connected software so that both teams can access and view the same things.

Understand the Buyer’s Journey

Along with communication, both the marketing and sales teams must be on the same page about where each buyer is in the cycle. If a sales person calls someone who is ready to buy and makes introductory remarks, he or she may frustrate the customer and risk losing the sale. Customers want to work with a company that is a well-oiled machine, with each employee having a thorough understanding of how everything functions. Contact our specialists to find out how we can help align your sales and marketing teams.


Why You Need a Structured Sales Environment

Worried that by deploying a structured sales environment you’ll be taking away your sales rep’s intuition and creativity when attempting to close a sale? Don’t be. Without a structured sales process, sales reps are required to rely entirely on their own resourcefulness and guesswork.

A structured sales environment provides sales reps with a roadmap and process to maximize sales opportunities. A study by Harvard Business Review shows that high-performing sales organizations employ a well-defined and structured sales process. A structured sales environment establishes proven processes and activities that enable sales reps to be more effective at seizing opportunities and closing sales.

What does a structured sales environment look like? Generally, it provides sales reps with an end-to-end sales process similar to the steps below:

Generating Leads

The first step in a sales process is lead generation. Lead generation is the process of identifying the target market for your organization’s products or services. Once key demographics are known, sales reps can generate new leads through methods like cold calling, web or social media connections, current customer referrals, etc.

Qualifying Leads

A qualified lead is a customer who has the desire or ability to buy the product or service the sales organization is providing. A sales rep can qualify a prospect by researching the customer, asking eligibility questions, identifying budget constraints or running a credit check. Qualifying leads enables sales reps to focus their sales efforts on customers who are most likely to buy.

Analyzing Needs

Sales reps perform needs assessments as part of  a consultative sales process in order to build a relationship with the customer and identify their requirements. A needs assessment can be completed by asking questions and conducting surveys. The assessment results allow the sales rep to tailor their sales pitch to the specific customer’s needs. 

Presenting Solutions

A sales pitch is an attempt by the sales rep to position a solution to the customers’ needs or requirements. The focus of the pitch should be on presenting customer solutions versus providing a product features overview. The sales rep should articulate how the product or service will meet the customer’s needs based on the previously completed assessment.

Overcoming Objections

It’s common for customers to have hesitations or concerns, even after hearing a well-versed sales pitch. Good sales reps find ways to turn customer objections into opportunities. They complete this by asking follow-up questions to further understand and respond to the customer’s needs.

Closing Sales

The sale closes once the sales rep and customer agree that the organization’s products or services will meet their needs. Closing the sale generally includes a mutual agreement on the terms of the sale and recording the close of the deal.

Support Post Sales

The sales process doesn’t end with the closing of a deal. Following up with the customer to assure customer satisfaction is key to retaining existing customers and finding new ones. While post-sales support may not be the primary role of a sales rep, it is a part of the overall sales process and a key to sales success.

Interested in a thorough evaluation of your organization’s sales process? Need assistance creating a structured sales environment? HireDNA can complete an analysis of your sales environment and identify areas for improving and accelerating sales. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results. 

We help our clients maximize sales effectiveness by delivering a complete system to hire, train, equip and manage high-performance sales teams. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.

Create a Winning Sales Culture with the Right Incentives and Motivators

Tips for creating a winning sales cultures that drives sales performance. With the high degree of competition in the sales market today, creating and maintaining a top-performing sales culture is more important than ever. Developing this strong culture is crucial for long-term sales growth. In our last blog, we discussed strategies for enhancing an organization’s sales culture using data and tools. In this article, we will delve into ways to improve sales cultures by using motivation and incentives.

1.     Maintain Open Communication

Concept: Communication is one of the most important facets of motivating sales reps.

Practice: Sales reps need to understand how their role plays into the overall company goals and objectives. They need to know they are part of something bigger. Sales reps should have individual performance goals and personal goals that tie into the overall company objectives. Weekly team meetings, coaching and one-on-one reviews help keep reps focused and motivated to reach their goals.

2.     Establish Sales Targets

Concept: Establish the correct goals and targets for sales reps to meet company objectives.

Practice: Organizations need to ensure their incentives are tied to the correct objectives in order to drive desired behaviors. If your sales reps’ bonuses are tied specifically to sales revenue, that’s where they will be motivated to perform. But what if your organization wants to grow their market share, acquire new clients or retain existing customers? Organizations need to establish metrics for those objectives and associate the proper incentives.

3.     Identify Performance-Based Incentives

Concept: Create an incentive plan that motivates your sales force.

Practice: While cash bonuses are a great incentive, it isn’t the only motivator for sales reps. Depending on your organization, winning paid time off, flex time or work-from-home options may be a great way to inspire reps to meet or exceed performance goals. Additionally, prizes are another great sales culture motivator. Concert tickets, sporting events and all-expenses-paid vacations are an excellent way to get the whole sales team excited.

4.     Provide Milestone Gifts/Gamification

Concept: Provide milestone gifts and/or gamification for your sales team.

Practice: Sales organizations understand how important it is to retain knowledgeable sales reps. Recognizing employee contributions is important. Provide items like company-branded mugs, coolers or bags when reps hit certain milestones, such as their 100th sale. Not only does this provide sales reps with a layer of personal pride, but it also generates some friendly competition within the sales team.

5.     Give Success Awards

Concept: Provide recognition and awards for sales rep successes.

Practice: Provide sales reps with awards that have no monetary value but are given to publicly recognize their success. During a sales team or all-hands meeting, present the sales rep with their performance award. Designate a common area, like a lunch room or hallway to display awards. Recognizing sales reps with awards inspires the sales team to set and meet new goals.

Creating a successful sales culture within an organization motivates and inspires sales rep performance.  An effective sales culture creates healthy competition, decreases turnover and establishes processes that allow problems to be quickly identified and addressed. Improving your sales culture will, in turn, create a positive impact on your bottom line. Revecent can complete an analysis of your sales culture to identify any areas of opportunity. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results.  

We help our clients maximize sales effectiveness by delivering a complete system to hire, train, equip and manage high-performance sales teams. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.

How to Create a Winning Sales Culture

Every sales organization wants a productive, efficient and effective sales force. 

As organizations compete in today’s market, sales goals become increasingly aggressive and the pressure to exceed them intensifies. Consequently, how do sales organizations improve their sales culture to support this high-demand? And why is the sales culture important?

An organization’s sales culture establishes a combination of values, shared business goals and work environment the sales organization operates within.

“Statistics show that a company’s culture has a direct impact on employee turnover, which affects productivity, and therefore success. A Columbia University study shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with high company culture is a mere 13.9 percent, whereas the probability of job turnover in low company cultures is 48.4 percent.”

In order to increase sales performance and retention, organizations need a winning sales culture. Below are 4 key items for improving an organization’s sales culture.

1.     Define Your Sales Culture

Concept: Define or update your organization’s mission on sales culture and hire to it.

Practice: Establish or revise your organization’s vision on sales culture. Your sales culture should be used as a guide for assessing and hiring new sales reps. Hire candidates who not only complement your sales culture, but also have knowledge or capabilities that benefit your organization. Candidates who contribute positively to your organization’s sales culture help create a positive work environment for all.

Start with a vision. Without one there is nothing to empower and lead the sales team with. They’ll feel as if they’re just working to work. Building a unifying framework for your strategy empowers sales reps with a sense of direction and purpose. Rather than operating for themselves, they work for a greater purpose. This helps to create a motivated sales culture driven by performance leading to higher retention and accelerated ROI. 

2.     Develop Your Sales Plan

Concept: A sales plan establishes sales goals, targets and tactics for a sales organization.

Practice: An organization’s sales plan summarizes their sales goals, objectives, processes, targets and tactics. The plan also defines how each of those elements will be measured and tracked for success. An effective sales plan ensures the entire sales organization is focused on delivering against a consistent set of goals, targets and objectives. Your organization’s sales plan benefits the sales culture by establishing a core set of goals and expectations up front.

3.     Use Strategic Data

Concept: Key metrics provide sales organizations actionable insight into improving sales performance.

Practice: Strategic data points enable sales performance improvement for the entire sales force.  Key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics give sales organizations a key advantage when it comes to meeting revenue goals, selling more products and outsmarting the competition. KPIs also enable organizations to identify strengths and weaknesses of their sales pipeline. Organizations that provide their sales force with accurate and relevant data empower them to focus on qualified leads that will generate more sales revenue. A win-win for both the sales rep and the organization, creating a high-performing sales culture.

4.     Provide Applicable Tools

Concept: Appropriate tools enable sales reps to be effective and efficient in their sales role.

Practice: Investing in relevant tools enables sales reps to be successful at meeting or exceeding sales targets. Sales enablement tools automate processes that allow sales teams to sell better and faster. Tools let your sales force stay aligned with marketing and business goals, identify valuable prospects, access and search relevant content, upsell and cross-sell products, and trigger automatic customer communications. Most importantly, sales enablement technology helps streamline workflows and remove unnecessary tasks so the sales team can focus on creating revenue. Empowered reps are confident in their abilities, feel aligned with the organization’s mission and construct a strong sales culture.

5.     Recruit The Right Talent

Businesses must know how to attract, assess and select the right sales candidates. This is easier said than done. One way to make the process more predictable and consistent is with the use of  a  sales candidate assessment. And while there are many out there, some are better than others. Look for one that is personalized to your sales rolesenvironment and specifically designed to use data and science to accurately evaluate selling skills and DNA . By tailoring search, recruitment and assessment process to your individual business, sales candidates come properly vetted and are better prepared to perform in your unique sales environment.

6.     Personalize The Onboarding & Training Process

This is another process easier said than done. A simple company manual won’t do. To build a winning sales team begins with identifying the effectiveness of your sales force and developing a customized sales training and onboarding program to optimize performance. Personalizing the training and onboarding based on the selling strength and weaknesses identified using a sales assessment helps to accelerate the ramp-up process and time to productivity for new hires.

But training doesn’t stop with onboarding. Developing rock star sales talent requires ongoing development. Incorporating a micro-learning approach that delivers bit-sized bits of content along with quizzes, workbooks, and real-world implementation guides is a great way to ensure the training content is retained and applied.

7.     Provide Ongoing Coaching

A winning sales team is one that is continually coached. Idling by and expecting sales reps to simply perform, leads to the same old problems. Have sales playbooks built around effective sales methodologies. Give reps a roadmap to success, set goals and field questions. Be hands on with your team by attending sales meetings, scheduling weekly one-on-ones, and listening to sales calls. Some great tools to streamline the coaching process include Refract and Execvision. Engage your sales reps daily and they will deliver consistent results.

7.     Hold Salespeople Accountable

Establish clear expectations for your salespeople. Setting key performance indicators (KPIs) and other sales performance metrics are vital. Goals and expectation should be transparent, realistic, and should inspire sales reps to take their abilities to the next level. Presenting them with sales benchmarks is a great way to motivate them and fuel their inner competitor. Implement contest and awards to reward desirable behaviors and keep things fun and competitive.

Final Thoughts

These tips can improve your organization’s sales culture enabling increased sales performance, motivated sales reps and reduced attrition. Interested in a thorough evaluation of your hiring strategies, sales culture or sales enablement technologies? Revecent can complete an analysis of your sales strategy to identify any areas of opportunity. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results.  

Need help building a winning sales team?

Start with this online sales readiness assessment. Answer a few questions and your readiness score with recommendations for building your winning sales team

HireDNA takes the guesswork out of hiring and retaining sales talent with a predictive hiring system that uses science-based tools to identify the best candidates with the right sales DNA to perform in your unique sales environment, resulting in lower turnover and accelerated ramp-up to help you hit your goals faster. Contact us to learn what it will take to build your winning team.

3 Things You Want to Avoid to Improve Retention

Retention of sales reps is crucial to the long-term success of your sales organization. With the annual turnover rate of sales reps being on average 26 percent, failure to keep top sales reps is costly to your bottom line — in terms of talent loss, recruitment costs and training.

DePaul University’s 2016 Sales Effectiveness study confirms that sales talent retention continues to be a critical challenge for sales organizations.

The question becomes what should sales organizations be doing to keep top sales reps from leaving? Below are three things you should avoid doing in order to keep your top sales talent:

1.     Avoid stagnant job roles

Objective: Top-performing sales reps need new challenges and opportunities.

Approach: Top-performing sales reps get bored and antsy when not provided with new growth opportunities. Offer them new opportunities within your organization to keep them from looking elsewhere. Opportunities like providing input on sales strategies to management, launching a new product or service offering, or leading training classes are good examples. Sales reps appreciate feeling valued and knowing that there are career-oriented growth opportunities within the sales organization. A recent study by Willis Towers Watson on employee retention found that “more than 70 percent of high-retention-risk employees say they have to leave their organization in order to advance their careers.” Try to promote by developing your sales team instead of recruiting from outside the organization.

2.     Avoid poor incentive plans

Objective: Top-performing sales reps should always have a new incentive goal within reach.

Approach: Incentives for your sales reps shouldn’t just be tied to annual quotas. Sales reps should always be able to have an “eye on the prize.” Sales organizations could offer some of the following as part of their retention strategy:

  • Give shares of company stock that vest over time
  • Offer additional time off or vacation days at specific intervals (three and five years)
  • Pay for continuing education
  • Provide ongoing career development training
  • Provide substantial bonuses that pay out on specific numbers of years with the company

Your sales team should feel rewarded, recognized and appreciated. This will go a long way toward keeping top performers from leaving your sales organization.

3.     Avoid poor leadership 

Objective: Top-performing sales reps want strong leadership.

Approach: This topic comes up again and again when talking to sales reps who have left organizations. Most often they are not leaving because of the company or the job; they are leaving because of their sales management. Leaders need to be counted on to set clear expectations about the sales job role and earning potential. Feedback on job performance should be timely and attached to an employee development plan if needed. Sales reps want to know they have the potential to grow within the organization and that there is an established career path.  

These three tips can help your sales organization reduce turnover . Establishing and investing in your organization’s strategy for improving retention will result in a positive ROI in terms of employee retention and satisfaction.

Interested in a thorough evaluation of your sales recruiting and retention process? Revecent can complete an analysis of your company’s onboarding and retention strategies to identify areas of improvement. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results.   Revecent is a national sales recruiting and training consulting firm. We help technology and professional service companies design, build and optimize winning sales teams to accelerate revenue growth. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.

7 How’s and Why’s of Sales Force Motivation and Accountability

Vince Lombardi said, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined efforts of each individual.” 

The combined efforts of an influential sales manager and a driven sales force can create an elite sales force. How do you galvanize your sales team? While money makes up part of your sales force compensation plan, as we discussed in our last blog Keeping Your Sales Team Motivated: Commission, Bonuses and other Incentives, the other influencers are motivation and accountability. 

Before we discuss the ways in which you as a manager can approach instilling motivation and accountability, it’s important to remember that top sales talent should be self-motivated and should not need much of a nudge to perform at high levels. Motivation comes from within. The right people demonstrate this over and over. That said, using these motivational strategies can help heighten motivation and develop a high-performance culture.

1.     Set Expectations

How: Before even offering a candidate the sales position, make sure they fully understand the role. Explain how their sales performance impacts their compensation plan. Ensure they know what their expected day-to-day sales activities will be and what sales targets they are expected to meet.

Why: This lays the foundation of motivation by setting expectations and building trust. It is difficult to inspire others if there is not a mutual trust.

2.     Development Plan

How: Develop a Performance Development Plan (PDP) for each sales rep on your sales team. The PDP should not only encompass targets and goals for their individual sales position, but also personal and professional goals that they want to achieve. Set daily, weekly and monthly goals. Revisit goals on an ongoing basis to hold sales reps accountable for either meeting or missing their performance goals.

Why: We all need goals to help us get to the next level. Your sales reps are no different. The PDP can help to establish goals and objectives to be matched against measurable results.

3.     Sales Enablement

How: You’ve established your sales rep’s PDP. Streamlining and removing unnecessary tasks allows them to focus on targeting optimal customers and close high-value sales. We call this sales enablement, and it’s crucial. 

Why: Sales enablement ensures your sales team is empowered with the resources and tools they need to succeed.

4.     Performance Evaluation

How: A sales performance evaluation can help to identify a sales rep’s strengths and weakness to determine what skills to focus on to maximize sales revenue. Encourage self-evaluation and manager feedback from your sales rep.

Why: Knowing your team, their strengths and weaknesses allows you to customize and prioritize training and coaching to help them perform better.

5.     Friendly Competition

How: Using gamification takes everyday sales activities and turns them into a contest for sales reps. Sales managers can establish scoring metrics for various sales activities (lead conversion, close-rates, speed to lead etc.). Sales reps can view or access a leaderboard to compare their standing to their peers.

Why: Sales reps are generally competitive by nature. Utilizing gamification and contest will igniting some friendly competition to bring out the best in your team. Try it, and watch the fun (and productivity) begin.  

6.     Recognize Performance

How: As mentioned in our previous blog, there are numerous ways to reward salespeople for their performance. Sure, money is a great motivator, but not the only one. Sometimes a simple recognition whether it’s a “shout-out” in an all-hands sales meeting or a certificate that can be displayed on their desk is reward enough.

Why: According to a recent industry survey, 66 percent of employees say they would likely leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated. This is up significantly from 51 percent of employees who felt this way in 2012. Everyone appreciates praise and recognition for a job well done.

7.     Lead by Example

How: One of the most important ways to motivate your sales team is to exemplify the attributes you desire most in them. If you appreciate honesty, be honest. If you appreciate productivity, be productive. 

Why: Your sales reps will notice your attitude and work ethics. Inspire them with your example and expect them to follow suit.

Motivating your sales organization to meet sales goals and holding them accountable for areas of improvement are necessary to ensure organizational success. Revecent can complete a skills and competencies analysis of your sales force to identify areas of strength and weaknesses. Request a consult now.

Revecent is a national sales recruiting and sales enablement consulting firm. We help technology and professional service companies recruit and optimize sales talent to accelerate growth.  Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.

Is Your Sales Compensation Plan Killing Your Sales Performance?

It’s no secret that most salespeople don’t work purely for the love of selling. Compensation is important, but there’s more to it than just promises of high payouts. The way you structure your sales compensation and incentive plans can have an immense impact on your sales performance and culture.  Having a well-defined compensation plan is key to creating a high-performance sales environment that promotes competition and aligns reps’ behaviors with your company’s goals.

So the question is, how do you create a sales compensation plan that works?

Align Targets and Company Goals

What is your company’s top priority? Is it product sales? Acquiring new customers? Profitability? Your sales compensation plan should be designed around your top goal(s). Sales reps that meet or exceed their goal should be awarded appropriately. Set pay levels that attract and retain sales talent in your industry.

Then take it another step forward. Align performance metrics with incentives. It’s not always just about the percent of revenue or the number of closed deals. If you have metrics or KPIs tied to appointments, new business versus existing business or other activities, it’s important to incorporate those metrics into your compensation plan to drive the right behaviors.

Balance Salary and Incentives

Your company will need to determine the right mix of salary and commission that each sales rep will be paid to establish your on-target earnings (OTE). The proportion of earnings that come from salary and from incentives determines the riskiness of the plan. The proper balance varies by industry and is often based on the degree of certainty that sales reps’ efforts will directly influence sales.

Ultimately, the proper pay mix will depend on factors like your industry, the rep’s experience level and role, the average length of your sales cycle and average deal size.

For example, a 50/50 split, may include a base salary of $100K with the potential to earn another $100K in variable commissions if targets are achieved. 

When attracting top sales performers, it’s important to provide an uncapped compensation plan that doesn’t limit the rep’s earning potential.

Establish Fair and Attainable Goals

Your company’s compensation plan should reward sale reps based on aggressive but achievable sales goals.

What you need to avoid, especially companies in the early stage of building a sales force, is just setting a random goal based on no past track record of success. This sets reps up for failure.

Establishing realistic goals with a clear path to success will create a high level of motivation across your team while also challenging your reps to push their performance to the next level. 

Keep it Simple

One of the most important rules when it comes to creating a sales compensation plan is to keep it simple. If it takes advanced knowledge of Excel and two hours to explain your compensation plan, it’s probably overcomplicated. Having a simple and easy to understand compensation plan not only makes it easy for the company to manage, it helps sales reps perform better when they understand what they need to do to get paid.

Pay On Time

The frequency with which your company pays incentives is another important sales compensation design decision. Timely measurement of results and prompt payment of rewards for performance are critical for success. Motivation diminishes significantly when there is a long lag between performance and payout.

A well-designed sales compensation plan should align with company goals and sales targets to encourage, recognize and reward exceptional performance by sales reps. Curious as to whether your sales compensation plan needs tweaking? Revecent can complete an analysis of your current sales compensation plan to identify areas of opportunity for accelerating sales growth and empowering your sales force. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results. 

Revecent is a national sales recruiting and consulting firm specializing in helping technology and professional service companies recruit, build and optimize high-performance sales teams. Our approach centers on four principles proven to maximize sales performance: deploy an effective sales system, hire and develop the right talent, empower teams with the right tools and drive accountability with effective sales leadership.

Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.

Five Anti-Sales Enablement Strategies

If you have been following our blog, then you know sales enablement 

has shown to be an effective strategy for revving up sales performance while increasing sales efficiency andreducing costs. Enablement is the foundation for providing sales teams with the tools and information they need to successfully engage with customers throughout the sales cycle. What happens when there is no set sales enablement process? We’ve seen that most companies default to one or more of the following strategies, resulting in at a minimum, fewer sales, an unhappy sales force and high turnover. Let’s take a look at these strategies, the ones that just don’t work.

1.  The Non-Strategy: Just Wing It

In an effort to foster a more genuine interaction between the sales rep and prospective customer, some companies encourage their sales team to “just wing it.” The idea is that instead of following a structured sales process or message, the sales rep winging it will have more natural communication with the potential client: the sales rep will be able to assess the customer’s needs, make their sales pitch and close the deal all over the course of friendly conversation. The expectation is that the free-form nature of the sales process will drive higher sales. Our findings say, “not true.” What actually occurs is an extended sales cycle, missed upsell and cross-sell opportunities and lost sales revenue. According to CSO Insights, companies in which salespeople use the company’s methodology and receive consistent coaching see 73 percent higher quota attainment. You can’t wing numbers like those.

2.  The Assumption Strategy: We Thought You Knew

In business, there is often an assumption made by the rest of the company that the sales team has received everything it needs to be successful, from marketing collateral to training. But more often than not, the sales team is the last to know about new product offerings or marketing campaigns. This can result in the end customer being more knowledgeable about a product or campaign than the salesperson. Ideally as part of your sales enablement strategy, marketing and production should provide information early in the product lifecycle so the sales team can plan and prepare for new releases.

3.  The Procrastination Strategy: There’s Always Tomorrow

In order to be successful, your sales team needs to know what they’re selling and how it benefits prospective customers. Training on product knowledge – how it compares to a competitive product, the value it delivers and target customer markets – is key to a sales enablement strategy. Often marketing or production will procrastinate getting documentation and resources to the sales team until all bugs or kinks are worked out. This results in the product going to market more quickly than the sales reps can be trained. Effective communications and training timelines need to be considered in all rollouts. Tomorrow might seem like a better day to clue the sales team in, but in reality, often there’s no time better than the present.

4.  The Content Strategy: Here. Read This.

There is no doubt that content is key to the onboarding process. Presentations, differentiators and discovery questions should all be part of content. Having content as part of training is key to making sales reps comfortable with holding complicated conversations with customers. Content plays into training and ramp-up, but it’s also a support mechanism to aid in the sales process.

The use of computer-based training and/or online content to deliver sales training information has become common. And why not? It offers companies and their sales force convenience and flexibility. The downside, however, is a lack of human interaction between the trainer and the sales reps. Roleplay and live scenarios are invaluable for allowing the sales team to ask questions and implement new skills and tactics. If the sales team doesn’t completely understand the products, services and market, customers recognize it, which can result in customers deeming the sales process (and maybe even the product) unreliable. Studies show that continuous training as part of your sales enablement process can yield 50 percent higher net sales for each employee, according to The American Society for Training and Development. The moral of the story is that while content is crucial, it’s not a cure-all. 

5.  The Nike-gone-wrong Strategy: Just Do It

After helping capture almost 25 percent of the world’s global market for athletic footwear, Nike’s “Just Do It” marketing campaign has stood the test of times since its launch in 1988. But while it’s a good marketing campaign, it’s a poor sales enablement strategy. For a sales team to be successful, members not only need clearly articulated goals that align with the company’s sales strategy, they also need to understand how they directly connect to and impact the strategy. They need to be part of the larger picture. Leaving the sales team to figure it out for themselves leads them feeling inadequate and can make them lose confidence in the company.

Now think about your organization. Are you practicing any of these non-strategies? Are you assessing whether your company has the right foundation established to empower your sales team? The professionals at Revecent can complete an analysis of your sales enablement capabilities and identify areas for improving and accelerating sales. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results. 

HireDNA helps technology companies source, screen, and qualify sales candidates faster and smarter using data and science. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.

4 Signs Your Sales Culture Is Stuck in Mediocrity

CEOs frequently tell us that they want to shake things up within their sales force — “Business is good, but things could be better.” They recognize growth means change and this realization sparks a genuine desire to act.

And when the executive team meets to develop their action plan for change, they often conclude that an outside firm may offer a fresh perspective. But, when confronted with what it takes to transform to produce the desired results, they get cold feet. They decide against upsetting the current culture and choose to maintain the status quo.

Having experienced a few of these “false start” engagements over the past 10 years, my position has moved from one of frustration to intrigue…

  • Why do these organizations desire change but lack the motivation and commitment to see it through?
  • What is the pattern or consistent cause that produces this outcome?
  • What are the signs a sales culture may be stuck in mediocrity?

And this is what I found…

Change doesn’t come easy

You recognize your organization needs to implement changes to get sales to the next level. However, getting buy-in and motivating others to act seems virtually impossible.

Typically, this is an issue with the culture of the organization. The belief is things have been done a certain way for so long and everyone is comfortable with the process, so why change? And even though it’s no longer effective and not producing the desired results, the feeling is — “If it worked at some point, it will continue to work.”

Transforming the culture of an organization to become one that values innovation is not easy; it requires understanding, commitment, and tools. But if change is necessary to attain your goals, it’s worth the investment of time and resources.

Sign up for your free ask a Chief Sales Officer (CSO) session today

Frequent false starts

Worse than not trying at all is the “false start”. Even before you start getting a new initiative off the ground, you quit.

You had great intentions, but once again, the fear of change turned into doubt. That uncertainty caused you to abandon what could have been a great program and instead, you diverted back to what’s comfortable.

Desire, commitment and motivation must be at the heart of the intent to change or true improvements to your sales operations will never come to fruition. If you are feeling overwhelmed or hesitant, consider the following:

  • What is the potential loss associated with keeping things the way they are?
  • Can you reach your sales goals if you stay the course?
  • Will you remain competitive?

Start small, build a plan, set realistic goals — and most importantly — see them through. A few small wins in the beginning will provide motivation and create a ‘can do’ attitude to help change minds of non-believers.

Leadership is comfortable

To drive growth and implement changes, leadership must be the catalyst. To identify weaknesses that are impacting the bottom line, it’s important to begin with an honest assessment of the effectiveness of your current capabilities. This can be extremely difficult if this assessment has the potential to expose limitations in your sales leadership; specifically, tenured executives who may not see the benefits of a shakeup.

Take inventory to determine who’s working to help achieve the organization’s goals and who’s there to simply serve their own needs. Put measures in place that promote healthy competition and a culture that is continuously looking to improve. There is no room for complacency in sales.

Growth is stagnant

A tell-tale sign that mediocrity has crept into your sales culture is a lack of growth. As if that’s not bad enough, it’s typically followed by a lack of urgency. Stagnant growth is generally the result of underlying issues related to outdated compensation plans, unclear sales goals, a lead generation system that has begun to dry up, and/or an inability to evolve to meet the needs of today’s buyer. Identify potential problems before they impact your bottom line, keep a finger on the pulse of your sales force, and be proactive when it comes to implementing changes.

Wondering how to pull your sales team out of mediocrity? Or looking to take proactive measures to avoid a future slump? Begin with a complete analysis of your sales capabilities, systems, processes and overall effectiveness. Pinpoint what actions you can take now to improve sales performance and accelerate your path to success.

Not hitting your Sales Goals? 3 Tips for Record Sales in 2017

Entering the New Year, many executives are reflecting on how to increase revenues.

If you’re coming off an excellent 2016 you may be looking at how to replicate your success, and if it wasn’t such a great year you are probably trying to figure out how to right the ship.

No matter the case, CEOs and Sales Executives want to improve and grow their annual revenues.

To make 2017 your best sales year yet, here are 3 insights to help you exceed your goals.

Put an Actionable Sales Process in Place

Companies with a documented sales process close more deals – it’s that simple. According to Salesforce, businesses with a sales playbook are 33% more likely to be high-performers, yet 40% don’t have a sales playbook. 

With a documented sales process, your sales representatives are armed with actionable steps to systematically navigate and execute the sales process. Clarity on next steps will help to speed up the sales cycle, improve productivity and increase closing efficiency.

When creating or optimizing your sales process, make sure to cover these 3 critical areas:

  • Outline your sales process: Outlining and documenting your sales process gets your team on the same page. Aligning your sales process to your buyer’s needs will define what actions need to be taken in order to attract and close new business.
  • Define your steps and KPIs: It’s important to define the steps, stages, and key performance indicators ( KPIs ) for success. It’s great to have sales goals, but without clear steps to meet those goals, you’ll struggle to get there.
  • Automate your sales process: Leveraging a CRM tool is the best way to streamline your sales process, track activity, and manage your pipeline. Tailoring the platform to your unique sales process will help to automate sales – increasing your team’s efficiency. 

Example of a sales process.

How effective is your sales process? Schedule a free sales process evaluation

Recruit the Right Salespeople

On average 67% of all salespeople fail to meet their sales quota. This is an expensive problem to fix, but the best way to increase your odds of boosting sales is to have the right people with the right skills for YOUR sales system.

Here are 5 steps to take to ensure you select and hire the best talent for your team. 

1. Define your ideal candidate profile: Before you begin recruiting, it’s important to understand your ideal candidate. Work with your team to understand the specific competencies, product knowledge, and personality traits that are needed to be successful. This profile will serve as your benchmark and qualification criteria for evaluating candidates.

2. Consider your recruitment strategy: You’ve established your ideal candidate profile, you need to map your scouting strategy. Defining your approach creates clarity to identify, attract, and select the right candidate for your needs.

3. Structure your interview process: Before you begin scheduling phone and in-person interviews, you should collaborate with other relevant stakeholders to determine what you want to learn about your candidates on the front-end. Like most things in life, being prepared is half the battle for a smoother process. Use the candidate profile to get a clear idea of the qualifications you’re seeking to add to your team. Let it guide you to ask specific questions that will give you deeper insights into your candidate’s relevant experience and compatibility with your sales environment.

4. Incorporate a sales skills assessment: To accurately predict sales performance it’s going to require more than a personality test. Sales skills assessments will measure the candidate’s sales DNA to ensure you hire the perfect match for your business and sales environment. Include the assessment at the beginning of your screening process to dramatically reduce the time and energy spent interviewing unqualified candidates. Choose an assessment that is customizable to your ideal candidate profile and sales environment to get a true gauge on compatibility.

5. Don’t stop once you’ve given an offer: Your onboarding and training program will play a considerable role in the success of your new hire. You should begin developing your on-boarding program prior to making a hiring decision.  Your on-boarding program should define the tools and resources needed for success. Providing the proper support and setting clear objectives will go a long way to accelerating ramp-up and reducing turnover.
How much is a bad sales hire costing you? Check out this sales hiring mistake calculator.

Implement the Right Tools and Technology

Utilizing the right technology will help to automate your sales process, increase sales productivity and improve efficiency. 

The importance of choosing the right technology cannot be understated. Using the right tools to track metrics and analytics will provide valuable information to help you make informed decisions.

With the wide variety of technologies available, below are 3 steps to help you determine the right option for your needs.  

  • Define requirements: Not all tools are created equal. Clearly defining your user and technical requirements will help you determine the features and functionality your sales team requires.
  • Keep the future in mind: Whatever technology you choose, consider your needs down the line. If your business grows exponentially, will that tool scale with you? Companies that only consider their present needs may end up requiring a more robust platform in future. In most cases it’s better to over buy and turn on new features as you need them, rather than migrating to a new system at a later time.
  • Plan your implementation and user training: Many organizations purchase a new system, but fail to establish an actionable plan for how to roll it out to their team. Not taking the time to properly plan your implementation and training needs will often lead to low adoption and improper use. For your team to use your sales tools effectively, it’s important to provide them with instructions and best practices. 

With your actionable sales process, the right team, and the appropriate technologies in place, you are well on your way to executing your vision and surpassing your sales goals in 2017 .