Brainstorming - Sales Awesomeness

Creating growth & scalability in a developing or expanding businesses

So I thought I would do something a little bit different (hence the title) and brainstorm with you. I look at the sales model as another “product” and this article will cover a pipeline of ideas to increase that product's performance.

First, building a business requires doing a lot of one time things. Ultimately though sustained growth is about repeatability. Can things be repeated many times with the same or less cost than the first unit processed? The key is to look for patterns, modularize, tool and automate things and than deploy them to allow your business to handle the millionth unit like the first.

Great questions to keep ourselves honest here are:

  1. Would this work without me personally involved?
  2. Can the model handle 10x or 100x times the volume it does today?

Growth can include unscalable things in the short term, tailored to each different wave of growth. In the long run though business models are about repeatability. Focus on repeatability for long term growth.

Once it works, scale it!

Business Development

Growing through new and expanded business

Ways this can be accomplished:

  • Pitch packages - Get faster using pre-created modular material
  • Look for patterns to increase re-usability of material
  • Assemble all pitches from your standard elements
  • Perfect the pitch by always modifying based on results
  • Prospecting - faster and new ways to fill the pipeline through new channels, optimizing existing channels and experimenting with creative & copy
  • Target client refinement by having a process for continually learning about your target customer through profile development
  • Base all efforts against this customer profile (or profiles) and share with the whole team
  • Seek adjacent or new opportunities by asking what are my core capabilities and where else might I apply them? Look at other industries, products, etc...

Salesperson Role Design & Onboarding

Being able to keep pace with growth and to scale effectiveness & efficiently

Ways this can be accomplished:

  • Developing recruitment profiles What skills do we need? What combination of skills is most successful?
  • Adapt your recruitment sources based on where do my best candidates come from and where might this type of candidate come from in the future?
  • Don’t leave your training plan & resources to chance. Create a system based on past outcomes, Don't reinvent the wheel, have a training package and adapt it as you learn and apply it to everyone
  • Have a coaching plan and assignment (e.g. peer-to-peer coaching, manager coaching)

Sales Capacity Optimization

Being able to keep pace with growth

Ways this can be accomplished:

  • Know when to add people and how many to add by understanding demand and productivity patterns
  • Separate the capacity to handle demand from performance

Sales Process Optimization

Making sure that where time is spent things are effective and efficient

Ways this can be accomplished:

  • Optimize pipeline development with multiple roles. Ensure that different skills, those spread across more than one role, are lined up against the right stages of your pipeline. For example don't have your most experienced account manager cold calling.
  • Machine learning applied to pipeline and contact management can be a major source of effectiveness and efficiency improvements
  • Sales optimization, sales isn't just sales anymore. Don't be afraid to blur boundaries with marketing and vice versa. For example, everyone who manages relationships can benefit from email marketing tools.

Salesperson Performance Management

Checking to ensure you are on track and creating a feedback loop to improve on past results

Ways this can be accomplished:

  • Productivity Measurement and effectiveness measurement
  • Separate individual performance from your sales model performance
  • Productivity and Effectiveness Training & Coaching (not just for trainees!)
  • Everyone can improve and a culture of continuous learning drives long term value — don't leave this to chance!
  • Compensation (e.g. raises, bonuses, equity sharing) by thinking about these as a growth tool not just compensation after the fact. There is a lot of mutual value here for everyone if done right.
  • Promotion (e.g. role continuum, talent management). Don't lose your talent or start over — have a plan!

Never loose sight of customer needs, creating value and validating with actual market response. Use this feedback to drive what you keep doing, stop doing and start doing.

Most of all remember to be bold and think differently. Getting different results requires doing things differently.

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