Build a solid foundation to address the new business climate and prevent your business from being at risk!
The present times can be seen as a large scale stress test for businesses. Companies need to demonstrate resilience by leveraging their assets and implementing sound business practices.
When it comes to sales, no organization can pretend to be perfect. However, some mistakes can very quickly turn into critical flaws.
So, what behaviors should you prevent? Let’s split them into four categories.
Category 1 – VISION AND STRATEGY
#1- A set of tactics instead of a strategy
Being flexible and agile is fine, however successful businesses have a clear and defined strategy. The strategy is communicated to all within the company, and all embrace and execute the strategy.
#2- “So far so good” or “doing the same and expecting different results”
How has your organization taken the market changes into account?
Category 2 – THE TEAM
#3- Considering knowledge-sharing to be an option
Scattered, or nonexistent, knowledge (like competitive information, customer cases, product information) that is hard to find is harmful to the business. This prevents teams from staying sharp and efficient.
#4- Lack of real talent management
Significant amounts of money are spent on bringing staff in (the “upfront”: recruitment costs), and getting staff out (the “after”: severance packages). How much is actually spent on growing the potential of the existing staff (the “during”: training and development) and onboarding new talent?
#5- The sales leader is the best sales person of the team
Let’s agree once more: the sales leader should not be the best sales person of the team! The sales leader’s responsibility is to build a strong sales engine and continuously enhance its potential.
#6- A group of people but no real team
Ideally, individuals perform better when in a team than alone. Create an environment that frees up energies and enhances individuals sharing similar objectives.
Remember that free electrons create heat, not motion!
Category 3 – THE MARKET
#7- Considering that your existing business is for granted
Your current clients are your best assets; they deliver revenue and can be used as references.
What is your plan to keep existing clients satisfied, and grow your share of wallet? When was your last customer satisfaction survey performed? Were actions taken which improved the overall satisfaction? Did they translate into additional business?
Are you certain to successfully renew all existing contracts? Do you have a plan?
#8- Inward focus
Spend less time on internal reporting not delivering added-value, lengthy meetings with no decisions taken and other time-consuming activities!
Instead, spend valuable time studying the competition, the market trends and the latest developments affecting your clients.
#9- Failing to create an ecosystem
Within the clients (partnering with the Decision Makers and Influencers), outside the clients (advisors, alliances, media) and within the company (structured collaboration).
Redefine sales responsibilities, expect your Sales reps. to act as the business peers of your clients!
Category 4 – THE BUSINESS PRACTICE
#10- Believing that processes are for large corporates
Processes don’t have to be complex, they are there to support business growth and focus.
Define a proper market segmentation, qualify the type of clients and opportunities to pursue. A proper qualification process, translating into Go / No Go decisions, is a Must.
Continuous learning (with post mortem analysis) helps your organization improve its performance.
#11- Not addressing what eats up valuable sales time
Make sure your sales team is effective, not just busy. Delegate non-sales tasks and limit the number of mixed roles (e.g. sales staff also in charge of operations).
Keep the sales team on the sales job!
#12- A CRM platform seen as another IT project or as an administrative constraint
More than ever, every company needs to increase the predictability and the visibility of their business.
CRM platforms help provide meaningful analyses (red flags, business potential) that are much needed these days.
However, serious investments in terms of sales adoption and processes need to be engaged first to reap the full benefits of the CRM.
#13- Confusing “to communicate” with “to collaborate”
Sales teams, Marketing, Presales and Delivery teams acting as silos will quickly reach their limits.
Addressing successfully the growing complexity of the business demands internal alignment and effective teamwork.
#14- Unhealthy business split
Is the split of revenue generated by your largest clients (80-20 analysis) healthy?
What happens if you lose your two largest customers? How is your share of wallet? Are you a major player in your Top 10 customers?
#15- A set of “beauty contests” in place of a meaningful sales cadence
Gather valuable employees for valuable meetings only!
Make a better use of dashboards (CRM) and get rid of unnecessary meetings designed to “checking numbers”.
Focus on business planning and on initiatives to address red flags and opportunities.
No one can predict whether the “recovery” will be “V-shaped”, “U-shaped” or worse an “L-shaped” future.
Therefore, even before engaging new plans, it seems wiser to ensure that the basics are effectively addressed!