If you want your company to experience significant and sustainable revenue growth, it's vital that you have three pillars of sales success in place: strategy, process, and people. Why is each of these elements so essential to a well-oiled sales machine? Well, consider this:
However, when all three components are functioning at a high level and working well with each other, you're bound to see more wins than ever before.
Sales Success Starts With Strategy
You can think of strategy as an understanding of your mission or goal, along with the ability to select a path that will help you achieve it. In terms of sales success, strategy is a well-thought-out plan put into action.
Many business leaders either have an inconsistent, "winging-it" approach to strategy or no strategy at all. For instance, some marketing and sales managers believe that staying busy is the same as being strategic. As a result, their focus is on running more ads and uploading more social media posts, whether those actions contribute to an overarching plan or not. Other managers are scared to "rock the boat." So they stick with the strategy they inherited from their predecessor, who inherited it from the manager before him, who inherited... well, you get the idea. Still others (and this is especially common among small business owners) have no grand plan at all. They constantly run around "putting out fires" rather than thinking about the bigger picture.
The Basis for an Effective Strategy
The truth is, if you want to drive business growth, it's absolutely imperative that you have a sound strategy in place as your foundation. And your strategy should be constructed as a mixture of at least two major materials:
Once you have those key ingredients on hand, you can add other things to the mix: intentionality, creativity, logic, and action-oriented thinking. You can develop clearly defined goals to reach within the next three months, six months, year, or beyond. You can start thinking about the processes that need to be set up to achieve those goals and the people that will be the best fit for each process. Again, it all starts with strategy!
Process is Transportation for Your Strategy
If strategy is like the roadmap that helps you plan out the best route from point A to point B, process is the vehicle that actually carries you there. Processes are the specific tactics that make your vision a reality. And they are most effective when they're replicable, scalable, and flexible enough to evolve when necessary.
Process is also about working the margins to gain any edge on the competition, no matter how slight. Well-built processes may not guarantee your sales team a win in any given interaction, but they'll certainly increase your odds of gaining a win. Think of a baseball pitcher who has to employ the same mechanics repeatedly to hit his spots and get the outs. Similarly, your sales team will be more consistent and effective when they follow well-defined workflows day in and day out.
What are some particular areas in which process can drive strategic alignment? For one, think about the sales and marketing funnel. Focusing on process can help you map out your strategy to get customers from point A (the top of the funnel) to point B (the bottom).
Develop specific processes as answers to the following questions:
In addition, it's always a good idea to consider where automation can fit into your processes. Which parts of the funnel need to be handled by a human team member? Which parts can be "outsourced" to a program or algorithm? The bottom line is that processes can truly help your team members to "work smarter, not harder."
Get the Right People in the Right Roles
You can automate some of your processes. However, you can't automate the people on your team. You can't just fill key roles with warm bodies and expect that all your work with strategy and process will pay off. The simple truth is that not everyone is well-suited for the same roles in your organization. Not every star sales closer is cut out to be a sales manager. And not every sales manager is necessarily a star closer. It's important to understand both the strengths and the weaknesses that each individual on your team brings to the table — and then play to those strengths rather than attempt to shore up the weaknesses.
Never mistakenly think that marketing and sales require interchangeable skills. It "takes a village" (i.e., aligned sales and marketing teams) to stay competitive in today's business world. However, the village only functions properly when each member is in the right role.
Apart from getting the right people in the right seats, it's also important to actively promote alignment between teams. One key way to accomplish this is through regular integrated meetings. Granted, you don't need to have every team member from sales and marketing attend every meeting planned throughout the course of a week, but it is a good idea to have regular check-ins between sales and marketing leaders, along with key representatives that can provide helpful input when decisions need to be made.
At the end of the day, investing in these three pillars — strategy, process, and people — will help your company to enjoy sustainable sales success and your team to yield improved sales performance. Now that is a foundation worth building!
Learn More About Sales Success
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