As organizations work to improve both top and bottom lines, shifts in buyer behavior continue to challenge organizations to increase productivity and effectiveness to meet revenue goals.
Today’s CRM systems help solve these challenges; however, these systems have failed to enhance customer engagement and better sales performance. As a result, organizations have turned to sales enablement activities to fill the gap left by CRM. These tools are point solutions for smaller problems and are not focused on end-to-end sales execution. They also tend to be ad hoc in practice, neglecting to support any structure to a sales process or strategy.
To achieve aggressive goals, sales leaders need to adapt practices to reduce turnover, improve efficiencies, reduce wasteful spending and improve win rates. The Sales Execution Maturity Model provides organizations with a path for optimizing sales execution activities and strategies in a consumable way. The model, which features five levels, includes specific elements that contribute to the success or failure of a sales organization’s ability to scale and succeed in growing its selling competency. By utilizing an online Sales Execution Index assessment, organizations of all sizes and industries can define actionable plans and strategies to master the science of the sale.
An organization’s sales maturity can fall into the following levels:
The earliest level of sales execution maturity is the chaotic level. At this point, organizations are mostly reactive in sales situations and are ad hoc in their support and enablement efforts.
Indicators an organization is at the chaotic level include the following.
- The sales process is non-existent, and reps have no cohesive approach.
- Sales reps spend too much time locating content and tools.
- Sales analytics, CRM, upsell and cross-sell strategies are non-existent or not adopted.
Moving up, organizations in the defined level find themselves beginning to provide the infrastructure and process for reps, but struggle in communicating what’s available, and rep adoption is very low.
Indicators an organization is at the defined level include the following.
- A sales process exists, but is not proactively communicated and reinforced.
- Many sales reps spend an excessive amount of time on non-selling tasks.
- Sales content is available, but content is inconsistent and in varied systems or sometimes through a sales portal.
- CRM usage is low and strategies for upsell or cross-sell are loosely defined and not often followed.
At the optimized level, organizations start to see effective sales execution strategies and activities take place. Sales teams are achieving success, but there is room to succeed faster and more consistently.
Indicators an organization is the optimized level include the following.
- The sales process is defined and followed by the sales team, but is not easily adaptable to unique situations.
- Sales reps spend most of their time doing selling activities with limited time on administrative activities.
- Sales content is accessible, but is generic and not easily customizable to specific buyers or selling situations.
Organizations that are at the agile level involve teams that are truly working at maximum efficiency. They are successful in providing an adaptable infrastructure for sales reps to react to buyer needs effectively.
Indicators an organization is agile include the following.
- Sales content is easily accessible and can be customized and personalized for each buyer.
- Analytics are used to understand what’s working and what’s not.
- When remembered, upsell and cross-sell strategies are successful.
- CRM adoption is high, but its time consuming for reps.
Organizations at the predictive level have truly balanced the art and science of sales execution through an integrated and dynamic infrastructure as well as operationalizing content and process.
Indicators an organization is predictive include the following.
- The sales process is optimized and provides predictable outcomes of an opportunity based on deal characteristics.
- Sales analytics provide early warning signals, and sales reps can adapt sales strategies quickly to react.
- Push notifications are sent to mobile devices so reps and managers can react to information in real time.
- Sales teams spend more time with buyers and less time on administrative activities.
Sales leaders continue to work overtime on enabling their salesforce with repetitive maintenance strategies, but don’t spend nearly enough time on executing effectively to grow and scale their sales initiatives. With the Sales Execution Maturity Model, organizations can gain valuable insights and clarity they need to increase their effectiveness and overall success. Once an organization is aware of its maturity level, an action plan can be put in place to progress up the model to a more desired state, resulting in improved top and bottom lines, and achievement of business goals.
Christopher Faust is CMO at Qvidian (www.qvidian.com).
Edited by Maurice Nagle