In an increasingly competitive market, every business needs to become more sales oriented. Despite this imperative, many companies struggle to pinpoint the areas where they need to improve.
Based on our work with leading Indian and international companies across industries, we have identified 5 key strategies that help top sales organisations outperform their peers.
Align sales strategy with business strategy
Aligning sales strategy with business strategy is critical for every growth-oriented organisation. It’s necessary not only to drive business efficiency and productivity but also to deliver consistent and high-quality customer experiences.
We have seen many organisations that have struggled to attain this alignment. Frequently, the larger the business, the more challenging alignment becomes. However, leading sales oriented companies overcome this challenge by making organisational and sales goals transparent to their sales team and clearly explaining the linkages between the two.
Segment customers and sell accordingly
When companies fall short of their sales targets, we often find that weak customer segmentation is one underlying cause. Leading sales oriented companies clearly define their target customer segments through in-depth understanding of their customers' needs and buying behaviour. They then align both their value proposition and selling approach to drive sales productivity.
Manage sales channels effectively
With increasing competition, the cost of sales has a tendency to creep higher as companies compete to offer greater discounts and incentives to their channel.
The best performing sales organisations avoid this trap by clearly defining their own channel strategy. On the one hand, they leverage multiple channels both on and offline, wherever they can serve their customers conveniently and cost-effectively. On the other hand, they segment their channel partners according to their past performance and future potential. They then manage them actively to incentivise and reward top performers and upgrade or push out laggards.
Optimise sales force
In the expansion phase, companies typically increase their sales organisation rapidly to conquer new territories. However, over time, managing large and geographically dispersed sales teams becomes a critical challenge. The top sales-oriented organisations constantly re-evaluate the size and distribution of their sales force against the market potential of their sales territories, continuously recalibrating their sales organisation to match the market opportunity.
Bring data and analytics to the discussion
In our experience, the majority of companies spend their sales review meetings pondering why past sales targets haven't been achieved. Typically this discussion is based purely on opinion and conjecture with few hard facts.
By contrast, the best sales organisations have identified the most important metrics they need to track - emphasising both leading and lagging indicators - and implemented effective systems to gather and visualise the data. Their discussions are then based solely on these metrics and the levers that need to be acted upon to drive sales improvement.