5 Tips for Building a Successful Sales Organization

Does your organization put a high priority on sales?

TIP 1:  Create a sales culture from the top down

Faster growing (and more successful) organizations make sales a key focus. Sales is not and cannot be considered “a necessary evil.” It is the primary means of driving new business growth. It is the driver for customer retention. It is the people, the processes and the systems needed to continually generate new revenue for an organization. And it needs to start at the top. Without the support of upper management, none of the rest really matters.

Do you have specialized business development reps consistently feeding your pipeline?

TIP 2:  Incorporate specialization into your sales structure

Any company looking to grow should have three separate areas of proficiency within their sales department—hunters, closers and farmers—and, ideally, a separate management team for each. Specialization will lead to faster growth and greater sustainability.

  • Hunters – inside reps working to uncover opportunities, act as brand steward, build assets and develop relationships.
  • Closers – enterprise reps that are out on the road and inside reps that have the ability to close in front of decision makers and working to turn warm leads into closed sales.
  • Farmers – to work established business relationships, generate referrals, expand, renew, upsell and branch out horizontally within current accounts.

Do you have documented procedures for finding, qualifying and nurturing prospects? 

TIP 3:  Implement and Execute a Definitive Territory Management Plan

A good territory plan will cover all aspects of a territory from market research to market segmentation, lead segmentation, reporting and marketing.

  • Market research – to determine where you want to spend your time and why.
  • Market segmentation – to break the universe of potential prospects into digestible chunks.
  • Lead qualifying/segmentation – to prioritize leads based upon known attributes and relationship levels.
  • Reporting – to measure prospecting and pipeline velocity.
  • Marketing – to support outbound sales efforts at each stage of the game.

Is your CRM more than a glorified Rolodex? 

TIP 4:  Enforce CRM Discipline

To be effective, CRM has to be more than a glorified Rolodex. It must be a comprehensive, actionable repository of valuable client and prospect information.

  • Comprehensive – The CRM should be structured in accordance with the territory management plan. All relevant market, prospect and client data should be entered into the system. A tool is only as good as how you use it. If you don’t track the right information, it will never be there when you need it.
  • Actionable – Review and track all opportunities. Measure prospect and pipeline velocity. Look for patterns and adjust strategy accordingly.

Do you have an ongoing system measuring “in-game activity?”

TIP 5:  Don’t Just Measure Results – Measure “In Game Stats”

If the only metric looked at repeatedly is whether or not quota is being met, a whole host of other problems could be brewing and you would never know. Not only that, key pockets of opportunity could easily be overlooked. Look at key indicators on a micro level and track their macro effect on the big picture.

  • Prospecting Velocity – Look at number of incoming new leads, number of touches in the market, number of direct contacts made, new target accounts added, etc. to determine hot lead sources and eliminate cold ones.
  • Pipeline Velocity – Number of net new opportunities found in market, win rate, win/loss reports, churn rate, stage of loss, what verticals do we win in, length of time from discovery to closure, etc.