Friday, 23 October 2015

What Dreamforce 2015 taught me about Sales Productivity: Part 2

In my previous post, I talked about how Dreamforce laid great stress on Social Selling, Sales Enablement and Accurate Forecasting. Well, that wasn’t all. Salesforce also laid emphasis on the significance of a healthy pipeline, sales coaching, setting the right goals and most importantly, prioritization, as the key focus areas for achieving greater sales productivity.

Do NOT Sideline your Pipeline

A healthy Sales pipeline is the key to your Sales performance. Not only does it signify that you have a healthy sales process that is obviously reaping benefits for you, it clearly translates into more revenue. A large number of Dreamforce sessions reiterated on spending more time in refining your pipeline that has more qualified prospects than suspects, and training your Sales team to achieve the same. However, it’s easier said than done!

Gartner reports have listed ‘healthy pipeline’ to be the second most important thing that Sales Leaders desperately need and do not get. The truth is, a lot of sales reps start out not being good at pipeline refinement and management but only the best ones master the art. So what’s the key to pipeline management?

Clich├ęd as it sounds, the key to a dream pipeline is an effective sales process in place. Statistics show that a dedicated sales process leads to as much as 18% increase in revenue growth through effective sales pipelines. Trained Sales reps are another big contributor towards a favorable pipeline (covered at length in subsequent sections), leading to 9-24% increase in annual revenue growth. Bottom line: revere thy pipeline and hold it in good stead!

Sales Coaching

Dreamforce revealed that the key to sales productivity is in pipeline management. But that does not happen on its own accord; you need to train your sales reps for that. Which brings me to the next pertinent aspect of sales productivity: sales coaching.

Sales reps need to be constantly coached with the right content that would help them close deals faster. This is achieved through a three-pronged process: Identification of ‘coachable’ activities, defining and detailing the coaching methodology and establishing a coaching rhythm that brings the best out of your sales reps.

Sales Coaching involves three key aspects that lead to setting the right goals:
  • Breakdown of sales goals and how they will be measured
  • Focus on the critical activities that lead to success
  •  Focus on fewer goals done well rather than too many goals done poorly

Statistics reveal that organizations have seen up to 80% increase in revenue when sales reps are coached the right way. Dreamforce sessions certainly got this one right!

You need PRIORITY and NOT more time

The final yet the foremost thing that Dreamforce taught me! Any sales guy who tells you he wishes he had 48 hours in a day clearly isn’t on top of his game. The smartest of sales people are the ones who prioritize their prospects and deals, who know how to spend more time with the prospects that are more likely to give them business and Dreamforce could not have laid more emphasis on this fact. A lot of sessions in Dreamforce were targeted at increasing sales productivity through prioritization, and how spending more time with fewer prospects actually holds the key to productivity.

Your time is precious, and as a sales rep, even more so. Identify the prospects who are ‘mobilizers’ and engage with them through commercial insights, instead of mere leadership perspective. Take them through the stages of a verified and validated pipeline and monitor their progress. You will find that they are likely to give you more business than the ones who did not qualify.

Transforming your Sales Productivity: Where do you begin?

In a pyramid of sales productivity, your sales reps form the base. Only ones the sales reps are efficient and effective can they translate and provide value to their teams, organizations and customers, in that order. Therefore, for any organization that is looking to enhance the productivity of its Sales team needs to start at the base: with their sales reps, coaching and enabling them to achieve their targets. Once your army is ready and raring to go, it’s only a matter of time that the world will be at your feet!

Written by Nupur Singh, Pre-Sales & Marketing Expert at Eternus Solutions

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