Starting a company is hard work. Keeping it running properly is even harder. You live your life in a swirl of competing priorities; on any given day, you’re likely to be launched sideways by an unexpected hiccup. So, how do you keep revenue growth on track and predictable while dealing with a myriad of other issues? Because (nearly) everything that can go wrong with sales performance, will, following Murphy’s Law – unless you manage sales properly.
Getting a good start to sales
You start with (you believe) a well thought out sales plan, the right team to execute it, a clearly articulated differentiator in your chosen market, the right demand generation strategy, and sound management practices to ensure that your sales performance plan stays on track. But then what?
Let’s take sales management practices
In a recent survey of nearly 1000 small and mid-sized businesses, eight in 10 did not clearly communicate expectations and consequences to their sales representatives.
- 71% score poor/below average at defining each team member’s roles and responsibilities
- 40% have never provided written sales performance reviews
The right team to execute sales
With respect to actual sales performance, did you know that less than 70%* of sales representatives actually achieve their sales goals? Studies by Sales Xceleration, Inc., suggest the cause is actually poor sales management – too much focus on the numbers and too little coaching and mentoring of the team.
Many firms don’t have a structured sales hiring process and tools designed to source, hire, and onboard the right people. Furthermore:*
- 76% of business leaders don’t think their clients and prospects know what makes them unique
- 65% rated themselves as poor/below average in understanding their target market
- 76% don’t have clearly defined sales metrics in place
- Only 37% of firms surveyed have a process to evaluate sales training effectiveness
The list is long for what can go wrong
- Failing to tie sales incentives to the goals of the business means you may overpay for failure.
- The absence of a defined sales process leads to unpredictable results.
- Weak competitive knowledge results in needlessly long sales cycles.
- A broken customer relationship management strategy (CRM) means you can’t predict revenue growth with any confidence from one quarter to the next.
- Poor sales leadership compounds the problems of sales performance and all these issues.
This isn’t meant to deter you from your growth plans, but simply to point out that there are a lot of moving pieces in a well-designed and well-tuned sales engine. If they are misaligned, that impacts performance.
It’s understandable you may get distracted and find it hard to focus on sales growth everyday – making sales is NOT why most people start a business. Over the next few months, I’m going to get into many of the sales growth issues that business founders, owners, and CEOs face, and provide you with some guidance to get and stay on track.
And remember, an outsourced sales leader can hit the ground running to help you get your world straightened out.
*Statistics are results compiled from 933 Sales Agility Assessments
Are you having difficulty breaking through to the next level in revenue growth? Could you use an experienced, outside perspective to diagnose your sales issues and build a plan to address them?
Sometimes, you need a guide to find the right path forward.
Sales Growth Advisors provides outsourced sales leadership services for small and mid-sized businesses – so your sales engine runs the way it is supposed to.