Lee Levitt of IDC's Sales Advisory Practice presented a measurement framework for creating a winning sales pipeline based on ensuring every player participating in the sales process knows their role on the team to contribute effectively to increasing win rates.
Following on Gerhard Gschwandtner's opening remarks, Lee expands on the theme of the Internet turning selling upside down. He stated, "The 4th Quarter of 2009 is the most important quarter of the decade." Companies will either set themselves up to win in the future, or set themselves way behind by not proactively embracing the changes needed to stay in step with market changes.Takeaways:Increased Focus on OutcomesLee shared that companies who really get it are creating a new role to help: VP of Customer Outcomes.
This person's responsibility is to ensure that the right things happen for customers--at all stages of their relationship with the company. The business objective is to increase overall shareholder value and this outcome is something that cannot be measured with CRM.Do More DisqualifyingCompanies need to get better at prioritizing the opportunities they spend time and money on selling. Every deal is not a fit for your company. By disqualifying and walking away from those prospects who aren't either likely to buy or a good fit your sales team can exponentially increase wins, revenues and sales effectiveness.
Sales Preparedness Needs ImprovementIDC Enterprise Panel research in January 2009 found that only 1 in 5 salespeople are extremely well prepared for an initial sales meeting. Fifty-seven percent were either NOT or only somewhat prepared. Lee suggests that salespeople dump the PowerPoint decks and ask guided questions instead. However, in order to ask those questions, salespeople need to accumulate knowledge about their prospect's businesses. Examples include not only knowing how the supply chain works, but in also knowing where the hiccups are. By addressing real business needs, instead of asking your prospects to educate your reps, they'll be more likely to develop engaged customers who want to know how your company can help them be more successful.Know the Words Your Customers UseIn a recent survey of buyers, the word "solution" didn't show up in the top 50 choices.
This once again shows the disparity between how sellers sell and how buyers buy. "A solution is a canned answer to a need that doesn't exist." Reconstructing the Pipeline ApproachLee insists that we need to restructure how sales and marketing work together to co-create a go-to-market approach focused on customers. When he asked the room how many of us defined a lead with input and agreement from both sales and marketing only several hands were raised.5 Critical Factors for successful reconstruction: Customer IntelProfile activity and interactionsLearn the digital footprintDefine patterns and event triggersPlan for every single call - yes, every one.Ask Important questions:Why will the customer buy from us?
What will happen if they don't?Lead ManagementScore your leadsMap lead flowsManage leads based on quality and probability based on valueEvaluate cadence (frequency approach)Evaluate marketing and sales on same metricsResource OptimizationUse the resource that fits the task - top sellers shouldn't be doing tasks lower cost resources could accomplishDisqualify - early and oftenProcess ImprovementEvaluate activity and equate it to resultsIdentify and remove time sinksMake decisions based on analytics, not gutSales reps get paid to talk - not dialSales & Marketing AlignmentCompensate sales and marketing on same metricsCreate joint goalsLee also suggests that lead creation should be addressed prior to creating a lead scoring process. If the leads your company is generating aren't appropriate in the first place, scoring them is self-defeating.
The gist of Lee's keynote was that companies need to recreate how they're selling with a focus on sales enablement through customer knowledge that produces the sharing of the right information at the right time-conversationally-with the right leads.
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