How to make sales investments add up to more

Last updated: 02-09-2020

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How to make sales investments add up to more

Dear Company Leader, I see you. You’re frustrated by your sales organization. By its lack of growth. The missed forecasts. Failing to meet targets. Your sales leaders send people to training, and nothing gets better. They invest in new tools, but the problems remain. You pour tons of investment into strategic consulting and big, fancy new initiatives, only to have them peter out and yield nothing or less than nothing.

You hate to admit it, but when it comes to return on your investment in your sales organization, the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

Maybe you see some minor gains here and there, but somehow you never get the intended outcomes you expect.

If any of this is true for you, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that the next shiny thing your team invests in isn’t going to fix the problem. The good news is that the problem can be fixed.

In fact, there is absolutely no reason you and your sales organization can’t enjoy consistently predictable forecasts, quota attainment, revenue growth, and hitting profit targets.

But it’s going to take more than the latest fancy gadget.

In most sales organizations, there is a massive disconnect between strategy and execution.

You invest in strategic consulting, but the strategies never get executed in the field. You know what your sales team needs to do, but they don’t do it. Maybe you invest in sales training, but it doesn’t result in substantial performance improvements. Or maybe you buy new technology, but see only minor gains in quota attainment.

The disconnect between strategy and execution is the problem. Your strategy is probably quite good. The training and tools your team is purchasing may also be good. But if they’re not aligned with each other so that the training and tools serve to actually execute on the strategy, they’re not doing you as much good as they should.

In maths class, the whole always has to equal the sum. 2 + 2 = 4 8 + 8 = 16 1284 + 1 million = 1 million, one thousand, two hundred and eighty-four

Unfortunately, in sales, that equation is too often turned on its head. You invest in technology, people, tools, process, and strategy. The parts are all there. But they don’t add up to as much as they should.

You have more technology tools than your team actually uses, strategies that sit on shelves attracting dust, and processes that everyone ignores. People who cost more than they produce. Training that doesn’t stick.

Even if you’re ultimately making a profit with your sales organization, the yield of your total sales investment against the chaos of tools and processes you buy is less than the input.

In order to make the sum of all the parts add up to more in your sales organization, you have to take a holistic approach to sales investment. You have to align strategy, people, process, and technology so that they work together instead of against each other, all of them pointing toward the same end: Improved performance against strategy.

Instead of hiring a strategic consultant, a training company, and a shotgun spray of technology tools, bring in a team that will collaborate to align all these aspects so that they work together, instead of against each other.

You want to have collaborators who come into your company and say, “We’re going to help you with the strategy, yes, and we’re going to help you execute, train your people, put systems in place, and make this all actually happen.”

Maybe they even provide a guarantee that you can hold them accountable to.

Be clear with your partners on your objectives. Don’t say you want to improve. Say you want to improve results by 25% over 18 months. Double your win rates over twelve months. Achieve 95% forecast accuracy within nine months.

Then hold them accountable to present holistic solutions that address that and demonstrate exactly how they will achieve it.

I’ve been in talks with some of our partners about a new idea we’re working on, and tossing around the concept of “Service as a Service.” What we mean by that is that we would provide a total package of strategic consulting, training, enablement, and technology keyed to your specific objectives and driven by experts in each area collaborating together to create an optimal solution.

It would be packaged at a fixed fee, so you would know exactly how much you’ll be investing, what it adds up to, and how it becomes more than the sum of its parts.

I’m interested to know what you think. Would it solve problems in your organization? What would you want to see from a company offering such a package?

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