So far, we’ve covered several of the components I use in developing a sales strategy. We began by looking at the difference between sales and marketing, then we discussed the importance of volume and velocity, and finally, we sized up your competition. Next we need to assess how well you enable your sales organization. This has a direct correlation to the efficiency and volume at which your team can operate – i.e. sales productivity.
This step quickly reveals how well you enable, or possibly disable, your sales team – which in turn determines not only how fast your product will be sold, but also to what degree your sales team will connect with potential customers. Remember, we define enablers as skills or resources which strengthen the sales process. Many companies diminish their potential because they don’t invest in enablement resources or are unwilling to honestly evaluate their current level of enablement.
To get started, download and print a copy of the MMC Enablement Assessment.
Start by filling in the “Industry Importance” column based on your team’s combined industry and sales experience. Not all industries require the same enablers, so this column allows you to evaluate each item’s relative importance within the context of your industry. Factors like product niche, geography, and targeted audience vary, so what works for one industry may not work for another.
The “Effectiveness Scale” rates the effectiveness of skills and resources used in most industries. It will help you identify deficiencies in your company and strategically invest to build enablement. For example, in any industry, “Product Marketability” is the most significant sales enabler, not an incentive plan. This challenges the notion that a good incentive plan is all that you need to sell a product. Case in point: consider the predecessor to the calculator, the slide rule (interestingly, I talked to someone recently that had never heard of a slide rule. In case you haven’t either – click here for a blast from the past). It doesn’t matter how great your incentive plan is, a slide rule is not a marketable product (unless you hope to appear on Antiques Roadshow.) So product marketability is ranked more heavily than incentive plans on the “Effectiveness Scale.” The ranking may fluctuate slightly due to external factors (economy, technology, etc), but it will generally follow the pattern on the chart.
After reviewing this data, cover up the “Industry Importance” and“Effectiveness Scale”columns so you can’t see them and evaluate your company in the “Your Company Ranking” column. First ask yourself “Do we incorporate this enabler into our sales department?” and then “How well do we use it?” For example, if you have a sales training program that is only available during the on-boarding process it should probably be ranked “Medium orWeak”. Also, if your company lacks an enabler, leave that slot blank. Don’t be alarmed by weaknesses or blankspots – they reveal areas where your team can grow and opportunities to increase your sales.
Once these columns are completed, it is a matter of simple analytics to assess the velocity at which your sales team can operate and the investments you can make to effectively enable the team.
If you’d like to learn more about the analytical process, please leave a comment here or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org