Business & Sales Performance in ‘Soft’ Market Conditions.

By Chris Tandridge

How a hefty dose of reality can increase revenue

The failure of sales to reach the required numbers is usually blamed on the sales team members and their leadership. End of story. “You guys aren’t doing your job right.” In fact it can often be a sign of falling confidence in the marketplace. It’s the canary down the coal mine. Yet few organisations make a valid attempt to address the fundamental issues behind this reality. The usual response is to increase the budgets. Recent CSO Insights research found that sales quota attainment was only 58.1% in 2014, and yet, in the face of those numbers, 94.5% of firms have raised revenue targets in 2015.

Why would the same strategy that failed last year magically work this year?

A new solution is needed and an active part of that solution is taking a closer look at the problem.

Let’s start with the Account Plan. Recent surveys revealed that improving account planning from ‘poor’ to ‘good’ resulted in a 41% increase in win rates.

So, is your account plan innovative and responsive, designed to reflect the moving and changing nature of your customer’s business? Or is it seen as a chore, presented on PowerPoint to appease demands and as an internal presentation to management, often never looked at again.

While we’re on the subject of PowerPoint, it’s over

PowerPoint has no role in modern business account planning – the slides are oversimplified, and bullet points omit the complexities of nearly any issue. Real engagement involves dialogue, eye-to-eye contact and discussions. Of course the main issues are bigger than PowerPoint. However it is a symptom of the resistance to transformation, and potentially the over simplification of complex issues.

Every business can either accept conditions as they exist or take responsibility for changing them

To do this requires behavioural change driven by a bullet proof, robust account management plan. One that actually involves your customer in the process. This is a plan your sales people can and will use, a plan that helps them create the strategies that will make the most of every opportunity.

Of course there is no one solution to behavioural change and if you’re ever offered one, start to worry. It’s more a matter of rolling a number of effective solutions together to turn lost investment in a CRM into the positive outcome and results that you deserve.

The right people with the right motivation can achieve great results

This is irrespective of market conditions and when we talk about motivation, it can begin and end for some, with earning power. Reward for effort. Accuracy and trust in compensation solutions is essential. This is why we always recommend you get off the Excel Spreadsheet and into a robust software package that handles every complexity and provides daily visibility for everyone. Part of our success strategy is a solution where people are neither overpaid or underpaid and most importantly, can always see what’s happening in real time. This creates focus and commitment. It also creates genuine improvement in performance and an accuracy that can save any business over 9% of compensation overspend.

You can’t throw the same book at problems and expect it to tell a different story

We know some very large organisations have thrown enormous resources at a CRM only to achieve a 40% success rate. They have buffers and margins to cope with that but what about the smaller companies that don’t?

Right now you can remove the obstacles to growth and success by changing some key behaviours and processes. Some of the most successful organisations in history hit their straps when times were tough. Your sales team can achieve their full earnings targets and your company can achieve its revenue goals. It’s not just about the external conditions. It’s about a commitment to effective internal change.

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