15 Nov What Really Slows Down Enterprise Sales – And How to Improve It
Let’s assume for a minute that as VP Sales you’ve been given very aggressive selling targets by the new CEO. You know that if you don’t hit your new enterprise sales targets, you’re not going to get that promotion an in fact you could be out of a job.
According to every consultant you talk to the way to increase enterprise sales revenue is to either increase headcount or improve sales productivity. Industry studies support this fairly consistently.
Increasing headcount is not an option – the new CEO has put headcount on hold – so your best option is to increase sales team productivity. You suspect your reps are pretty close to industry standard and spend only 32% of their time selling – so there’s lots of room for improvement.
Most of the sales productivity studies, as shown in the table below, point to training, incentives, coverage model changes and CRM investments. The price tag for all of this? Over $20,000 per sales rep.
Sales Productivity Initiatives Are Only Half the Solution
You fight for budget and implement the programs. As a result, your enterprise sales reps and management are experienced and well trained in your product and service offerings. Sales and partners use your CRM expertly and you know exactly what’s in the pipeline.
Your sales organization has no issues overcoming competition and pricing obstacles. Your marketing department gives your reps all the collateral they need to sell. This includes custom proposals, customer needs research and access to extensive databases for background information.
Yet, not only are sales not skyrocketing, the competition is gaining ground. Your attrition rates are up and you’re losing your best talent every year. The reason, especially for enterprise complex sales, is that getting the customer to “yes” is only half the battle. The real productivity losses come from the burden of administrative details that bury enterprise account managers during a significant sales pursuit
This key issue, which is rarely identified in sales productivity reports, was reported in a McKinsey study that studied highly paid reps spending the majority of their time supporting their own sales efforts. McKinsey reported that solving this problem can take up to two years to implement. It requires time consuming and expensive changes to internal processes, performance management systems and considerable staffing increases.
Instead, consider managing a sale like a project. A part time project manager can help your best salespeople to offload all the meetings, phone calls, action item chasing and logistics onto someone who knows how to, and enjoys, managing things like this. A few hours a week of a project manager’s time devoted to a large sales pursuit can yield short term results in faster close rates, lower attrition rates and better customer satisfaction.
The project manager can track and follow up on action items and provide concise, clear reporting on status and risks on a daily basis. With the logistics offloaded, the account rep will be able to close the deal but pursue deals in other accounts.
Sales Beacon has had the privilege of managing team initiatives for some of the world’s largest virtual and remote sales forces. Contact Sales Beacon to find out more about how to improve sales productivity.