Number 4 on the list from my VP of Sales survey is improving sales revenue per resource. Reducing resources, unfortunately used too often these days, was eliminated from my thought process as the intent of the VPs was clearly to grow sales and make resources more effective. Based on my discussions, research and personal experience the key steps in increasing sales revenue per resource are:
- Implement a real time information system, CRM was most popular.
- Developing and implementing a strong sales process.
- Ensure the resources are aligned and capable of executing this process
- Create sales and marketing alignment
- Create fine granularity in your sales process/pipeline milestones (see accelerating opportunities)
- Identify and analyze inefficiencies and loss trends
- Implement continual improvement plan
Numbers 1 – 3 on the list are self-explanatory and number 5 was previously covered. Let us start by looking at sales and marketing alignment, both of which are customer-facing organizations and can be considered sales resources. I worked with a number of companies that felt they had achieved sales and marketing alignment as they had gained agreement of the target markets, marketing pricing and worked together well. All very important but true alignment needs to cover other areas as well. One great example is a company I worked with that implemented solution selling and their sales group was highly focused on selling value and solving business issues. While agreeing with the concept, the marketing group was still focusing collateral material, campaigns, messaging etc on features and benefits, SOP for semiconductor marketing and leaving the sales team with no material supporting their sales methodology. Once identified as an issue, true alignment was gained, lead quality improved, messaging and value propositions delivered to the customer improved and the success rate increased significantly. Real alignment happens when marketing is involved in the selling process and is continually providing targeted information, adjusted value propositions, creative pricing strategies, or coordinated messaging across the entire buyer decision maker structure. This can happen when the CRM provides a clear business situational analysis and a structured plan to close the business with activities targeted at moving quickly to closure.
The true value in this task for a CRM solution is implementing a granular sales process (see accelerating opportunities), analyzing opportunity movement through the sales process, and analyzing where inefficiencies exists. Examples may include:
- Average 3 weeks for sample device and code delivery, milestone 4 in stage 3.
- Certain sales people have trouble moving opportunities from qualified stage to sampling stage
- 99% of opportunities that remain in stage 2 for more than 3 weeks before moving to stage 3 are lost
What you find will be dependent on your business and your process but you will be able to identify areas that can be improved through more resources or better training or knowing when to walk away from an opportunity etc. Combining this analysis with a continual improvement implementation plan can lead to greater overall efficiency and success. If the CRM provides a clear picture of the current situation, lays out an action plan to close the business, and gets buy-in from all parts of the organization to get the job done, you can get to a win faster and have a higher chance of winning by knowing clearly what your customer wants.
The seven steps identified above combined with dedicated execution are a great start to improving your sales revenue per resource numbers.