Building the Sales Engine – Pillar 1 [Sales Process]
When you have a clear goal to continuously grow revenue, it’s time to put a sales engine in place. A sales engine is built on two pillars; Sales Process and People.
Sales process specifies your revenue goals, how progress will be measured and the activities, tools and enablement needed for sales execution. The sales process belongs to the company and is not something that is acquired automatically by hiring salespeople. Indeed, hiring (more) salespeople without a specified sales process is a recipe for sales failure.
Why You Need A Sales Process
A business needs a sales process to create the culture of accountability to sustain a focus on prospecting, opportunity creation and account expansion. You know your sales process is working for the business when it leads to the prioritisation of sales activities that matter.
Here is a Checklist of the the items to consider under the “Sales Process” pillar of the Sales Engine.
Building the Sales Engine – Pillar 2 [People]
A sales engine and the sales organisation is often seen as the total sum of all the salespeople. When we see sales as being the same as salespeople we leave out critical parts of the sales engine, namely roles and leadership.
Start With Sales Roles, Not People
In the sales world, there is a big emphasis on finding the right people and far too little focus on defining sales roles. Businesses have an instinctive tendency to rush to find the perfect, “holy grail” salesperson for roles that have not been well defined or not defined at all, other than, we need more sales. It’s why so many salespeople spend most of their time on the wrong work; work that doesn’t matter to the sales engine. Sales roles, contrary to general perception and practice, involve a narrow set of focused activities and outcomes. Your sales engine cannot run on poorly-defined roles or no role definition. In particular, sales role definition needs to include prospecting and opportunity creation responsibilities.
Businesses have an instinctive tendency to rush to find the perfect, “holy grail” salesperson for roles that have not been well defined or not defined at all other than, we need more sales.
Growing sales is usually associated with hiring more salespeople, but building a predictable sales engine requires an investment in professional sales leadership – moreso than hiring salespeople. A good rule of thumb is that after hiring an initial two salespeople (individual contributors), you get more return when your next hire is at the sales management level. It’s professional sales management that develops and protects the sales engine, turning your company’s sales capability into a competitive advantage. The quality of your sales leadership will determine the level of performance across the sales organisation and will make it easier to attrcat raw talent that can be developed and improved.
Here is a Checklist of the the items to consider under the “People” pillar of the Sales Engine.
The quality of your sales leadership will determine the level of performance across the sales organisation and will make it easier to attract raw talent that can be developed and improved.
How to Use the Checklists
“Sales” and sales growth involve thinking about and managing many moving parts. If you want to develop a perpetual sales engine that creates and closes quality opportunities, that discussion has to go beyond salespeople and CRMs. The Checklists provide you with a discussion agenda – especially across the senior management team – and you can decide which items need attention and in what sequence.