According to the Corporate Executive Board, 54% of Sales Operations groups are less than three years old. Sales Operations groups are typically responsible for quota setting, sales productivity, sales forecasting, sales compensation, administration, technology, strategy and communication. These elements are extremely important for sales leadership, but what about supporting the sales force?
For example, a high level sales process would include five steps: identify, qualify, pursue, close and foster accounts.
In identifying accounts, there are five activities that provide winning sales support to the sales force. The first activity is segmenting the market. It describes how customers and prospects can be characterized such as industry segment, annual sales, number of employees, buying patterns, potential, opportunity. The purpose is to understand slices of the market to determine insight where profit and opportunity exists and where the sales force can be focused on the right accounts. Helping the sales force in identifying the right opportunities can lift your sales efforts. The second activity is selecting the right sales channel. Companies can deploy a direct sales force or sell through distributors or both. Which is more profitable? If you have a direct sales force, you can deploy outside sales reps or inside sales reps or national account managers or all of them. Once again, which channels are most profitable? And if you have segmented the market, companies can determine which sales channels should cover which segment. Once again, this allows you to focus your sales resources on the right accounts. The next activity is to shaping your offerings. This is where the sales force can provide input from the market on your offerings to strengthen them for the entire sales force. The next activity is preparing the market. This ensures that your prospects and clients are preconditioned so that they are receptive to your field's sales calls. The last activity is providing specific segment insight. The sales force is educated and loaded with specific segment insight in order to engage a fruitful discussion with account leadership.
The second step of this sales process is qualifying accounts. There are two winning sales support activities for the sales force. The first activity is assisting in qualifying opportunities. A tool is utilized so that the sales force can assess their opportunities and strengthen their positions. In addition, their assessments are summarized so sales leadership can make decisions on resource deployment. The last activity is providing initial value propositions for acquiring new accounts and expanding existing accounts. Initial value propositions are built on historical value propositions and are supported by market data. This valuable information supports the sales force in the qualification step of the sales process.
The next step in the sales process is pursuing accounts. There are three activities that provide winning sales support to the sales force. The first activity is identifying and quantifying competitors. It is usually easy to identify competitors, but it is a little more complex in terms of quantifying the competitors' strategies. This involves understanding the strategies that your competitors have deployed against you during previous sales cycles. The second activity is predicting competitors' strategies. If you know your competitors' strategies, you can find their vulnerabilities and develop winning strategies to defeat them in upcoming sales pursuits. The third activity is assisting the sales force in advancing the initial value proposition. This is where the initial value proposition becomes more customized and moving toward a final value proposition including a return on investment analysis.
The next step in the sales process is closing accounts. There are four activities that provide winning sales support to the sales force. The first activity is assisting with the final value proposition. This is where the initial value proposition is customized for the specific account including a return on investment analysis, and sales support can help on building the ROI calculation. The second activity is strengthening our own sales strategies. Sales support can provide thought leadership on developing strategies including political, relationship and competitive arenas. The third activity is to develop plans to attack the competitors' strategies. Sales support can provide with proven tactics to combat your competitors' strategies. The fourth activity is leveraging influential leaders. With sales support's assistance, influential leaders can be introduced and leveraged in order move the momentum to our side especially late in the sales cycle.
The last step in the sales process is fostering accounts. There are four activities that provide winning sales support to the sales force. The first activity is tracking final value propositions. Sales support will track the actual results from the final value proposition's ROI. In addition, results can be included in future initial value propositions for acquiring or expanding additional accounts. Unfortunately, many companies miss this opportunity to leverage outstanding work and provide additional value to other clients. The second activity is updating findings, results and strategies. Once again, sales support can leverage the excellent work along with the winning strategies in order to increase additional revenue for acquiring new accounts and expanding existing accounts. The third activity is communicating results to existing clients on a routine basis. For example, sales support can provide a quarterly report on results from the final value proposition. The fourth activity is publishing case studies. Oftentimes companies are moving on to the next task without documenting outstanding client value. Turning client value into case studies can be leveraged into the next prospect or client opportunity by building initial value propositions.
These activities can provide Winning Sales Support for your sales force and lift your sales results.