Unlocking the secrets to increased sales feels like finding the proverbial treasure at the end of the rainbow. Let me tell you. It’s difficult. It takes trying -- Over and over.
Our company is a truly sales oriented one. Sales is the backbone of the business. Both the Chairman and the CEO started out and made their careers in sales. We have designed a professional sales process, we take the time to train, we celebrate our winners. Still we need to continuously optimize. What worked yesterday will suddenly no longer produce the expected result. So we change!
Over the last two years our local and global economy have given a lot of managers sleepless nights. Failure to reach the planned growth goals, decrease in sales and stalled sales processes force us to think and act differently. We realize that we can make the best software in the world, but if we’re not able to sell it, it’s all in vain.
Our latest change involved splitting our sales team down the middle. Where the salespeople used to work with both existing and potential customers, the new organization ensures that you only work with one of them. The logic behind the change is clear: if you focus on fewer things, you can do them better!
So what key learning’s have we taken away from this exercise?
Well, first and foremost, if you want to do this – do it a 100%!
All new leads, potential customers and existing sales processes were moved to the respective team on the date of the reorganization. A transition period often means reduced focus and efficiency, so it’s smart to do it the way you intended – from the start.
Secondly, you need to be able to determine whether you’re succeeding!
Take the time to define some key indicators telling you if you’re on the right track.
Is there an increase in the number of first time sales meetings? Is the sales pipeline bigger/sounder? Are existing customers buying more than before? You will need a system that enables you to be pro-active rather than re-active. When you find you’re not succeeding based on your sales numbers/ERP system, it’s always a bigger turn-around than if you could see the tendencies in a CRM system.
The third thing to remember is that involvement is key to achieve buy-in from the sales force. During a radical change you often find frustration if people are unable to influence their everyday work life. You can tell them WHAT, but they need to influence the HOW… And let’s face it, as they’re the ones closest to the customers, they probably have some valuable information worth taking into account.
Oh, and finally, it might be of importance: it works! Sales are up 15% compared to last year!