One of the recurrent themes of executive briefings at Sirius Decisions’ 2010 Summit was that sales productivity will be the next thing forward thinking marketing and sales leaders turn their attention to.
Joe Galvin of Sirius Decisions suggested, as part of this push, firms will increasingly deploy inside sales teams, then equip them with technologies which:
- bring the process disciplines of traditional opportunity management to prospecting,
- reveal the impacts on buyer journeys of marketing and sales tactics with new forms of business intelligence, delivered in ways which make the process of selling much more informed + helpful,
- shift the focus of associated metrics (the ‘connect rates’ of today will be replaced by the ‘response times’ of tomorrow),
- shift the sales process focus to: confirm, develop, react, respond.
Rich Eldh of Sirius Decisions suggested this agenda will beget a new science of sales productivity as transformative in sales execution as Money Ball was in baseball. The underlying metrics will deliver an added velocity, and focus on outcomes, to sales management practices. Some related details from their presentations and others’ at the Summit:
VELOCITY WILL MATTER MORE THAN EVER: the new agenda of sales productivity will be, in part, an agenda of better aligning the velocity of decision cycles with the day-to-day burn of marketing and sales efforts. As part of this, firms will implement systems yielding new feedback that makes clearer the impacts on buyer journeys of day-to-day marketing and sales efforts. When the connection between effort and impact becomes clear, and real-time, firms will gain an advantage of faster decision cycle times. This will accelerate firms’ abilities to detect and fix mistakes. The need for added velocity in decision-making is underscored by the speed with which firms are moving to create marketing and sales-driven advantages in their businesses (Polycom, for instance, has added over 150 new sales reps in recent weeks).
BUYER JOURNEYS WILL BE KEY TO PRODUCTIVE EXECUTION: in a Sales Force Accounting model, Reps are asked to record their activities and efforts in a bid to make them accountable for how hard they’re trying to close deals. On the other hand, they’re compensated for how many deals they close. They hate reporting, and they’re lousy at it. It comes at a cost of unreliable data, inconsistently reported, subjective in nature, yielding unpredictable sales results, and consuming a block of time that could have been better spent engaging with interested buyers. A focus on sales productivity will cut this waste. It will get sales people back to the real work of conversational selling where there’s a chance they can create real value for buyers. It will feed the new science of sales productivity with new, objective, measures of the Return-on-Effort from marketing and sales tactics. It will trigger higher Returns-on-Effort by revealing the impacts of marketing and sales tactics on buyer journeys.
The above is my summary of what I gleaned from two and a half intense (and incredibly valuable) days of briefings by Sirius Decisions’ executives. The wisdom in these observations is Sirius Decisions’. The mistakes are mine. For additional summaries of the many valuable points made in by Sirius Decisions in their executive briefings, see summaries posted by Adam Needles and Dan McDade.