Sales performance and operational excellence are each found on quarterly company-wide meeting agendas, but they exist in different company realms otherwise—different dimensions, in fact. Operations must support sales, and sales are the lifeblood of an organization’s existence, but the two rarely meet to work in tandem—not in ways that are formalized and measurable. And this needs to change.
In many organizations, although there are clear and very specifically defined success metrics that teams are measured against each month, the process for reaching these outcomes is nebulous.
There are product sheets and key differentiator presentations that guide sales interactions, and there are typically scripts or quick reference Q&A materials that frame responses to FAQs. The general sense of how to move prospects from interest to conversion is the unspoken magic salespeople possess, but should it be? Is it really the optimal way to win new business?
Holding The C-suite Accountable
Having the right systems, processes, tools, and talent to grow is essential, with each representing one crucial piece of the ‘enterprise success’ puzzle. An informal sales process throws a wrench into the collective works, as this foundational element is incapable of bearing the weight it is tasked with supporting. And the C-suite needs to accept accountability for strengthening this process pillar, as it’s the only way to maintain moment and continue moving forward.
We recognized this challenge internally, and our leadership team unanimously agreed that a well-defined sales process was critical for growth. And although ours was solidly defined, there was room for improvement—and we’re always watching for ways to continue to evolve
“Becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.” – Michelle Obama, from Becoming
As a consumer and market intelligence platform built to deliver contextual insights that reveal business trends, we knew a data-driven approach was key to success in all things. Some facts that bolstered our resolve:
- B2B companies that define a formal sales process experience 18% more revenue growth compared to companies that don’t. (Vantage Point Performance)
- Businesses with a standardized sales process see a 28% increase in revenue as compared to those that do not. (HBR)
As we know, success is ultimately dependent upon a company’s ability to effectively scale. Scaling requires a repeatable framework, effective tools, and formalized processes across functions and teams. And at NetBase Quid®, we’ve partnered with the Cortado Group to optimize and formalize each area, with corresponding initiatives to ensure we have the right systems, processes, tools, and talent to grow.
First Thing’s First
It’s easy to jump ahead and implement team-specific capabilities in isolation. This is particularly true in a large organization where company-wide rollouts can take many months, and your sales stats were due yesterday. And this is why partnering with an agency like the Cortado Group which is skilled in guiding these efforts, is well worth the investment
Bringing in outside expertise keeps your team and the implementation of new processes on track and ensures important milestones aren’t missed. It also prevents teams from the temptation of going through the motions to race to the end of a process.
And what are these systems, processes, and tools, exactly? They’re specific to each enterprise, and it requires lots of internal work to tease out the precise mix to generate growth. In short, we’ve been working on honing target personas, mapping the customer experience journey, and optimizing our CRM—and much of this work is informed by our own consumer and market research capabilities.
Building out our own customer personas in our suite of tools has been an illuminating exercise. We’re often on the other side of this equation, helping clients identify existing and emerging target audiences, along with unmet needs and potential areas for disruption. Applying that insight to our own services didn’t feel necessary before now, though, which I’ll elaborate on below. But, as we’ve set out to explore bluer oceans, it just made sense.
Facilitating Targeted Discoveries
Interestingly, there’s such a massive need for facilitating data-driven discoveries that it has been easy for us to get caught up in promoting these activities to everyone rather than narrowing our focus to work with specifically defined personas. There’s something for everyone in our data-driven world, but each audience seeks specific insight (at least initially), and the entire data universe, from the social web to patents and investor intel, is just too much to take in at once.
Our suite of tools can process limitless data sources, and even connect disparate data sources in companies’ own BI systems via the Intelligence Connector. And, ahead of completing our robust trainings in each, the possibilities for analyzing and applying that intelligence to support meaningful outcomes is where client companies can become overwhelmed.
Likewise, we recognized that although offering everything to everyone often resulted in prospects discovering use cases they hadn’t imagined, we were expending excessive and occasionally counterproductive effort—and we needed specific training too! Otherwise, we would eventually find ourselves spread too thin, with a value prop that bordered on generic and underutilized outputs that we’d all worked too hard to create. This would dilute our efforts, giving the impression of an average, run-of-the-mill offering, rather than one that was industry-leading and exceptional.
Today, as we work through this process of reframing and formalizing our approach in a company playbook, we’re experiencing a number of benefits, including:
- Better qualifying leads and creating the right enablement materials to accelerate MQL-to-SAL conversion.
- Significantly increasing sales’ effectiveness and shortening new-hire ramps to full productivity.
- Identifying white space within existing customer segments and amplifying the potential within each territory.
- And mapping the typical customer’s journey with critical decision points, including trigger events pinpointing why they get into the market as well as the stages a buyer goes through to reach a decision.
We have personas and process maps, along with clear definitions of our ideal customer—all serving to refocus the entire organization on shared goals and understanding. Best of all, there’s a clear path to get there.
At NetBase Quid®, our focus has always been on providing clients with cutting-edge, game-changing intelligence. Maintaining that commitment required a granular understanding that ultimately expanded our perspective. I look forward to sharing more of our learnings with you in the coming months!