Achieving Corporate Sales Targets

Jesse Hopps

Preparing for the Planning Process

  • Step 1 - Build a Sales Growth Team: build a small, cross-functional team and develop a Sales Growth Team Charter. Hold a kick-off meeting to set sales planning goals, schedule meeting times, and get organized for the planning process.
  • Step 2 - Develop a Sales Planning Charter: use our Project Charter template to document the goals and objectives for the planning process, and set plan completion timelines.
  • Step 3 - Discuss Acquire, Retain, & Expand Strategy:most organizations can benefit from a simple three-pronged approach to sales strategy that everyone can understand:
    • Acquire - recruit as many new customers as possible
    • Retain - work with customer service to reduce churn
    • Expand - sell additional products into existing accounts
  • Step 4 - Introduce SPIN Selling Framework: Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling is the most validated consultative sales methodology, backed by empirical research into over 30,000 real-world sales calls. If you have not read this book, consider purchasing a copy for each member of your team.

  Engage & Align with Marketing

  • Step 1 - Define your Sales Process: use Demand Metric’s Sales Opportunity Pipeline Tool to help define your sales process. Look for the “Stages” tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet, and customize your process accordingly.
  • Step 2 - Discuss Lead Generation Programs & Results: use our Marketing Automation Research Center if you need ideas. Determine your Marketing Effectiveness Quotient and consider getting certified in Demand Generation Best Practices.
  • Step 3 - Agree on Definition of a “Lead”: use our Lead Scoring Index and Qualified Lead tool to determine which criteria are essential for a prospect to be considered a lead, and to define various parameters for lead quality. For more background on Lead Scoring, read “Score Big with Lead Scoring”.
  • Step 4 - Develop a Lead Nurturing Program: not all leads are in a position to buy at the time of first contact with a salesperson. Read our summary “Align Sales & Marketing with Lead Nurturing” to automate this lucrative marketing process.
  • Step 5 - Improve Lead Generation Capabilities: if you have a call center, evaluate your cold-calling maturity with our report “Making Cold Calling Work for You”. Alternatively, consider outsourcing lead generation to a specialist firm. Use our Web Marketing Scorecard to increase web-based leads.
  • Step 6 - Discuss Demand Generation Platforms: look into platforms like Eloqua’s Conversion Suite or Pardot which integrate email marketing; lead scoring & nurturing; web analytics; campaign management; performance measurement, and more. Read our best practices report on Marketing Automation.

Understand your Customers & Markets

    • Step 1 - Evaluate your Customer-Centricity: use our Customer-Centricity Checklist to help your organization become more customer-centric, and less product-focused.
    • Step 2 - Profile Profitable Customers & Segments: use our Customer Profile template to analyze your customer “types” and review “Market Segmentation, Targeting, & Positioning” if you need help with defining your target market segments. This exercise focuses on what the organization is doing RIGHT.
    • Step 3 - Produce Case Studies to Demonstrate Value: work with marketing to produce Case Studies that can be posted on your website or delivered by your sales team.
    • Step 4 - Conduct a Product Sales Analysis: use the “Product & Service Sales” tab in our Sales Analysis Tool to determine which product lines are growing or declining.
    • Step 5 - Benchmark Customer Satisfaction Rates: use our Customer Satisfaction Survey template to quickly get metrics for customer loyalty and gauge risk for key accounts.
    • Step 6 - Position & Differentiate your Products: use our Product Positioning Tool to help your sales team understand how your products stack up to the competition in the industry.
  • Step 7 - Inform Product Management: start the process of informing product management by distributing Product Feature Request Forms to your team of customer-facing salespeople.

Benchmark and Improve Sales Talent

  • Step 1 - Conduct a Skills Assessment: use our Sales Skills Assessment tool to benchmark the skills of each salesperson, and identify any key areas for training to improve sales talent.
  • Step 2 - Evaluate Sales Team Performance: use our Performance Review template to create professional development plans for each member of your sales team.
  • Step 3 - Provide Consultative Sales Training: use our report, “Adopting Consultative Selling” to build a training workshop and a common toolset for your team to work from.

Examine Previous Sales Performance

  • Step 1 - Conduct a Segment Analysis: using the “Segment Sales” tab in the Sales Analysis Tool, determine which market segments or territories are producing the most and least sales.
  • Step 2 - Perform a Channel Sales Analysis: using the “Channel Sales” tab in the Sales Analysis Tool, evaluate which partners and/or sales channels are providing results.
  • Step 3 - Evaluate Sales by Salesperson: using the “Sales Team Results” tab in the Sales Analysis Tool, examine your sales team in terms of New Revenue, Renewal Revenue, and Total Revenue, relative to goals for each salesperson.
  • Step 4 - Review/Set Key Performance Indicator Goals: use our Key Performance Indicators Worksheet to set goals for improving these critical metrics. Here are a few examples:
    • Average Revenue/salesperson/year
    • Average Revenue/customer/year
    • Average Years of Customer Lifetime
    • Productivity Metrics (dials, talk time, opportunities)
    • Cancellation Rates
    • Customer Retention Rates
    • Closing Rates (opportunities/contacts)
    • Customer Satisfaction Survey Results
    • Sales Growth by Product Line
    • Number of New Customers Acquired
    • New Opportunities/quarter
    • Leads from Marketing/quarter
    • Closing Rate from Marketing Leads

Forecast Future Sales Results

  • Step 1 - Create Annual Sales Target: based on your Sales Analysis, and working with senior management to determine reasonable goals, set an achievable sales target for your team. Be sure to break your goals down by New & Renewal Revenues. Use our Sales Forecasting Tool to help you with this process.
  • Step 2 - Determine Staffing Requirements: if you will require more full-time employees to hit your target, work with Human Resources to get more talented staff in the door. Use our Account Executive job description if you need help there.
  • Step 3 - Set Quotas for your Sales Team: using the “Sales Team Revenue Goals” tab in the Sales Analysis Tool, set goals for new revenue and renewal revenue for each salesperson.

Motivate your Sales Team

  • Step 1 - Review Sales Compensation Plan: take a look at your current compensation plan to ensure that corporate objectives are aligned with individual salesperson objectives. If necessary, look at re-working your compensation package.
  • Step 2 - Provide Monthly or Quarterly Incentives: most salespeople respond well to incentive programs for winning sales contests and overachieving goals. Vacations and big-screen televisions are great for many people, but don’t forget about the power of public recognition in front of their peers.

Develop a Sales Support Function

  • Step 1 - Formalize the Sales Support Function: add a Director of Sales Support to your organization, or add these responsibilities to an existing department or function. Read our summary “Overhaul your Sales Support Process” and download our Sales Support Checklist.
  • Step 2 - Measure your Effectiveness: use our Sales Support Effectiveness Survey to determine how you can help your sales team more effective.
  • Step 3 - Build Useful Sales Tool & Collateral: work with Marketing Communications to create whitepapers, data sheets, proposal templates, case studies, pricing sheets, product positioning tools, and other items that facilitate sales.
  • Step 4 - Find an Opportunity Management Tool: evaluate your current Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and ensure you have accurate data, reporting functionality, and opportunity management features. Visit our CRM Research Center to learn more about how these systems can help you.
  • Step 5 - Mandate a Sales Reporting Process: provide your sales team with a Sales Call Reporting Tool and Sales Opportunity Pipeline Tool to provide reports on individual calls and sales cycles. These are simple tools that can be used in lieu of having enterprise CRM or Sales Force Automation (SFA).
  • Step 6 - Identify & Strategize on Key Accounts: conduct meetings with each salesperson to strategize on key account plans. Use our Key Account Planning Tool to document goals & objectives, and develop an action plan for each major account.

Measure and Monitor Sales Results

  • Step 1 - Review Metrics on a Consistent Basis: keep tabs on your key performance indicators and opportunity pipeline by scheduling a weekly review session. Use the Sales Analysis Tool to proactively track results for Product Sales, Segment Sales, Channel Sales and Sales Team Revenues by salesperson.
  • Step 2 - Adjust Strategy Based on Performance: based on your results, adjust your management focus. It may be necessary to rally the troops to increase a particular product’s sales, or to increase output for a market segment or territory.
  • Step 3 - Define Repeatable Best Practices: document what is working for your top salespeople by modifying scripts, redefining processes, and sharing knowledge among peers.