Part of your perks for attending the 2014 Summit in Denver was to get first access to the deliverables from the Crowdsourcing session led by Joe Galvin. Read the 12 Best Practices You Can Start Using Today .
Climb to the top of any mountain, and it seems like you can see forever. (On a clear day, at least.) The same
is true of the Sales Performance Summit. This year, collaboration was a key theme throughout – both in
sessions as well as hallway conversations. Collaboration certainly took center stage at the end of the
conference when we asked attendees to share best practices from their own organizations. Here’s just some
of what they told us.
#1 Segmentation is essential. Segmentation isn’t just a marketing technique. Taking a one-size-fits-all
approach to customers doesn’t work. On the other hand, the team’s efforts get spread thin when they are
called on to create one-off content and messages that address the needs of specific customers. Segmenting
by vertical markets, buyer roles, buying need and other criteria helps sales leaders and supporting functions
focus their resources to drive productivity.
#2 Sales training isn’t just for sales. If you’re trying to encourage a team-selling environment where sales
professionals collaborate with people across the organization, then everybody needs to understand the sales
process. By ensuring everyone understands the customer management strategies, you don’t waste time
bringing people up to speed on process and terminology.
#3 Leverage new technologies. There’s always something new that can help your sales professionals better
penetrate accounts, gather intelligence or drive collaboration across the team and with customers. The best
sales leaders are always exploring new technologies to discover ways to drive productivity and gain the
#4 Collaboration requires leadership. Leverage your well-respected top performers by asking them to show
others how to work in a collaborative environment. They don’t need to teach a class. Leadership by example
works great. Compensation plans and performance metrics also encourage this behavior.
#5 Collaboration requires planning. When you assign teams, make sure everyone understands their role.
This is especially important when you bring in sales leadership. Since they aren’t normally part of the defined
sales process, they need to understand exactly when you need them and what role they need to serve.
Remember, they may be in charge of the company, but the sales executive is in charge of the opportunity.
#6 Make customers your focus. When your sales professionals visit prospects, do they say “here’s what we
do”? Or do they ask questions to understand what’s important to the customer? When done well , customers
and sales professionals start to collaborate on defining the solution.
#7 Always measure. When an opportunity lingers too long at any particular stage, it isn’t good for funnel
health. It can also potentially damage the customer experience. They may want to move forward, but something
is holding them back. It’s the job of the sales professional to find a way around the obstacle. If you don’t know
how long an opportunity normally remains at each stage of the process, you won’t know when one is stuck.
#8 Tap into the collective wisdom. Individually, a salesperson’s knowledge is limited to his personal
experiences. Collectively, you’ll find there is real wisdom in the team. You can leverage that wisdom by
grouping sales professionals into teams and having them do account reviews with each other. Not only will
they learn from each other, they’ll gain coaching experience. Mix up the teams every six months or so to
keep the ideas fresh.
#9 Know who’s on your team. In every opportunity, the sales professional needs to know who they will
call on for sales support. Briefing team members ahead of time will reduce the number of “audibles,”
strategy changes, called in the field. It will also reduce the number of embarrassing fumbles made by
team members who haven’t had time to learn the plays.
#10 Blue Sheets aren’t just for sales. Each individual on the team, whether they have a “sales role” or
not, should review and understand the Miller Heiman Blue and Green Sheets before they take part in an
active opportunity. Blue and Green Sheets are the team playbooks.
#11 Technology adoption requires leadership. Technology adoption isn’t a salesperson issue. It’s a
management/leadership issue. If your sales team isn’t leveraging the technology, sales leadership needs to
do a root cause analysis. More often than not, you’ll discover one of two things: Your customer
management strategies aren’t supported by the technology, and it’s getting in the way of selling. Or worse,
your sales management is setting a poor example by not using the technology themselves.
#12 Focus on the customers that count. You need to measure the ROI of a relationship to know who
your best customers are. Some customers will ask for far more value than they return in terms of sales
expenses, hand-holding by support resources and a hundred other little things that can add up quickly. No
matter how much business a customer brings in, if they cost more than they bring in, they aren’t a
customer worth keeping.
Like the view from the top of a mountain, this Summit is a truly inspiring and valuable experience. The
collective energy generated during this session serves as a great reminder of the benefits of collaboration
and why collaboration is a best practice of World-Class Sales Performers.
See you at the 2015 Summit!
2015 MHI Global Sales Performance Summit
October 20-21 l Savannah, GA