The Sales Acceleration Formula
While there is no sure route to success, the Sales Acceleration Formula is a good place to start if you and your team wish to compete in modern, digitized markets. In this section of The Ultimate Guide To Sales Acceleration, we'll address five aspects of a modern sales formula.
The Sales Hiring Formula: Hire the same successful salesperson every time
The first step in building a winning sales team is hiring and recruitment. Classical sales models would dictate selecting tireless individuals with a hunter mentality. And while quick-witted, personable individuals are often successful in sales, it is important to identify the skills and mindsets necessary for a sales rep to be successful in your company.
Take some time to reflect and research the ideal candidate. You know your company, and you know your company’s values. Mark Roberg, who first coined the term “Sales Acceleration” says that the ideal candidate for a sales position is coachable, curious, intelligent, has a past history of success, and a healthy work ethic. This is a good place to start, but when hiring teams take the time to identify exactly who and what they need, they can hire a successful salesperson every time.
During the interview process, it is important to utilize a scorecard or other tool to assess the candidates’ skills and values. A scorecard allows interviewers to focus on the most important skills necessary for success. A deeply charismatic individual may interview exceptionally well, but if that person isn’t coachable, they may not be a good fit. Similarly, a scorecard can help recruiters find people who, although not fitting the profile of a typical salesperson, have the drive and skills to be successful.
It is possible to hire successfully with outside recruitment agencies, but it can be more cost effective and timely to build up an internal recruitment team who intimately understand the needs of your business and are dedicated to finding candidates who align with the company and team’s values. Internal recruitment teams should network and search out candidates rather than post open positions and hope a good fit comes along. LinkedIn and other social media sites create ample opportunities to find quality sales reps without sifting through hundreds of resumes.
Finally, every few months hiring teams should look at their top performing sales reps, and their original scorecards from the interview stage. You may wish to adjust your hiring criteria based on your findings.
The Sales Training Formula: Train every salesperson in the same manner
Once you’ve begun hiring qualified, motivated individuals, they’ll need some training. Simply shadowing top level rep isn’t enough. Every new hire has unique skills and personalities, and guiding them through an established training program informed by company goals and values will ensure they are prepared to begin their official duties with confidence. The sales training program should be informed by the practices of top performing sales representatives, the buyer journey, the sales process, and, above all, be aligned with company values and needs.
If you train every salesperson in the same manner, you will be able to identify weaknesses in your training program and make changes overtime. It takes about 12 months for a salesperson to become proficient in a new role, and an effective training program can jumpstart and streamline this process, leading to confident, capable teams with varied skill sets and personalities.
The Sales Management Formula: Hold salespeople accountable to the same sales process
It is essential to hold all salespeople accountable to the same process and metrics.
Many sales managers have found that pivoting to a coaching mindset builds successful, focused teams. When a sales manager knows their reps – all their unique skills and abilities, as well as their struggles – they can help their team capitalize on strengths and shore up weaknesses to be more effective in their roles.
Each salesperson should be held accountable to the same set of goals and metrics. [Data and technology resources play a heavy role here, but more on that later]. Managers can grow their teams by working individually with reps to create specific goals relevant to that salesperson. Reps should come to these meetings having already viewed their metric reports and undergone a reflection process. During the meeting, reps work with their managers to set goals that work with their established strengths and target weak points.
Managers can also motivate entire teams by creating monthly challenges and training meetings focused on a single goal applicable to the team and company at large. By narrowing the training scope, reps are able to build each other up and engage in friendly competition.
Compensation is a major part of the sales management formula. Don’t be afraid to adjust compensation models based on company needs or deficiencies in the sales team. Regardless of how you choose to design compensation, keep in mind that the best approaches are simple, aligned with company goals and needs, and immediate.
A final note on promotion best practice – use data and the ideal hire approach to determine promotions. Just because an individual is an exceptional sales person doesn’t mean they have the skills (or the desire) to move into management. That being said, the opportunity for internal advancement can be incredibly motivating. Good transition plans involve a training formula. Sales reps are multifaceted and adaptable. Coupling necessary skills and aptitudes with appropriate support can keep talent happy and within the company.
The Demand Generation: Provide salespeople with the same quality and quantity of leads every month
Inbound sales beat cold calls every time. Marketing teams who work closely with sales teams to coordinate efforts are often the most successful (and efficient). There are many ways to generate inbound leads, but once these leads come in, it is important that sales reps receive the same quality and quantity of leads each month.
Lead quality varies depending on where the prospect or potential client is in the buying process, and when sales reps receive a consistent number of leads, they can develop a workflow and process that lends itself to success. Each rep should have the same opportunity to turn these leads into sales and ensure that the team makes progress in their goals overall.
Technology: Leverage technology to enable better buying for customers, and faster selling for salespeople
If companies wish to compete in modern markets (which are highly competitive and adaptable) it is crucial to leverage technology to their advantage. Utilizing quality tools and technology creates a better buying experience for customers, with faster sales and a more efficient sales process.
There are many technological tools and apps that sales teams can utilize to rejuvenate their approach. Operational tools help with managing leads, compensation, and administrative tasks. Analytical tools provide metrics and data in near limitless configurations.
Digital tools can be used to create a centralized data space and are well-adapted to support large teams and multiple departments. They are almost always better than spreadsheets or manual tools. Digital systems allow for scalable growth and visibility.
Modern sales teams are on the move, and may not always be seated conveniently at their desks. Mobile tools can provide reps with ready access to data and information, and allow them to provide good customer service any time.
Good technology allows sales teams to organize, strategize, and ultimately streamline their processes. A smooth selling process creates a smooth buying process, and sales teams who can consistently keep customers happy are the most effective.