Are your sales resources properly aligned with growth opportunity?
The Sales Leader is about to receive the 2013 Revenue Number. He will rely on you, the Head of Sales Operations, for sales strategy advice. Have you conducted growth opportunity analyses in your market? Are you confident the sales team’s people, money and time are accurately allocated for the upcoming year?
Over the last year, I have worked on multiple projects with different Sales Operations Leaders. The objective for each was to identify growth opportunity and align resources accordingly.
Prior to conducting any project I ask the Head of Sales Ops three important questions to gauge the thoroughness of their growth analyses.
Here is a typical conversation with Oliver (a fictional Sales Ops Leader):
Dan: “Do you believe there is enough opportunity for growth in your market?”
Dan: “Great. Do you know which product, geography, industry or company type has the highest growth opportunity?”
Oliver: “No – that is why you are here.”
Dan:“Have you conducted growth opportunity studies in the past?”
Oliver: “Of course. A majority of our revenue comes from Financial Services companies, but I need to know more. What is typically done to identify growth opportunities?”
As the Head of Sales Ops, are you thinking the same way? You need to know where growth lays for any sales strategy recommendations you make.
To effectively allocate people, money and time for growth opportunities, you must incorporate the following three analyses:
Firmographics: Identify your most profitable companies. Which companies offer the highest propensity to buy your products? What criteria do you use to identify profitable companies? You need to focus efforts on companies that maximize your ROI.
Pipeline: Know what is coming up in the near future. What sales resources forecast the largest returns? Is your pipeline an accurate representation of where the Head of Sales sees growth opportunities? You need to know which geography, industry and product represent your short-term wins versus your resource-consuming opportunities.
Customer Spend: Calculate the ideal revenue from your prospects. Are your current accounts being undersold? What should your prospects be spending on your products or services? It is your job to equip sales management with these figures.
What are the ramifications for your company if you do not conduct this research?
Sales Resources are focused in the wrong markets. You have ten sales resources focused on a $20M saturated market while only three are focused on an $80M growing market. What is wrong with this picture?
Money is wasted. Sales resources are directed towards the wrong opportunities, causing you to look for something new. Is a territory mapping program the answer? Is it time to re-align territories again?
Time is lost. Sales productivity drops without knowing where to focus. You provide the wrong suggestions on where to spend time. This will result in lower levels of revenue.
If you value the above data points, then you know the impact of accurately allocating people, money and time to making the number in 2013. You either hit the number or you don’t. These items provide the framework for you to hit that number.
For context, one of the Sales Operations leaders I worked with noted that, for his suite of services, financial companies spend the most money. Rather than that general statement we were able to identify:
Banks in NYC with 1000+ employees should spend about $150K for their service
They have 8 NYC banks as customers, 4 of which spend an average of $70K
An additional resource focused on upselling those accounts provides $320K of potential revenue
A recent article authored by a few McKinsey partners (“Use Big Data to Find New Micromarkets”) simply suggests that you “align sales coverage with opportunity.” High-level, general statements such as this will no longer be enough. Due diligence and granularity will prove the data points that lead to your sales strategy recommendation.
Our firm has researched over 1100 metrics and 5000+ documents to understand how organizations are allocating their people, money and time. Companies who accurately allocated sales resources consistently:
Closed 33% more deals
Won deals in half the time
Saw the ASP (Average Sales Price) increase nearly twofold
Is the above what you can expect for your 2013 goals? Ask yourself:
Do you know the firmographics for your high propensity-to-buy companies and markets?
Does your pipeline follow where the opportunity is growing?
What is your ideal customer spend and are your deals meeting this threshold? Is there money being left on the table?