Build a Bold, Data Infused Sales Strategy for 2013

August 15, 2012 at 7:00 AM

“Freedom lies in being Bold” – Robert Frost

Are you consistently bringing bold sales strategy ideas to the VP of Sales? To be a world class Sales Operations leader, pick up the pace.  The best in the field are:

  • Delegating execution to their teams
  • Focused on identifying game changing market opportunities.
  • Quantifying the potential impact for their sales leader

Sales Operations Success = Insight + Execution

sales operations strategy data

Contrary to the way many Sales Operations leaders function today, success is not just about execution. Success in sales operations means bringing bold insights.  It’s about enabling execution upon such insight. To be a game changing Sales Operations leader, you should be asking yourself the following:

  • What is the market for our products/services?
  • Are we currently covering or capturing buyers in our target market?
  • How well do we know the buyer of our product/service?
  • What data can we mine to generate insights about our customers?
  • What qualitative field data should I capture to authenticate the story?

Too often these questions are not being answered. Typically the focus is on blocking and tackling: basic execution of a compensation plan, sales dashboards, sales crediting, and territory/customer assignments.  All of these are basic necessities.  What separates most organizations from those that are “World-Class” is the existence of bold insights that drive sales strategy. Your VP of Sales relies on you delivering actionable insight to drive continuous improvement.   But it’s bold insights into sales strategy that separate most organizations from those that are “World-Class”.

Let’s first look at a how an average Sales Operations leader, Average Joe, identifies and quantifies market opportunities. Then we will contrast that with Bold Brutus who is "World-Class".

Average Joe’s Analysis of Market Opportunities

Joe starts by running a sales report and analyzing the data looking for themes. Maybe the company has recently been highly successful selling into the transportation industry. Joe takes note and says, “Alright, that is slide one, we need to focus on more transportation companies.”

Next Joe looks at the pipeline and says, “Ah Ha! We have a lot of opportunities at software companies right now. Must be a hot bed! Let’s go for it!”

Joe continues to look for data points and develops his recommendation for the VP of Sales. To quantify the market opportunity, Joe looks at the number of companies in the market place and loosely determines how much lift this will give the organization. Typically this is something like, 30 additional prospects X average deal size = lift of $X in sales. 

As Joe presents his findings and recommendations, questions begin to flow from the VP of Sales. What is the market actually worth? What is our ideal customer profile? Why are people purchasing our services?  How does our Target market like to purchase? Needless to say, Joe isn’t prepared and everyone leaves the meeting unfulfilled.

Bold Brutus’s Insight and Quantification into Market Opportunities

Now, Brutus is a master Sales Operations leader. He operates at a world-class level. How does he do it?

Research the Market: Brutus starts by researching the market. He leverages 3rd party research companies like Kennedy Research, Gartner, Forrester, and others to understand the external view of the marketplace, the competitors, and the trends.

Performs Account Segmentation Analysis: Brutus leverages his external market research and marries it to account segmentation analysis. This enables Brutus to determine the Total Available Market (TAM) and potential spend for each targeted organization. Read more about account segmentation here.

Develops Knowledge of the Buyer: Brutus connects with the marketing department to review buyer personas. Specifically, he is trying to determine attributes of different buyers and how they correlate to the segmentation analysis. He then performs ride-alongs with multiple sales representatives to observe the buyers in action. He validates his findings with quick 5-min calls to sales managers and reps. 

Finally, Brutus connects with marketing again to conduct a customer and prospect survey. This is an effort to acquire additional information around the buying process.

Quantify the Market Opportunity: Leveraging the potential spend by organization, Brutus knows approximately how much each organization has the capacity to spend. Brutus can then build a financial model to determine the most efficient and effective way to cover the marketplace and make the number in 2013.

Now for the moment of truth, when Brutus presents his ideas to the VP of Sales.  He presents the findings through the discovery process, his bold bet for making the number in 2013, and the financial model he has built to back him up.  The VP of Sales is intrigued and digs into the analysis. 

Build Bold Sales Strategy Recommendations: In the case of Brutus he made two bold recommendations.  

1 – Pilot a plan to shift 50% the money allocated to outside sales representatives toward inside sales. Brutus found that customer were willing to purchase the organization’s services over the phone and didn’t need the number of outside sales people that his organization currently had in place.

2 – Build a Lead Generation Team. By performing his ride-alongs, Brutus found that outside sales representatives were spending 65% of their time making cold calls. A lead generation team could drive leads to the sales team reducing the overall cost of sale through a maximizing of sales time.

This is world-class sales operations. This is taking information and driving insight that the VP of Sales needs to effectively make the number in 2013. As you continue on your journey toward world-class, get a copy of my Selling Time ROI Modeler tool here that will help you quantify your bold recommendations to your VP of Sales.  

Remember, to Build a “World Class” sales strategy infused in data for 2013, perform the following over the next two months:

  • Research the Market
  • Perform Account Segmentation Analysis
  • Develop Knowledge of the Buyer
  • Quantify the Market Opportunity
  • Make Bold Recommendations

Josh Meeks

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Topics: sales strategy, Sales Force Structure, Sales Operations Strategy

Posted by Joshua Meeks

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